Logo Tar-Saeng Studio
Universal Design workshop: Creating a Universal Design community in Thailand

Project name: Universal Design Network workshop 2

Funder/Sponsor: The Institute of Health Promotion for People with Disability + School of Change Makers for the journal

Collaborator: The Institute of Health Promotion for People with Disability

Year: 2015

Project type: Knowledge Management  



After our first years working in design, and particularly through our experience using participatory processes in design with communities on the ground, we met many practitioners working on Universal Design. While they did not use this term, they were working to improve the living conditions of people with disabilities and elderly people. Some were working in construction, some were health volunteers who collected data collection for the people who needed home improvements and sending it to local authorities. Ohers yet were working in hospitals of academia. We saw the need to create a platform, or a space, for these people to come together, to empower one another. We know from experience that working in this field can be disheartening as people are scattered and lack support. We aimed to bring people together to meet and share the knowledge they have gained through their work.

The process of meeting in person and exchanging experiences and working processes is also empowering in and of itself, creating a like-minded community. This is especially important in this field, where practitioners often feel disconnected and lack the energy to go on.

We organised the first workshop in 2013, the second in 2015, and the third one will be organised in the future. The workshops are to be increasingly open: the first brought together practitioners who we already knew, the second was open to the public with a series of talks, and the third one aims to reach an even larger audience. 

Universal Design Network workshop 2

The second Universal Design Network workshop lasted two days in January 2015. The structure of the workshop was mostly the same as the first one: we organised knowledge management activities using different tools: all participants filled information about what they were working on, the obstacles they face, etc. to ascertain what we already know as a group. We then organised a series of talks.

The talks were given by:

  • Tar-Saeng Studio

  • the team from Mahasarakham University who worked on Universal Design and which comprised lecturers from the school of architecture, the school of medicine, and the school of pharmacology

  • a representative from the local authority of Nongbualamphu province which, while small, is very progressive on providing Universal Design practices to its communities

  • a representative from a hospital in Kalasin province which created a small unit to work on building tools for everyday use for people with disabilities. This unit fundraise locally and are financially independent, which they have used to produce a lot of living aids

The Differently Abled Design (DAD) book, which we published in 2016 gathers a lot of the experiences from this workshop.