EDI Grant Recipients - 2021

The EDI Grants initiative recognises innovative projects led by UNSW students and staff.

In 2021, the Division of Equity Diversity & Inclusion offered grants of up to $5,000 for projects that contribute to its mission to "instil equity, diversity and inclusion across the University and equip our community to contribute to a fair and just society".

Congratulations to the five successful applicants, chosen from a particularly strong field this year. We look forward to sharing more information on these projects as they progress. For more information: edi@unsw.edu.au.

The Digital Accessibility project will encourage understanding of challenges faced by students with a disability when accessing digital content online. The project seeks to grow empathy and promote best practice models for creating digital learning experiences at all levels, from teacher-created content to student-generated and peer-to-peer materials. It will deliver practical tips and real world advice from people who have first person experience with disability and barriers to digital accessibility.

The primary goal of this project is to generate tools, processes and resources that help the UNSW Art & Design campus in Paddington become more welcoming and inclusive for neurodivergent people. To do this, much of the funding for the project will be used to engage the Autism Friendly team (Autism Spectrum Australia) to conduct an assessment of the campus; run training for key staff; and collaborate to produce environmental change (signage, sensory maps, social stories, et al.).

This project will serve as a pilot study to show world-leading inclusive practices for neurodiversity. It will show how the larger Kensington campus (and other UNSW campuses) might adopt some of these resources and recommendations to make UNSW a university of choice that promotes engagement with neurodivergent people through co-design, study, research and collaboration.

Although there is a growing move towards inclusion of students in determining how their coursework is delivered at tertiary education institutions, neurodiverse students are still often excluded from these efforts. This project aims to promote co-production in course design and delivery between neurodivergent students and instructors. This will be accomplished through the establishment of a student consultation group and the delivery of three student-instructor co-production workshops. The first workshop will be centred around framing the problem, the second will support student-instructor teams to respond to the problem together, and the third will provide time and space for the teams to refine their ideas/products. The project team and consultative group will continue to support teams to continue to develop their materials, and the teams will showcase their work to the university community in early 2022 during a Co-Production Showcase. The project and its anticipated outputs are strongly aligned with the principles of Universal Design for Learning and will therefore benefit all students.

Australia has 4.4 million people living with disability, which is 17.7% of the population (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018). People with physical disability face social exclusions and often experience negative prejudice and discrimination. Negatively stereotyped images and stories of people with physical disability in the media are a major contributor to the prejudice against them. Disability simulation exercises are a common method for improving understanding towards people with disability. However, recent research finds that disability simulations can reinforce the negative stereotypes associated with disability, such as being ‘needy’ and ‘dependent’ (Nario-Redmond et al. 2017; Silverman et al. 2015).

Innovative technology holds great potential to represent people with disability and their experiences in society. Virtual Reality provides visually immersive and mentally vivid experiences for viewers. This project aims to produce a VR video that represents the social environment that people with physical disability experience, improve general understanding as well as increase inclusion for people with physical disability. The VR video aims to tell the disability experience from the perspectives of people with physical disability, promote their inclusion into society, and call for society to create enabling environments.

This project is based on ‘The Human Library’, which allows participants to  “borrow” another human book. This format will be applied to the international student cohort experience, connecting students to share their stories. The goal is to learn about other students' identities, cultural backgrounds, aspirations, why they chose to study at UNSW, their favourite courses... In learning their partner’s stories, they are asked to present and introduce their partner in a storytelling format. This project will be presented as part of UNSW Diversity Fest, 25 - 29 October.