Established in 2008, the Steve Cutway Accessibility Award formally recognizes the outstanding contributions of faculty, staff and students towards advancing accessibility for persons with disabilities at Queen's University.
The Queen's Accessibility Committee in partnership with Accessibility Queen's named the Award in honour of Steve Cutway, a long-serving employee of Queen's University. Over a span of nearly 36 years, Steve gave generously of his time and commitment in advancing accessibility for students and employees with disabilities.
The Award servers to acknowledge the efforts of faculty, staff and students who demonstrate creativity, enthusiasm, innovation and commitment to creating a learning and work environment in which persons with disabilities enjoy full participation.
Examples of efforts in advancing accessibility include:
The principal presents the award during Accessibility Awareness Week, held in March every year.
Any member of the Queen's community including students, staff, faculty or alumni as well as members of the general Kingston community who have an interest in Queen's University may submit nominations.
The deadline for nominations is January 17, 2014.
The award consists of two metal spindles, both spiralling upwards, out of a square, singular piece of cherry wood. One of the spindles represents a person or persons with disabilities and the other represents the individual department at Queen's who is advancing accessibility.
In the lower part of the piece, several rivets pierce the spindles. These rivets represent barriers or obstacles to participation. Below the rivets, the spindles are separated from each other in comparison to the upper portion of the piece. This symbolizes the distance and separateness that exists between people when barriers exist. It illustrates the lack of interchange of ideas, information and other types of sharing that make a community a community.
As the spindles spiral upward passed the rivets, the distance narrows between them and they start to intertwine. Barriers fall away, accessibility is improving and people are coming closer together. Sharing is easier with the divide gone. As the spindles continue upwards, they get closer and closer together. This resembles some of the fundamental relationships upon which a community is founded and strives – friendships, colleagueships, and partnerships. Only with accessibility, can these relationships develop and proceed successfully.
At no point in time do the spindles ever touch. This represents interdependence and effectively refutes the myth that to have a disability is to be dependent. For all members of this community, interdependence is an important feature of our daily lives. People who have yet to acquire a disability are no different in this regard from persons with disabilities. Interdependence is critical to our success both professionally and personally.
Finally, the spindles reach the top, each of the same height. This symbolizes that persons with disabilities and other members of our community are equal partners in this process of advancing accessibility. This refutes the myth that persons who advance accessibility are "helping" those people with disabilities. Instead, we are partners. Contributions by everyone are critical if we are to realize a truly accessible community, a truly accessible Queen's University.
Artist: Stefan Deurst Custom Metal Works, Kingston, Ontario