Accessibility Guidelines for CSWIP | College of Arts

Accessibility Guidelines for CSWIP

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Local Organizers: Samantha Brennan <>, Trish Sheridan  <>

CSWIP Accessibility Committee: Anna Mudde (Committee Chair), Emily Bingeman, Jane Dryden, Jane Epp, and Amy Keating.

The following accessibility guidelines are intended to improve access to the conference, through thinking of it as a shared space in which all should be able to participate. We are making these guidelines available now so that conference attendees can plan their papers and presentations with them in mind.

Note that there are guidelines for both presenters and for moderators. If there are any concerns that arise during conference events, please let the moderator know. Moderators will be asked to help facilitate accessibility during sessions. You may ask the moderator for assistance before, during, or after your talk. If needed they will be in touch with Samantha Brennan or Trish Sheridan (local conference organizers) or a designated student volunteer.

NB: These guidelines represent a starting point for thinking about access during CSWIP 2019. Please note the limits of guidelines, and be attentive to other ways of enhancing access. Access is best achieved if we think of it as a shared community project.

There will be a quiet room available throughout the duration of the conference (see program for location). If you need a quiet place to review your presentation, or just quietly sit for a while, please do not hesitate to make use of this space. Please respect is as a quiet room: do not attempt to strike up conversation. There will be ample conversation time!

REGISTER for CSWIP2019 (Eventbrite)

Presenter Guidelines for CSWIP 2019


Prepare to be flexible. Access needs are shifting and fluid, and it may be that even your accessible presentation will need to shift depending on who attends your presentation.

Create a script or detailed outline for your talk and bring copies to distribute. Many people find it hard to follow auditory talks, but this is particularly helpful for those who are deaf and also helps the many people who struggle to process you reading your paper, such as those with traumatic brain injuries and second-language learners. If your talk is not scripted, please provide a detailed outline. If you do not want your work cited without your permission, indicate this on your draft (or collect drafts at the end – the moderator can assist with this).

Make your PowerPoint more accessible. Avoid flashing images, arguments that rely solely on color, and small print. Use a plain background without any watermark, photo, or design behind the text. Plan to have a backup (such as a handout, or using the board) if your PowerPoint fails or is not accessible to your audience.

Bring versions of all handouts and scripts in large print (17 point or larger). Large-print copies should be single-sided as they may be held close to the face for viewing.

Consider sharing your paper, script, or slides online. This can be in addition to providing printed drafts.


Speak at a reasonable pace. People read much faster than they typically talk, which is hard for everyone to follow. If present, the ASL interpreter or CART transcriptionist also needs to keep up. (CART is Communication Access Real-Time Transcription, which is live captioning for a computer or projected screen.) Before your talk begins, provide a script to the ASL interpreter or CART captioner with jargon you’ll use repeatedly (so they can create signs or short-cuts).

Announce the accessibility practices you are using. Before you begin, note that scripts, large print, copies of the PowerPoint, etc., are available. Ask if you can be heard. Have someone distribute handouts rather than having people come forward.

Describe any images you display. This includes participants with low vision and makes your images more purposeful for everyone. Rich auditory descriptions are best prepared in advance, and avoid a bare description merely of what is in the photo – communicate meaning if that is clear and pertinent to those who can see the images.

(Consider Georgina Kleege’s piece on visual description:

Use captioned videos. Avoid forcing participants to choose between watching videos or interpreters. Recognize that YouTube automatic captioning is flawed. Resources on captioning YouTube videos is here:

Use the microphone. This helps all listeners and is often connected to a FM monitoring system for those with hearing impairments.

Re-voice questions. Re-voice (repeat) the questions so all can hear before answering them.


Avoid wearing scents. They are triggering for headaches and various kinds of environmental illness.

Communicate access needs to event organizers. It’s important that events be accessible to you.


These guidelines have been adapted from the guidelines for CSWIP 2019 by Trish Sheridan, who adapted them from philoSOPHIA 2016, which were in turn adapted from those prepared by Amy Vidali ( for the Society of Disability Studies 2012 meeting, drawing in part on materials at


Moderator Guidelines for CSWIP 2019

Thanks for agreeing to serve as a moderator! CSWIP is committed to increasing accessibility, and moderators will facilitate panels and assist in making panels accessible to all attendees. Attendees may or may not be comfortable publicly stating their needs, so be prepared to have conversations ranging from public requests to subtle communications.

If you need help while serving in your moderator role at the conference, please contact Samantha Brennan or Trish Sheridan or have a student volunteer track them down. Their cell phone numbers will be made available during the conference.


  • Arrive early. Please be early to allow time to execute needed changes or adaptations.
  • Check in with presenters: Ask presenters about any access needs, how they are comfortable being reminded of time, and their preferred names and pronouns.
  • Collect materials to be shared with panel attendees. This includes handouts and website addresses.
  • Consider the room layout. Adjust for any obvious obstacles, such as chairs that might block wheelchair access.


  • Identify access as important and encourage access requests. Accessibility is an ongoing, collaborative effort, and explicit recognition of accessibility encourages conversation and feedback. Ask attendees about access needs (such as better positioning for an interpreter, changes in lighting, etc.).
  • Distribute panelists’ materials. Distribute handouts or designate an audience volunteer. Announce website addresses and write them on the white board, if available.
  • Make question cards available: A stack of index cards will be available in each room. Make these available for audience members to ask questions on, if they prefer. Alternate spoken and card questions during the Q&A.
  • Remind the audience of the Twitter hashtag for the conference (#cswip2019). This provides a connection for those who can’t attend CSWIP.


  • Monitor the pace and audibility of talks:  If a presenter is speaking quickly, ask them to slow down. Ensure that everyone speaks into the microphone. Remind presenters to re-voice (repeat) the questions after hearing them.
  • Keep presenters to their allocated time. This allows necessary breaks between panels.
  • Encourage one speaker at a time. It is easy for Q&A to become informal and chatty, but this can be challenging for those who communicate in non-traditional ways.
  • Ask for help. If access needs are being denied or violated, pause/stop the panel and/or immediately head to the registration desk for help.


Provide feedback to Anna Mudde ( or informally around the conference; she will forward it to the organizer of next year’s conference. It will be very useful for CSWIP to track any specific accessibility issues – positive or negative – that arise during the conference. 


These guidelines have been adapted from the guidelines for philoSOPHIA 2016.