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Universal Design with Patricia Moore

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Event description

We are super excited to be hosting design legend and Universal Design pioneer, Patricia Moore sharing stories of her renown work.

Patricia (Pattie) Moore is a pioneering female designer, gerontologist (social scientist of the aging), author, educator and design thought leader. Pattie has been named by ID magazine as one of the 40 Most Socially Conscious Designers in the world. In 2000 she was selected by a consortium of news editors and organizations as one of the 100 Most Important Women in America. Syracuse University has selected Moore for a 2012 Honorary Doctorate for serving as a guiding force for a more humane and livable world, blazing a path for inclusiveness, as a true leader in the movement of Universal Design.

You could easily thank Pattie for many well designed products such as OXO Smart-Grip potato peelers that feel comfy in the hands of both kids and grandparents. But you should more importantly thank her for her contribution to Universal Design which is an approach to design that considers every ability, age and walk of life.

During the 1970’s, Pattie worked as an industrial designer in New York. It may sound strange to us today but at the time she was the only female designer there. Product design was then largely concerned with designing for caucasian, upper middle class “average users”, with 2.3 children. Have you seen a 0.3 child? Does an “average user” have one breast and one ball? At work Pattie would often challenge her colleagues as to how people with arthritis would use certain products and they would respond, “we don’t design for those people!”.

Frustrated by this attitude, Pattie sought to explore what it really felt like to be old in order to design products that are suitable for everyone including the elderly. During 1979-1982, a twenty something year-old Pattie dressed up as an elderly woman wearing her grandmother’s clothes, uncomfortable shoes she made that she had difficulty walking in, plugs for her ears to distort her hearing, and thick glasses that significantly distorted her vision. During this three year period she travelled to 116 cities in  America and Canada and pretended to be an 80 year old.  With her body altered to simulate the normal sensory changes associated with ageing, she was able to respond to people, products, and environments as an elder. 

Pattie has published several book chapters on Universal Design and 2 books, Disguised: A True Story (1985) and Ageing, Ingenuity & Design (2015) with Yankee Lee.

NB The presentation will be recorded and available for a limited time for those in other time zones : )

Ticket fees go to a US charity who support indigenous people made homeless by Covid-19


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