The ARCHER2 Service is committed to equality, diversion, inclusion and accessibility. We will promote a positive culture which celebrates difference, challenges prejudice and ensures fairness. We are dedicated to providing a welcoming and supportive environment for all, regardless of background or identity. All members of the HPC community should be respected and valued for their unique perspectives and contributions. The ARCHER2 Service is committed to providing an environment in which all members of the HPC community treat each other with dignity and respect, and where bullying, harassment and discrimination are known to be unacceptable.
Scope and Purpose
This policy applies to all members of the ARCHER2 Service team in relation to both individual and collective activities and dealings with others in the HPC community.
The purpose of the policy is to:
- Foster a positive culture which supports freedom of thought and expression within the law, and within a framework of respect for the rights of other people.
- Promote and enable an inclusive environment where all individuals are treated with dignity and respect, free from bullying, harassment and discrimination.
The policy provides a set of guidelines for ARCHER2 staff to follow. These are published and made available to those utilising ARCHER2 services, to provide confidence that the service is working to provide an inclusive environment for all individuals.
Equality Impact Assessements (EqIAs) will be completed for all areas of the ARCHER2 Service. EqIAs will be carried out within existing systems and frameworks. It is a recognised way of improving policy development and service delivery. By assessing equality impact we proactively consider the needs of our users, staff, stakeholders and the wider community, identify potential steps to advance equality and foster good relations, and ensure that we do not discriminate unlawfully.
Key Measures for Organising Events
The ARCHER2 Service runs a significant number of events, including training courses, workshops and conferences. This section contains some recommended practices for organising these events. Not all practices are appropriate for all events, but all ARCHER2 staff should at least consider all of the following areas when organising an event.
Organising Groups and Committees
Depending on the nature of the event, there will likely be a group of organisers or an organising committee. This group / committee should itself reflect the diversity we wish for the ARCHER2 event. Conference chairs and lead organisers should take special care to recruit a committee that reflects the diversity of the event we aspire to create. All such organising committees/groups for ARCHER2 must contain a mix of genders, and should have a diversity of other characteristics, including, age, race, sexuality, … As one of the earliest stages of organising an event, prioritising diversity starts here.
Code of Conduct (CoC)
ARCHER2 has a Code of Conduct that applies to all events:
ARCHER2 staff members will promote awareness of the CoC before and during events. In particular they will make sure that everyone involved in the event is aware that the CoC applies to them: this not only includes participants, but also speakers, sponsors, committee members, etc. Guidance to achieve this:
- Have a tick box at registration that confirms that the participant has read it.
- Include a copy of the CoC in the registration pack.
- Mention that the CoC applies to all speakers within the speaker guidelines.
- Ensure that CoC is easily accessible on the conference website.
- Include a short version on the printed schedule as a reminder.
- Mention it in the welcome talk and at the start of every day, including who to contact if there is a problem/violation.
- Provide a mobile number to text to make it easier for some to report issues.
ARCHER2 staff should consider carefully where they advertise the event and to whom. Think about reaching out to new communities who could benefit. The choice of language is crucial in encouraging participation and images should show a diverse range of participants, helping potential participants to identify with those that have previously attended events.
When inviting speakers, it is important to ensure diversity. Staff should consider the specific wording of how talks are solicited, as this can influence participation. For example, a call should look for “Speakers who have advice or expertise to share” rather than “experts in best practices.”
For invited speakers, we encourage staff to look beyond their and other organisers’ own networks. Take steps to go out and find people who might be lesser-known but would make great speakers. Look for more than just “the usual suspects” and reach out to wider networks for ideas, suggestions, and introductions. When inviting speakers, it is important to ensure diversity.
The registration process should treat individuals with dignity and respect and is an opportunity to be welcoming and inclusive. Within the process you should ask for personal characteristic information at the end of the form and ensure that the registrant knows that this information will not be used in determining their individual registration status.
Staff should not ask for sensitive information such as disabilities, dietary requirements, etc. in the registration process, instead request this at a separate stage once the participants registration is confirmed.
Inclusive Practices During Registration
Staff should manage photography opt-outs in a respectful and dignified manner. Badge lanyard at registration should be made available to indicate photo preferences (green = photos fine; yellow = ask first; red = no photos)
Pronoun Pins, Buttons, or Ribbons
Providing a simple way to indicate pronouns is very positive and welcoming for attendees.
At registration, attendees should be given the opportunity to select a pin/button/ribbon for their lanyard to communicate their pronouns. Using a pin even if you don’t feel like you need one helps create a welcoming space for attendees who do.
Colour coordination of the pins by pronoun can lead to quicker recognition and processing by those who see the pins. This lowers the barrier to checking (look at the colour).
