How do we create safe(r) spaces?
“Only through art can we emerge from ourselves and
know what another person sees”
We understand the paradox of hosting a night of “challenging” art on whilst keeping a safe space for all. None of these ideas/artists are in violation with our safe-space policy at point of selection. Know that all the art has been carefully curated to explore certain ideas and we work as closely as possible with our artists to ensure they can safely explore their art in a public setting.*
Can art build empathy? We really believe in giving artists of all levels a platform to showcase their artwork and express themselves, sharing in their unique views of the world, can help us see things from different perspectives. We think it is brave for all involved to bring this out of the typical gallery setting, we understand the risks of this but we also do not always want to preach to the converted – we want to welcome others to experience the variety of what art can be, say, and do. We think art should be for all and inclusive.
We aim to get this balance of a safe environment for the artists to make art and the audience members to feel safe to engage with this. It isn’t any different to how we have ran our past events, we have always aimed to be mindful of others needs and explore what could be risks but this time we want to be more transparent to all, and share in this good practice. We did a lot of research and spoke to some colleagues – and asked them “How exactly do you run your events in regards to safe(r) space consciousness?” and they were all happy to discuss this with us. Collaboration and communication is paramount to challenge the outdated and dominant cultures bulldozing behaviours.
We sat down and wrote out ours, because we want to be the change too.
We aspire to build a community that does not tolerate violence, sexual harassment and oppressive behaviours or language of any kind.
No ableism, ageism, biphobia, classism, racism, fatphobia, homophobia, misogyny, religious discrimination, sexism, transphobia, xenophobia …
Let’s not assume the sexuality, gender or pronouns of another person. Let’s respect the emotional and physical boundaries of others in the space.
If we witness or hear oppressive behaviours or language, let’s challenge them together. It is not cool to ruin another persons experience.
We all deserve to have a good time, feel safe and just be who we are without having to explain it.
All human beings deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.
It is important that we enter the space with an awareness of our own privileges and how we use them.
We will be putting these posters (below) around the venue on the night, along with some other information. We want to be a part of the change and find ways to work together so all people can enjoy their time with us. We hope beyond this event people continue to think “how might we make spaces safer for all” whether a music gig, an arts event, going shopping, getting the bus home or any time someone hosts an event. We can not control how another person acts but we can challenge it in solidarity if a situation occurs.
*If you for whatever reason dislike a piece of art, it is not your responsibility to tell an artist and it is not our responsibility to dissect what constitutes as good/bad art in a game of perspective. However, if you feel at any time something crossed the barriers of what we have outlined in this document as harassment we encourage you to tell the organisers – who will be happy to listen to your feedback and if needed, take action. We do not think it unreasonable to set boundaries for how we engage with one another.
We understand the complexities of striving towards this and we know that many dismiss this as utopian ideals, some feel it is censorship (which is rather ironic) and some dismiss it as forcing compliance from their own free will – but in honesty if you go out in public to experience something and become nasty – we don’t want you here, just find something else to do. We work in gutsy live art practices, we are not afraid to explore these subject matters and bring them to audiences, but we do sometimes have to remind anther that the artist in front of them is still a person. The art is researched and from a different perspective, often causing a person to wonder just why someone would do xyz and is it even art? You must question also, why do you find yourself reacting this way in the first place.