A new online workshop offers ancient world scholars at all career levels tools and resources to make their teaching more accessible, filling a vital gap in professional development.
What is the workshop and who is it aimed at?
The Sydney chapter of the Australasian Women in Ancient World Studies (AWAWS) is hosting a workshop on accessibility on Friday 25th June at 11am AEST. This FREE online workshop is intended to be an introduction to making teaching practices and research outputs accessible. We encourage ancient world scholars at all career levels to consider the need to increase the accessibility of their work for people with disabilities and offer advice on how to do so.
The workshop will cover the basics of classroom design and alternative assessments, as well as the core accessibility features of PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, and some considerations when publishing and disseminating research. The workshop will be run by members of AWAWS, and we invite anyone in Ancient World Studies in Australasia who is interested to attend this event.
Why is the workshop important?
Our workshop is an important step towards increasing accessibility. Not only does this workshop invite researchers, teachers, and students to consider the accessibility of their work, but it also offers practical suggestions on how to do so. Increased accessibility is an important and worthwhile practice. Accessibility benefits students with a disability and contributes to increased diversity by seeking to break barriers to inclusion. Raising awareness about the need for accessibility also advocates against related forms of discrimination.
Many changes to the accessibility of ancient world studies research contribute to increased opportunities for equity and diversity in the field. The more scholars who consider and apply accessible standards, the more equitable we make the field. For example, offering readings in a text and audio format or providing recorded lectures and transcripts can increase access for a person with a visual or hearing impairment. These accessibility considerations may also help someone currently without disability who is working while studying or undertaking caring duties.
The workshop will be facilitated by AWAWS Sydney Chapter members Kimberly Harris and Hannah Vogel:
Kimberly Harris (@Kim_Jade2) is a co-chair of the AWAWS Sydney Chapter and a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney. Her current research interests include Latin declamation, Roman law, and representations of gender, violence, and the body in Ancient Rome. Her thesis examines representations of violence in body politic metaphors within the context of the late Republic and early Empire and considers how this violence reflects the broader socio-political climate as well as the potential lived experience of individuals in this period. She has previously worked as an academic mentor and is passionate about developing more accessible teaching approaches in ancient world studies, and especially the teaching of classical languages.
Hannah Vogel (@hannah_vogel8) is a co-chair of the AWAWS Sydney Chapter and has recently completed her Master of Research at Macquarie University. She is researching bodily difference, disability and impairment in ancient societies. Her thesis focused on scholarly approaches towards disability in ancient world studies, particularly ableist narratives in Egyptology. Her research seeks interdisciplinary communication between humanities and science, especially in bioarcheology, history, and disability studies. She is an advocate for accessibility and working collaboratively and seeks to explore the lived experience of disability in the ancient past. Hannah is also co-coordinator of Tele’s Angels, a peer-to-peer mentoring program.
How to register:
You can register for the workshop here: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/awaws-workshop-accessible-research-and-teaching-practices-tickets-157441274089
AWAWS has its inception in a 2010 survey of female academics, postgraduates and post-doctoral fellows across Australia and New Zealand about whether they saw a place for a professional organisation for women who study and work on the ancient world. This was followed by an inaugural meeting at the 32nd annual meeting of the Australasian Society for Classical Studies (ASCS) in January 2011. With the generous assistance of the Classical Association of New South Wales, ASCS and a number of private donors, the society was launched at a luncheon with a guest speaker. Professor Vivienne Gray from the University of Auckland illustrated, through the careers of two notable New Zealand scholars Agathe Thornton and Daphne Hereward, the nature of the history of women in the discipline.
Since that meeting, local chapters were established in Melbourne and Sydney mid-2011. AWAWS continues to grow and gain new members by holding an annual general meeting, and events at conferences and at a local chapter level.
Other upcoming AWAWS events:
AWAWS is also hosting a panel on disablism in Ancient World Studies on Tuesday 29th June at 5pm AEST. You can find more details and register for the panel here: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/awaws-panel-disability-in-ancient-world-studies-tickets-157442742481
For further details about these events or other upcoming AWAWS Sydney Chapter events, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Links to useful resources:
Disabled Academic Collective: https://disabledacademicco.wixsite.com/mysite
Schroeder, N. (2020) Fostering an Inclusive Classroom: Universal Design Learning and Accessible Online Teaching Practices, guide available here. This resource is available on the Disabled Academic collective website (above).
Accessible classroom resources: Inclusivity statements in syllabi: https://www.accessiblesyllabus.com/policy/
Tips from The University of Edinburgh: https://www.ed.ac.uk/information-services/help-consultancy/accessibility/creating-materials
How to Write Alt Text and Image Descriptions for the Visually Impaired: https://www.perkinselearning.org/technology/blog/how-write-alt-text-and-image-descriptions-visually-impaired
Zoom Accessibility features: https://zoom.us/accessibility
Australasian Women in Ancient World Studies (@WomenAncient): https://www.awaws.org/
We would also like to acknowledge the work of David Chapman (@DavidATChapman) in the organisation, content, and presentation of this workshop. David is currently a PhD Candidate in Ancient History at Macquarie University. His research focuses on formal and informal structures of power in New Kingdom Egypt. He is currently working on a study that examines officials associated with the Temples of Montu and the roles temple personnel play within the interpersonal and institutional apparatus of state. David sits on the Department of History and Archaeology Working Group on Approaches to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility at Macquarie University. David has been integral to the planning of this accessibility workshop and is also a panelist for the upcoming discussion facilitated by AWAWS on disablism in Ancient World Studies on Tuesday 29th June.