Introducing a more accessible and inclusive future for events

Introducing a more accessible and inclusive future for events

07 Jun 2023

With 1.3 billion people worldwide, and one in five Australians, experiencing a significant disability today, accessibility and inclusion should form part of every event and venue management plan. Just as it has been built into ICC Sydney’s operating strategies, it is also an essential consideration for event strategies, to ensure a safe and welcoming experience for all.


ICC Sydney’s welcoming approach to accessibility and inclusion

Here at ICC Sydney, we know that fostering this welcoming environment goes far beyond physical amenities and relies on embedding inclusion into the heart of an organisation’s culture.

As the events industry came together at IMEX Frankfurt, it felt like the ideal moment to share our vision for enabling every visitor, delegate and team member to participate to their fullest and to launch our Accessible and Inclusive Events Guide.

Part of ICC Sydney’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategy, and a build on our Accessibility and Inclusion Visitor information, the Guide – a comprehensive resource for event planners – encompasses advice and best practices for creating a welcoming experience for people of all abilities, cultures and identities – reflecting our core ambition to offer unforgettable experiences for all by detailing:

  • inclusive language considerations
  • tips for inclusive presentations and speaker briefings
  • how to create inclusive marketing and communications for your event and delegates
  • spaces and facilities available at ICC Sydney for inclusive events, including for people with disabilities and hidden disabilities.


Comprehensive accessibility infrastructure

It also outlines the outstanding infrastructure available at ICC Sydney to drive more accessible events. We have low gradient, step free access across all three venues, accessible toilets, accessible parking, wheelchair accessible parenting rooms, a fully fitted changing place, prayer rooms, sensory friendly rooms, induction loop hearing augmentation systems, Braille door signage and fixed directional signage throughout.


Beyond accessible amenities

Our extraordinary team is just as diverse as our clients and delegates, and their backgrounds and perspectives elevate ICC Sydney’s customer service. Eighty-two different languages are represented across our workforce, and this deep multicultural understanding enables us to make our guests feel seen and heard through authentic experiences and interactions.

We firmly believe that every individual, regardless of their abilities, should have equal access to events and opportunities. By sharing our knowledge and expertise through this new toolkit, we hope to inspire other event organisers worldwide to prioritise accessibility and create environments where everyone can thrive.

An important legacy of Sydney WorldPride

ICC Sydney put this ambition into action when we were the venue of choice for the Sydney WorldPride Human Rights Conference. Knowing that our team plays an essential role in bringing an inclusive culture to life, we undertook gender pronoun awareness, allyship training and we mark days of significance across the calendar to bring compassion, understanding and empathy to all visitors – not only for this conference, but for all future ICC Sydney events.

A legacy of the Human Rights Conference, as well as the disability events we’ve hosted over the years, including the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Conference, the Accessible and Inclusive Events Guide allows us to share the knowledge that we feel so privileged to have received by these wonderful events, their organisers and partners.


Cultural awareness and inclusion

Acknowledging the traditional custodians of the Gadigal Country on which the venue is built, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, is deeply important to us. It is a privilege to serve the events industry on land with such a rich history, and we are committed to being a welcoming space and an employer of choice for First Nations people, and a supporter of First Nations owned and managed businesses. Our team continues to undertake cultural awareness training to gain a deeper understanding of First Nations culture, history and practices.

Our vision is to empower all event planners to host similarly inclusive events, as we collectively strive towards a future industry that not only delivers exceptional business outcomes, but also drives positive change for the communities around us.


ICC Sydney’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategy in action

The Accessible and Inclusive Events Guide complements ICC Sydney’s overarching Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategy, which closely aligns with the ASM Global ACTS framework and spans five key focus areas: Able @ Work, First Nations, Generation Success, LGBTQIA+, New Australians, and Parents and Carers. As an employer of choice, we strive to ensure all of our team members feel visible, heard and celebrated, which has in turn will support the successful delivery of upcoming events including the Sydney Disability Connection Expo as well as the recent Premier’s Gala Concerts for Seniors and the Source Kids Disability Expo.


Breaking down barriers together

We are acutely aware that championing accessibility and inclusion is an ongoing journey, and we are dedicated to continuously improving and innovating in this space. Our team remains committed to identifying new ways to break down barriers and ensure that everyone can participate in the events we host.

At ICC Sydney, we look forward to an industry in which accessibility and inclusion become the norm. By striving to set an industry gold standard, we hope to pave the way for a more inclusive mindset, one event at a time.

Together, let’s shape an industry that celebrates diversity, embraces inclusivity, and leaves a lasting positive impact on individuals, communities, and society as a whole.

Samantha Glass
Director of Corporate Affairs, Communication and Sustainability