Safe(r) Space Policy and Community Agreements

What is a safer space?

A safer space is a supportive, non-threatening environment where all participants can feel comfortable to express themselves and share experiences without fear of discrimination or reprisal. Safer spaces are created through collective action to resist harm and encourage safety, support, and accountability. By acknowledging the experiences of each person in the room – whether during an in-person or virtual event, we hope to create as safe an environment as possible.


We acknowledge that safety is relative and that not everyone feels safe under the same conditions. We understand it is unlikely that a space can be made equally and fully safe for everyone. With this in mind, we encourage all the participants to actively create an atmosphere where we prioritize one another’s safety and well-being.

Why do we need guidelines?

In an ideal world, all spaces would be safer spaces, and all people would consider others and protect each other’s sense of safety. But, despite our best intentions, sometimes we are either unaware of certain issues or have inconsiderate moments. Having clear guidelines encourages mindfulness about these possibilities. While slip-ups may occur, they keep us on the same page.

Our safer space guidelines

These guidelines were created to make Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council events as safe as possible for all participants.


  1. Respect others’ physical and emotional boundaries. This includes asking before touching. 
  2. Respect others’ identities and backgrounds, including pronouns and names.
  3. Do not assume or make judgments on anyone’s identity, status, background, or beliefs.
  4. Respect the opinions, beliefs, experiences, and differing viewpoints of others.
  5. Respect others' rights to privacy. All Arts Council events will have signage at the registration table indicating when official photography will occur, and anyone who doesn't wish to be photographed will have an option to opt-out. Any attendees who aren't hired by the Arts Council should ask consent before taking photos and videos.
  6. Be aware that your actions and words may have unintended effects on other people and that their feelings are valid, regardless of your intentions. Adapt your behavior if someone indicates that your behavior makes them feel uncomfortable.
  7. Be aware of how you take up space by making sure everyone in the room has the opportunity to speak, and make room for more quiet people.
  8. Assume positive intent. If someone does or says something that crosses a boundary, gently let them know, but do not assume they intended harm.
  9. Use substances responsibly. Alcohol can only be served to individuals 21 years and older. When consuming alcohol, drink responsibly.
  10. In virtual spaces, make sure your microphone is muted when you are not speaking, and do not force anyone to turn on their camera.
  11. Take care of your own safety. If you need to step out, feel free to do so. If you feel unsafe, let an Arts Council team member know.
  12. Do not remain an on-looker. If you witness any abusive or inappropriate behavior, ask the person who was harassed whether they would like help or support. Do not put yourself in harm's way by trying to rectify the situation on your own. Instead, let an Arts Council team member know immediately so we can intervene.
  13. Remember, we are all learning. If you’re called out/called in for language or actions that make someone else uncomfortable, be humble and try to learn from your mistakes.

If you feel unsafe

If at an Arts Council event you experience inappropriate behavior, harassment, or something that doesn’t feel right or causes harm, please report it to an Arts Council staff member. If the situation cannot be resolved, the person behaving inappropriately will be removed from the event as discreetly and unnoticeably as possible.