Accessibility and accommodation in events (and media), and a lot of ramblings related to that
This is a part of an ever-updating post, but the first part is alright so I upload it
As a person with an overall privileged condition: healthy body, no allergy (anymore), have my own saving so I can pay something upfront first then being reimbursed, as well having a laidback and nrima (Javanese, lit: accepting, which sometime’s not a good characteristic to have) personality, although I tried to give my suggestion in accessibility and accommodation whenever I can, especially in regards to other people or participants in an event I’m an organiser of, I’ve never really given a thought about this enough about when I’m the one being accommodated for.
After meeting a lot more people in a wider spectrum and having more knowledge and discussions about accessibility and being asked on what kind of accessibility access and accommodation I or people like “me” actually want, I did some hard contemplation and some more reading (read: tabs in high tens). I will give some of my thought and experiences below.
(Making a note for a friend who’s in charge of accessibility and accommodations, hence a few of my notes for her sprinkled around)
In t-shirt and sizing
I’ve stumbled upon a very interesting article (and a few more discussion) about t-shirt fitting in geek/ computer events’ t-shirts.
Although I personally haven’t attended THAT many events with t-shirts. I have actually rarely had a fitting-t-shirt request problem as I usually prefer the straight cut t-shirt, But there is one thing that I feel really relatable to me… the size. I am quite (I don’t think I’m in the quite category anymore, but shush) large and generally, if there are “men” and “women” options and there is no size for me in the “women” bracket, I, fortunately, can order straight fit L/ XL in the “men” division. However, there have been enough too-small t-shirt situations in my life (looking at my old OSN t-shirts). In this regards, for people in the smaller spectrum of size, even though I can still relate with their experience re: t-shirt, too large of a t-shirt is unfortunate, but at least you can “breathe” in it, ahaha (this is an ironic laugh, in case you can’t tell). This, however, is not the case for other large man/ woman.
Note on this: In summary, for anyone organising an event, please take note of this, not just ordering the same size distributions for each t-shirt. Or, choose other things as giveaways. I personally like drinking-related items: water bottles or mugs, tote bags or mousepads (won’t use it as a mousepad, however)
In t-shirts and Muslim/ headscarf wearing muslimat/ people who prefer long-sleeved t-shirts
Back home, a lot of girls and women wear a headscarf, so in more than enough occasions of t-shirt ordering sheets, other than sizes, there is usually another column, which is whether the t-shirt will be a short-sleeved or long-sleeved one.
I guess in event organisations with a free t-shirt, the kind of t-shirt commonly given is the short-sleeved, straight cut t-shirt. This is very understandable. As I need to wear long-sleeve, usually when an even mention anything about a t-shirt in their promotion or in their registration, and when they give you the t-shirt during the day, I usually bring a black cardigan and wear a black head-scarf.
However, for those t-shirts, in the end… I… end up not wearing them much. Even though theoretically you can use it at home, I am currently living in shared accommodation (taking on/off layer just to go to the kitchen and toilet is a pain >> me being lazy)
Note on this: I guess long-sleeved option is very uncommon if the demographic is not the long-sleeve-wearing kind, but if there is a t-shirt included, please inform (basic) and describe the choice on size as well as the colour beforehand so that people in need of long-sleeves can think about undershirt/ outer cardigan to match (advanced)
Other topics I’m drafting about to be put in this article (still in bullet-point formats):
In rooming and dormitory
Single/ shared room information, please
En-suite or shared toilet, bathroom and kitchen information
I need to prepare for a way to cover myself while sleeping in a hall shared with 100 odd sleeping-bagged students, please (note, no actual events are like this. Maybe Indonesian ones)
In praying room and conferences
Generally, an empty room is already very very appreciated, but my notes on quiet room
- Listing of addresses of nearest worship places (better if the directions are listed)
- Shoe rack (and written notice for no-shoes). If sandals are provided, that will be better (not sure if this violate hygiene procedure or not)
- Nearby water fountain/ sink in a lower position will be better
- A cupboard to put artefacts, prayer gown, book, etc. up so that there is no preferential treatment between religion
- Faith artefacts from different religious backgrounds. (I personally think that we don’t need this as usually people who read/ do them enough bring their own or install an app, not sure if other people want them though).
