Guidelines for Academic/Activist Spaces

These guidelines were initially written by the 1st NMCI Conference (Lisbon) and were implemented at the 2nd NMCI Conference (Vienna). The document has been adapted for the purposes of TRANSITION International Queer Minorities Film Festival. We extend our sincerest thanks to the NMCI organisers for making this document available for use to Academic/Activist spaces under a Creative Commons licence.

To view the original document and to find out how you can use this document for your event, please visit: https://nmciconference.wordpress.com/guidelines-for-academicactivist-spaces/

Guidelines for TRANSITION International Queer Minorities Film Festival

This event is explicitly designed to include a diversity of people, as both contributors and attendees. The list includes but is not limited to:

  • Activists and community leaders/members
  • Academics, educators  and researchers from a number of different disciplines
  • Artists and other creative workers

In addition, there will be people present from a number of different countries, with a variety of first languages, and with diverse cultural and generational backgrounds.For these reasons we ask that you are mindful of the different backgrounds and perspectives of  attendees. To help in this we’ve drawn up the following list of ten guidelines which we invite attendees to follow.

  1.   Please don’t make assumptions about people themselves. People at the event will have diverse genders, sexualities, relationship styles, nationalities, ages, dis/abilities, class and cultural backgrounds, and political and religious beliefs. Please try not to make assumptions about these, and to take somebody’s self-identity at face value. For example: Use the names and gender pronouns that people provide on their badges. Don’t make jokes or derogatory comments about an entire gender, sexuality, nationality or cultural group. Don’t assume that somebody will be able to afford to join you in eating out, or that they will be an alcohol drinker, or that they will be able to hear in a noisy venue.
  2.   Please treat presenters and organisers with respect. It can be very daunting to talk in front of a group, especially about your own work and ideas. For some people this will be their first time. Also please bear in mind that people may make errors in their language under pressure and do check out whether that might have happened before criticising them.
  3.   Please don’t assume that people will be familiar with the norms and conventions of your world. We have very different ways of doing things across different kinds of activist, academic, professional and community spaces. Please be aware of this when interacting with people. For example, people may ask questions or make points which feel clumsy or ignorant to you, but – if possible – try to ‘call them in’ by explaining things gently rather than ‘calling them out’ by publicly dismissing or challenging them. If you don’t have the energy to do this yourself then it’s fine to suggest that the person talks to one of the organisers who can explain. It’s fine to disagree but please try to keep criticism constructive and to own your perspective: ‘I think…’ rather than ‘you’re wrong’.
  4.   Please use social media generously. We very much hope that people will use social media to talk about the event and help us reach a larger audience. However, please don’t use this media to publicly criticise or condemn individuals. If you have a complaint or criticism about the event please consider discussing it with the organisers before making it public.
  5. Dealing with problems. If you have any problems with the event, please talk to the organisers individually. We’ll do our very best but there will inevitably be some mistakes and imperfections and we’re very keen to address those and to keep improving. It can be helpful to put yourself in the shoes of the organisers, recognising the pressures that they are under. For example, you might consider whether your query or point is urgent – in which case we want to hear it right away – or whether it might be one that is okay to feedback after the event, when people have had time to recover.