DISCOVER Cookbook Diverse & Inclusive Spaces and Conferences

Venue Selection & On-Site Services

Accessibility Considerations

  • Consider attendees who may need accommodations for a disability

Mobility

Tags: Mobility Impairment, People with Disabilities, Location & Venue, Bathrooms

  • 🍎 Reserve seats in rooms for folks who might need it (wheelchair, crutches, cane, etc.). Choose easily-accessible seats, such as at the end of a row on the aisle.
  • 🍎 Create wide aisles (2.5m so two power chairs can pass each other) between chairs to make it easier for people who are mobility-impaired to navigate the room.
  • Reduce conference sprawl to support access for people who are mobility-impaired.
  • Consider marking and enforcing “No Standing Zones” through rooms such as foyers that are both gathering areas and regions people must pass through. (A 2.5m “corridor” marked on the ground in yellow tape is ideal.)
  • Consider making remote access available via livestream, recorded talks, etc.
  • Make sure the building is wheelchair accessible. (In U.S. this is typically required by law.)
  • Be aware of how far/near the closest wheelchair-accessible restrooms are. Attempt to shorten this distance when possible and be sure all staff know where to direct attendees who require a wheelchair-accessible restroom.

Create Access Visual & Hearing Disabilities

Tags: People with Disabilities, People with Disabilities, Mobility Impairment, Hearing Impairment, Other Impairments, Visual Impairment

  • ✅ Book sign-language interpreters and/or real-time captioning (someone typing captions) for deaf and hard-of-hearing attendees.
    • If budget does not allow for both sign-language interpreters and captioning, we suggest that you opt for captioning as it tends to create more access for a greater number of people. (See “Further Reading” below.)
  • Select a venue that has a hearing loop, or audio induction loop (a special type of sound system for use by people with hearing aids) and make sure it is used

Signage

  • Consider using patterns rather than just color on signs and presentation slides to indicate differences, to make comprehension easier for attendees with color blindness/low vision issues.
  • Provide large-text signs and easy-to-read maps.
  • Send maps to attendees in advance, with the event schedule.
  • Provide large-print copies of printed materials, such as program booklets, via printing normally A5 documents on A4, or folded A4-booklets on A3.

Microphones

  • 🍎 Ask conference organizers to announce important information over the microphone, which helps people with impaired vision.
  • Make sure that hand-held microphones are available
  • Encourage session chairs to repeat questions from the audience over the mic so everyone can hear
  • Session chairs should ensure that the microphone is used (even if the speaker thinks their voice is loud enough)

Further Reading:

Bathrooms

Tags: Location & Venue, Bathrooms, LGBTQ+, Women, People with Allergies

Gender-Neutral Bathrooms

  • Ideally you would provide 3 restrooms: gender-neutral, female, male.
  • ✅ Ensuring your conference has easily accessible gender-neutral restrooms is a simple way to help non-binary and trans individuals feel included and welcome at your conference.
  • How to re-label bathrooms:
    • 🍎 List the specific amenities and what type of restroom it is. For example:
    • "All Gender Restroom: Facilities available in this restroom include individual stall toilets, an accessible stall toilet, urinals, sinks, and a changing table" (see example)
    • Post signs in the restroom and/or on the door instructing what to do if you think someone is in the "wrong" restroom
    • "If you think someone's gender doesn't match the sign on the door, please follow these steps: Don't worry about it, they know better than you." (via @LGBTplusBristol)

Toiletries/Supplies

  • 🍎 Provide tampons and pads in all restrooms (some people who identify as male have periods and may need them)
  • Consider using fragrance-free hand wash and reducing the use of air fresheners to help those with chemical sensitivities.

Further Reading:

🍎 Dedicated rooms

  • The rooms should be clearly labeled to prevent accidental entry, and their locations should be provided in both the print and the online conference directory and maps.
  • Don't allow anyone (even organizers) to use the room for other purposes.

🍎 Nursing & Pumping Room

Tags: Parents & Carers, Women

  • Ensure there is a dedicated, single-occupancy space with lock.
  • For the room to be optimally useful, these things are desired:
    • Locking door
    • Comfortable chair (ideally, with arms that do not have gaps between the armrest and the seat, and a set of firm cushions for positioning an infant)
    • A desk or table next to the chair (to set the pump, bottles, etc. on), no more than 4 feet from the nearest electrical outlet
    • Cleaning wipes, paper towels, and a garbage can for maintaining cleanliness
    • Masking tape and a marker for labeling milk bottles and pump parts
    • Close proximity to a sink for hand washing and washing of pump parts
    • A refrigerator for storage of pumped milk (could be in the pumping room, or ideally accessible outside of the room but nearby)
    • If possible, a dimmable light or a small lamp could be provided instead of bright overhead lighting

🍎 Gender-Neutral Bottle Feeding Room

Tags: Parents & Carers

  • Bottle-fed babies can be fed by caregivers of any gender and also benefit from a quiet, low-distraction, private space for feeding.
  • This should be a separate, additional room ( NOT the same as the nursing and pumping room ). It could accommodate multiple babies at a time and be equipped with:
    • Multiple comfortable chairs with broad armrests to facilitate bottle feeding positions
    • A bottle warmer
    • Paper towels, cleaning wipes and garbage can for cleanliness
    • Dim lighting and in a quiet area of the conference center/venue
    • Clearly labeled to prevent accidental entry, though a locking door is not necessary

Further Reading:

🍎 Quiet Room (also Prayer Room)

Tags: Religious Groups, Being Respectful, Giving participants room to be who they are

  • A dedicated room for people who need a break from the stimulation of being surrounded by people at the conference.
    • No phone calls, talking/socializing, etc.
    • Put notifications on silent/vibrate.
    • People whose religions require frequent prayer (such as Muslims) can make use of the quiet room.
  • Ideal is to provide one well-lit quiet room, and a second dimly-lit room.
  • Consider “quiet areas” if a separate room is not possible.

    NEXT SECTION:

  • Catering

PREVIOUS SECTION: