Brighton activist fighting for disability justice in architecture

Posted On 29 Nov 2022 at 12:40 pm

A University of Brighton architecture graduate is calling for buildings to be retrofitted to make it easier for disabled and older people to use them.

Former masters student Jordan Whitewood-Neal has founded the Dis/ project, which pairs disabled architectural researchers with disabled people.

Jordan, who now studies at the London School of Architecture, has been picked out by the Royal Institute of British Architects as one of its 2022 Rising Stars.

Jordan said: “My research project on the MRes, tutored by Ben Sweeting and Tilo Amhoff, gave me an opportunity to explore novel research methods, alongside more conventional forms of archival research.

“This research has led to wider work campaigning for more inclusive architectural teaching, as well as founding Dis/.”

Dis/ grew out of an event at the London Festival of Architecture in which physically disabled and neuro-diverse creatives shared their experiences of navigating cities.

Teaming up with James Zatka-Haas and Anna Curzon Price, Dis/ aims to lead research and conservation on disability justice not just as a critical part of the design process, but also as a way to challenge the idea of accessibility as no more than installing a ramp.

In a recent interview with the Royal Institute of British Architects RIBA Journal, he said: “The architectural discipline has in the last few years finally begun to address race and gender inequities, but disability always trails behind.

“A fundamental issue in architectural practice is a scarcity of disabled architects and designers.”

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