UD2016 Photography Competition

The winners of the UD2016 Photograph Competition are:

First prize (for photography and decription for visually impaired people): Elinor Jeanette Olaussen for “The Megaphone – a multisensory playground”

Megaphone 1 (1)

Short description: Colour photo of a megaphone construction showing three people standing inside, demonstrating how it can work as a multisensory playground for people with diverse needs.
Long description: Colour photo of a megaphone construction developed by architect students from Norwegian University of Science and Technology and given to the city of Trondheim to mark the University’s centennial celebration. The megaphone is viewed from one of the openings, showing three people standing inside, illustrating how the megaphone can work as a multisensory playground for people with diverse needs. Some see a speaking tube or a megaphone. Others use it as an ear trumpet. Climb it, walk or slide thorough it. Use it to entertain or express emotions. Play it your way.

Second prize: Tanja Walsh for “Accessible Carriage at Platform 8″

BWUD2016 (1)

Short description: Black and white photo of a wheelchair accessible local train carriage under a domed ceiling at the Victorian era York Railway Station.
Long description: A black and white photograph of a north-facing bay platform 8 and a wheelchair accessible modern local train carriage under a large, curved, glass and iron domed ceiling of the Victorian era York Railway Station, which is a symbol of the new Industrial Age. The visible signs of wheelchair access are printed in black on top of a white double carriage door. The curvature of the domed ceiling reflects the approach of the track to the platform, deliberate to give notice of the approaching train. The photo evokes the contrasting themes of the historical building and the accessible modern carriages.

Third prize: Burak Merdenyan for “Crossings for all: Beatles ‘The Geese’ Version'”


Short Description: Four geese on a pedestrian crossing on a clear day at the University of York
Long Description: Colour photo of four geese on a pedestrian crossing on a clear day at the University of York. Shadow of the photographer taking the photo is at the bottom left. The road curves slightly to the left. A two-story building, Vanbrugh College, is seen behind four trees. The photo reminds us of the famous ‘Abbey Road’ album cover of the Beatles, though in this photo geese cross from right to left.

Honourable mention: Bart Vermandere for “Accessible design becomes invisible universal design”


Short description: The photo shows a picnic area. It’s a round concrete table with a variety of seats: a bench, separate seats or free space for a wheelchair on the path side.
Long description: On my many trips, with family or friends, I always keep an eye on Universal Design examples. This one was near a French autoroute stop, where all the picnic tables were connected to the shop stepless paths and with no extra wheelchair signs. It’s is so simple and well done.

Prize for best description for visually impaired people:  Till Halbach for “Universal vs. unisex”


Short description: Photo of a restroom door with a single symbol indicating that the facility is for women and men alike.
Long description: This photo was taken in the station building in Gjøvik, Norway. It shows the door to the station’s restroom. The facility is for both women and men, and the designer has tried to illustrate this by placing an icon of a human which is (vertically) half woman and half man on the door. The women’s half is symbolized by a skirt. However, as with all symbols, the icon’s meaning is subject to an observer’s mental model. As my travel company commented: “This must be the lady’s room with some really strong winds blowing!” As such, the photograph may be used to reflect on the notion of Universal Design and its claim for “one size fits all”.

Honourable Mention for most poetic description for visually impaired people: Odd Bjørn Solberg for “A visual benchmark”

Luminous bench

On a luminous bench in Berlin
you can rest both body and mind
on a sculptural chair
which is easy to find.

And as people rush by
you are wondering why
hasn´t this been done before

Later, standing at your front door:
Isn´t this a bright idea for even more?


Explanation of the competition

Colour photo of a young woman descending the steps with integrated ramp at Robson Square.

Robson Square, Vancouver

(Example text descriptions for the Robson Square photo)

What does universal design mean to you? As part of the Universal Design 2016 Conference we are organizing a photography competition so that people can express their ideas about universal design in a visual form. To ensure that the competition is inclusive and universal, all entries must be accompanied by a
text descriptions of the image suitable for visually impaired people. There will be an associated competition for the best text descriptions (we will take into account that not everyone is a native speaker of English when judging the descriptions, so it’s not a competition of perfect English!).

Anyone registered for the conference is invited to submit up to three photographs for the competition, each photograph must be accompanied by both a short text description (15 – 25 words) and a long text description (up to 100 words) suitable for describing the photograph to a visually impaired person. Detailed instructions for entering are given below. Entries must be submitted by 17:00 BST Friday 19th August 2016.

During the UD2016 Conference, all the entries will be available both in the poster area and on the website. All delegates will have the opportunity to vote for their favourite photos and text descriptions, and the winners will be announced in the closing session of the conference. There will be interesting prizes, including a professional print of the entry, mounted and framed, for each winner. Winning entries will also be displaying after the conference at the University of York and on the website for the UD2018 Conference.

Colour photo of a banking machine in the wall of a building with a single crutch propped next to the machine.

Accessible ATM?

(example text descriptions for the Accessible ATM? photo)

How to enter the UD2016 Photography Competition

1. Photograph image files must be jpeg format. The maximum dimensions to be 1400 pixels horizontal by 1050 pixels vertical. A higher image resolution will be requested later for the winning entries. Lilian Blot, our Photography Competition Guru can help you with any technical problems and/or queries.

2. Entries to be submitted via email only to UD2016 Photography Competition UD 2016 Photography Competition.

3. Please submit each entry via a separate email. The email should include your name, country, a title for the photo, a short text description (15 – 25 words) and a long text description (up to 100 words) to describe the photo to visually impaired people (here are some guidelines about how to describe images, in case you need them).

4. There is no constraints on the format of the image, e.g. portrait, landscape, square, panoramic, single image or composite, as long as the maximum dimensions are respected (see point 1 above). It is an exercise about photography, not your skill with PhotoShop, so obviously PhotoShopped images may be rejected.

5. As the photograph will be displayed in the University’s public area, the organisers may refuse to accept an image or title at their discretion. The author will be informed of the decision and will be able to submit another image or title.

6. By submitting an entry, entrants must warrant that the photographs they are submitting is their own work and that they own the copyright for it. Entrants permit the organisers to reproduce all or part of the entered material free of charge for publication and/or display in the Ron Cooke Hub and Department of Computer Science at the University York University (UK). This may include low resolution posting on a website. The exhibition assumes no liability for any misuse of copyright.

7. Copyright in all images submitted for this competition remains with the respective entrants.

8. Digital images may be acquired digitally, or scanned from traditional film to create a digital file.

9. Submission of an entry signifies acceptance of all our conditions.