D&D satellite: What are we – of all genders – who work in performing arts going to do about sexual abuse in our industry?
Hosted by Theatre Deli
An invitation from Sarah Grange, Open Space Producer, Improbable:
I've been at a lot of Open Space events by now, and often at those events, I see people raising concerns about gender-based disparity, bullying and abuse in our industry. It’s very often women at the receiving end of the bad behaviour – even more so for LBTQI* people, disabled women, and women of colour who face additional discrimination and aggression. What I notice most about these sessions is that the groups working on them are invariably made up of the women who receive the abuse, the harassment. The women who are not the problem. The women who are, once again, doing the work which really needs to be done by the men.
This Open Space is not about men taking control of women’s issues, or reinforcing a binary divide. Nor is it about men having a platform to foghorn how virtuous they are, or some kind of but-what-do-women-want hand-wringing meeting. But let’s face it – (white, cis, non-disabled) men still hold the majority of cultural power in the UK. So, men, what are you going to do to use your power for good, and help us achieve real equality, free from abusive systems?
What changes will you make in your organisations, in the kind of work you produce, in the structures around that work, in your work on yourselves, in your work on each other – that will put an end to this culture of abuse? What will you do to implement and sustain a code of conduct – like No Grey Area? What clubs will you stop being a member of? What friends will you take to task? What productions will you not put on? What powerful men will you not take commissions, or dinners, or free tickets, or phones calls from? Who will you no longer work with? Who will you work with more? Which publications or reviewers will you not invite to press night? What conversations will you start to have? What conversations will you stop having? What privileges will you commit to sacrificing, and really mean it, and learn to live without? …What power will you give up or give away?
An invitation from Ben Monks, Executive Director, Improbable:
Over the last few weeks hundreds of women have given accounts of sexual harassment and abuse in the performing arts. For each of these there are probably thousands more accounts unspoken.
There is an absolute need for spaces and mechanisms like No Grey Area that support these stories to be told and to be heard. Sometimes that place might be in public; sometimes that place might be in confidence, or with women, or with support.
This D&D is a space where everyone from the performing arts can ask: what are we all going to do about sexual abuse in our industry?
Men are a crucial part of this conversation; because whatever a good response from a man might be, not responding isn't an option.
Part of that response is to listen – to the accounts being given, the stories being told, the stories that have been told for decades even if we weren't listening.
Part of that response is to be aware of the ways in which we, our practice, our work, our industry are complicit in sexual harassment and abuse; and to admit those ways; and to call them out. And if it feels like this is work you’ve done before that may well be true; but that we're still having this conversation proves there's more to do.
And part of that response is for each man to ask "how can I do better?” – because you could. I could. I think all men could. So what action are we going to take, right now, to achieve genuine equality and bring an end to the abusive systems men have created?
* This event will run using Open Space Technology. Please bear in mind that whilst OST is a format that allows a group to operate in a friendly and mutually supportive fashion, we cannot guarantee confidentiality or "Safe Space" conduct. If you need further support beyond this event, we've found a comprehensive list of victim support and legal organisations on the ITV website here.
We ask participants to be especially mindful of social media use during the event to avoid personal distress or legal risk.
We request that in your reports on the D&D website, no specific individuals are named in connection with any untried accusation of abuse or harassment. This is for legal reasons, to protect both the report-writer and Improbable against the possibility of defamation. We will moderate reports to redact any information that accuses specific individuals by name or that give details which clearly identify individuals. *