DISCOVER Cookbook Diverse & Inclusive Spaces and Conferences

Venue Selection & On-Site Services

Accessibility Considerations

  • Consider attendees who may need accommodations for a disability


Tags: Mobility Impairment, People with Disabilities, Location & Venue, Bathrooms

  • 🍎 Reserve seats in rooms for folks who might need it (wheelchair, crutches, cane, etc.). Choose easily-accessible seats, such as at the end of a row on the aisle.
  • 🍎 Create wide aisles (2.5m so two power chairs can pass each other) between chairs to make it easier for people who are mobility-impaired to navigate the room.
  • Reduce conference sprawl to support access for people who are mobility-impaired.
  • Consider marking and enforcing β€œNo Standing Zones” through rooms such as foyers that are both gathering areas and regions people must pass through. (A 2.5m β€œcorridor” marked on the ground in yellow tape is ideal.)
  • Consider making remote access available via livestream, recorded talks, etc.
  • Make sure the building is wheelchair accessible. (In U.S. this is typically required by law.)
  • Be aware of how far/near the closest wheelchair-accessible restrooms are. Attempt to shorten this distance when possible and be sure all staff know where to direct attendees who require a wheelchair-accessible restroom.


Tags: People with Disabilities, People with Disabilities, Mobility Impairment, Hearing Impairment, Other Impairments, Visual Impairment

  • βœ… Book sign-language interpreters and/or real-time captioning (someone typing captions) for deaf and hard-of-hearing attendees.
  • Consider using patterns rather than just color on signs and presentation slides to indicate differences, to make comprehension easier for attendees with color blindness/low vision issues.
  • 🍎 Provide large-text signs and easy-to-read maps. Ask conference organizers to announce important information over the microphone, which helps people with impaired vision.
  • Include maps in advance, with the event schedule.
  • Make sure that hand-held microphones are available
  • Encourage session chairs to repeat questions from the audience over the mic so everyone can hear

Further Reading:


Tags: Location & Venue, Bathrooms, LGBTQ+, Women, People with Allergies

Gender-Neutral Bathrooms

  • Ideally you would provide 3 restrooms: gender-neutral, female, male.
  • βœ… Ensuring your conference has easily accessible gender-neutral restrooms is a simple way to help non-binary and trans individuals feel included and welcome at your conference.
  • How to re-label bathrooms if the venue signs are traditional "men's" and "women's" rooms:
    • "With Urinals" / "Without Urinals"
    • "All Gender Restroom"
    • "No Assumptions. No Gender Roles. Just Toilets."
  • 🍎 Post signs in the restroom and/or on the door instructing what to do if you think someone is in the "wrong" restroom
    • "If you think someone's gender doesn't match the sign on the door, please follow these steps: Don't worry about it, they know better than you." (via @LGBTplusBristol)


  • 🍎 Provide tampons and pads in all restrooms (some people who identify as male have periods and may need them) rooms
  • Consider using fragrance-free hand wash and reducing the use of air fresheners to help those with chemical sensitivities.

Further Reading:

🍎 Dedicated rooms

  • The rooms should be clearly labeled to prevent accidental entry, and their locations should be provided in both the print and the online conference directory and maps.
  • Don't allow anyone (even organizers) to use the room for other purposes.

🍎 Nursing & Pumping Room

Tags: Parents & Carers, Women

  • Ensure there is a dedicated, single-occupancy space with lock.
  • For the room to be optimally useful, these things are desired:
    • Locking door
    • Comfortable chair (ideally, with arms that do not have gaps between the armrest and the seat, and a set of firm cushions for positioning an infant)
    • A desk or table next to the chair (to set the pump, bottles, etc. on), no more than 4 feet from the nearest electrical outlet
    • Cleaning wipes, paper towels, and a garbage can for maintaining cleanliness
    • Masking tape and a marker for labeling milk bottles and pump parts
    • Close proximity to a sink for hand washing and washing of pump parts
    • A refrigerator for storage of pumped milk (could be in the pumping room, or ideally accessible outside of the room but nearby)
    • If possible, a dimmable light or a small lamp could be provided instead of bright overhead lighting

🍎 Gender-Neutral Bottle Feeding Room

Tags: Parents & Carers

  • Bottle-fed babies can be fed by caregivers of any gender and also benefit from a quiet, low-distraction, private space for feeding.
  • This should be a separate, additional room ( NOT the same as the nursing and pumping room ). It could accommodate multiple babies at a time and be equipped with:
    • Multiple comfortable chairs with broad armrests to facilitate bottle feeding positions
    • A bottle warmer
    • Paper towels, cleaning wipes and garbage can for cleanliness
    • Dim lighting and in a quiet area of the conference center/venue
    • Clearly labeled to prevent accidental entry, though a locking door is not necessary

Further Reading:

🍎 Quiet Room

Tags: Religious Groups, Being Respectful, Giving participants room to be who they are

  • A dedicated room for people who need a break from the stimulation of being surrounded by people at the conference.
    • No phone calls, talking/socializing, etc.
    • Put notifications on silent/vibrate.
    • People whose religions require frequent prayer can make use of the quiet room.
  • Ideal is to provide one well-lit quiet room, and a second dimly-lit room.
  • Consider β€œquiet areas” if a separate room is not possible.


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