Inclusive Event Guidelines
Now you’ve got your schedule, presumably you need people to come along and engage with your speakers!
There are three main considerations when you’re looking for delegates: your methods of advertising, (updating) your online presence, and your process for registration itself. Given we’ve provided some details regarding the benefits of having a comprehensive online presence in §2.1, we will only discuss elements relevant to registration here. We address ways of making these more inclusive in turn.
As with our recommendations with CFP/CFAs, it’s important here to give us much information as possible regarding the accessibility features of your event (even where this may appear negative) and the assistance that you can offer to potential delegate (e.g., wholly or partially funding their attendance). We go into further detail below, but one important thing to communicate is your willingness to make personalised accommodations for delegates, and the methods in which they can ask for this during registration.
For additional guidance, we’ve drafted an example CFR in Appendix C.
Posters and programmes
A poster and programme should be prepared for this stage of event planning, to both advertise your event in an effective way and to ensure that potential delegates have sufficient information to choose to register. There are some easy ways to make these materials more accessible. Firstly, you could make the materials more accessible to those with visual impairments by avoiding small text and red/green colour combinations. Secondly, you might consider incorporating QR codes into both the poster and programme, to allow more immediate access to further information. For a poster, a QR link to an online version of your programme, or a page with links to all conference materials, would help in three ways: by reducing the need for delegates to come to you for replacement materials during the event, by increasing access to digitally adaptable materials (which can be zoomed into/adapted to meet individual needs), and by making your advertising more effective (through quick access to more detail regarding your event). For a programme, QR links on relevant pages which have further detail/proximate access to e.g., presentations, papers etc. would help those with additional needs in a similar way. Photos of organisers are also useful to include in the programme, as this allows delegates to easily identify those that can be asked for guidance during the event.
More detail on these measures can be found in §4. Accessibility and §5. Digital.
What to communicate and what to capture
It’s important to include as much information as possible in all of your registration communications, both via CFRs and the registration process itself, for both accessibility and content for the event. The following is an overview of some aspects for inclusion.
Accessibility of venues and routes between them
Availability of conference materials in alternative formats (e.g., large-print, Braille, online access)
Availability of childcare and others external sources of support
Method of requesting personalised accommodations
This list, and its sub-sections, are explored in detail in §4 - §6.
Information capture and how to use it
You might consider capturing some information about your delegates during the registration process. This may allow you to more readily prepare the accessibility of your event, but it would also be a good source of information to track your progress across events regarding how your accessibility measures increase participation from marginalised groups.
There are two measures that are most important to include: a method of requesting personalised accommodations regarding accessibility, and a method of recording dietary requirements for events including refreshments (e.g., vegetarian/vegan, allergies). These will help you plan your event more easily, and make it more accessible for delegates.
You may also want to collect data on your delegates to track changes over multiple events. This may be to ensure the participation of marginalised groups at events across your department, across a conference series or annual events, or to contribute to wider participatory projects. You might consider requesting delegates to state their identification based on a number of marginalised characteristics. For example, gender identity, racialized group, disability, sexuality, socio-economic background/status, and/or non-native speaker. If you choose to do so, it’s important to bear two things in mind:
Data used for wider purposes should be suitably anonymised
Make sure that this information is voluntarily collected, not a mandatory part of your registration process
You must request consent for the use of this data for the specific purpose you are intending (this is a legal requirement – when in doubt, ask for consent!)
Your institution should have some resources to help you in your processes in this area, particularly in the legal requirements around data protection.
If you are interested in contributing to a project to track participation of marginalised groups across philosophy events, please get in touch with MAP UK at email@example.com.
Process for registration
There are three primary ways in which organisers tend to process registrations.
A form on the event website
Dedicated online registration website
Each of these has their own advantages and disadvantages. Registration by email is typically used only in small-scale events. The main advantage of using this process is having a central email address that is used for general enquiries, speaker submissions, and registration. However, there are major disadvantages that makes this method relatively prohibitive. First, it is extremely labour intensive to collate the information for your delegates and speakers in a standardised way. The format of the information provided by delegates is likely to be highly diverse in its presentation, increasing the difficulty of extracting relevant information and the possibility of errors over the process.
Registration via a custom form on your event website alleviates some of these issues. Most importantly, it provides a standardised way of collecting information which can include e.g., check box selections as well as longform written answers, depending on your website hosting service and/or the code generator for your form. It also allows you to specify exact questions you’d like to collect information with, and can allow the exporting of this information into readily available database formats/files for more general use. Moreover, it points the delegates directly to your website, which may be the central repository of all information for your event. The problem with this method is primarily one of acquaintance with the method of creating, embedding and maintaining the custom form, and exporting the relevant data. For the less tech-savvy, this may be a significant disadvantage. But there tend to be online tutorials for each method of form creation, and there are user-friendly form creators such as Google Forms which make this easier to achieve.
Registration via a dedicated events website, such as Eventbrite, usually have a standardised and easy to use format, which may be suitable for your purposes. This makes them relatively quick and simple to set up, and the independent nature of the hosting website allows a link that is not subject to unintended editing (which may break the process). Bear in mind, however, that these websites tend to allow less customisation of the registration form, meaning that you may be unable to collect some data that you’d like to. We recommend that you test the options for hosting this form before you settle on a final process.