Sarah Manteuffel, Host
Sarah Manteuffel is an accessibility advocate working on her Masters Degree in City Planning at the University of Manitoba. She sat as Vice President of Little People of Manitoba for 5 years, and continues to be a member of LPM, LPO, LPA and is a board member on the Dwarf Athletic Association of Canada (DAAC). As a little person as well as having an undergraduate degree in Interior Design, Sarah has always viewed the world from a unique perspective; focusing on how spaces physically and emotionally affect people beyond inclusive design. In her current graduate studies, Sarah hopes to gain more education on how design and policy can better incorporate accessible design in public spaces.
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Haley Rae Dinnall-Atkinson
Haley Rae is an Accessibility Specialist working with Human Space, a division of Quadrangle Architects Ltd. where she provides services related to Accessible, Inclusive, and Universal Design principles and strategies in a variety of environments working with a wide range of clients in both the public, and private sectors. She focuses on services such as consulting, drawing reviews, and accessibility audits. Haley Rae contributes her technical learn-it-all on national, provincial, and municipal accessibility standards, and legislation. Haley Rae studied Environmental Design at OCAD University, and deeply enjoyed learning about design in the built environment. This fall, she will be instructing the Environmental Design, Accessible Design course within a studio-based, online, learning environment. Haley Rae is also a member of the Board of Directors at StopGap Foundation, a charitable organization, whose mission is helping communities to discover the benefit of barrier-free spaces and providing support to create them. She actively practices allyship and draws both on her professional and volunteer experiences working with organizations in the social enterprise sector to advocate for inclusivity, equity, and accessibility for persons with disabilities. As a biracial, mixed Black and white, cisgender, woman, Haley Rae recognizes the privileges and limitations of her lived experiences, and is committed to using an intersectional approach to designing for inclusion, actively including and learning from people with a range of perspectives, and educating others about the diversity of ways to create spaces for all.
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Kendra (she/her) has a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Guelph (2019), and is in her first year of supervised practice for Baker Turner Inc. as a Landscape Architectural Intern and Certified Arborist (ISA).
Kendra is experienced in community engaged research, and brings a disability and climate justice lens to her work in design advocacy and private practice. For her Master's thesis, she wrote about the experience of the built environment at the neighbourhood scale as a person with a form of dysautonomia, an autonomic nervous system disorder that is impacted by sudden weather changes, including: temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure fluctuations. These weather conditions can impact what are called 'microclimates', where on a smaller scale, form such as vegetation or built structures impact the feelings of cold or warmth to a person, often impacting a person's mobility when conditions become extreme. From her research, she created a preliminary 'go-along' interview, where a person can walk or roll through their neighbourhood and audit the built environment as it relates to their needs during different weather events, highlighting the importance of microclimate design as it relates to accessibility.
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Thea Kurdi has over 20 years’ experience specializing in barrier-free and universal design for architectural projects of varying size and complexity. She is passionate about helping clients understand what usable accessibility means, how universal design is better design for everyone, and how to meet the Human Rights Code.
An educator at heart, Thea takes every opportunity to teach: her clients through project work, at local and international conferences, and as an instructor and guest speaker at colleges and universities. She is frequently a guest speaker for design students, including at Waterloo School of Architecture, Ryerson University School of Architecture and George Brown College’s Interior Design program. At Sheridan College she taught AutoCAD, REVIT, Architectural History, Sustainable Design and Universal Design. She has also developed many different educational materials and resource information on accessibility for students and the design community at large.
Thea has presented workshops and participated in conferences around the world, educating professionals on universal design of the built environment, including at the 2018 Universal Design Conferences in Auckland, New Zealand and Brisbane, Australia presenting “Living in Place – Universal and Accessible Design”, at the 6th Universal Design Conference in Seoul, Korea presenting “Designing for the Future – Universal Design in Urban Planning”, at IIDEX 2016 presenting “How Smart Green Design Choices Create Accessible Spaces” at TRANSED 2012 in India, at the Canadian Home Builders Association's conference in 2010 presenting about accessible housing, and as a panellist for the National Accessibility Summit. She was also the host of the award-winning Accessibility Edge radio show and More recently, she has joined Dave Brown of AMI-media for a monthly spot on built environment accessibility.
Thea has undertaken many facility accessibility audits including the development of audit protocols and checklists, as well as the preparation of audit reports. She is highly proficient with drawing and illustration software including AutoCAD, VIZ, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Dreamweaver.
Also a life-long student, Thea has been learning American Sign Language (ASL) since 2003 for both personal use when her son was an infant and to better understand the design needs of the D/deaf, deafened, and hard of hearing community.
Thea is registered with Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES), is an affiliate member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) and a member of the RAIC’s Age Friendly Housing Task Force. She sits on the Board of Arts Build Ontario as well as the Universal Design Network of Canada.
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For the last 20 years, John has been working at CILT with consumers with disabilities on developing their skills to self-advocate for their rights and responsibilities on a wide range of issues, from attendant services to Wheel-Trans.
In addition, John provides short-term crisis peer support, facilitates Independent Living skills development workshops and makes CILT program presentations to consumers and service providers.
John has led and/or supervised several participatory action research and community social justice projects on disability issues within Toronto such as Safe Engaged Environments Disability, Safe Toronto Action Now Disability, Disability and Rights for Citizens, Civic Literacy – Disability Project and Aging with Disability Project. John has organized with community partners Federal, Provincial and Municipal election debates on disability issues. John enjoys movies, music, sports, online gaming and loves to read social justice articles and books.
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