Conferences & seminar series
There are a range of things you can do to make your conferences and seminar series more inclusive, for example inviting more women as speakers (and inviting them earlier); having a clear and advertised policy on harassment and unwelcome behaviour; offering childcare; and finding ways to stop the Q&A being dominated by the most assertive people in the room.
One possibility that didn’t occur to us in 2014 but is now on all of our horizons is running research events that are either online or a hybrid of online and in-person, which of course makes participation of people with caring responsibilities (and some disabilities) much more feasible; see below for some tips on how to run a hybrid event.
We also encourage you to check out the BPA’s guidelines on accessible conferences and public lectures, and its environmental guidelines aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of research by reducing conference-related (and other) travel.
Finally, you might like to look at a condensed version of the conference handbook for the 2017 SWIP annual conference, ‘The Profession We Want’. The conference organisers implemented various policies and processes aimed at improving the inclusivity of the conference. These included having a ‘quiet room’, an explicit chairing policy; a ‘card system’ for asking questions in talks; and providing as much information about disabled access, transport, etc. as possible upfront in the handbook (available in advance) so that delegates could be confident in advance that any requirements they might have would be met. Please feel free to plagiarise elements of the handbook if it would be useful!
Sample policies, reflections and other resources
- From the Feminist Philosophers blog: How to avoid a gendered conference
- A discussion of Nottingham’s efforts to have a more inclusive department seminar series
- Seminar chairing policy suggestions; see also the conference handbook linked to above.
- David Chalmers’ guidelines for respectful, constructive, and inclusive philosophical discussion
- Article on the importance of tackling sexual harassment at conferences
- The British Society for Ethical Theory’s Policy on Harassment and Unwelcoming Behaviour
- The University of Manchester Philosophy Department’s events policy
- An article discussing ways that conferences can better support childcare
- A document collecting information on childcare provided by conferences
- Some tips on running hybrid online/in-person conferences and workshops