Safe(r)/Brave(r) Space Agreements*
Knowing that safety and courage look differently and require different things for everyone, it is our goal is to create as safe a space as possible, and one most conducive to everyone’s bravery. We want to create a space in which confronting challenges can feel exciting, joyous, and healing.
The first three points are thanks to the RDDI Chicago Manifesto (The Regional Dance Development Initiative, administrated by the New England Foundation for the Arts and by Chicago Dancemakers Forum), which adapted the Axis Dance Convening on Physically Integrated Dance (May 2016).
- We work in different communities with different resources. We have different practices and different aesthetics and politics. We want to learn from these differences.
- We would rather each other speak freely than fear we will use the wrong language. We are confident that everyone in this room intends to be respectful.
- Safe spaces aren’t always comfortable. We acknowledge that we may be working with sharp edges; there can be times we disagree. It’s okay to do that together – it turns conflict into inquiry.
The following were created by Khecari:
- Recognizing the value of discomfort and disagreement for positive change, we invite challenges based on the desire to support each other’s growth.
- You know yourself, what is healthy challenge for you and what is unhealthy. We respect you to draw those lines.
- With our bodies and our words we will all enter into spaces together with a commitment to listen with the intention to understand.
- Everyone always has the right to say no, and doesn’t need to explain or justify that “no”, and each of us is obligated to respect each other’s boundaries.
- Everyone always has the right to request a pause or say “I need a moment”, so that consent or drawing a boundary doesn’t have to feel pressured or rushed.
- As facilitators, we take on the responsibility of setting the tone and pace that we sense might be beneficial for our work together. If you need something other than what we are offering in a particular moment, please take care of your needs as they arise or communicate with us directly if we could facilitate something differently (i.e. use different language, give a group break, etc.). We would love to be in conversation with you about how we can adjust things in the future to accommodate your needs.
- We have a room set aside as a sanctuary space. If you need to temporarily leave the shared space to have a moment to yourself, you are welcome to go there to reground. If you need to leave the gathering completely, please let one of the facilitators know, so that we do not worry about you.
*We use safe(r) space to include notions that had been intended by the term “safe space”, and also to include, where possible, the paradigm of bravespace.
A safer space is a supportive, non-threatening environment that encourages open-mindedness, respect, a willingness to learn from others, as well as physical and mental safety. It is a space that is critical of the power structures that affect our everyday lives, and where power dynamics, backgrounds, and the effects of our behavior on others are prioritized. It’s a space that strives to respect and understand survivors’ specific needs. Everyone who enters a safer space has a responsibility to uphold the values of the space. We say ‘safer’ realizing that not everyone experiences spaces in the same way as others, so any one set of guidelines established to create safety may not meet the requirements of everyone and there may be complications or lapses in fulfilling those guidelines in practice. [reference link]
Brave space calls for a collectivist approach, wherein all participants have the opportunity to shape the group norms and expectations. They are places where painful or difficult experiences will be acknowledged and supported, not avoided or eliminated. [reference link]