Inclusive Event Guidelines
2.4. During the event
Everyone’s here! Let’s make them comfortable, engaged and happy!
The first two things you’ll typically do are register the delegates (handing out event literature) and make some introductory remarks. On the former, it’s useful to have at least one committee member that is free-floating during setup, such that they can guide delegates to the venue and assist them in general. This helps to mitigate stress borne of mobility issues, for example. We recommend that you also have a note of who needs more accessible event literature (such as large print, braille etc.) where those requests have been made in advance. For more guidance on event literature, please see §4 and §5.
In your introductory remarks, we recommend clearly communicating the following information, alongside the usual content-specific remarks. First, it is important to clearly signpost the locations of the nearest toilets (including those that are gender-neutral), dedicated quiet room, and amenities. This helps to make this information clear to all, but particularly to those with visual impairments, that may have more difficulty fully accessing your literature. You should also clearly identify the committee members for the event in your remarks. This allows better access to yourselves in making queries, which can be particularly helpful for any accessibility measures to be enacted on the day if required. Thirdly, we recommend that you briefly mention your adoption of the BPA/SWIP chairing guidelines, with reference to the small break between talks and Q&As, the hand/finger distinction and ‘one question per question’. This helps to smooth the chairing of talks by ensuring that everyone understands the conventions that will be used. Finally, if you are recording the proceedings as part of an online conferencing technique, please be clear to delegates that this is the case.
During the event in general, we recommend that you try to spread your committee throughout sessions, especially if you have any parallel sessions. This will ensure reasonable attendance to each session and demonstrate your collective support of all speakers. Likewise, it is important to encourage reasonable numbers of other delegates to spread across your event, rather than gathering specifically in particular sessions. This latter measure may not always be possible, of course, but it will have a positive effect on the well-being of your speakers. You might also consider reserving a wheelchair-accessible space without a chair in each venue room for wheelchair users. Make sure that there is table space associated with this space (where your event makes us of tables). Additionally, we recommend that you check on the quiet room throughout the day; especially in events using internal departmental rooms, there is a tendency to use apparently empty/unbooked rooms on an ad hoc basis. Make sure that the quiet room is clearly marked and are not inadvertently used by other parties throughout the day.