The AHEAD annual international conference will run from Wednesday March 20th to Thursday March 21st 2024

Conference Title: Panorama: Widening the Lens for Systemic Inclusion in Tertiary Education 

Conference Dates: Wednesday March 20th to Thursday March 21st 2024, will be held in-person, online and hybrid. In-person elements will take place in Croke Park Conference Centre.

All questions or queries should be directed to

 Conference Themes & Context

The rapidly growing diversity in our further education and training (FET) and higher education (HE) learner population has brought greater recognition of the need to ensure that ‘inclusion is everyone’s business’. A growing number of students with disabilities, greater ethnic and socio-economic diversity, and rising numbers of second language learners amongst, have further highlighted the complex and intersecting identities within our institutions. All staff have a part to play in ensuring we create programmes, services and environments which enable them to access, participate and flourish in all aspects of the educational experience.  

In an Irish context, important goals concerning disability inclusion and universal design are embedded in national FET and HE strategy, and evidence exists of significant engagement in professional development, (forthcoming, Healy et al.). 

But the same research highlights a lack of strategic focus on universal design at the institutional level, and challenges to creating implementation structures which support its sustainable application.  

This conference explores strategies and structures which sustainably embed universal design and disability-inclusive approaches in institutional policy and practice, embracing the ever-complex identities of all learners. The aim is to take a panoramic view of our institutional approaches to inclusion and create a space for reflection, networking and the broadening of our horizons. 

Drawing on the literature, we’ll be focussing on ideas and actions in four key pillars of our institutions (Burgstahler, 2009; Kelly and Padden, 2018), and how they interact and intertwine to create a more inclusive environment for our students: 

  • Teaching & Learning 

  • Supports, Services & Social Engagement 

  • Physical Environment 

  • Digital Environment 

 Conference Fees

Selected contributors will receive a 10% discount on conference fees.

 Change of Attendance & Cancellation Policy

Cancellations/refund requests - All refund requests must be made in writing and received by 5:00pm March 15th with the exception of illness related absences. After 5:00pm March 15th the registrant will be liable for the entirety of the registration fee, regardless of attendance from the scheduled event.  In the case of illness, written messages sent to the AHEAD conference committee will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. 

Change of attendance type - Attendees are welcome to change their attendance type from online to in-person or vice versa. However, changing attendance type will incur an administrative charge of €10 and additionally those changing from an online ticket to an in-person ticket will be required to pay the difference between the ticket types (€50 for members, €100 for non-members). 

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ahead conference supported by solas & the hea

With thanks to SOLAS and the Higher Education Authority who provide core funding for AHEAD's activities promoting inclusion in the tertiary education:

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This article appeared in the AHEAD website. Visit for more information