During the Conference

“Meaningful access requires us to ask not only, ‘Who belongs?’ but also, ‘How do we know?’ Whose knowledge and leadership is foregrounded? Whose labors are employed in creating access and how are these labors compensated?”

–Aimi Hamraie, “Beyond Accommodation: Disability, Feminist Philosophy, and the Design of Everyday Academic Life.”

Use the Microphone

This comic demonstrates with humor the many reasons why people might try to avoid using microphones, and the reasons why microphones are important. Even those of us who have been “taught to project” may not realize how our voices come across; for example, if some of your audience members are using hearing aids, it’s likely that your projected vowels will blast into their ears, while your consonants will be almost indistinguishable. Check out Jessie B. Ramey’s essay “A Note From Your Colleagues With Hearing Loss” for more on this topic and a list of best practices.

Comic showing people offering elaborate excuses for avoiding microphone use

Description appears immediately below image. For a larger version, go to https://flic.kr/p/2idtLzt

This comic, “Six Methods of Microphone Avoidance,” was collaboratively conceived, designed, and illustrated by Margaret Price and Amanda J. Hedrick. The subtitle is, “Or, What Not to Say When Someone Asks You to Use a Mic.” The comic is a circle with six wedge-shaped panels. In panel #1, a bearded person wearing glasses says, “I don’t see anyone deaf here” while audience members respond, “That’s … not how it works.” In panel #2, a person with curly hair wearing a dress says, “The cord doesn’t reach!” In panel #3, a tall person with broad shoulders says, “I was raised in a military family. I’ve got a loud voice.” In panel #4, a speaker says, “A little phallic for my taste” while an audience member says in frustration, “Oh good–jokes.” In panel #5, a balding person wearing a tie says, “Thanks, but I’m trying to quit! Ha ha!” In panel #6, a long-haired person at a podium says, “You can all hear me, right?” while audience members say to one another, “What’d they say?” and “Did you catch that?”

How to Be an Access Advocate [Video]

How to Be an Access Advocate [PDF]

This video offers simple and substantial tips for advocating for access at academic conferences. As the narrator, Ruth Osorio, argues, “Our calls for greater inclusion would be stronger and more persuasive if everyone joined in! So yes, you too can be an access advocate, even if you have no background in disability studies or disability activism.” (By Ruth Osorio)

Creating and distributing handouts [Video]

This video illustrates several principles involved for providing handouts associated with your presentations: distribute handouts rather than requiring people to come forward to get them; distribute all versions of handouts together so audience can choose which they’d like to take; provide a script of your talk or, if speaking from notes, an outline; provide large-print (18-point or so) copies of handouts as well as smaller-print (12-point or so) copies. (By Michael Neal)

Describing an image in the context of your presentation [Video]

This three-minute video is taken from a conference presentation in which I displayed a large photo on a Power Point slide. I didn’t describe the image immediately after changing the slide, but after a minute or two, when I had written the description into my presentation script. However, upon reflection later, it occurred to me that I probably should have described the image immediately after changing the slide, because sighted audience members laughed at the image on the slide, a funny moment that wouldn’t have been communicated to anyone who couldn’t see the image or read it very clearly from the back of the room. (By Stephanie Kerschbaum)

Offering index cards for “crip time” Q&A [Video]

A low-tech way to make the “Q&A” period more widely accessible is to distribute index cards. This offers a means of entering the conversation for audience members who aren’t as comfortable speaking into a group. (By Margaret Price and Johnna Keller)