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NYU Ability Project Explores Inclusive Creativity


Creativity is about more than an individual’s ability to hold an instrument or see a sketch. That’s why collaborators from Google, NYU’s Ability Project (a collaboration between NYU Steinhardt’s Occupational Therapy Department, NYU Tisch’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, and NYU Tandon’s Integrated Digital Media Programs) and members of the accessibility community joined forces to test creative tools that everyone can use.

The result is called Creatability, a set of accessible experiments that explore how web-based technology can help individuals with disabilities participate in creative endeavors like drawing and music-making. For example, one experiment on the Creatability platform allows users to draw digitally by moving their bodies, while another captures sound and represents it visually onscreen.

Claire Kearney-Volpe, former Research Fellow at the NYU Ability Project and current Rehabilitation Sciences PhD candidate at NYU, worked with experts in acoustics and spatial relations, self-advocates, accessibility-focused organizations, and engineers to clarify the concepts for each experiment and turn them into a readily-available reality. According to Kearney-Volpe, she has received feedback from clinicians about their use of the experiments in patients’ occupational therapy, art therapy, and physical therapy sessions.

Creatability recently won the prestigious Design Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity — congratulations to Claire and the entire project team! 

Check out the video below to see Creatability in action.