- (Islam) Qiblah direction sign (a lot of instances, there is a prayer room but is difficult to know the direction)
- (Islam) Prayer gown and or prayer mat (I can bring mine and keep it in the room so that there’s no need to buy them maybe). Put this in the cupboard as well
- Movable separator (in case there are multiple events/ instances as well as a group of prayers who want separation between genders)
- Also, maybe a quiet room for napping/ concentrating will be good as well? Just an idea
- Neutral colour
- A few chairs and at least table
- Notice for no-food. If not also used for napping then notice for no-napping. If everything’s put inside a cupboard then the notice can be filled by information about what is available
In food and dietary requirement
Dietary requirement question in the registration form. Follow up (for tea break menu especially, as fewer people joining gala dinner, I guess) in case there is uncommon requirement.
Name of the food and allergen written at a minimum. (Update: information about ingredients which are commonly avoided at average: Example: beef, crab, tuna, cheese and milk, pork, alcohol, garlic, etc.). Ingredients listed at best.
At least one free-form option available, fruits at minimum
Soy milk option for the tea break, as well as free-form options (with enough amount as other people will eat them too). Fruits are good, but another addition will be better.
Enough water and non-alcoholic drink in events with free-flowing alcohol. Suggested that “fancy” non-alcoholic drink is involved
(Update: Always-available water fountain/ drink post)
“Halal” food is not a big problem if you don’t ask for meat for every meal
Being vegan and or gluten-free is definitely harder
In conferences, alcoholic beverage and “pub culture”
Don’t ask much. Just provide non-alcoholic drinks alongside alcohol, please
I understand if the price includes free drinks, though if I can choose if I can get to pay less, why not (alcohol drunk in events are the expensive kinds, yo)
pubs (and restaurant, in South Korea) do have choices for people with dietary requirements as well as non-drinker, though limited. If you are comfortable enough to enter, my fellow “free-from”, why not try to enter
Other than what I’ve written here, there are actually a lot more we can do about this which I don’t have a first-hand experience or enough material to write about:
Accessible Gender-neutral toilet
- Neutral nursing room
- Listing of nearby child-friendly places (Update: Sometimes people bring their SO as well. There is usually recommendation of things to do outside the conference in a conference booklet. This should be kept, as well as a list of events held during the conference. If not, can contact the tourism information to ask for their recent brochures and maps)
Options in registration for assistance needed (interpreter, carer, transcriber, etc.). Follow up.
- Media and material proofed for colour-blindness. (update: Suggestion to have a link to a colour-blind-friendly presentation/ poster guide. If there is a platform to upload material to check whether there are good for colour-blindness, that will be the best, but so far I don’t know of one)
- Enough accessible disable toilets
- Ensure that there are space and access for a wheelchair user (especially in a seminar room with stairs (? Not sure how to describe this) (update: As well as for the space between posters. I actually don’t know whether there is an optimum height for mounting a poster so that both people standing and on a wheel-chair can still comfortably read)
- Ensure that microphones are accessible and can be taken out from their holder, for speakers and for audiences
In Being A Muslim, and or an Indonesian and Overall Traveling Experience
Last note, especially for organisers.
- Accessible bathroom or washroom for people who want some refreshment before flying out or for a whole-day session
- Listed first aider and emergency contacts
- if specific dietary needs are catered/ specific accommodation is included, please inform the people with the dietary/ accommodation requirement as well, as some of them expect that they can eat nothing and enjoy nothing and end up not going/ checking the food out. Will be a shame as the committee has tried their best.
Some more reading about accessibilities: