Checklist for making safe space
"A place where anyone can relax and be fully self-expressed, without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe on account of biological sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background, age, or physical or mental ability; a place where the rules guard each person's self-respect and dignity and strongly encourage everyone to respect others." - Advocates for Youth
- Digital: easy to walk away online. Or to push your own agenda.
- there are established patterns already: spaces that use conflict resolution, guidelines, codes
- what would be more useful for us now?
after making many many postit notes about safe spaces, we organized and found three main themes:
- Making safe space
- acting/being in safe space
- when things go wrong
talking through these, we began making a list of questions for organizers and participants to ask, framing as questions for consideration (awareness) rather than a checklist
Making Safe Space
When intentionally creating safe space, you should be able to explicitly answer the following questions. This will help you create and hold safe space.
- Who is this space for?
- How will they find it (if you want to be found)? engineering for serendipity is hard. Advocacy/permeability, etc.
- How long does it last? Not only resolving current concerns, but also altering the main space to prevent future similar issues
- What are the expectations of this space, and how do people indicate their commitment to adhering to those expectations? (see also: Codes of Conduct)
- What is "safety" in the context of this space?
- Who is or is not represented in your group? (Is this intentional or not?)
- What aspects of this space are negotiable or not?
- Has everyone that is included chosen to be included?
- How does someone enter/exit this safe space? If someone "gets it" after messing up, can they rejoin? How do we prevent cliques in that?
- How does the creation of this space impact the safety of those outside it?
- Setting access controls. Exhibiting commitment or understanding of a cause - also used by gangs and violence, so consider carefully.
- What cultural context is in play?
- What kinds of work do I need to do with myself to participate?
- By what channels does communication happen?
- How do you communicate experiences within this spaces?
- How do you raise qeustions about the process?
- What behaviors are useful within this space?
- What kinds of disagreement/debate are constructive within this space?
- How do you signal what kind of communication you want?
- What kinds of failure modes are the channels of this space likely to fall into (both intentional and unintentional)?
Questions to ask during breakdowns?
- what is the response if a member feels unsafe?
- what are the options/opportunities for support?
- what are the options/opportunities for existing the space?
- are there specific threats to the safety of this space?
(From the other room, discussion of breakdowns and specific what/how... Toxic individuals, for example.) individuals harming the community... fold into the above, especially in "during breakdowns" section: Physical Spaces influcenced by Internets