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Visualizing the Normate (VTN)

Published February 23 2024, 02:48

Project Name: Visualizing the Normate (VTN)

Ableism can be understood as a system of assigning value to people’s bodies and minds based on societally constructed ideas of normalcy, productivity, desirability, intelligence, excellence, and fitness (Lewis, 2022). These ideas are captured in the concept of the normate, “a privileged and de-stigmatized body representing a universal or ideal type” (Garland Thomas, 2016). Both outside and within the guiding principles of universal design, the normate template stands (Hamraie, 2012), albeit either as an uninterrogated, surreptitious assumption or as a design process antithesis. There is a broad need to visually depict and to create narrative about the normate in the public, private and non-profit sectors, and these efforts connect with emerging democratized media ecologies with emancipatory possibilities.

This project proposes seeks to investigate the following:

(A) How to characterize the constituencies that have information needs, data interactions, and engage in decisionmaking connected to quantitative and qualitative data about the normate?

(B) To what extent, if any, do HEI educational resources (ERs) consider structural issues of accessibility (e.g., the normate template, digital literary, entry barriers to dataviz education and practice) in teaching about datavis? What is the relative coverage of issues of structural accessibility as opposed to the accessibility of the datavis artefacts themselves? What exists in terms of Open Educational Resources (OERs)?

(C) Which datasets have the most utility for visualization of the normate? Which visualizations of these datasets exist already and what new variants could be devised? How do or could these visualizations avoid the re-inscription of ableism (e.g., medicalized categorization of disability in the datavis)?

(D) What do or could extant or novel data visualizations of the normate do for [Potentially] Interested Parties in terms of their key activities (decision-making, design, analysis)?

This project is funded via the York Catalyzing Interdisciplinary Research Cluster (CIRC) “Inclusive and Accessible Data Visualizations and Analytics (IADV)”, led by Enamul Hoque-Prince.

Lab Collaborators: Konroyd, Edmund  Grandison, Richelle 

Other Collaborators: Shital Desai (School of Arts, Media, Performance, and Design, York University)

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