For anyone presenting at, attending, considering attending or interacting with Queer Collaborations, please take a few minutes to read our Participant Agreement below.
What is a participant agreement?
A participant agreement is about taking a positive, proactive and preventative step towards support the well-being of people in our community and at this conference. We use this in acknowledgement that there is no such thing as ‘safe’ within the system.
The idea is not to police other people – it is about people actively monitoring their own participation. We won’t be micro-monitoring behaviour at Queer Collaborations, but each session will be facilitated and we expect that everyone will respect this document and take responsibility for their behaviour and the way they participate at all times.
Why do we need a participant agreement?
The organising collective wants the conference to be welcoming, engaging and supportive. We are creating a conference that is supportive whatever your class or identity, and is as radical, lively and as accessible as possible.
We want this conference to be an experience where people take care of one another whilst promoting lively and productive debate and we believe that the best way to achieve this is to make sure that everyone is on the same page. We also understand that everyone comes to this conference from all walks of life so some of the issues that we deal with may be new to some individuals.
The goal of this document is to provide:
• A visible and constant reminder of everyone’s need to take responsibility for their own behaviour;
• keep it fresh in everyone’s heads;
• a reminder that words, body language, actions and behaviour affect other people and make them feel certain ways
• a reminder to be aware of other people’s personal boundaries; and
• a basis to get people to understand each other to try and make sure that everyone is able to enjoy the conference as much as possible.
Please continue to keep the agreement in mind while you are away from the conference venues (e.g at your accommodation)
Challenging our own subtle and not-so-subtle prejudices
If we profess to be concerned about issues of oppression, we need to live our lives in a way that proactively seeks to subvert prejudice and undermine discrimination. This means treating people equally and acknowledging that everyone has something amazing to contribute. It means not being tokenistic.
We may like to think of Queer Collaborations as an alternative space where people reject the prejudices associated with ‘mainstream’ values. However, our communities often carry the same prejudices as the so-called mainstream and we all need to address this. We are products of the system.
This is no space for violence, sexual assault, touching people without their consent, being intolerant of someone’s religious beliefs or lack thereof, being creepy, sleazy, racist, ageist, sexist, heterosexist, homophobic, transphobic, whorephobic, ableist, classist, sizeist, sex-negative or any other behaviour or language that may perpetuate oppression. Please also consider whether anxiety, new environments, being surrounded by new people, drugs, alcohol or other experiences could blur your ability to gauge how your behaviour is affecting others.
What you need to do:
➢ Respect people’s physical and emotional boundaries.
➢ Always get explicit verbal consent before touching someone or crossing personal boundaries.
➢ Respect peoples opinions, beliefs, differing states of being, and differing points of view.
➢ Be responsible for your own actions. Be aware that your actions do have an effect on others.
➢ If someone is upset or offended by your actions, you need to take personal responsibility for this, regardless of whether the harm was intended.
➢ Take responsibility for your own safety and get help if you need it.
➢ Be aware that children may be in the Space, and their safety needs to be ensured.
➢ Don’t make assumptions about the experience of others.
➢ Refrain from speaking over others.
➢ Don’t pressure others for information.
➢ If a particular identity grouping has decided and/or requested an autonomous space, and you don’t identify with that group, do not attend that group. It is the groups responsibility to be clear about who is welcome.
What are the consequences for disrespecting the Participation Agreement?
This conference aims to engage the delegates to conversation that will help stimulate and allow for creative thought. For those who wish to go against the Agreement, measures will be taken in order to promote the importance of the conference being accepting and stimulating and not aggressive or isolating.
Non-adherence to this ‘Participant Agreement’ means that you are isolating yourself against the beliefs of those who are attending. We would strongly advise for serious consideration unto your owns actions, how they affect others and whether or not this agreement and conference is for you.
Any individual or group engaging in violence against others (including sexual violence and harassment) at the conference will have immediate action taken against them. We do not condone or promote any behaviour that is physically, verbally or mentally affects another individual with ill-intent.
This conference is a ‘queer space’.
While we will not be policing identity and do not necessarily expect people to identify with the word queer, we ask that those who identify as ‘normative’ in their sex, sexuality or gender identity to respect the autonomy of this space and refrain from the conference.
Presenters & Facilitators
While delegates are not ‘normative’, we must digress that some facilitators, presenters, panel speakers and administration are not ‘queer’, however, they have been appointed their positions understanding the conference and do consider themselves ‘queer-friendly’.
Accommodation is an extension of the conference, the rules apply to the whole of the conference and any locations you may come across during your stay at the conference. Please be mindful of this and enlist the same rules you would apply to yourself at the conference, during your stay at accommodation also.
Any physical, verbal or emotional stress you apply to another by being loud, inconsiderate* or aggressive will be considered disrespectful and against this agreement.
Just to state the really obvious, there is no sex on conference floor or in any of the workshop/session/plenary spaces. These are all really communal spaces and aside from an incredibly high likelihood you’ll have some kind of audience, these spaces are for everyone and people shouldn’t feel unable to access a space at conference because you’ve chosen to get your groove on.
We do not condone any sexual activity to happen at the designated conference locations a part from accommodation. In saying that, stringent consent rules must follow.
– Everyone in the same room as yourself must be ok with there being alcohol in the room for there to be alcohol consumption allowed in the room. If one person says no, then the whole room must say no.**
– Everyone in the same room as yourself must be ok with there being sex in the room for there to be consensual sex in the room. If one person says no, then the whole room must say no.
– If sex is allowed, follow some rules. Everyone deserves a conversation about this. Make sure that there is an understanding and everyone knows
o What to expect and what to do when their room-mates are otherwise ‘occupied’.
o No one is to be disallowed into their room without a previous conversation and agreement between all parties and respect must be followed.
o If there are particular times of day in which people are uncomfortable with this happening
It is understood that these things are merely guidelines. Be sure to carry these thoughts with you beyond this conference, too. A bit of respect for others never made anyone fall short on appreciation
Substance consumption is strongly discouraged at the on-campus conference areas unless noted beforehand. ‘Substance’ includes, and is not limited to, alcohol, marijuana, ice, ecstasy, MDMA, heroin and cocaine.
We do not tolerate any substance abuse that could create others to feel unsafe or in danger. The conference is an opportunity to network with other individuals. There will be social events in which consumption will be tolerated insomuch as your ability to self-manage yourself is not compromised. Those who are considered too intoxicated or unable to manage their own mobility will be returned to their residing location.
Any consequences of your actions that are undertaken while under influence will be your responsibility. Queer Collaborations is not responsible, nor do we condone, over consumption of any substance that affects the consumer’s judgement. Preventative action will be taken when possible; however, we are not responsible for injury, destruction, abusive behaviour or substance management while you are at the conference. We expect that anyone who is under the affect to understand their own limits and not to create an unsafe environment for people around them and themselves. You will be solely responsible for the consequences and there will be action taken, if required, against yourself
If you plan on drinking or using other substances in your accommodation, just as with sex, it’s important that you have a conversation with the other people in your room/on your floor about what it and is not okay with the people that you are sharing space with. Is it okay to drink in the room? Is it okay to drink in any communal spaces? How are you going to get back to your accommodation if you’ve been drinking? These are just some of the possible questions that it really is best to discuss with the people around you so that everyone can feel comfortable and safe in the space.
• Inconsiderate can include – ignoring the request of your fellow room-mates’ reasonable requests repeatedly. Arguing with the accommodations staff, ignoring the accommodation’s requests, acting destructive.
** This is assuming that alcohol consumption is allowed on the premises.