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New England's largest and most diverse science fiction and fantasy convention

Access Services

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Arisia is in a new hotel this year. We hope to alleviate the problems we have had with elevators and hallway congestion. An increase in space means that events are more spread out than they have been in previous years, and much more walking will be required. There are a number of places to sit and rest in the hallways in large corridor in front of the ballrooms, outside the panel rooms and in the main lobby of the hotel, but we recommend that if you use mobility aids, bring them to the convention. The hotel has 2 or 3 rental scooters, but we strongly recommend that anyone interested make arrangements ahead of time. The business center at the Westin hotel rents them for $50 a day.
You can use their website to reserve a scooter in advance.

As with part years, Arisia is happy to welcome attendees with service animals. People with allergies should note that we expect a number of attendees with dogs, so they should medicate accordingly. We also ask that everyone respect the working animals and give them appropriate space. Please do not pet or otherwise distract a service animal unless invited to do so by their owner.

If you have any questions about accessibility, would like to request some sort of accommodation, send an email message to: [email protected]. We'll try our best to accommodate your disability.

  • If you need a particular type of hotel room or need a fridge in your room, please make your hotel reservation, and then contact [email protected] and let them know what you need. If you have not already made a reservation, you may not not be able to get an accessible room, The hotel is currently sold out. There is more information here:
  • People with disabilities attending Arisia who wish to bring a physical assistant may request a ribbon which will allow the assistant to go anywhere the attendee goes. If the physical assistant never leaves the side of the person with the paid membership that they're assisting, they can get a free "adult-in-tow" membership, otherwise if they wish to occasionally explore the convention on their own, they must get a paid membership.
  • We will have Braille and large print versions of our Program Book (schedule). If you'd like one, please let us know when you register, so we can be sure to have enough copies. We will also have USB thumb drives with electronic versions of the Pocket Program, the Souvenir book and the Restaurant Guide at the Information desk for fans to load onto mobile devices if they prefer that to paper.
  • Based on the success of last year's event, Arisia will be offering another Tactile tour of selected 3D art in the art show. The tour will be at 5:00 PM on Saturday and cotton archivist's gloves will be provided. Space is limited and first preference will be to those with visual impairment.
  • The New England Folk Festival Association has offered Arisia the loan of two hearing-assistance transmitter/receiver sets, which will be made available to attendees on a first come, first served basis. However, if people have their own FM receivers, they can bring those and they'll be able to pick up the transmission.

    If attendees have specific requests, please feel free to send them to [email protected] and we will do our best to make it happen, but for now, they are installed in the two rooms with appropriate sounds systems, Commonwealth C and Ballroom AB. They will be in-place for any and all events that take place in that space, including the Masquerade. See the sound desk in each room if you need to borrow a receiver. we have 2 to loan.

    Note: the transmitters can only be set up in rooms with augmented sound (microphones, amplification, etc.). More details from --Mike Bergman, NEFFA Sound Committee Chair: These are short-range, low-power (legal) FM transmitters that broadcast in the commercial band. So they can be picked up with any Walkman-style FM radio that's tuned to the correct frequency. They are NOT commercial Assisted Listening Devices (ALDs), and they have a very limited range -- generally speaking, one large room up to about 150 feet on a side (if the transmitter is in the center)(which is about the same range as the Conversor and probably all systems that don't require licenses). Whether they can be used with a hearing aid or not depends on the radio receiver and its headphones/earbuds/whatnot.
  • We will have a few events with ASL interpreters or CART, for Deaf and Hard of Hearing fans. If you are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, please let access services know if there are particular events you are interested. This is the list of event we have requested services for.
Event TimeRoomEvent NameGoH/PerformerService Offered
Fri 6:30 PMHancockMad Scientists in AnimeShaenon GarrityCART
Fri 7:00 PMGrand Ballroom ABFaebotica Concert (2hr)FaeboticaFM Transmitters (Assisted Listening)
Fri 8:00 PMCarltonFlirting with the Mainstream: Paranormal RomanceKelley ArmstrongCART
Fri 9:00 PMCommonwealth CHallucinating Shakespeare Michael AndersonFM Transmitters (Assisted Listening)
Fri 9:00 PMGrand Ballroom DEPresenting Josh SimpsonJosh SimpsonCART
Fri 10:00 PMGrand Ballroom ABDr Who Starship of Madness Radio PlayPost-Meridian Radio PlayersFM Transmitters (Assisted Listening)
Sat 10:00 amCommonwealth CHallucinating Shakespeare Michael AndersonFM Transmitters (Assisted Listening)
Sat 11:00 AMBurroughsIntroducing Kelley ArmstrongKelley ArmstrongCART
Sat 12:00 PMCommonwealth CSassafrass and Stranger Ways Concert (2 hr)Sassafrass and Stranger WaysFM Transmitters (Assisted Listening)
Sat 3:30 PMHancockThe Best International Comics René WallingASL
Sat 5:00 PMCommonwealth CComing Out (panel) (1 hr) FM Transmitters (Assisted Listening)
Sat 6:30 PMGriffinBrainstorming Josh SimpsonJosh SimpsonASL
Sat 8:00 pmGrand Ballroom ABArisia Masquerade (3 hr)Costumers!ASL and ALD Transmitters (Assisted Listening)
Sat 9:30 AMHancockGreat Science Fiction and Fantasy MangaRené Walling and Shenon GarrityASL
Sun 10:00 AMOtis The Questor Tapes (movie) (1hr 40 min)NAClose captioned
Sun 12:00 NoonCommonwealth CThe Subs ConcertThe Subs (Rebecca Angel)FM Transmitters (Assisted Listening)
Sun 3:30 PMCommonwealth CCarl Brandon Society Awards CeremonyRené WallingCART
Sun 7:00 PMGrand Ballroom AB2010 Our Hideous Future (Musical) (2hr)PlayersFM Transmitters (Assisted Listening)
Sun 7:00 PMCommonwealth CPsyche Corp. ConcertPsyche CorporationFM Transmitters (Assisted Listening)
Sun 8:00 PMCommonwealth CGoli Concert (1hr)GoliFM Transmitters (Assisted Listening)

If you have ideas about how we might improve Access Services in 2011, or would like to volunteer to help, we would love to hear from you. Please email [email protected].

Arisia is committed to being a diverse and inclusive event which attempts to provide accommodation for people with disabilities.