ICA Conference Inclusion and Accessibility
ICA is committed to creating an inclusive, accessible environment for all conference
attendees. This page is a living resource and will be added to as new resources become
available. There are two ways to let us know of your needs:
Indicate your needs via the “accessibility” question on the registration form
- Contact ICA Executive Director, Laura Sawyer, directly
Because of the lead time required to accommodate many requests, all requests must be received by 1 April. Attendees who have not made advance arrangements for services or equipment can inquire at the ICA Registration Desk onsite. Every reasonable effort will be made to assist attendees onsite however, ICA may not be able to provide all services or equipment requested onsite due to availability or the time required to obtain them.
Accessible sleeping rooms
ICA’s room block includes a number of accessible sleeping rooms in each of the hotels in our housing block. Please contact Laura Sawyer, ICA Executive Director and Anthony Stewart, Experient Housing Supervisor, for assistance in booking into an accessible room.
IICA is making efforts to de-emphasize alcohol as a focus of social events in order to make socializing less stressful for those who are abstaining from alcohol consumption, and will strive to provide clearly marked, additional water-and-soft-drinks-only bars as part of the opening reception and other events. Divisions and interest groups, as well as satellite events such as university receptions, are encouraged to provide a non-alcoholic bar station as part of their events as well (however please note that these events are managed separately from ICA headquarters and adherence to this guideline may vary). For those who wish to attend meetings while in Gold Coast, please see the Gold Coast Alcoholics Anonymous page for a meetings list. Please also see below for onsite meetings each morning at the Star Gold Coast.
Bill W., Friends of
The Burleigh Boardroom (pool level of the Star Hotel) will be available every morning of the conference from 7:00 to 8:00am for a daily Friends of Bill W. meeting.
Because of the sheer number of concurrent sessions (30 separate rooms at any given time), ICA does not automatically provide captioning for every session. However, we have a strong record of working with individuals who have specific needs to make sure that the sessions they plan to attend are made accessible to them. Please contact Laura Sawyer, ICA Executive Director, to discuss your needs.
Availability of affordable and accessible childcare is an inclusion issue that ICA takes very seriously. Now entering its fourth year, “ICA Kids” is available for parents in need of childcare during conference hours. To provide this service, ICA is partnering with KidzKlub Australia, a highly respected national company recommended by our friends at the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Center. More information on how to sign up for childcare is forthcoming (see separate tab on childcare under the conference dropdown). The childcare room will be onsite at the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Center.
Comfort Room/Quiet Room
The Burleigh Boardroom (Pool level, Star Hotel) has been designated as a comfort room/quiet room for use by attendees requiring a respite from meeting activities. Please note that this room is not to be used for meetings, conversation, or phone calls. The room is available for Quiet Room use from 8:30 to 18:15 each day.
Each presentation or session should be designed and conducted with the full participation of all in mind. ICA suggests that all presenters review the Accessibility Guidelines for Presentations from the Society for Disability Studies and take the steps necessary to make all programming accessible to their respective audiences.
Exercise facilities and pool
ICA has requested expanded hours for the hotels’ exercise facilities and pool in order to accommodate large numbers of attendees. More details on exact schedule to come. The Star and Sofitel exercise and pool facilities are accessible areas.
ICA requests that all participants refrain from wearing perfume, cologne and other fragrances, and use unscented personal care products in order to promote a fragrance-free environment for the benefit of attendees with multiple chemical sensitivities.
ICA has designated gender-neutral restroom facilities on each level of the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre and the Star Event Centre. These restroom facilities are available for use by all persons, regardless of their gender identity. The facilities will be marked with green door signage. Please help make these facilities and this meeting an inclusive space for transgender and gender non-conforming attendees by respecting the right of all genders to use them. Single-gender restrooms will also be available on each level. Gender-neutral restroom locations will be updated here and on the conference app closer to the conference date:
- GCCEC: TBA
- Star Event Centre: TBA
IIn order to register for the conference, every attendee, exhibitor, sponsor, and speaker must agree to abide by the Conference Code of Conduct.
ICA takes its attendees’ and members’ safety seriously. If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have other concerns about inappropriate behavior, please contact a member of conference staff immediately. Conference staff can most easily be found at the registration desk, and will be wearing badges that say STAFF (please take care to find actual ICA staff and not student volunteers who may also be working in this area). One may also email both Julie Arnold, Senior Manager of Governance, and Laura Sawyer, Executive Director, with any concerns. Conference staff will be happy to help participants contact hotel/venue security or local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the conference, and to take action to remove those acting inappropriately. We also keep a record of all incidents.
Each area of both the Star and Sofitel is accessible by both elevator and stairwell. Only one room in the Convention Center is not accessible, and for this reason we are not utilizing that room.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Hotline
When in Australia, individuals with a need for intervention and assistance with mental health/suicide and/or substance abuse issues can call Lifeline (13 11 14) or the emergency response number, 000.
ICA has designated a private room in each venue for parents with lactation needs. The “family room,” at each venue (the Star and the convention center) has a door code and a do not disturb sign to deploy when in use. The rooms are equipped with comfortable chairs, low lighting, and a mini refrigerator. Please contact Laura Sawyer, ICA Executive Director, for the locations and room codes for both family rooms.
Guests who are staying in the Star or Sofitel should request a minifridge (if not included in their room type) from hotel management if needed for the storage of breastmilk.
Those with religious observations that affect their availability for conference sessions should enter that information in the “Notes to Admin” comment box in their submission. You can go in and change this even after being accepted, but it must be done prior to 12 February, when we close the system to schedule the program. If you are Orthodox Jewish and observe the Sabbath, for example, you may note this in your paper/session and ask that we not schedule you between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday. We are able to accommodate these requests 99% of the time.
Special Note Regarding Ramadan/Eid
Unfortunately, the conference overlaps some of the days of Ramadan and Eid this year. While these dates were selected when the contract was signed in 2014 and cannot be changed, we apologize for this conflict and are eager to work with any presenters affected by this conflict to ensure that they can present their papers. Please contact Laura Sawyer, ICA Executive Director, to discuss their individual needs, and please also let me know of your own needs.
We have done an audit of all future ICA annual conference dates (which are booked through 2025) and there are no further conflicts with Muslim holidays in the existing contracting. We will make every effort to consider all global holidays as blackout dates for the conference in all future contracting, with the knowledge that we are bound by the expectation that the conference will occur from late May to early June.
The Broadbeach area surrounding our conference venue(s) is considered very safe and friendly for female travelers, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community. Even late at night, parks surrounding the beach are well-lit and have security cameras, and the nightlife is typically quite family friendly in the Broadbeach area. Slightly up the beach in the Surfer’s Paradise area (about a 15 minute walk along the beach or five minutes on the light rail), things get a little more rowdy, and while nothing felt unsafe you may want to avoid being out and about late at night alone, particularly for women traveling alone, as there are many clubs and a more raucous atmosphere. We do not recommend staying in hotels in the Surfer’s Paradise area, as it is a longer walk to the venue than our blocked properties and you will have a considerably less restful night of sleep.
Due to restrictions and liability concerns in our venue, ICA is unable to provide yoga classes this year.
Should a Problem Arise While You are Onsite at the ICA Meeting
If you have any problem or negative experience related to accessibility, including issues with housing, sessions, harassment, or any other accessibility-related issue, please email Laura Sawyer, ICA Executive Director. In addition to meeting these needs, we keep a record of all requests and our ability to meet them in order to improve each year; we also provide feedback on accessibility issues to our hotel partners and the cities in which we meet.