Safe Space/Brave Space Policy
Here at Art+Feminism, we strive to provide a harassment free event experience for everyone, regardless of race, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, age, religion, marital status, or any other vector of identity. Any and all organizers and partners who sign-on to work with our campaign have to share in our commitment to create brave spaces for all. That means that Art+Feminism edit-a-thons are spaces where we agree to work together to break down our implicit and explicit biases not only on Wikipedia but also in our interactions with one another and our fellow editors. It also means we agree to hold ourselves and others accountable for the ways we either contribute or subtract from safe and brave spaces. We point out harm when we see it and we work within community to speak up when/if we see event attendees experiencing microaggressions, unfair and/or biased treatment, and inequitable exclusion. Here are just a few suggestions for creating safe/brave spaces and making those spaces sustainable:
Remember the Common Goal. Our shared goal is to address one of the ways women and non-binary people have been systemically silenced; through the preservation of our history. Advancing gender equity and standing up for the histories of marginalized people is about disrupting inequity and inequality, building community, and enacting our values. That’s how we smash patriarchy. That’s how we create knowledge equity.
Make No Assumptions. When working with people, avoid assuming you know their sexual orientation, gender identity, or anything else related to their identity or experiences. Remember that every person is a complex individual with multiple overlapping identities, that may not fit your personal ideas, understandings or social constructs (i.e. gender, sexuality).
Use All-Gender Inclusive Language. Through conversation and during workshops and trainings, make sure the language you use is inclusive of all people. When referring to people in general, avoid gendered pronouns, using “they” instead of “he/she” unless they have explicitly stated their gender pronoun. Use words like “partner” instead of “ boyfriend/girlfriend” or “husband/wife.” Avoid addressing a group with “guys,” “ladies and gentlemen,” etc. and instead use “folks,” “y’all,” “everyone,” “friends,” etc.
Center Accessibility. Assume people with disabilities will attend your event, even if they have not made you aware of their disability, and know that they are stakeholders in your event. Schedule an orientation for all staff and volunteers to review your policy around making the event accessible for everyone. Visit the space together and consider what someone else may experience as they navigate this space. Is the space accessible to those with mobility concerns? If the building has more than one level – are elevators available? Is the space well-lit and obstruction free? Are bathrooms accessible and all gender-inclusive? Connect with resources within your community that offer disability services prior to your event. On event invitations and flyers, invite participants to email you if they will need accommodations or a sign language interpreter to attend the event. Include space on your registration form for people to express access needs.
Think about the spaces where events are being held and make sure it is fully accessible to all individuals. Add image and video text descriptions and subtitles to presentations. Make large print and physical copies of your slides, talks, or handouts available at your event for any participants who need them; ensure these materials are available digitally for those who wish to use screen readers. Whenever workshops are held, always use microphones instead of relying on the “power of your voice.” Using microphones ensures that you can be understood and heard by everyone, reducing the likelihood that a participant with hearing loss will have to publicly announce their hearing loss in order to hear you or your speakers. Avoid strong scents and perfumes and ask that your event staff do the same. Avoid flashing lights and videos that may cause seizures. Provide descriptive content warnings for any presentations, talks, performances or resources that may trigger vulnerable individuals present (i.e. sexually explicit images, content related to any kind of violence or abuse).
Honor Everyone’s Boundaries. Take care of yourself; listen to your physical, mental, and emotional needs and limits; express and honor your boundaries as you deem necessary. Listen and ask others what they need should an issue arise. If someone is asking you for support, do your best to help them find a resource or solution. Always ask consent prior to photographing or recording fellow participants for any reason Always ask consent before making any physical contact with event attendees, volunteers, and staff. Honor the personal spaces of all, and never assume touching someone’s hair, for example, or imposing on anyone’s personal space is welcome.
