Designing Inclusive Conferences And Learning Gatherings


UBC is an institution of learning in two interconnected and interdependent ways. First, we are a community in which people from all parts of the world, and from many different backgrounds, come to live and learn together on the traditional, ancestral and unceded lands of the Musqueam people, at the Vancouver campus, and the Syilx people of the Okanagan Nation, at the Kelowna campus. Second, we are also dedicated to continuous and active institutional learning exchange about systemic inequality and the insidious, sometimes intangible, dynamics of privilege and oppression. We aspire to be an open, expansive, and expanding learning community.


This committee was assembled under the direction of Dr. Naznin Virji-Babul, the Senior Advisor to the Provost on Women and Gender-Diverse Faculty. Knowledge production and sharing is at the core of the University’s purpose. Accordingly, the goal of the committee is to create a community agreement with tools and guidance for the equitable, diverse, strength based, and inclusive design of conferences (including panels and lecture series), held on campus or organized by UBC members. The committee represents a cross-section of faculty, staff, and graduate students from the Okanagan campus and the Vancouver campus and brings together members with diverse backgrounds, identities, and experiences.


UBC is committed to recognizing and honouring the historical and ongoing contributions of equity-deserving groups who have been historically, persistently, or systemically marginalized at the intersections of race, religion, gender, sexuality, class, and disability. As a first step on the long, collective path towards intersectional social justice, we declare solidarity with equity-deserving groups and communities.


The goal of the committee is to build and sustain institutional capacity across and within disciplines for welcoming and retaining researchers, educators, community members, and students from equity-deserving groups. As well, our mission is to center such people in positions of leadership and partnerships from which they have been (and, too often, continue to be) excluded. To begin this process, we plan to develop guidance and tools to ensure that learning events (conferences, seminars, congresses, symposiums) associated with UBC are designed to foster a diversity of ways of knowing, identities, and lived experiences that contribute to all fields and conversations. We commit to do the following:

  • Establishing specific actions for reconciliation, including decolonizing educational methodologies and practices and holding space for Indigenous perspectives and knowledges from Indigenous peoples;
  • Identifying and removing barriers to equity;
  • Creating a forum where everyone can contribute their lived experiences;
  • Creating and providing resources for conference organizers to recognize and centre the diverse lived experiences, needs, and aspirations of participants;
  • Creating and providing resources for conference organizers on issues of diversity, and the benefits of inclusion;
  • Designing conferences that are inclusive, including an environment in which all participants
    • have the freedom to learn and share knowledge and experiences;
    • have access to spaces, supports, and tools needed for that freedom;
    • understand their responsibility to one another as well as the conference and university’s standards of inclusion, equity, and diversity.
  • Evaluating the impacts of the agreed tools and guidance and updating accordingly


  • Jehannine Austin, Professor and Canada Research Chair, Departments of Psychiatry & Medical Genetics
  • Terry-Lee Beaudry, Deputy Superintendent of Schools
  • Asmin Chen, Project Manager, Equity and Inclusion Office
  • Meaghan Efford, PhD Candidate, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries
  • Laila Ferreira, Assistant Professor, School of Journalism, Writing, and Media
  • Sophia Frangou, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine
  • Mark Halpern, Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy
  • Stefan Sunandan Honisch, Banting Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Theatre and Film
  • Greg Martin, Professor, Department of Mathematics
  • Rosalin Miles, Research Associate, Indigenous Studies in UBC School of Kinesiology
  • Firas Moosvi, Lecturer, CMPS Department
  • Marny Point, Indigenous Teacher Education Program Coordinator, Instructor, First Nations and Endangered Languages Team
  • Jessica Schaub, Graduate Student, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries
  • Naznin Virji-Babul, Senior Advisor to the Provost on Women and Gender-Diverse Faculty


We are working to create an interactive website which will host:

  • Community Guidelines
  • ToolKit for Organizers
  • Examples of use based on different personas

Asmin Chen, Project Manager, Equity and Inclusion Office



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