Universal Recognition

How diverse perspectives within policy making can seed Wellbeing Economic Worlds fit for us all.

Why Innovate?

“It matters what stories make worlds, what worlds make stories”                                                    Donna J. Haraway,  2016

Inhospitable Lands

Marginalised folks often exist in a world that is not designed for them. Economic policy is no exception and marginalised folks are often underrepresented in economic research. Their experience is typically unrecognised, it is the dark matter on the maps of policymaker’s plans. I have personal experience of this disenfranchisement as I am invisibly disabled, have a parent who is hard of hearing and was an unpaid carer to my other parent during their terminal illness. For the project I worked with wellbeing experts from marginalised communities (outwith my own) most adversely affected by current economic practice. Together we explored equitable participation in Wellbeing Economics.

The Design Innovation – Expanding our Recognition, Universally

Universal Recognition (UR) is an approach to Wellbeing Economic research for policy. It is co-produced, accessibility focused and speculative. UR enabled folks with intersectional experiences of d/Deaf culture, ethnic marginalisation, migration and/or Disability to fully participate in imagining Wellbeing Economic futures. The resulting design fictions offer innovations that could move us towards better policy.

One exciting insight was the concept of Access Diversity (AD) as an economic indicator. People experience welbeing and access to it in differing ways. AD would measure economic strength not in financial growth but in variation of access.

Future Horizons

Universal Recognition offers us ways of expanding knowledge exchange within policy-making. Design provides a way of composting that knowledge so that we can absorb it in differing ways. This process nourishes the ground from which new policy is grown.

Through UR we explored the dazzling margins of economic solar systems. The cusp where non-normativity and imagination greets new worlds into existence. The space where we find new horizons and the seeds of future worlds. Policy-making today should be about composting the diverse stardust of our shared knowledges so they can nourish the policy landscapes of tomorrow.

Tending to New Lands Together

This project was only achievable through GSA’s flexible approach towards my access needs. It was only achievable through the collective knowledge of those who took part. The project participants plan to further explore UR as part of collaborative projects going forwards.


An illustrative drawing of speculative worlds under the title Universal Recognition A co-produced, inclusive and speculative approach to wellbeing economic policy making. Other text beside the worlds read as Supple Schedules, Sleek Slowed Systems and Composite Communication. The final line of text reads Access Diversity - A future wellbeing economic indicator…

Universal Recognition

Illustrative examples of future wellbeing worlds. The ideas for these design fictions were imagined by marginalised folks most adversely affected by current economic approaches.
An illustration of a world where different forms of communication are being used together to ensure more folks can share knowledge. One person on the world is mid signing ‘conversation’ in BSL, the other is wearing a hijab and patterns are coming out of her mouth in tartan and Persian mosaics representing speech in both Scots and Farsi

Composite Communication

An illustrated world where the ground is made of fossils or snail shells representing a slow, sustainable and liveable pave of time. There is someone wrapped in a blanket standing living in the world.

Sustainable Slowed Systems

An illustration of a world being enjoyed by a wheelchair user, a child with limb difference and their parent. Everyone is enjoying the world equitably as it is elastic to their way of being.

Elastic Environments

An illustration of a world whereby people are connected and rooted to one another regardless of if they live the other side of the world or if they are disabled. The people are equally connected to places they can’t reach physically.

Remote Roaming Routes

An illustration of three worlds. The first shows a clock with elastic wobbly hands representing time being flexible. The next shows a world where some need to enjoy theur time quietly whilst others listen to music. This world also shows folks dancing in different ways 1 using a wheelchair, 2 using their legs, 3 using a mobility aid walker.

Facilitation Flexes

A thesis poster of the project. Image description will be uploaded as an audio file.

Universal Recognition Thesis Poster

An inclusive approach to Wellbeing Economic Policy Making - recognising the value of diversity and applying access universally.
Illustration of a black deaf parent with a broken arm and their teenage child who identifies as a CODA. They stand in between two orbits signifying their relationship and shared experience.

Diverse Perspectives - Does this Resonate?

If you are interested in exploring sustainable practices from your community’s perspective or are curious about what the studio has planned next - please get in touch. If you have any access needs that would assist you in doing this please let me know. Please note that I run a Disabled led practice and may take time replying. I look forward to you getting in touch and planting some seeds for a sustainable future.