find me on twitter – besswww
instagram – accessible.bess


2020: I co-edited Making Disability Modern: Design Histories with Elizabeth Guffey. Available from Bloomsbury Publishers or your favorite online retailer.

2019: My book Accessible America is available at major book/e-book retailers. Order directly from NYU Press at a 20% discount + free shipping with code FALL1820.

Excerpt from Accessible America at Stanford Social Innovation Review: Stanford “Design for All

Recent Writing/Talks

“Design Conversations: Who Designs? For Whom?” at the Jacobs Institute for Innovation, Berkeley. March 6, 2021 (captioned video below; audio only & transcript)

There Are No Infirmities: Disability in Post-ADA Media,” All of Us, Disability History Association, August 2020

Why Are There So Few Great Accessible Buildings?Metropolis, May 2020 (Cover Story, Inclusion Issue)


Jo Gooding, “What Can a Body Do? How We Meet the Built World; Accessible America: A History of Disability and Design; Making Disability Modern: Design Histories,” Journal of Design History, March 2021.

Michael Rembis, Featured Review: Bess Williamson, Accessible America. American Historical Review, October 2020.

Contra*: A Podcast about Design, Disability, & the Lifeworld, from Critical Design Lab, Vanderbilt University. History: Aimi Hamraie with Bess Williamson & Elizabeth Guffey (w/ transcript)

Curbed: How America’s individualistic streak shaped design for disability

KERA’s Think: Designing for Disability (radio show, not transcribed)

Online Lectures

Here are some recent talks that I’ve been able to record due to remote teaching/conferencing situations:

For Society of Architectural Historians Annual Conference 2020:

Amateurs, Activists, and Professionals Constructing Access before the Americans with Disabilities Act (15 min talk w/ slides & captions)

For History of Design lecture class:

Disability in 20th/21st Century Design: Social and Speculative
This is an undergraduate-level, 41 minute lecture that I recorded for my own American Design History course. I gave a similar talk as a guest in an Architectural History survey course. Feel free to share for teaching. Captioned.

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