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November 30, 2006

International Symbol of Access Call for Submissions for an International Exhibition

[Image: White outline of a wheelchair user within a blue square.]
Designed by Susanne Koefoed, 1968. Official design copyrighted by the
International Commission on Technology & Accessibility of Rehabilitation International. Regulated by ISO 7001:1990 (public information symbols).

The International Symbol of Access (ISA), used in a variety of specific locations to represent purposely-facilitated access, has spread throughout the world within just a few decades. Found wherever people move in physical space or cyberspace, navigating environmental barriers, this symbol is among the most widely recognized representations of disability.

While it provides daily interactions with issues of accessibility and disability, its design and purposes in different cultural contexts are neither obvious nor uncontested. Indeed, many individuals and groups have modified the ISA to represent a variety of perspectives and goals. Therefore, a tremendous diversity of designs abounds.

We seek images of the access symbol used in different locations and in different times for an international exhibition charting the symbol's global spread and local evolution.

If you have a photograph, artifact (pin, t-shirt, etc) or document with a variant of the symbol and wish to donate it to our ISA Archive, please send it to us along with the details of its location (e.g. accessible entrance, Hyatt Hotel, Bethesda, USA), the date, and name of photographer or source from which it was taken. If you wish, add commentary regarding the meanings the symbol has in your locality. So that we can credit your contribution and send you information on the exhibition, please also include your contact information along with the symbol (preferably as digital files), to:

Liat Ben-Moshe
Sociology & Disability Studies
302 Maxwell Hall
Syracuse University
Syracuse, NY 13244 USA
lbenmosh [at]



Justin J.W. Powell, Dr.phil.
Georgia Augusta University
Institute of Sociology
Platz der Goettinger Sieben 3
D-37073 Goettingen, Germany
jpowell [at]


Posted by justinpowell