The annual Zero Project Conference is the highlight of our year here at the Zero Project. It is an opportunity to celebrate all the innovations we discover during our annual research cycle, and to bring together global experts committed to a world without barriers for people with disabilities. Since our first conference, the accessibility of the conference has been a key focus of the Zero Project.

We want to make the Zero Project Confer­ence an example of ‘good practice’ in terms of conference accessibility, and every year we work to improve the fea­tures and measures we offer. In 2018, our accessibility partner Escola de Gente evaluated the accessibility of the Conference, and their recommendations were key to some of the improvements we trialled for the first time in 2019, such as live audio description for video material and making information available in easy-to-read formats. In 2019, we asked all participants for their feedback on the accessibility of the conference, and are using this feedback to introduce additional measures in 2020. We know we still have work to do, and we can only do this in collaboration with partners across our vast global network.

ZERO PROJECT CONFERENCE ACCESSIBILITY GUIDELINES

Cover of the Zero Project Conference Accessibility GuidelinesTo support this, we have decided to document our work on conference accessibility, in the hope that by being transparent and sharing our ideas, we will improve our own work in this area and support other organisations looking to do the same.

We are therefore publishing the Zero Project Conference Accessibility Guidelines. We have developed these guidelines in re­sponse to requests we have had from partners who want to make their own meet­ings and conferences more accessible. They are based on what we have learned through implementing new measures and receiving feedback.

“We hope these guidelines, based on our experiences and the insights of the Zero Project community, will be a helpful contribution to the discussion on conference accessibility. We look forward to continuing to share our work and learning from others to constantly improve the accessibility of the Zero Project Conference.”

Martin Essl, Founder of the Essl Foundation

In order to make this guide as practical as possible, we have concentrated on measures we have first-hand experience of implementing. We are aware that these guidelines therefore do not cover everything. We hope that people using these guidelines, or those who have expertise in the areas we have not included, will share their experiences and knowledge with us.

We are grateful to all the organisations who work with us to implement accessibility measures at the conference in Vienna and the wider Zero Project network for their support in doing this. We would also like to thank our accessibility partner Escola de Gente for their ongoing collaboration and support, and for providing a foreword to the guidelines.

“We support these guidelines as we want plural and non-discriminatory societies, in which persons with disabilities are not an exception, but an intrinsic part. We want inclusive and sustainable societies – also for humanity with disabilities.”

Claudia Werneck, Founder of Escola de Gente

NEXT STEPS

Alongside these guidelines, we have also been developing a discussion paper on conference accessibility, which we will publish in early 2020. We will present the guidelines at the Zero Project Conference 2020 and are committed to col­lecting feedback and using this to improve both the accessibility at the Zero Project Conference and future editions of these guidelines. If you have any feedback or suggestions, please let us know at office@zeroproject.org.