Recording of - Rise and Design: Designing for Disability

Friday 19th January 2024

View a recording of the livestream HERE

Disability tends often to be seen in a negative light, particularly by those who haven ever experienced it.

But we all know that some of the most inspirational people are those who have overcome those negative attitudes and are succeeding despite what we might perceive as a handicap.

So we wanted to celebrate that, and showcase some of those working to change attitudes and perceptions, and to help us all focus on the ability, rather than the disability.

Speakers included -

Jo Gooding, Stylability

It might sound obvious but of the 14 million people in the UK with a disability, they all wear clothes, and a huge proportion love fashion. And have a collective spending power of £274bn!

Jo is an alumna of Northumbria University and the Royal College of Art. She is a Zinc fellow, a member of the Global Disability Innovation hub’s expert bench, and a signatory to the design manifesto “Super Normal Design for Extraordinary bodies.”

From wheelchair users to sports injuries leading to short-term disability, illness, arthritis, or even pregnancy, she and her team help to create a more accessible and comfortable shopping experience for everyone. Creating an inclusive fashion industry that caters to every body which requires a concerted effort from designers, brands and retailers. It requires looking at your clothing and shoes through a different lens, connecting shoppers with the relevant products they’re looking to buy, and understanding how they search for what they want to buy.


Kat Paylor-Bent, The Seated Group.

Having suffered a spinal injury over 16 years ago, Kat has gone on to become a passionate advocate for all things disability, she loves to take her lived experience and apply it to make things better for all who suffer with disabilities. She is a Universal Design Expert, Adaptive Fashion Designer, Actor and Disabled Model. And if you're doing great things to make your products, services and facilities not just accessible but enjoyable to use, then Kat and her team will help you shout about it.

Andrew Mkwashi, NIHR Innovation Observatory

'An overview of human augmentation technologies designed to enhance and improve human capabilities.'

The national horizon scanning and intelligence research centre, based in Newcastle is home of health innovation futures scanning. By providing early, robust intelligence, they play a vital role in getting the right innovations to patients at the right time.

Andrew's particular field is in medical devices and their vital role in supporting health living and well-being. He shared some of  their work on human augmentation, a multidisciplinary field encompassing methods, technologies, and applications for enhancing the senses, actions, or cognitive abilities of humans.




Design Network North was established in 2007 with the aim of...

‘increasing the contribution that design makes to the economy’

We firmly believe that great design can improve any product, service or business. If you’re a business who needs some design input to develop a new product or to improve something you do already, we can introduce you to someone who can help.