On 20th and 21st of November two members of the SUITCEYES project, Nasrine Olson and Nils-Krister Persson, attended a conference titled “Digital Future – How can ICT help people with deafblindness gain access to an active and social life?”.
The two-day conference was hosted by Eikholt, which is a National Resource Centre for the deafblind related issues and a living arena for synergies and competence development. The conference was attended by around 85 people from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and England.
Many of the participants (both speakers and audience) were individuals with deafblindness. It was fun to see that many of the speakers had connection with SUITCEYES as members of the project advisory board (Thomas Ragnarsson (SPSM, Nkcdb), Henrik Hildemar (Mogård), Rolf Lund (Eikholt), and Linda Eriksson (Nkcdb)), there were also other project advisors among the audience.
The speakers, came from multiple expertise areas. The project members presented an overview of SUITCEYES as well as a short account of the recent developments within the project. The rest of the program was also packed with very interesting and inspiring talks about digital future (e.g., by Silvija Seres); congenital deafblindness and technology (by our advisers Thomas and Henrik); different technical support that is offered by national organizations; or recent technological solutions available and ways in which they can be adapted to individual needs (e.g., by Rolf Mjønes). Other speakers talked about personal experiences. For example, Molly Watts, a usability and accessibility consultant, or in her own words an “inclusive technology evangelist”, gave a most inspiring talk about different perspectives on deafblindness (both hers and others). A couple of points in her talk highlighted that to get along, she has to strategize everything she does, and that she did not want to use tools or aids that would be stigmatizing; she preferred assistive devices that look cool, and fashionable.
Many of the participants were housed in the comfortable accommodations located at Eikholt, therefore, this event provided plenty of opportunities for continued conversations, feedback and brainstorming on future collaborations. An important outcome of these discussions was the decision to organize participatory co-design workshops at Eikholt. In this way the SUITCEYES consortium could come together with end users (people with deafblindness, but also interpreters, professional care providers, family members, etc) and member of project advisory board in a sort of living lab for collaborative work on design decisions, pushing forward feature developments. These workshops are now planned to take place in week 14 of 2020. The event details are being planned and the whole SUITCEYES consortium is looking forward to this opportunity.