Diversity And Inclusion Guidelines For Convention And Conference Policy Committees
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION GUIDELINES FOR CONVENTION AND CONFERENCE POLICY COMMITTEES
October 20, 2018
The goal of this document is to provide guidance for AES Conference and Convention Policy Committees.
The Diversity and Inclusion Committee’s mission is as follows:
The AES Diversity and Inclusion Committee strives to ensure diversity in the AES worldwide and the audio industry as a whole by improving accessibility, welcoming diverse genres, embracing emergent audio fields and research, and radiating inclusiveness to all races, gender and gender identities, physical abilities, ages, and nationalities.
In order to do that, it is important for our members to see this in action. Conventions and conferences are one arena where our attitude towards diversity and inclusion manifests, and we would like to insure our pledge is not seen as an empty one.
By adopting these guidelines, not only do we exemplify our attitude of diversity and inclusion, but by doing so we increase interest in our events, draw in more people, increase membership (note the delineation) and become a stronger Society.
It also should be emphasized that this policy will only be as successful as the degree to which it is embraced, embodied and upheld by AES leadership, therefore the Executive Committee of the AES and the AES Board of Governors shall also endorse and deploy the document to insure its effectiveness and longevity.
Common Pitfalls / Examples of non-inclusivemindsets
Common pitfalls can be expressed in very avoidable statements that exemplify the attitudes we are hoping to change. These statements drive members away - in many cases, members who are trying to break new ground and change ingrained habits.
Here are some examples of statements made that do not represent an inclusive mindset:
Look at the benefits of increasing the appeal of your event and widening your audience. Find areas of overlap that can work.
“If we try to attract young people, the convention willchange.”
This statement makes a sweeping statement about a particular group. The solution (in the case of youth) could be to have chaperones. Try to think of solutions instead of barriers. Young people are the future of our organization. Consider the benefit of ensuring the Society’s longevity.
Where possible, there should be metrics built into EasyChair. When presenters and authors sign up, we can gather demographic data so that organizers can have real-time feedback about diversity.
Conference and Convention planning committees shall have a representative from the D&I Committee.
ConferenceandConventionPolicyCommitteechairsshouldinterfacewitheither the Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee (currently Leslie Gaston-Bird) or appointedrepresentative.
ThedesignatedpersonfromDiversityandInclusionmaychoosetobringany concerns to the D&I Committee for discussion and communicate back to the relevantchair.
Incaseofdispute,theExecutiveDirector,ChairoftheMembershipCommittee, and President shall be involved in the conversation and help come to a resolution.
Areas of desired increasedparticipation:
Proposed panels dealing with topics of diversity and inclusion should be wellthought-outandreceiveinputfromthiscommittee.Ourgoalisnotto censor: We want to help the panel succeed by giving cautionary advice and perhaps avoiding real problemsafterward.
Panelsaboutdiversityandinclusionshouldbemoderatedbysomeone who belongs to the demographic beingdiscussed.
Conference/Conventionorganizersareencouragedtohavepanelswith experts who are diverse with respect to genre, discipline, gender identity, race, age, sexual orientation andethnicity.
Organizerswhofindthemselveschallengedwhenidentifyingaqualified person shall seek the input from the D&I Committee to recommend panelists. The D&I will publish a roster of individuals who are willing to serve aspanelists.
Travelfundingshouldnotbeahindranceifdesiredexpertsarenotableto support their own travel. The AES D&I Committee can make recommendations about resources forfunding.
Papers:Theauthorssubmittingapapermaychoosetheoptionofadouble-blind review process. This approach helps to avoid implicit bias with respect to ethnicity andgender.
Areasofdiscipline:Workshopsshouldalsoembraceallareasofdiscipline across audio engineering. There are many fields that have been established as new industries in recent decades, including the following examples (not restricted to the suggestionsbelow):
These areas should be considered regardless of whether they have had dedicated conferences or conventions
Audio Genres: Workshops should embrace all genres of music. It would bedesirabletoseenewerformsofmusicproductionfeatured,especially ones that have not gotten a lot of attention. These are a few examples, and genres are not limited to hip-hop andelectronica:
Hip Hop. Many, many young producers are producing hip hop. Thedearthofworkshopsfeaturingthismusicisnoticeableand these producers should be welcomed into our AESfamily
EDMandotherformsofelectronicmusic.Again,thisisapopular genre among young people. The technology used to create this music (as well as hip hop and others) is currently helping to drive the audio industryeconomy.
Representation:ConferenceandConventionorganizersshould make an effort to find individuals - even celebrities - from underrepresented groups to hostworkshops.
RecordingCompetition:Appropriatelyexperiencedjudgesshouldbeusedfor relevant categories. These judges should be literate in newgenres.
Conference Spaces: Buildings used for conferences must be wheelchair accessible and booklet materials provided by the AES should have clearly-labeled maps showing where elevators and ramp-access doors arelocated.Eventorganizersmustalsobepreparedtomakereasonable accommodations for other issues of accessibility such as seating areas, allergen-free menu items and/or eating areas, quiet/dark rooms,and
Off-Location Recommendations: the AES recommends that meetings held outside of a conference should also have wheelchair access and other reasonable accomodations. When a facility does not have proper wheelchairaccess,eventcoordinatorsareexpectedtoworkwithpersons with limited mobility as to not bar them from the event. Event programs should indicate on the program which off-site venues areaccessible.
Readers of this document are encouraged to keep these points in mind for web communication, discussion lists, social media, and other areas where AES activities happen.
*The conference in Redmond, Washington (2018) and York, England (2019) are noted
**ADA rules are US-Based, please check with the hosting country to determine the proper guidelines.