The DIS/C&C conferences are becoming increasingly diverse, with attendees from all over the world who represent varied gender, racial, ethnic, disability, and other identities. As a session chair, there are steps you can take to ensure that the session for which you are responsible is as inclusive as possible for attendees. The following guidelines complement Emory Berger’s Guide for Session Chairs towards promoting increased knowledge sharing and engagement of all our community members. These guidelines are derived in part from the Accessible Conference Guide.
Please see the DIS and C&C Accessibility FAQ for more details.
- In advance of the session, please ask presenters to review the Accessible Presentation Guide. In preparation for introducing the presenter, ask the author what pronouns they use, to avoid misgendering. Also ask how to properly pronounce their name.
- Ensure that aisleways are kept clear and that there is room to seat wheelchair users. If the presenter is not speaking directly into the microphone, briefly halt the presentation to adjust the microphone / audio levels before proceeding.
- Remind the audience to use a microphone to ask questions, so that everyone can hear. Remind them to state their name before speaking, for the benefit of those who cannot see who is speaking or those who are new to the community. If questions are asked without a microphone, repeat the question into the microphone for the benefit of those using hearing technologies.
- If there is an interpreter or captioner present, the lighting should be good enough that they can be easily seen by the deaf attendee(s). Explain to presenters that they should speak with a normal tone and pace, unless asked to slow down by the interpreter. When speaking with deaf presenters or attendees, always face them directly and do not face the interpreter.
- A presenter with a visual impairment may request assistance from a student volunteer to advance slides. To signal remaining time for presenters, ask the presenter what they prefer; a tap or double tap on the table/floor can be an effective alternative to visual cues. The session chair, or a volunteer, can also facilitate question asking.
- If one of the presenters requires a stool on stage or a ramp to enter the stage, please double check that these are in place and remain in place during the session. The Accessibility and Diversity Chairs will also be working to ensure proper room setup, and we appreciate your help.
If you have any questions or concerns about accessibility, please feel free to reach out to this year’s Accessibility and Diversity Chairs: