Terra Incognita Media Workshop Agreements Adapated from Aorta (Anti-Oppressive Resource Training Alliance)
Anyone who doesn’t acknowledge and “agree” that oppression is real can leave right now. This is not the space for you and you are not welcome here.
We are in this space working to unlearn the ways our society conditions us to be discriminatory, prejudiced, and biased.
Intentions don’t matter impact does. Be aware of yourself and realize that even if you don’t mean to cause harm you could be. It is important to validate, acknowledge, and be accountable if we have caused harmed no matter what our intentions are. You don’t even need to waste breath explaining your intentions. Just acknowledge, apologize, and move forward dedicated to learning from that experience and doing better. We are all going to make mistakes and sometimes our mistakes cause real harm and cause real anger. Do not invalidate someone’s experience or emotions. Acknowledge, apologize, move forward. If you feel bad you can cry to your friends, mom, cat, dog, therapist later.
Feel free to leave any time if you need to go. Take care of yourself.
If you are someone who talks a lot step back.
No one is required to speak. Coming to listen and observe is okay.
One person speaks at a time. Sometimes we may leave a few moments right after the speaker is done talking or asking the question so those who are not as prone to respond right away can get a chance to contribute.
No one knows everything; together we know a lot. Your organizers are not the arbiters of knowledge. You are welcome to address them if they say something that is not okay. In any conversation, especially ones about systemic power (race, class, gender, etc), we know that each person is coming to the conversation with different levels of lived experience and embodied expertise. We also believe that each person has something to contribute to the conversation. This agreement asks that we all practice humility, and look for what we have to learn from each person in the room. It asks us to share what we know, as well as our questions, so that others may learn from us.
We encourage everyone to feel comfortable to express themselves even if you don’t think you’re the most eloquent speaker. These things can be hard to discuss and we appreciate attempts to articulate your thoughts.
Be aware of how much time you are taking up/space you are taking. No long monologues.
IMPORTANT****We do not suggest “assume best intentions” and “default to trust.” The reason we don’t use these is because when someone is unable to do this (say they’re feeling untrusting of someone, or unsafe), having a community agreement telling them to do so isn’t going to change anything. These agreements aren’t always realistic, especially when we take into consideration that when people have been harmed by sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, they/we build up necessary tools to care for and protect themselves/ourselves. Agreements we offer instead that capture the spirit of these are “we can’t be articulate all the time,” “be generous with each other,” or “this is a space for learning.”***