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Envisioning Technologies: An Exhibit on the History of Disability & Technology in Canada

Envisioning Technology

July 7 to October 12, 2017

Main Branch, 3rd floor


Carleton University’s Disability Research Group (CUDRG) is a multi-disciplinary collective that has drawn together engineers, historians, a social worker, a librarian, an independent living specialist and a host of community collaborators. Our mission is to raise awareness, as well as questions about societal understandings of disability and technology by creating virtual and travelling exhibits, as well as other collaborative, multidisciplinary research outputs that take a participatory approach to telling the histories of activists, users, and innovators who contribute to a more inclusive and accessible transnational Canada. Our portable panel exhibit focuses on the stories of people who were blind or partially sighted who were instrumental to the creation of technological innovations that have led to a more accessible and inclusive Canadian society. Stories highlighted range from the use and implementation of braille-writers, to early Cold War computing applications and mechanized braille transcribers, to the world's first talking ATM, installed at an RBC branch at the corner of Bank and Queen right here in Ottawa. As the exhibit describes, “Through stories of activism, ingenuity and engineering innovations, this exhibit considers how people who were blind or partially sighted reshaped broader discourses of disability, technology and access in Canada from 1860-2016.”


This portable physical exhibit consists of six 35” x 48” Sintra panels. Together the panels describe a series of episodes or stories that are linked to our larger virtual exhibit, as well as accessible electronic text of the exhibit via QR codes. To further ensure accessibility, the exhibit also comes with a complete braille transcription of the exhibit text. For more information and/ or to inquire about hosting the exhibit, please contact Dr. Beth A. Robertson at


Additional resources:


"Envisioning Technologies" - additional resources / ressources additionnellesby Emily_Biblio