citrusjava: (Default)
[personal profile] citrusjava

It turns out my pretty little accessible(ish) conference - wasn't - and at this point I honesty need a reality check.
I'd appreciate your input, especially if these topics are part of your lives.

Before the lest panel, a women approached one of the organizers and told her she can't understand a thing because of the academic language. The organizer, who happened to be presenting her paper next, told her she'd make an effort to speak more clearly. (seems like shedid)

But then the person closing the conference - for reasons no one seems to understand - went off topic three times to address this (or was it a coincidence....??) - In her discussion of academia being hegemonic and classicist, she stopped three times to say that it's ok if people don't understand what you say in an academic convention because that's the way academia works, to condescendingly explain to the audience how to look things up if they do not understand, and to directly say accessibility is not that important.

The person from the audience approached her, later, and they got into an argument. The other organizer, the one who changed her presentation earlier, tried to mediate, and got.... ironic!organizer to apologize, (so sincerely she spent a lot of the ride home lecturing people about how right she was). The person from the audience told her she didn't owe her to accept her apology, and left, hurt and angry.

And additionally, it turned out

she is living at a temporary hostel for victims of human trafficking/continuous sexual assault/idk, and one of the advisors (?) there did or did not suggest our conference as a nice good experience. (the advisor said she didn't idk0)

For me - the only way that makes sense to deal with this (since I only found out about it too late) - is - find this woman, apologize yes-sincerely and validate that this was not ok - and try to find out whether there is anything we could do to make it less icky

Some suggestions from talking with some of the organizers - we could meet and talk about it; if the topic of the conference interests her, she is welcome to join our research group (that would be such a delight for her with the person who treated her badly there,right); if she's still interested in the papers presented at the conference, some of us could give them again, better, at the hostel or for her and some of her friends (surely her dearest desire is to listen to MORE from us all); she could come give us a lecture ( for whatever woefully low fee we collect between us, or whatever I'll pay her fight me).


talked with some of the organizers - not even Ironic!one, and every one of them's been telling me I'm overreacting, this isn't ableist or classicist and isn't a microaggression, every convention involves someone getting upseet -
and of course - that woman
was ANGRY and RUDE and we can't condone that by apologizing.

I feel so disheartened and confused, like I should be embarrassed for believing this should be fixed and thoroughly, rather than for the things done

Date: 2017-01-14 12:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
They are wrong and you are right, period, end of sentence.

And they should be ashamed of themselves for being such fucking asshats. Jayzus.

I have no idea how it could be fixed (if I were that woman, i wouldn't want to be around those people again, at all), but good on you for speaking up. Just don't let them browbeat you into thinking you're wrong - you're not.

Date: 2017-01-14 03:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Thank you so, so much!!!!!!!!!!
Bless you, thank you for the validation- you are so amazing

Date: 2017-01-14 03:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm not the one standing up to *several* people, intent on making me back down and shut up. Take a little credit, bb. :)

Date: 2017-01-14 03:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you, really :))

thank you!!

Date: 2017-01-14 06:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think you are a very kind and empathetic person for standing in her shoes like that. You would get along with people here. If something like that happened, everyone would be very appoligetic and really, I think that's really all she needs. Someone to listen to her and be sympathetic. One person that would just apologize for her degrading experience, tell her she is right to feel hurt, and let her vent a little.

Date: 2017-01-14 02:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
YOU'RE so kind! Thank you so so much!

Honestly, I don't deserve much credit for wanting to apologize for not properly protecting this person, whose protection was my responsibility. But thank you so, so much for saying such amazing kind things!

And thank you so, so much for the advice - I really hope that'll do it!

Date: 2017-01-14 11:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ugh :( Idk what the conference topic was but it sounds like that it failed to involve the voices of the audience/people at the heart of it. In my discipline area/academic circles, I'd like to think we're better at it, but then again the non-academics we most often collaborate are criminal justice professionals and thus pretty empowered to say if something needs clarifying. This idea where you'd redo the papers but in a different way and in the home ground of the intended audience, sounds excellent if you can make it happen. More you talk about your experiences of higher education there, more I wish you'd had a chance to experience it here.

Date: 2017-01-14 01:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Thank you , bb

I'm not allowed to say the topic in a public post (though definitely in private, if you're at all interested), but you're right - it was interdisciplinary between humanities, arts, and some of the fiddly ones (gender studies, new media etc). You're absolutely right that we missed the target of the conference - it was officially supposed to be a feminist conference.

I believe most papers presented were more or less understandable (though honestly, a lot of the time I was outside trying to make sure there would be water to drink during the break, or directing people to the bathrooms, or for a crucial 20 minutes - hiding out in the wheelchair ramp trying to deal with someone having triggered me despite me telling her no.

We did - as it turned out - get two requests regarding accessibility, that were just not mentioned to either of the people in charge of it, it turns out. What is even - we had an e-mail and facebook address for accessibility issued. We put it on all our publications, and additionally posted specifically about it on different platforms. Every panel was opened with accessibility questions including a general invitation to approach the people with the tags for ay relevant need. I am fat and loud and was wearing a bright red dress. I've discussed accessibility with the organizers and presenters so much for weeks, one on one and in groups and in PMs and all the time. I gave a briefing. I gave a lecture about disability activism and philosophy and led a discussion about it. I made handy checklists (though I didn't consider specifically writing "if someone approaches you with an accessibility issue, don't insult and humiliate them - shut up and go get me"). The ironic!organizer and I had a talk specifically about the things she decided to add to her lecture, and knew I consider them ableist - and also I made a real effort to make sure she wasn't angry about the issue etc (apparently she was so ok with it she managed to forget, because she came to me for comfort after what happened, and when I told her she knew I didn't agree with her she had a moment of "oh, right"). Couldn't people just fucking have gotten one of the people in charge of accessibility? why did people not even consider doing that and how do I get them to yes consider it next time (if I ever do thing again esrghdgfhh)? OK, I'm done whining for now....

I believe most people honestly cared, and I believe it showed in most of their lectures. I should have emphasized more that being understandable was an issue. As for the person who was being unclear - I should have interrupted her and asked that she be clearer,
and as for ironic!organizer

probably the best way
one of those vaudeville canes??

Date: 2017-01-14 01:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Thank you!

Date: 2017-01-14 01:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I candefinitely make it happen. Those women - say the word i'll gladly give you a course in anything I can teach, of course. And I know plenty of women who also would. But I just don't know if they'd even care - or need me yammering at them .

Still, cansuggest......

Date: 2017-01-14 01:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Pardonall the replies - I'm emotional-

as for doing academia there - that could be very awesome!
I' hopefully going to finish my MA in about a year, year and a half, and if I'm a position to do that, might be searching for a good place to relocate to do my PHD, that would be likely(ish?) to lead to employment. If I'm lucky, maybe I'll get to do that closer with you!

Date: 2017-01-15 10:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
No worries about the multiple replies sweetie :) I'm glad to hear the conference wasn't a complete disaster and that most papers were okay and people at least genuinely tried. Yes, you can always suggest a redo, at least that will keep the dialogue going.

And as for your last comment, I was serious about helping if I you ever decide to look at academic positions in the UK and if I can. PM whenever if you want to talk more about that.

Date: 2017-01-16 08:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
WOWW doesn't seem to cover it....
thank you so much doesn't either!!

Date: 2017-01-17 10:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Nothing extraordinary hun, this is what friends too.


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