IAAP UK and India Chapters pilot networking sessions

The IAAP (International Association of Accessibility Professionals) UK and India chapters held three 'Network and Learn' sessions during the summer, bringing together over 150 IAAP members to virtually meet up and learn from one another.

The sessions were created by the Indian and UK chapters as a new way to help build the IAAP community and offers an opportunity for members to meet and learn from other accessibility professionals.

IAAP International Association of Accessibility Professionals, Barrier Break and AbilityNet logos

AbilityNet leads the IAAP UK Chapter and we worked with Shilpi Kapoor and Ramya Venkitesh at Barrier Break, who lead the IAAP Indian Chapter. Both chapters have grown quickly in the past year so this felt like a good way to build some connections and see what we can do to support our members. After initial planning conversations, three sessions were organised over the summer, as a chance to try some of the ideas.

Group shot of IAAP Network and Learn session in Zoom featuring a portion of the attendees

Each session had different times to suit the varied time zones, and we had a variety of guests from the UK and India, including Jodie Greer from Be #PeopleSmart and Rashmi Aghor from SAS Research and Development (India) Ltd. Each session included a brief discussion with guests and our speakers, and featured breakout rooms for small groups to help people to get to know each other.

All three sessions attracted over 200 signups, with over 50 attending the final session in October.


We discussed topics such as IAAP accreditation, career progression and development for accessibility professionals, accessibility careers and jobs market from a HR perspective, plus much more.

Ghizzi Dunlop, IAAP UK Chapter member and Learning Technologist at UWE, commented, "I've found the sessions relaxed and informal. It was just so good to recognise you’re not alone in trying to get your head around the different processes, the learning, and the IAAP exams.

It was great to be able to interact, learn from and share with others from such diverse backgrounds. It also prompts easily distracted recalcitrant like me to commit and set deadlines publicly - it certainly helps me stick to working towards such huge long-term goals."

"It was great to be able to interact, learn from and share with others from such diverse backgrounds."


Mark Walker, IAAP UK Chapter Lead, also commented, "It’s been great to be part of a new community activity over the summer – the UK community has grown quickly so it’s been good to begin making links with them.

It’s also been really interesting working with the Indian Chapter, it underlines the international nature of the IAAP but it has also shown how much the members have in common. Both chapters include people working in large organisations as well, some have technical backgrounds, others are intendent consultants.

We started off with a slightly formal set up but it quickly become much more of a meetup. We have a couple of guests who we talk to informally and then we spend as much time as possible in breakout rooms. The events have been really successful, so we’ve agreed that we’ll run them again in the new year - so look of for the details in future newsletters."

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