Feminist Philosophers

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Last night I dreamt of an inclusive conference… May 18, 2009

Filed under: academia,disability,minorities in philosophy — Heg @ 4:48 pm

Perhaps it was after reading a comment on another thread… everything went kind of blurry…

I found myself at the back of a large lecture theatre, but I could see the powerpoint slides just fine, because the speaker had used a large sans serif font, in a dark colour on a plain pale background…  Just then, she started speaking, and I could hear every word – I realised she’d just used the microphone, without waiting for anyone to complain. I particularly admired the way her slides just reinforced the structure in her talk, without ever replacing the content she was conveying – she managed to articulate each point made on the slides, without mechanically reading them out.  She moved her wheelchair comfortably as she talked from behind the adjustable-height podium.  As the session ended, I noticed the questions seemed to be particularly incisive and on point, and then I realised the papers for plenary sessions must have been sent out in advance – next to me, one person had printed it on pale yellow paper, and on the other side someone had printed in large font….

Then I dreamt I was floating down a corridor, past parallel sessions.  In one of them, everyone was sitting in a circle, so the participant who was lipreading could see everyone’s faces.  In the next, people were saying their names before speaking, so the blind participant could identify the speaker.  In a third, the University’s daycare centre had provided staff – paid overtime, of course – to offer child care on site…  I floated on, into the dining area, where a meal had been laid out, each dish clearly indicating whether it contained milk, meat, fish, nuts or gluten products…

In the lobby, several people were clustered around a computer terminal, where they watched yesterday’s plenary sessions, already turned into vodcasts synchronised with the slides and transcript. A lively discussion was already taking place with virtual participants from around the world…  As I drifted past, I noticed the conference flyer on a table – as well as the programme of speakers, it included a description of the venue, mentioning (among other things) provision of hearing loops, parking, location of accessible entrances and bathrooms, and an invitation to contact the conference organisers with any individual access requirements… It even said they’d established contacts with the University’s Student Disability Service in order to find support workers, such as sign language interpreters, if needed… 

But then I woke up.  What else would I have noticed, I wonder, if my dream had gone on longer?

Perhaps the organisers had been reading this organising accessible events publication…

 

 
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