View all events

23 August 2021
10:00 UK / 05:00 EST

Disability Live from Tokyo: From 1964 to 2020: A Journey of Disability Innovation

This image is composed of series of pictures showing how technologies used by people with disabilities have changed over the years. From left to right there are: a picture showing a paralimpic archer competing on his wheelchair in Tokyo 1964, a paralympic disk thrower training for Tokyo 2020, a researcher from the Keio School of Media Design sitting on a wheelchair that features robotic arms, and an upper limb amputee using is guitar prosthetic arm to play music

Since the International Stoke Mandeville games in 1952, and the official launch of the Paralympic Games in 1960 in Rome, the Paralympic Games have represented a key event to promote inclusion, celebrate disability and foster innovation. On the eve of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and just after the launch of *#WeThe15 we invite you all to join us in this exciting event where we will be exploring the incredible story of how the games have changed the world of disability, showcasing the amazing work done by researchers at the Global Disability Innovation Hub, UCL and the Keio School of Media Design, telling you a story of disability innovation that started at Tokyo 1964, passing by London 2012 and continuing beyond Tokyo 2020. From sport to arts, education to entrepreneurship we will share some key past and present research and explore some of the plans we have for the future with the hope to inspire and be inspired by our audience as we prepare to celebrate disability in the spirit of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

We will hear from:

  • Vicki Austin on how from the first Stoke Mandeville games up to the increadibly successful London 2012 games, the Paralympics have helped to rewrite the narrative around disability and how GDI Hub is leveraging their power to create a fairer and inclusive world
  • Caz Walton on how the experiences of the Paralympics have changed from Tokyo 1964 to Tokyo 2020 and the impact that the Games have on people with disabilities around the world
  • Cathy Holloway on the research that GDI Hub and UCL have been conducting around assistive technology and innovation from refreshable Braille displays to Smart Prosthetic Liners always with the involvement of people with disabilities. Because we like technology, but we care about people.
  • Masa Inakage on how researchers and designers at the Keio School of Media Design in Japan are leveraging the power of immagination to develop new technology that subverts the expectations around disability
  • Kai Kunze on how different sensors can be used to detect emotions and support the performance of artist working in different creative areas
  • Kouta Minamizawa on using technology to turn prosthetic arms in musical instruments and to create super human sports that everyone can play together regardles of their abilities
  • Giulia Barbareschi on the new "ATs : Artistic Technologies" project that seeks to create a new generation of assistive devices that focus on self expression and collaborative art
Vicki Austin smiling
Victoria Austin
Global Disability Innovation Hub & Official Spokesperson for #WeThe15 Campaign

Caz Walton

British Paralympic Association
Catherine Holloway
UCL & Global DIsability Innovation Hub

Masa Inakage

Keio School of Media Design

Kai Kunze

Keio School of Media Design

Kouta Minamizawa

Keio School of Media Design
Colour profile image of Dr Giulia Barbareschi, a caucasian woman with brown hair
Giulia Barbareschi
UCL & Global Disability Innovation Hub


#WeThe15 is a decade long human rights campaign launched on the 19th August. The campaign brings together major international organisations to champion disability inclusion and is spearheaded by the International Paralympic Committee and International Disability Alliance. GDI Hub is so excited to be one of the key organisation's driving this movement forward in service for a fairer world.

Catch up with the event

This event was recorded on microsoft teams and uploaded to YouTube. Please find below a transcript and recording of the event