Following concerns over a number of years in multiple groups and venues regarding structural barriers to conference attendance, action was suggested to produce a crowdsourced Best Practice for Conference Accessibility guide that will allow for greater inclusivity at future conferences, lectures and meetings. If you would like to add your name to the list of signatories, please get in touch.
Why this matters
- Conferences are crucial for career development at all stages and a lifeline for many to keep in touch with professional networks. Even attending one or two conference sessions or professional meetings can make a significant difference to your career path.
- The majority of people in archaeology will have some caring responsibility at some point in their career, but its impact varies according to circumstances- normalizing caring provision is not a concession to a special need, but a step towards a more professional, equal discipline.
- There are many bars to access, and often issues affecting individuals such as disabilities are “invisible” or could be difficult to discuss openly. These may significantly impact the ability to participate in professional activities, conferences and meetings.
- Financial issues need to be considered as well. Conferences are expensive, especially for PhD students, early career researchers, and others on a low income or without institutional support.
- Supporting accessibility supports a more diverse conference or meeting, which benefits all participants: experiences and perspectives that are varied enriches our discipline as a whole.
- None of the suggested actions are complex or difficult to undertake, and will encourage better relationships between professional bodies and their members (and potential members).