Accommodating Disabilities: general best practice
All ARCHER2 events must be available to people with a broad range of disabilities. There is no one size fits all in accommodating a disability but in general we advise:
- After registration provide participants with the opportunity to inform you of any accommodations that they may need. This may be done through an additional form, and can include providing information on requirements other than those to do with disabilities, such as dietary restrictions.
- Always use a microphone: 1 in 5 people have some form of hearing impairment, and even in a small room it can be difficult to hear particularly when people are working together in small groups. It is common practice to ask the question ‘Can you all hear?’, but this is often done in a raised voice that is then lowered for the rest of the day.
- Always use rooms equipped with a hearing loop. EPCC has a portable hearing loop, which we can use at sites not suitably equipped. All training staff are trained in the use of hearing loops.
- Only talk to the audience when you are facing them: when writing on a whiteboard, etc. try not to talk.
- Answer questions by ensuring it is clear what the question is. It is not necessary to repeat the question verbatim, but the answer can often incorporate the key parts of the question. Where available, a microphone should be used for asking questions.
- Always use rooms that are wheelchair accessible, and with wheelchair accessible coffee and toilet facilities nearby.
- Be aware that lunch, coffee and toilet breaks will take longer for mobility impaired attendees and ensure that there is plenty of time available to travel between the venue and catering facilities.
- Provide material to participants in advance of the event so that attendees can download and view the material either in print or on their local device during the session.
- Ensure the font size and colour of your training material can be easily changed if required.
- Consider using an online (or SMS-based) system for questions or comments as this facilitates contributions from quieter people and autistic people.
An Inclusive Environment
When organising the event, ARCHER2 staff should consider the overall environment for attendees. Is it welcoming and inclusive for all attendees? For example, is there a quiet room available? Are there faith rooms available? Are there appropriate spaces and facilities for people wishing to breastfeed, either in company or in private?
Making sure that your attendees have something they can eat at mealtimes is an important element of building an inclusive and welcoming event.
It is best to have a sign/small label in front of each dish with a list of ingredients and common labels (e.g. “gluten-free, vegan, includes peanuts”). Many caterers provide this but to be sure, ask the caterer in advance to create and provide the labels. In addition, make sure to include a variety of beverages, particularly non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated.
There are a range of common dietary needs you may need to plan for, although there may be others: gluten free, dairy free, vegan, vegetarian, pork free, shellfish free, soy free, nut free - especially peanut (this is often a serious allergy so take extra care), kosher, halal, low fodmap.
Ensuring your event has easily accessible gender-neutral toilets is a simple way to help non-binary and trans individuals feel included and welcome at your event. You can also help by:
- Posting signs in the toilet and/or on the door instructing what to do if they think someone is in the “wrong” restroom. For example, “If you think someone’s gender doesn’t match the sign on the door, please follow these steps: Don’t worry about it, they know better than you.” (via @LGBTplusBristol)
- Toiletries/Supplies: Provide tampons, pads and sanitary bins in all restrooms (some people who identify as male have periods and may need them).
Where possible, we should offer grants to support attendance from traditionally under-represented and/or marginalized groups in the technology and/or open source communities who would be unable to attend without some financial assistance. These include, but are not limited to: persons identifying as LGBTQ, indigenous, women, persons of colour, and/or persons with disabilities and be unable to attend without some financial assistance (language adapted from The Linux Foundation).
Typically, recipients either submit receipts for reimbursement, have direct expenses paid for by the organising committee, or are granted a lump sum up-front. If possible, you should consider paying for things directly rather than making attendees pay and wait to be reimbursed, or at least offer this as an option for people who want to use it.
Waiting for reimbursement can be a financial burden on grant/scholarship recipients.
Assessment of the Event
A survey of participants after the event can help to establish whether your diversity and inclusion measures had an effect. You should, for example, see whether there is any correlation between being part of a minority group and how welcoming the conference felt to the individual participants. You can consider specifically asking about inclusion/diversity on the survey.
- NumFOCUS DISCOVER Cookbook (Diverse & Inclusive Spaces and Conferences: Overall Vision and Essential Resources) https://github.com/numfocus/DISCOVER-Cookbook/blob/master/index.md
- The University of Edinburgh’s Dignity and Respect Policy https://www.ed.ac.uk/files/atoms/files/dignity_and_respect_policy.pdf
- ARCHER2 Training Code of Conduct
- ARCHER2 Best Practice Guide: Improving Accessibility to HPC Training http://www.hpc-diversity.ac.uk/best-practice-guide/best-practice-guide-training
- ARCHER2 Best Practice Guide: Improving diversity at HPC conferences and events http://www.hpc-diversity.ac.uk/best-practice-guide/access-best-practice
- 2020-05-05 Minor Updates
- 2020-03-13 Copied from ARCHER and Updated for ARCHER2