Fifty-two year Anniversary – “Miyake’s tactile blocks were first introduced on a street near the Okayama School for the Blind in Okayama City, Japan on the 18th March 1967. Their use gradually spread before they and sound guides were made mandatory in the Japanese National Railways a decade later. Since then, tactile paving is now used around the world….” Refer to Google Doodles Archive for more information.

The HOME Research Hub at Deakin University is facilitating a series of workshops as part of the Accessible Inclusive Geelong Feasibility Study funded by the Department of Health and Human Services (VIC). HOME is inviting individuals, organisations and networks to recommend individuals to participate. Workshop participants will ideally be those that have particular expertise and/or interest in areas related to each workshop, whether that be through lived experience of disability, advocacy, professional practice, policy development or grass-roots organising.

Workshops will bring together and build upon a considerable body of work completed by key stakeholders in Geelong to support those with disability and others, some of whom may have been marginalised due to low income, poor or unaffordable housing or access to work and facilities.

Through collaboration with workshop participants, we aim to explore what needs to be done to make Geelong a world-class accessible and inclusive city. The workshops will use STICK-E methodology (Systems Thinking in Community Knowledge Exchange), which is an innovative consultation method designed by Deakin researchers to build accurate pictures of complex problems. Together, workshop participants will produce mental and visual maps of accessibility and inclusion issues in Geelong. Over the course of the workshop, these maps reveal and unravel the complexity of the issue which is then refined by participants, eventually leading to specific and accurate actions that can be taken by policy makers.

Each workshop will include up to twenty participants and last for approximately six hours:
• a three-hour initial session with built in comfort breaks
• one-hour lunch (provided)
• two-hour refinement process to produce actions

HOME have identified three key areas to frame what actions could improve the accessibility and inclusivity of Geelong for people with disability. We have divided these into three workshops, listed below, to be held in Geelong during April—May 2019.

Workshop ONE (11 April 2019): Built environment
This workshop will explore built form and aims to understand what key issues need to be addressed in relation to buildings, planning processes and regulations to make Geelong a world class accessible and inclusive city in the next 5 years. Discussion will focus on how the design of public spaces, workplaces, community and retail districts, and homes interact with transport networks, building density, city layout and others. Of particular interest will be how planning and policy mechanisms might enable improvements to accessibility and inclusion.

Workshop TWO (7 May 2019): Community infrastructure
This workshop will explore what aspects of community and social infrastructure can be improved to make Geelong a world class accessible and inclusive city within the next 5 years. Areas of discussion will include the provision of healthcare (mental, physical, in-home, palliative etc.), housing (aged, social, assisted etc.), recreation (leisure, sport, tourism, entertainment etc.), social spaces (for encountering others and feeling a part of place), social support (neighbourhood houses, self-help/support groups etc.) and justice (legal representation, rights, assistance and welfare). Again, the focus will be on identifying and clarifying issues and finding agreed ways forward.

Workshop THREE (9 May 2019): Employment and economic participation
This workshop will explore issues around employment and economic participation in Geelong and what needs to be addressed to make Geelong a world class accessible and inclusive city within the next 10 years. Discussion will include access to meaningful work, placements, training, apprentices and qualification. Extending beyond this, experts will also speak to barriers to meaningful economic participation in the Geelong, regional and global communities, and how the commerce sector in Geelong might do more to improve the economic wellbeing and aspirations of marginalised people, especially persons with disability.

The HOME Research Hub will be distributing official participation documentation in the next two weeks. We are currently completing our ethical obligations at Deakin University and will begin our formal recruitment process soon.

In order to hear a diversity of voices, please:
1. forward this email to all relevant organisations/networks/individuals;
2. discuss and identify potential participants for upcoming themed workshops; and
3. identify any type of assistance that the research team will need to provide in order to ensure the full access and inclusion of people with disability in workshops (Auslan etc.).

If you have any questions, or would like to discuss further, please get in contact by email homeresearchhub@deakin.edu.au or by calling Dr. David Kelly on (03) 5227 8704.

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Tell Us What You Think!

PROJECT UPDATE - In 2017 - A multidisciplinary team at Deakin University gather stakeholder input to capture how Universal Design of the built environment is understood, applied and evaluated in Australia and around the world.

The recent Supreme Court of Victoria ruling makes clear that Victorian owners corporations are required to make reasonable adjustments for both tenants and visitors who have a disability.

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The next ACAA national conference will be held at Luna Park, Sydney from the 14th to the 16th of August, 2019. 

Mark the dates in your diary now so you can join ACAA on the beautiful foreshores of Sydney Harbour to catch up on all the latest news and information about accessibility in the built environment and network with your colleagues and friends.

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Access Insight - March 2018