At TVX2014 we have an active reasonable adjustment policy, including anticipatory steps already being undertaken to ensure site access, and a clear process for requesting reasonable adjustments. We are doing this because we want to fully ensure that no-one is prevented from attending our conference, and equally so that people can be sure that the conference will present an accessible experience for them before they register to attend, or send a submission to us.
Our process for individual reasonable adjustments is simple: please email our Inclusion and Accessibility Chairs with a request (firstname.lastname@example.org) and this will be treated with the strictest confidence. To ensure that we can fully accommodate your needs, please contact us by 10th April – whilst we will still act upon requests made after this point, certain adjustments may not be possible without sufficient notice (e.g. the need to seek providers in good time for the conference). Below we have listed both examples of reasonable adjustments that can be individually requested, as well as the specific steps we are already taking in an anticipatory sense.
Examples of Individual Reasonable Adjustments
We can make a range of reasonable adjustments on an individual basis to meet individual needs. Below we have listed a number of examples in order to illustrate the steps which can be taken for individuals. This is far from exhaustive, instead it is designed to help people understand the types of steps that can be taken, and thereby assist in making their own reasonable adjustment requests.
- Advance access to the written materials prior to the conference. This could be appropriate for someone who needs to have them converted into a different format (e.g. Braille), or needs additional time to read the materials in order to decide which sessions that they would like to attend (for instance as a consequence of Dyslexia).
- A BSL interpreter for D/deaf people who require this. Given the limited availability of qualified interpreters, it would be helpful to have as much advanced notice of a request on these lines as possible.
- Free registration for a Personal Assistant attending the conference to aid a participant. We may also be able to provide a member of our team to provide assistance in appropriate cases.
- Special dietary requirements accommodated on request, be they for disability, religious, or cultural reasons.
- Support in arranging appropriate accommodation, for instance for an attendee who needs to be close to conference venue, requires a wheelchair accessible room, or an appropriate fire alarm for a D/deaf person.
- Arrangement of an individual fire evacuation plan.
- Accessible Transport between the venue, satellite events (such as the grand buffet) and the hotel.
The Review and Submission Process
We are able, upon request, to undertake limited steps in order to assist with the review of submissions if someone has been particularly disadvantaged by virtue of their disability. The aim is to ensure that the best possible research is included in our conference. This might include cases where an author was impacted by a fluctuation of their disability near the submission deadline, or where the ability to prepare the submission has been otherwise been impacted by disability (e.g. the formatting of the submission, including associated multimedia content, or in certain cases, understanding of the assessment criteria and process).
Whilst we cannot adjust the competency standard in respect of the final submission, including both the underlying research and the final exposition, we can take steps to provide additional time and support with a submission. This might in some cases potentially include conditional acceptance with substantial shepherding if there are special circumstances that may warrant this, and the submission as submitted has suitable potential which could be realised by the publication deadline. If there are particular circumstances which may require reasonable adjustments to ensure that a submission is treated fairly, then we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible. Please note that reasonable adjustments in respect of submissions cannot be approved after the program committee has met to consider them.
Anticipatory Steps Embedded into the Conference Organisation
We have incorporated a number of anticipatory steps in the planning of our conference. The main steps we have taken, or are planning to take, to ensure accessibility and inclusion are below:
- Accessible Venue. The Newcastle Civic Centre is an accessible venue, for more information please contact the Inclusion & Accessibility chairs.
- Arrangement of Accessible Hotel Rooms. We have already arranged with our accommodation providers that a subset of the rooms are accessible for people with a range of disabilities. If you require these, please get in touch.
- Accessible Proceedings. We expect that all final camera ready submissions, including supplementary content, will be accessible, and are providing support and guidance in order to help facilitate this.
- Guidance on Video and Demonstration Accessibility. This is currently in preparation, and authors will be encouraged to follow this.
- Appearance of Fairness in the Review Process. Our procedure is double blind, this means that reviewers do not see who the authors are, and vice versa. In addition, we have selected part of our program committee by an open process. This should mean that potential participants can have full confidence that there submissions will be fairly treated.
Getting to and around Newcastle
We have collected together a range of accessible services and providers, including in respect of how to get to and around Newcastle. In general, Newcastle is compact, with most amenities being available within a close vicinity of the venue, with the city centre being flat and having appropriate accessibility features. Under UK law, assistance animals are entitled to be used in public places.
- Via Air: Newcastle Airport is fully accessible, including a Changing Places toilet, and assistance for those passengers that need it. More details: http://www.newcastleairport.com/passengers-restricted-mobility. Newcastle itself can be accessed via the Metro System or a Taxi.
- Via Rail: Most trains have space for wheelchair users, and all rail companies are obliged to provide assistance on request. However, it is expected that passengers contact the rail-company in question at least 24 hours in advance in assistance is required. More details: http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations_destinations/disabled_passengers.aspx.
- Via Taxi: There are a number of taxi firms in the North East and Newcastle Area who provide as part of their fleet wheelchair accessible taxis. To ensure availability, it is advisable to book the Taxi at least 24 hours in advance. More details: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=wheelchair+accessibility+taxi+newcastle.
- Via Metro: Most stations are accessible, although powered scooters are prohibited throughout the network for safety reasons. Assistance is available if booked at least 6 hours in advance. More information and contact details are available from the Metro website: http://www.nexus.org.uk/metro/guide-metro/accessibility-and-safety.
- Via Bus: Most buses in the Newcastle Area have a single wheelchair accessible bay towards the front of the bus. At the time of writing, this is currently reserved for wheelchair users by law. One bus company – Go North East – will provide a free taxi for anyone unable to access its buses (e.g. due to a ramp failing, or the wheelchair bay being already occupied).
Further Links and More Information
Disabled Go Accessibility Guide – this covers a range of venues and public places within Newcastle (and Nationally). Each venue has been individually visited and inspected to document its degree of accessibility, and the related services on offer.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission – this website provides information in relation to access generally, including in relation to the Equality Act (2010) There is also a specific guide in respect of Further and Higher Education.
SIGCHI Accessibility. SIGCHI have a small but growing Accessibility Community. There is also a policy by which all conferences are expected to abide, and SICGHI takes its responsibilities in this regard seriously. Additionally, interested readers may want to consult the SIGACCESS guide on how to operate an accessible conference.
Disability North, the local disabled people’s organisation covering the North of England, including the Newcastle Area.
We warmly welcome feedback and dialogue on the steps we are taking to improve accessibility at the conference – if you have any suggestions or ideas please get in touch with us. Similarly, we are happy to share our experiences and materials if you are also looking to make a conference you are organising more inclusive and accessible – please email us at email@example.com to get in touch.
Reuben Kirkham and Alistair Edwards (Inclusion and Accessibility Chairs)
Patrick Olivier, Peter Wright and Tom Bartindale (General Chairs)