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  • I want to give you a new perspective.

  • That sounds grandiose, and it is.

  • I left Ireland yesterday morning.

  • I traveled from Dublin to New York

  • independently.

  • But the design of an airport,

  • plane and terminal

  • offers little independence when you're 105 and a half centimeters tall.

  • For Americans, that's 3' 5".

  • I was whisked through the airport by airline assistants in a wheelchair.

  • Now, I don't need to use a wheelchair,

  • but the design of an airport

  • and its lack of accessibility

  • means that it's my only way to get through.

  • With my carry-on bag between my feet,

  • I was wheeled through security, preclearance

  • and I arrived at my boarding gate.

  • I use the accessibility services in the airport

  • because most of the terminal is just not designed with me in mind.

  • Take security, for example.

  • I'm not strong enough to lift my carry-on bag

  • from the ground to the carousel.

  • I stand at eye level with it.

  • And those who work in that space for safety purposes cannot help me

  • and cannot do it for me.

  • Design inhibits my autonomy and my independence.

  • But traveling at this size, it isn't all bad.

  • The leg room in economy is like business class.

  • (Laughter)

  • I often forget that I'm a little person.

  • It's the physical environment and society that remind me.

  • Using a public bathroom is an excruciating experience.

  • I walk into the cubicle

  • but I can't reach the lock on the door.

  • I'm creative and resilient.

  • I look around and see if there's a bin that I can turn upside down.

  • Is it safe?

  • Not really.

  • Is it hygienic and sanitary?

  • Definitely not.

  • But the alternative is much worse.

  • If that doesn't work, I use my phone.

  • It gives me an additional four- to six-inch reach,

  • and I try to jam the lock closed with my iPhone.

  • Now, I imagine that's not what Jony Ive had in mind when he designed the iPhone,

  • but it works.

  • The alternative is that I approach a stranger.

  • I apologize profusely

  • and I ask them to stand guard outside my cubicle door.

  • They do

  • and I emerge grateful

  • but absolutely mortified,

  • and hope that they didn't notice

  • that I left the bathroom without washing my hands.

  • I carry hand sanitizer with me every single day

  • because the sink, soap dispenser, hand dryer and mirror

  • are all out of my reach.

  • Now, the accessible bathroom is somewhat of an option.

  • In this space, I can reach the lock on the door,

  • the sink, the soap dispenser, the hand dryer and the mirror.

  • Yet, I cannot use the toilet.

  • It is deliberately designed higher

  • so that wheelchair users can transfer across with ease.

  • This is a wonderful and necessary innovation,

  • but in the design world, when we describe a new project or idea as accessible,

  • what does that mean?

  • Who is it accessible to?

  • And whose needs are not being accommodated for?

  • Now, the bathroom is an example

  • of where design impinges upon my dignity,

  • but the physical environment impacts upon me in much more casual ways too,

  • something as simple as ordering a cup of coffee.

  • Now, I'll admit it.

  • I drink far too much coffee.

  • My order is a skinny vanilla latte,

  • but I'm trying to wean myself off the syrup.

  • But the coffee shop, it's not designed well,

  • at least not for me.

  • Queuing, I'm standing beside the pastry cabinet

  • and the barista calls for the next order.

  • "Next, please!" they shout.

  • They can't see me.

  • The person next to me in the queue points to my existence

  • and everyone is embarrassed.

  • I order as quick as I can and I move along to collect my coffee.

  • Now, think just for a second.

  • Where do they put it?

  • Up high and without a lid.

  • Reaching up to collect a coffee that I have paid for

  • is an incredibly dangerous experience.

  • But design also impinges on the clothes that I want to wear.

  • I want garments that reflect my personality.

  • It's difficult to find in the childrenswear department.

  • And often womenswear requires far too many alterations.

  • I want shoes that affect my maturity, professionalism and sophistication.

  • Instead, I'm offered sneakers with Velcro straps and light-up shoes.

  • Now, I'm not totally opposed to light-up shoes.

  • (Laughter)

  • But design also impacts on such simple things,

  • like sitting on a chair.

  • I cannot go from a standing to a seating position with grace.

  • Due to the standards of design heights of chairs,

  • I have to crawl on my hands and knees

  • just to get on top of it,

  • whilst also being conscious that it might tip over at any stage.

  • But whilst design impacts on me

  • whether it's a chair, a bathroom, a coffee shop, or clothes,

  • I rely on and benefit

  • from the kindness of strangers.

  • But not everybody is so nice.

  • I'm reminded that I'm a little person

  • when a stranger points,

  • stares,

  • laughs,

  • calls me a name,

  • or takes a photograph of me.

  • This happens almost every day.

  • With the rise of social media, it has given me an opportunity

  • and a platform to have a voice as a blogger and as an activist,

  • but it has also made me nervous

  • that I might become a meme

  • or a viral sensation,

  • all without my consent.

  • So let's take a moment right now

  • to make something very clear.

  • The word "midget" is a slur.

  • It evolved from PT Barnum's era of circuses and freak shows.

  • Society has evolved.

  • So should our vocabulary.

  • Language is a powerful tool.

  • It does not just name our society.

  • It shapes it.

  • I am incredibly proud to be a little person,

  • to have inherited the condition of achondroplasia.

  • But I am most proud to be Sinead.

  • Achondroplasia is the most common form of dwarfism.

  • Achondroplasia translates as "without cartilage formation."

  • I have short limbs and achondroplastic facial features,

  • my forehead and my nose.

  • My arms do not straighten fully,

  • but I can lick my elbow.

  • I'm not showing you that one.

  • Achondroplasia occurs in approximately one in every 20,000 births.

  • 80 percent of little people are born to two average-height parents.

  • That means that anybody in this room could have a child with achondroplasia.

  • Yet, I inherited my condition from my dad.

  • I'd like to show you a photo of my family.

  • My mother is average height,

  • my father is a little person

  • and I am the eldest of five children.

  • I have three sisters and one brother.

  • They are all average height.

  • I am incredibly fortunate to have been born into a family

  • that cultivated my curiosity and my tenacity,

  • that protected me from the unkindness and ignorance of strangers

  • and that armed me with the resilience, creativity and confidence

  • that I needed to survive and manipulate the physical environment and society.

  • If I was to pinpoint any reason why I am successful,

  • it is because I was and I am a loved child,

  • now, a loved child with a lot of sass and sarcasm,

  • but a loved child nonetheless.

  • In giving you an insight into who I am today

  • I wanted to offer you a new perspective.

  • I wanted to challenge the idea

  • that design is but a tool to create function and beauty.

  • Design greatly impacts upon people's lives,

  • all lives.

  • Design is a way in which we can feel included in the world,

  • but it is also a way in which we can uphold a person's dignity

  • and their human rights.

  • Design can also inflict vulnerability

  • on a group whose needs aren't considered.

  • So today, I want your perceptions challenged.

  • Who are we not designing for?

  • How can we amplify their voices

  • and their experiences?

  • What is the next step?

  • Design is an enormous privilege,

  • but it is a bigger responsibility.

  • I want you to open your eyes.

  • Thank you so much.

  • (Applause)

I want to give you a new perspective.

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B1 US TED design bathroom airport wheelchair accessible

【TED】Sinéad Burke: Why design should include everyone (Why design should include everyone | Sinéad Burke)

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    Zenn posted on 2017/07/21
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