Hosting inclusive events and conferences
At the University of Auckland, it's important that our events are safe, inclusive and equitable. Consider equity at every facet of the event - including gender balance and cultural diversity of the organising committee.
Below is a checklist showing how you can make your next event inclusive and accessible.
Ensuring cultural protocols
These need to be confirmed well in advance.
- If dignitaries, heads of state, government ministers or other VIPs are expected to attend, please contact Adrienne Cleland.
- If an overseas visitor is attending your event, please contact your Faculty’s Associate Dean (International) or International Manager for advice on protocols specific to their country.
- Engage with your faculty or division Kaiārahi or with the office of the PVC Māori Kaiarataki for Māori protocols and appropriate Māori welcome /acknowledgement and closing, e.g. a Pōwhiri, Mihi Whakatau.
- Waipapapa Marae can be booked through Moeahi Kerehoma
- For Pacific Protocols or to book the Fale Pasifika, contact Betty Bernard
- Be mindful of religious observance days, eg, Passover, Yom Kippur, and cultural requirements and festivities, eg, fasting requirements for Ramadan; Diwali, Lunar New Year festivities, etc.
Planning your event
- Speakers should be diverse in gender, culture, perspective, geography, age and seniority.
- Shoulder-tap to ensure diversity of speaker abstracts, particularly in areas where those groups represent a minority.
- Allow for poster abstracts by by Māori or equity group members to be upgraded to a presentation if the topic is appropriate.
- Compare the assumed gender distribution of the final selected spectra to the distribution of submissions; they should be roughly similar.
- Consider budget provision for travel support for partners or care-givers where their attendence is necessary.
Speakers should read 'Presentations' below for more information on how to make their talk more accessible.
Booking a venue
- Event safety is planned for and managed.
- It is accessible for people with disabilities and has clear signage.
- There is accessible parking options for people with disabilities.
- The venue is easily to find on a campus map.
- There are accessible and unisex toilets available.
- There is seating, even if it is a 'stand up' event.
- That microphones and computers are easily accessible and operating at a reasonable volume.
Sending invitations (RSVP)
- Ensure invitations, registration forms and abstract submission processes are accessible - including for voice recognition software.
- Include dietary, support and accessibility requirements questions.
- If gender is a necessary question, include 'Male (M),' 'Female' (F), and 'Gender Diverse (X).
- Consider providing a space for babies/children and their carers; ask if this is required. Read Babies and Children on Campus Guidelines.
- Braille maps for the City Campus are available from Student Disability Services.
Sample Conference Code of Conduct
When writing your RSVP, consider including a code of conduct for the event, including behaviour at social events.
Code of Conduct sample:
The conference name is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone. This code of conduct applies to all conference spaces, including both online and offline. Anyone who violates this code of conduct may be sanctioned or expelled from these spaces at the discretion of the Organising Committee.
We ask that all attendees follow these guidelines:
- Behave professionally.
- Be considerate and respectful of others; do not insult or put down other attendees.
- Critique ideas rather than individuals.
- Harassment and offensive or exclusionary comments or behaviour related to race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, physical appearance or religion are not appropriate.
- Do not monopolise discussion; sustained disruption of talks or other events may be considered harassment.
- No photography or recording of an individual without consent.
- Check your venues catering guide
- Dietary requirements - cultural, allergies and preferential - can be catered for by the University's list of preferred suppliers.
- Check our University Alcohol Policy which can be found in the Event Management Policy.
Check that photography is allowed at your venue and provide model release forms on the day. (Note that photography is not allowed in some areas of the Fale Pasifika).
On the day
- Easy to read name tags.
- Gifts fall under our Gifts and Hospitality to Third Parties Policy.
- Have a clear process for managing any concerns or complaint.
- Schedule regular breaks.
- All information and communications are clear and accessible, including signage, name tags, slides, handouts and videos.
- Find out how you can write and present accessible information.
- Find out how you can caption videos.
- Provide presenters with a microphone and have a cordless microphone for audience questions; this allows for FM transmission to participants hearing aids.
Ensure the event is accessible by following the practices outlined above under Presentations. Also read Accessible Speaking Best Practices
Events for neurodiverse students
Conference excursions and activities
- All activities are accessible.
- Be aware of possible cultural appropriation if specific groups are performing.
- Appropriateness of any performances considered.
- Provide for participant safety, especially where alcohol is being served.
References and Resources
- Best Practice Guide for Developing Inclusive Conferences; REACH. University of Oxford
- Creating inclusive conferences for academics with caring responsibilities; University of Warwick
- Achieving gender balance at Science conferences; Prof. Jennifer Martin Ten simple rules
- Five more rules
- Embracing diversity and inclusion as a conference organiser Prof. Rosalind Archer.
- University of Auckland mobile app
- Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand
- The Blind Foundation
- Sign Language Interpreters Association of New Zealand
- Blind Foundation Guidelines for creating accessible documents
- Blind Foundation advice on communicating with someone who is blind or low vision
- Without accessible conferences, we lose the voices of disabled academics
- Inclusive and Accessible Events on Campus - Australia Disability Clearinghouse (ADCET)