Wednesday, August 17, 2022

How To Make Conferences Truly Inclusive

The journal PLoS Computational Biology recently published an article on Ten simple rules to host an inclusive conference:

"Conferences are spaces to meet and network within and across academic and technical fields, learn about new advances, and share our work. They can help define career paths and create long-lasting collaborations and opportunities. However, these opportunities are not equal for all. This article introduces 10 simple rules to host an inclusive conference based on the authors’ recent experience organizing the 2021 edition of the useR! statistical computing conference, which attracted a broad range of participants from academia, industry, government, and the nonprofit sector. Coming from different backgrounds, career stages, and even continents, we embraced the challenge of organizing a high-quality virtual conference in the context of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and making it a kind, inclusive, and accessible experience for as many people as possible. The rules result from our lessons learned before, during, and after the organization of the conference. They have been written mainly for potential organizers and selection committees of conferences and contain multiple practical tips to help a variety of events become more accessible and inclusive (...)"

"Rule 1 is about setting a vision of diversity and inclusion that should guide all the efforts and decision-making in the organization. Rule 2 focuses on how to create a safe and welcoming environment for all the attendees. Rule 3 highlights the importance of starting with an inclusive and diverse organizing team and provides tips on work dynamics. The design rules focus on weaving inclusion into the conference design process. In Rule 4, we introduce multiple ways to counteract bias in the conference program (keynotes, program committee, abstract selection, and thematic sessions). Rule 5 provides advice for designing an inclusive online component in virtual and hybrid conferences. Rule 6 focuses on accessibility practices to include people with disabilities. In Rule 7, we provide suggestions to account for linguistic diversity. Rule 8 offers tips for developing an inclusive communication strategy. In Rule 9, we address budgeting for inclusive practices and helping participants with affordable registration costs, scholarships, and other forms of financial support. Finally, Rule 10, the continuity rule, emphasizes the importance of self-assessment and advocates for making the conference part of a long-term commitment to inclusion and for passing the torch to future organizers."


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:12 pm


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