Anyone who knows her bears testament to the dedication of Julia Cassim to inclusive design. A senior research fellow at the Royal College of Art’s Helen Hamlyn Centre since 2000, she has brought together creative communities across the world to work with disabled or aging people to understand their needs and seek to remedy them through design.

Her inclusion in this year’s Hot 50 listing – the HHC and its director, Professor Jeremy Myerson, have made it into the ranking in previous years – honours her personal involvement in the annual DBA Inclusive Design Challenge, which celebrated its tenth anniversary last year. Organised
until now with the Design Business Association, the challenge has gone through a rethink, and takes the form of a 24-hour challenge this year. It will still involve designers and consultancies working with user groups to address issues relating to inclusivity.

For the UK design community the Inclusive Design Challenge is one of the most visible manifestations of Cassim’s work. But her influence extends to ’challenges’ across the world and her audience extends beyond designers to colleges, businesses and charities concerned with inclusivity.

She is also a visiting professor at the User Science Institute at Kyushu University in Japan, a trustee of the charity Mobility Choice and a consultant on inclusive design to London’s Natural History Museum.

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