Conference Design

From Venue to Advocate: ICC Sydney’s Journey with Sydney WorldPride

23rd June 2023

ICC Sydney is not just a venue but a testament to sustainability, diversity, equity, and inclusion. As the host of the largest LGBTQIA+ Sydney WorldPride Human Rights Conference in the Southern Hemisphere earlier this year, it showcased its commitment. The three-day event featured diverse sessions like keynotes, panels, workshops, performances, and networking events, exploring LGBTQIA+ human rights.

Words Remi Deve, with ICC Sydney

The success of the Human Rights Conference relied heavily on ICC Sydney’s ability to provide inclusive, sustainable, and accessible services. It worked closely with the oranizers to ensure that the diverse needs of the delegation were met, offering specialised resources and support throughout the conference. 

The venue’s commitment to accessibility was evident through its built-in accessibility features and services, including accessible toilets, ramps, lifts, braille signage, and complimentary hearing augmentation devices. To enhance accessibility even further, Sydney WorldPride introduced Auslan interpreters for every session and additional international sign language (ISL) interpreters for the plenary sessions. Additionally, the LiveVoice smartphone app provided audio description support for delegates with vision impairments, ensuring that all attendees had equal access to information and resources.

In its pursuit of inclusivity, ICC Sydney made specific modifications to the venue to cater to the diverse needs of the delegates. One notable change was the replacement of the venue’s standard toilet signage throughout the centre with inclusive, non-gendered bathroom signage. This simple but powerful alteration created a more welcoming environment for all attendees. 

Furthermore, ICC Sydney transformed its meeting rooms into mental health resources, offering a wellbeing lounge, sensory room, therapy room, and additional creative spaces in the Gallery. These dedicated spaces provided delegates with opportunities for self-care, relaxation, and expression, ensuring their mental well-being was prioritized throughout the conference.

ICC Sydney showed its commitment to Reconciliation by supporting Sydney WorldPride’s mission to include First Nations representation. The venue created a special gathering area in the Convention Centre, offering a safe and inclusive environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This space hosted traditional yarning circles, fostering community connection, cultural celebration, and a sense of belonging. Moreover, each session at Darling Harbour Theatre began with a Welcome to Country, acknowledging and respecting the Traditional Owners of the land where ICC Sydney stands.

ICC Sydney’s commitment to CSR and environmental sustainability was instrumental in delivering a fully sustainable and carbon-neutral Sydney WorldPride event. Collaborating closely with the WorldPride Planning Committee, the venue aligned with their comprehensive sustainability plan. To mitigate environmental impact, ICC Sydney replaced plastic water bottles with sustainable alternatives and placed waste stream bins strategically throughout the event space to divert waste from landfills. The venue’s expert team provided valuable assistance to organizers by reviewing waste planning legislation and identifying suitable waste management resources, effectively reducing the conference’s landfill footprint.

To gain a comprehensive understanding of the event’s carbon footprint, ICC Sydney estimated Sydney WorldPride’s utility spend on water, electricity, and gas over the three-day conference. By considering delegate numbers, event duration, and the overall footprint, the venue aimed to accurately assess and manage the environmental impact of the conference, ensuring that sustainability goals were met. A goal it continues to strive for with the launch of its Accessible and Inclusive Events Guide, providing guidance and resources for event planners to activate and visitors alike to enjoy welcoming events that cater to everyone. 

For more information on ICC Sydney, please visit

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