AWP Announces Ad-Hoc Committee on Conference Accessibility

February 4, 2019

AWP would like to announce the AWP Ad-Hoc Committee on Conference Accessibility and recognize the work of its members: Suzanne Bair, Marlena Chertock, Sonya Huber, Jess Silfa, and Ellen Smith.

The AWP Ad-Hoc Committee on Conference Accessibility develops best practices for general conference accessibility, increases awareness of accessibility to the broader AWP membership, and strategizes solutions for city-specific accessibility obstacles. The overarching purpose of this committee is to establish consistent, open, and productive communication about AWP’s accessibility at the Annual Conference & Bookfair.

AWP is grateful for the invaluable work of this committee whose members have been instrumental in our planning for the 2019 Conference & Bookfair in Portland, Oregon.

Some of the initiatives that the committee has developed include:

Wider Access to Transportation To & From the Conference

AWP will be providing complimentary passes to attendees with disabilities to ride TriMet, Portland’s public transportation system, which is wheelchair-accessible. In addition, we will provide a free shuttle that will run a continuous loop between the conference hotels and the Oregon Convention Center. This shuttle will give priority to people with disabilities. If neither of these options work for someone with disabilities, AWP will arrange for private transportation using Lyft. If you or someone you are traveling with will need this accommodation, please email


AWP will livestream and live-caption the #AWP19 keynote address by Colson Whitehead on Thursday, March 28 from 8:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

We will also livestream and live-caption the #AWP19 Featured Event The Strengths of Complexity and the Power of Limitations: Writers on Disability, featuring Naomi Ortiz, Sandra Gail Lambert, Esmé Weijun Wang, moderated by Sarah Einstein, on Friday, March 30 from 12:00noon to 1:15 p.m.

Session Room Accessibility

We are expanding our session room accessibility by providing a wireless mic in each session room in order to better facilitate the Q&A sessions at the end of each event. We are also expanding our efforts to check these rooms throughout the days of the conference for accessibility barriers, in addition to providing contact information for technology that is not working. We will provide dedicated accessibility volunteers throughout the conference.

Event & Presenter Accessibility

AWP is expanding its efforts to teach presenters how to host an accessible event, including providing accessible copies, speaking into the microphone at all times, and being aware of physical accessibility barriers in their session rooms. We will send all presenters a series of emails detailing this information in the coming months.

If you have any questions about this committee or its work, please email

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