Episode 3, Technology and Radical Accessibility

Podcast rethinking technologies through radical accessibility. With special guests MELT (Ren Loren Britton and Iz Paehr).

In the third episode of our podcast, Control Shift Co-director Becca Rose is joined by arts design duo ‘MELT’ (Ren Loren Britton and Iz Paehr) to discuss radical accessibility and technology.

Accessibility is a core part of what we do here at Control Shift. We aim to make technology skills, concepts and debates accessible through our events, workshops, exhibitions and resources. For us, ‘radical access’ goes beyond just removing barriers or merely integrating disabled people into existing non-inclusive spaces. Instead, we see it as totally rethinking, redesigning or redefining technology using multiple and varied experiences. We work with artists that are often marginalised in mainstream tech development (e.g. trans disabled, queer, femme, black) to question and shape technologies, shifting the lens so we can see from their perspectives. 

We’ve worked with MELT since 2020, and their work is deeply motivated by disability justice within technology. We are hugely inspired by how they do this, so we invited them to share some of their research.

In this podcast, we chat about everything from how to compensate the labour involved in creating accessible technologies, to the challenges faced by disabled communities in engaging with technological advancements. MELT share lots of juicy insights into their creative projects as well as lots of great resources to help us to integrate radical access into our daily practice (all linked below). Together we discuss ideas and actions towards a more inclusive, empathetic, and human-centred approach to tech development and use.

Listen to the podcast embedded above or via Soundcloud or Spotify.

Listen to the podcast above and/or read the full transcript here.

Links to resources mentioned in the podcast:

5:40 – Iz mentions MELT’s past project, Counting Feelings.
7:14 – Ren mentions MELT’s project, Access Server
10:20 – Iz refers to Ashley Shew’s book, Against Technoableism
11:04 – Iz refers to Aimi Hamraie and Kelly Fritsch’s Crip Technoscience Manifesto [PDF here].
11:21 – Ren cites Audre Lorde’s refusal to wear a prosthetic breast plate [page 6].
11:31 – Ren cites Ralf Hotchkiss who hacked his wheelchair to plough sidewalks of snow [page 8]
11:59 – Ren mentions Sozialhelden, who build radical access tools such as the Wheel Map
13:01 – Iz mentions their recent video work, ‘Unforgetting as Caring: Braille n’ Speak, Zenith Hearing Aid and FTM issue no. 45′.
14:51 – Becca refers to MELT’s workshop, MIAU ID
23:02 – Ren recommends reading the Ten Principles of Disability Justice by Sins Invalid.
23:44 – Ren refers to their colleague Schwarzrund and Udo Sierck

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