Confront Harassment and Reduce Harm. Remember that unacceptable behavior includes but is not limited to:
- making offensive comments related to any personal characteristic or identity;
- deliberate intimidation, stalking, following;
- harassing photography or recording; photographing and recording someone for any reason without first acquiring their consent ;
- continued disruption of Art+Feminism presenters, talks, or performances;
- disrespecting the physical, mental, and emotional space of others; touching a person, their hair, or their belongings without consent; not listening when boundaries are stated;
- unwelcome, deliberate physical contact or attention (including touching a person’s hair without consent);
- physical and/or verbal threats to any person or group;
Participants instructed to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately. This applies to everyone, including event staff and sponsors.
Make Your Support and Safety Team Visible. All support and safety staff should wear identifying badges, t-shirts, lanyards, or lapels at all times so they can be contacted if there is an issue. Make yourself and your assigned team members available to hold any and all offenders accountable. Be brave.
Create a plan in advance for what the protocol will be should someone be on the giving or receiving end of harmful or toxic behavior during your event.
Provide information for event staff such as a local sexual assault hotline, emergency and non-emergency medical resources, taxi companies, etc. Make this information publicly visible.
Embrace Your Mistakes, Then, Move Forward. We are all learning and unlearning. We will make mistakes. When we do, it’s our responsibility to admit, correct, and repair the harm. Embracing our mistakes cannot be done in a spirit of defensiveness. To confront our own biases requires accepting the fact that we are imperfect and like everyone else internalize harmful biases and stereotypes about marginalized communities and identities. Do not center yourself or your mistake as you work to repair the harm in any given situation and listen to the needs of those who were harmed.
Be Brave in Holding Others Accountable, Then, Move Forward. If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, you are encouraged to engage in a conversation with those involved, if you feel safe and comfortable doing so. If you do not feel safe doing so, or a conversation does not solve the issue, please contact a member of event staff immediately.
Event staff and fellow participants should express compassion and understanding when helping those being harassed or harmed contact venue support and safety; avoid intentionally or unintentionally placing blame on the person being harassed and instead show them we value them by taking action to solve the issue, provide escorts, or otherwise assisting them in feeling safer for the duration of the event. Don’t leave them to deal with this alone.
If a participant engages in harassing or oppressive behavior, the event organizers may take action they deem appropriate, including having a conversation with that person, warning the offender, or expulsion from the event.
Remember that our communities are only brave and sustainable so long as we are willing to hold each other accountable for our actions, and we are willing to be held accountable when we make mistakes. Conflict is a natural part of the process. We are here to make progress, not to be perfect.
This Art+Feminism leadership collective, consisting of over a dozen of ambassadors, organizers, and project founders around the world stand by this agreement. In developing our community agreement we looked to organizations/organizers who inspire us and also share powerful anti-oppressive frameworks with their communities, including: FemTechNet, Allied Media Projects, Emergent Strategy, Movement Killing Behaviors by Njimie Dzurinko, Rooted in Rights, Ideas For Ears, and The Queer Futures Collective. This Brave Space policy is a collective effort based on our informed experiences across various intersections of identity. We wish to acknowledge that we do this work in solidarity with a wide-reaching feminist network. We welcome continuing discussion to make it even more comprehensive, inclusive, and brave.
If you need to report an incident of harassment please first contact the organizer of your local event, to see if the issue can be resolved locally. If you need to report the incident to us, seek advice or an investigation, or seek other legal or educational resources about how to respond or report an issue of harassment within or outside the Wikipedia community, (i.e. local venue support and safety, support hotlines, emergency and non-emergency medical resources, taxi companies, etc.) please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Wikipedia: Policies
- Wikimedia friendly space policy
- IdeaLab friendly space expectations
- Wikipedia:Maintaining a friendly space
- Wikipedia:WikiProject Countering systemic bias
On Wikipedia: Procedures
- Geek Feminism Wiki – Conference anti-harassment
- Geek Feminism Wiki – Policy resources
- Cyberstalking and Cyberharassment Laws