We acknowledge our position on the unceded territories of the Lekwungen-speaking peoples, now known as the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations. We honour the First Peoples who have stewarded this land since time immemorial, and take seriously the responsibility to support their lives, their self-determination, and the work of caring for the land on which we live, and for each other.
Kindling Writers Festival is an event centred on celebrating and uplifting the voices of LGBTQ2S+ writers, and engaging local communities in the crucial work of re-visioning the ways we relate, care, and live together.
We recognize that in any community space, and especially one in which folks who experience intersections of oppressions are sharing their experiences and stories, there is the possibility for different forms of harm to occur. In order to offer support for writers, moderators, attendees, volunteers, and staff, we have drafted this community guidelines and safer spaces policy. We hope attendees will take the time to read through it and think through their own social location and position before attending Kindling events.
Kindling acknowledges the violent systems of colonization and institutional racism that structure our society, and the ways in which these violences continue. We seek to limit, as much as possible, replicating these systems. This includes recognizing that knowledge comes in many forms, allowing for conversations to open up to all who are present, and valuing the particular, located knowledges each person carries in them. Specifically as a literary festival, we seek to be mindful of the ways in which the history of “literature” is entangled in white and Eurocentric frameworks of knowledge, and to deconstruct this category by valuing the multitude of literatures and forms of storytelling that have emerged across cultures.
Consent and communication are important in all interactions. We encourage folks to take time to listen to each other, be mindful of their position and the space they take up, and to respect each other’s time and boundaries.
This can look like:
Asking for consent before you touch or hug someone
Being okay with hearing “no”
Giving writers opportunities to “pass” on questions
Not making assumptions about a person’s background, identity, or experiences based on what they write about
There will be photographers taking photos of the events, which may include shots of the audience and attendees participating in workshops or discussions. Photographers will be oriented in advance to be mindful that not everyone wants to be photographed. We will ask that they seek consent before taking any close-up shots of individuals.
If you think a photo has been taken of you that you don’t want shared or used, feel free to reach out to staff or volunteers at any point and we will ensure it does not get shared or used.
Everyone experiences harm differently. If you experience harassment at the festival, including verbal, physical, and psychological, please know that your experience is valid, and that we are here to support you. If you feel up to do so, please talk to one of the festival organizers (if you can’t find them—please ask a volunteer). If you would rather wait until the festival has concluded, or realize later that you experienced harassment, the festival organizers are still here to support you. Kara can be contacted at literary [at] openspace.ca and Y Vy at curatorialassistant [at] openspace.ca, or by phone at 250-383-8833.
If you witness someone perpetuating harassing behaviours, please also bring it to the attention of volunteers or the organizers. We will respond to the best of our abilities, and with discretion and care.
Please note: there will be water and snacks freely available at all events, labelled with sensitivity to gluten, dairy, and other ingredients.
If you need to seek a quiet space or any other support, please talk to staff or volunteers. They will be made visible by lanyards & nametags.
MEASURES IN PLACE:
Inclusion of link to the community guidelines on promotional materials and festival website
Posted version of community guidelines in all event venues
Announcement and discussion of the guidelines at the beginning of events, reinforcing respect and consent in all interactions
Orientation for volunteers
Content notices / introductions for sensitive material
Visibility measure to make volunteers and staff visible (lanyard and name tags: red lanyards for volunteers and blue for staff)
Removed, quiet space (reading room at Open Space, inner gallery at Legacy) to act as refuge from events.
Consultation with Serena Bhandar & the Anti-Violence Project; Serena and AVP staff to attend panel discussion events as support people.