Domain: Research

Themes: Assistive & Accessible Technology

Disability design and innovation in low resource settings. Workshop at CHI2021

Location: Virtual workshop

Sunday May 16 2021 | CEST 1500 – 1900


Why are we having this workshop?

Research that focuses on understanding technology and how it could be used to empower people with disabilities who live in the Global South is sorely needed, yet conducting and planning studies in the field is often challenging.

What are our aims?

Our workshop has two aims.

We aim to co-create a community of researchers and practitioners working or interested in working to work in the areas of technology, disability and international development.

The second aim is to identify challenges, strategies and resources to support scholars who are interested in conducting studies with people with disabilities in the Global South.

How do we achieve this?

We want to co-create a long-lasting, sustainable and creative community, made by and for researchers and practitioners from academia, NGOs, and the private sector who are interested in conducting work around technology for people with disabilities living in the Global South.

Our unique workshop is designed to support this aim through synchronous and asynchronous activities. Our vision is to spark engagement beyond the boundaries of this CHI2021 workshop.

What is going to happen and when?

  • From 1st of Jan to 7th of March 2021 -> Submission of contributions and expressions of interests
  • From 1st to 19th of March 2021 -> Revision of submissions and and invitations to join the workshop and the community will be sent to participants
  • 25th of March 2021-> Publication of accepted submissions
  • From 20th to 31st of March 2021->Set-up of workshop asynchronous platform on Discord
  • From 1st to 30th of April 2021 -> Two live pre-workshop discussions on Zoom and asynchronous activities on Discord between organizers and authors of all accepted papers. Discussions will be focused on 4 main areas:
  1. Defining shared vocabulary to be used during the workshop and beyond
  2. Leveraging submitted contributions to identify challenges and resources encountered when conducting HCI research with people with disabilities in the Global South
  3. Discussing potential short and long term aims and goals for the community
  4. Finalizing agenda for the virtual workshop
  • From 1st to 15th of May 2021-> Final workshop preparation by the organizers (including finalization of the agenda and ensuring accessibility of activities and resources for the synchronous workshop based on suggestions made by participants)
  • 16 May JST 2200 - 17 May JST 0200 / 16 May EDT 0900-1300 / 16 May CEST 1500-1900 -> Synchronous CHI 2021 Workshop on Zoom
  • From 17th May 2021 onwards -> Post workshop activities and engagement via the Discord platform

Click here to visualize the timeline of events before and after the workshop

How do I make my contribution?

We invite contributions from researchers and practitioners that either

  • Describe experiences with strategies to overcome the challenges of performing HCI research in low resource settings with people with disabilities.
  • Discuss challenges associated with the design and development of new HCI research studies involving people with disabilities living in low resourced settings
  • Reflect on the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic in the engagement of people with disabilities in HCI4D research

Submissions can be made in the traditional format of a 4-page paper, but we also welcome submissions in alternative formats, such as photo-journals or videos. For any questions about the workshop or contributions please contact Dr Giulia Barbareschi (

Contributions should be submitted by February 28th 2021. Submissions should be made via email to with the subject line “Disability design and innovation in low resource settings submission”.

Contributions will be peer-reviewed by the organizers based on relevance to the workshop theme and authors will receive a notification on the outcome of their submission by the 19th of March 2021.

Who is organizing this workshop?

Giulia Barbareschi is a Research Fellow in Disability and Assistive Technology at the UCL Interaction Centre and the Global Disability Innovation Hub. Giulia's work lies at the intersection of technology, disability and design with strong influences from disability studies and international development.

Dafne Zuleima Morgado Ramirez is a Senior Research Fellow at the UCL Interaction Centre and at the Global Disability Innovation Hub. Zuleima’s research focuses on assistive technology, disability, HCI and low resource settings, neurodiversity and biomedical engineering.

Cathy Holloway is Professor of Interaction Design and Innovation at UCL’s Interaction Centre and the Academic Director and co-founder of the Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDI Hub). GDI Hub exists to accelerate disability innovation for a fairer world and Cathy’s research revolves around supporting this aim.

Manohar Swaminathan (Swami Manohar) is a Principal researcher at Microsoft Research India, where he is part of the Technologies for Emerging Markets group. Manohar is an academic-turned technology entrepreneur-turned researcher with a driving passion to build and deploy technology for positive social impact.

Aditya Vashistha is an Assistant Professor of Computing and Information Science at Cornell University and a faculty fellow at Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability. His research focuses on the design and evaluation of technologies that contribute to the socioeconomic development of underserved communities in low-resource environments.

Ed Cutrell is a Senior Principal Research Manager at Microsoft Research where he manages the MSR Ability group, exploring computing for disability, accessibility, and inclusive design. Over the years, he has worked on a broad range of HCI topics, including input tech, visual perception and graphics, intelligent notifications and disruptions, and interfaces for search and personal information management.

List of Participants & Contributions

Fajardo-Flores S.B., Gaytán-Lugo L.B., Santana-Mancilla P.C, Rodríguez-Ortiz M.A., Montesinos López O.A. - Challenges in the Design of a Mobile Application to Support Literacy for Students with Deafness in Mexico

Álvarez-Camacho M., Moreno-Hernández A., Gayol-Mérida D. - Research with us, not for us

Vasconcelos E. - Learnings from EdTech and TRIPS

Upadhyay V., Arun Kumar P., Singh P., Aayush, Sharma S., Rao P.V.M., Balakrishnan M. - Retrofit Framework for Indoor Mobility in Unstructured Spaces

Dey S., Veeraraghavan S., Y.V. - Design of Programs for Students and Teachers with Visual Impairment in the Global South: A collaborative response to the COVID19 pandemic in Karnataka, India

Ramkumar V., Joshi D. - Providing access to services for hearing care in rural communities using tele-practice

Mbibeh L., Nganji J.T., Cockburn L.B. - The PIRL Project: A case study of learning how to do disability inclusive research

Prietch S.S., Sánchez J.A., Martins Leite V., Fabris J. A. - A twelve-year retrospective of research for, with and by Sign language communities in two Latin American cities

Valencia S. - Reflections on Designing Communication Devices for Rwandan Schools

Borah P.P., Sorathia K. - Geometric Drawing by Students with Visual Impairment and Blindness

Additional participants & Areas of interest:

McDonnell M - Digital literacy as a right

Kim A.J., Lim M.J., An K.O., Kweon H., Lee B.S. - Open platforms for AT co-creation

Joyce J., Prabhakar A., Ramanathan P., Thomas A. - Low-cost AT device development in India