Equity, Access, & Inclusion at Watson 2024

As we write on the conference homepage, Watson 2024 “is driven not only by a desire to promote connection and community and to support shared work that addresses a pressing issue, but also by a dedication to antiracist and anti-oppressive praxis that will enable humanizing, rather than alienating, working environments.”

The Watson Conference commitments to fighting anti-black racism, scholarship on antiracist conference design (e.g., Croom, 2022; Johnston, Solomon Amorao, & Kim, 2022), lessons from the 2021 conference (as documented in our report on racial equity and inclusion), and the 2024 Watson Conference Commitments have informed how we are structuring the 2024 conference.

At the same time, we recognize that the practices noted below are attempts at equity, inclusion, and access—they may miss the mark, have glaring deficiencies, or have different effects than desired. We would be grateful for your ideas and feedback on what is lacking and what we can improve. At any point before, during, or after the conference, please email us at or use our anonymous comment form


  • We provided Zoom-only and hybrid-options for people who could not travel to the University of Louisville.
  • Please consult our accessibility guide to the in-person conference sites.
  • Please consult "Accessible Composing and Collaboration for 2024 Watson Conference Participants." It includes resources on accessible  documents and meeting interactions.
  • We scheduled rehearsals with project facilitators and our primary Spanish interpreter and primary CART captioner.
  • The application form invited people to share access needs as well as, for in-person participants, dietary constraints.
  • Our in-person reception is alcohol-free.  


  • After the Watson 2021 roundtable, “Beyond the Land Acknowledgement: Decolonial Actions for the Watson Conference and UofL,” which was problematic in its conception and design and troubling in comments made by certain participants (described in pp. 15-18 of the 2021 report), we developed an ongoing list of resources on Indigenous Louisville and Kentucky to educate ourselves and future conference-goers, and we invited the American Indian Caucus to facilitate a project at the 2024 conference if there was interest. Two AIC leaders are doing so.
  • If certain activities are dehumanizing or hurtful to members of marginalized groups who then educate us about what happened and why, we have a policy of compensation for this intellectual and emotional labor. As we posit in our report on Watson 2021, compensation “is not the solution to eradicating racist or oppressive conference practices, but it is a small way in which conference organizers can acknowledge both the tolls of this feedback as well as its intellectual value” (p. 21).

Fostering Inclusion and Belonging

  • Project teams’ working and learning environment. One of the selection criteria for projects was that teams planned thoughtfully for intersectional collaboration, collective accountability, and radical care (Johnston et al., 2022) to nurture a working environment that seeks to eradicate "patterns and barriers [that] are hostile to the humanity of BIPOC conference participants," as is part Croom’s (2022) articulation of post-White conference design (p. 60). You can read the facilitation teams’ discussions of how they hope to cultivate this environment in their proposals (Question #13). Dr. Croom's keynote also provided support for this work.
  • Support for accountability to (and reflection on) conference commitments: We devoted part of the opening and closing sessions to engaging in individual and collective reflection on the 2024 Watson Conference Commitments.
  • Comfortable spaces for queer and BIPOC folks who visit Louisville. We developed a list of recommended queer-friendly, LGBTQ-owned, and BIPOC-owned restaurants and bars.
  • Meaningful interactions between online and in-person participants. We wanted to make sure that the Zoom week is not a lesser experience and that Zoom and in-person attendees can get to know one another. In order to foster these connections, we organized a conference-wide Slack workspace for all attendees, social activities that are designed for all attendees, and a "buddy system" for deliverable feedback, where 1-2 Zoom projects will be paired with 1-2 in-person projects and will give asynchronous feedback on the other’s showcase deliverable.

Seeking Equity in Conference Registration Costs

  • Our registration fees were on a sliding scale, with options including $0, $20, $50, and $150.
  • We were told that UofL cannot offer grants to people who are caregivers who must arrange for babysitting or adult caregiving in order to attend the conference. As a result, we encouraged caregivers to select the free registration option.

Supporting Black-Owned Businesses

  • The March 7 reception was hosted at a Black-owned business, Black Jockey's Lounge, and the outing on March 8 will be to Roots 101 African American Museum, a Black-owned and -led cultural institution.
  • We sought out Black CART captioners and ASL interpreters, if they were needed.

Again, we hope that conference attendees will feel comfortable and empowered to share additional suggestions or ways we are falling short. Please write us at watson@louisville.edu or use our anonymous comment form.