AMS Guidelines on Accessibility and Accommodations for Members with Disabilities

approved by the AMS Board of Directors, 12 November 2009; rev. March 2015

Recognizing the contributions that scholars with disabilities have made and continue to make to the field of musicology, and in keeping with its commitment to the principles of inclusiveness and equal access, the American Musicological Society has adopted the following guidelines.



The Society will hold its Annual Meetings in venues that are fully accessible and fully in compliance with all ADA-related requirements.

Meeting rooms:

Every effort will be made to ensure that meeting rooms are physically accessible, including wheelchair accessibility, and that appropriate space to accommodate persons with disabilities will be available in the rooms themselves. All aisles and other designated areas (including the space between the front row of seats and the presenter's podium or table and the space near doorways) should be kept clear for persons who may be using wheelchairs, canes, crutches, or motorized vehicles.


At the time they register, participants should specify what accommodations they would need (e.g., large-print or electronic versions of the program, abstracts, or handouts; assisted-listening devices; an escort to assist with movement from session to session; or other assistive technologies and practices) to ensure their full participation in the conference. The Society will attempt to meet these requests to the extent possible, and will be happy to work with individuals on their specific needs. Participants requesting special accommodations may be asked their permission to keep the information on file for future events. The registration form itself will be available in various formats (e.g., large-print, electronic text). The Society will also provide information on accessible taxis and other transportation services on the conference information page.

Call for papers:

The formal call for papers for the Annual Meeting will be available in various formats (e.g., large-print, electronic text). It will state the types of accommodations for members with disabilities that may be required of all accepted papers (e.g., the provision of large-print copies of handouts, making projections available in handouts).

Program and abstracts will be available in alternative formats (e.g., large-print, electronic text). Official AMS communications distributed at the Business Meeting and Awards Presentation (e. g. the Treasurer's Report and the Secretary's Report) will also be available in alternative formats.

During the Annual Meeting itself every effort will be made to ensure accessibility for persons with disabilities, both presenters and audience members. Various accommodations will be made available on request (e.g., large-print or digital versions of the program, abstracts, and handouts; assisted-listening devices; an escort to assist with movement from session to session; or other assistive technologies and practices). Speakers with disabilities are encouraged to express preferences for meeting rooms based on their specific needs (e.g., near elevators, with wide doors, etc.). The Society will attempt to accommodate these preferences where possible.

Paper sessions:

The responsibilities of Session Chairs and room monitors include attending to the accessibility of the session for both presenters and audience members. An important component of this will be ensuring that questioners deliver their questions via microphone after identifying themselves. Session Chairs may also be called upon to assist speakers in the use of alternative methods of presentation.


Speakers who use handouts should prepare five copies in large-print format (boldface 14- to 16-point font size for text and suitably enlarged for musical examples). Visual materials that are projected on screens (e.g. Powerpoint and overheads) should be available digitally in advance of the conference for users to manipulate as fits their needs (enlargement, etc.). In some cases speakers who are unable to attend the Annual Meeting by reason of disability will be enabled to present their papers via teleconference or through a proxy presenter. The Society will encourage presenters to consider strategies for creating an accessible presentation.



Where feasible, the Society's publications (its Journal, Newsletter, Directory, and program books for the Annual Meeting) will be made available in alternative formats (e.g., large-print, electronic, or both).


Mentoring program:

The Society has a mentoring program to assist its members in gaining access to the various kinds of support available for those with disabilities, both within and outside the Society.



In consultation with the officers of the Music and Disability Study Group, the Society's Board of Directors will appoint a member of the Study Group to liaise with the Local Arrangements Committee to implement and supervise accessibility policies. Information describing these policies will be provided to the chairs of the Local Arrangements and Program Committees, as well as to the chairs of all paper sessions and Study Groups.


Along with diversity and gender equity, the AMS statement should refer to inclusion and access for all members as guiding principles.

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