10th & 11th November 2018
Why have a Safer Spaces Agreement?
Along with the wider UK Radical Herbalism network, the Bristol gathering wants to be part of addressing and challenging the root causes of ill health, and work for social and ecological justice. We recognise that this is a complex endeavour: we’ve all grown up in a world of structural oppression, inequality and injustice, and can maintain these structures, perhaps without realising it, through our learned behaviours. This Safer Spaces Agreement aims to support the gathering to be more aware and inclusive – moving towards the world we want to live in, where nobody experiences prejudice or disadvantage because of their ethnicity, class, gender, gender identity, gender presentation, sexuality, age, income, ability, appearance, immigration status, activist experience or any other forms of difference or perceived difference.
Behaviours and prejudices that maintain structural oppressions might be things that are widely accepted and seen as normal within the dominant culture. This Agreement aims to support the challenging and energising work of minimising the marginalisation and inequality that many people regularly face.
Privilege within systems of inequality is not something to be ashamed of, or defensive about. However, we believe it requires self-reflection. In order to dismantle systems of inequality, we all need to think about how we are perpetuating them.
We recognise that people may be new to these ideas, and we want to create an inclusive an atmosphere as possible that facilitates learning, growing and moving forwards together. We hope to build a community of trust and respect that supports all of us to challenge ourselves, to listen, and to participate.
A collective work in progress…
Creating “safer space” is our aspiration in the context of the many forms of oppression which exist in our society. In our collective we’re continuing to discuss and learn about the ways we can do this better. We don’t always agree and certainly don’t claim to have all the answers. We recognise the limitations of this Agreement and see it as a work in progress as we learn and share our experiences together. We’d welcome any feedback on this Agreement and your experiences of the gathering (especially from those that experience particular structural oppressions).
How can we create a safer space together..?
Things to remember:
- There are a range of different lived experiences and identities (gender, race, class, sexuality etc) that people will have, so avoid making assumptions or sweeping generalisations about people.
- Anyone could be a survivor of a particular form of oppression, so treat others with care and consideration.
- Feeling confidence in a skill or particular area of knowledge can be a privilege; please make space for others to learn what you already know, and share your knowledge with others in a way that is empowering.
Questions to ask yourself:
- Whose voices are being heard? Am I taking up more space than others?
- In what ways am I privileged? Am I exerting power because of my privilege?
It’s a collective responsibility to challenge prejudice & oppression…
It’s up to all of us to help create a space where everyone feels respected, as able to participate as possible and to share the emotional labour involved in creating and maintaining a safer and more inclusive space.
Things that come up at our events may be emotionally triggering for some people; we ask of everyone to care for one another.
If people wish to bring an issue to the organisers’ attention, please do so, and we will try to resolve any issue or conflict together. We will introduce ourselves at the start of the day in the opening circle.
We hope that this Safer Spaces Agreement will be evident in the overall atmosphere of the day. In order to help us make this Agreement meaningful, please do come and talk to any of the organisers if you have any questions about the content and ideas, or if it raises any issues for you.