What is a safer space? A safer space is a supportive, non-threatening environment where all participants can feel comfortable to express themselves and share experiences without fear of discrimination or reprisal.
We use the word safer to acknowledge that safety is relative: not everyone feels safe under the same conditions. By acknowledging the experiences of each person in the room, we hope to create as safe an environment as possible.
We want Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal to be welcoming and engaging, and we encourage everyone who enters our space, whether in person or online, to be proactive in creating an atmosphere where the safety of others is validated. We ask everyone entering PWM to be aware of their language and behaviour, and to think about whether it might be harmful to others. Despite our best intentions, sometimes we are either unaware of certain issues or have inconsiderate moments. Having clear guidelines encourages mindfulness about these possibilities. While slip-ups may occur, they keep us on the same page.
- Respect everyone’s physical and emotional boundaries.
- Respect peoples’ opinions, beliefs, experiences and differing points of view.
- Respect everyone’s identity and background, including pronouns and names.
- Do not assume anyone’s gender identity, sexual preference, survivor status, health status, economic status, background, beliefs, religion, opinions, etc.
- Respect others’ right to privacy both during this dialogue and beyond. Do not push anyone to answer questions they don’t want to answer, and do not share anyone’s personal stories outside of this dialogue.
- Honour works in progress. Do not share a playwright’s ideas or incorporate them into your own work.
- Be responsible for your own actions; be aware that your actions have an effect on others, despite what your intentions may be.
- Avoid raising your voice, interrupting or talking over anyone else. And be aware of how much you’re participating — make sure everyone gets a chance to speak.
- Assume positive intent. If someone does or says something that crosses a boundary, gently let them know, but do not assume they intended harm. Listen and change your behaviour if someone tells you that you are making them uncomfortable.
- Remember, we are all learning.
- Take care of your own safety. If you need to step out/away, feel free to do so. If you feel unsafe, let the facilitator know.
- If you witness any abusive or inappropriate behaviour, let the facilitator know.
We welcome the continuing discussion about and improvement of these guidelines.
These guidelines were inspired by the Canadian Mental Health Commission safer space guidelines and the Bluestockings bookstore safer space policy.