SAFER SPACES POLICY & READING ROOM

SAFER SPACES POLICY

PLATFORM Centre for Photographic and Digital Art (PLATFORM) began in 1981 as Floating Gallery, a dedicated venue for lens-based art in Winnipeg. We are and always have been located on Treaty 1 territory, ancestral homeland of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and the homeland of the Metis Nation.

All people have the right to feel safe in our space; everything from our exhibition openings to our workshops, we are responsible for the safety of our community therein.

For PLATFORM to truly represent any facet of the arts community adequately, it is required of our organization to commit to an on-going practice of antiracism and commitment to maintaining a safer space.

What is a “safer space”?

The terminology of safer space makes note that no space is completely devoid of harm. It acknowledges the responsibility of the staff and board of directors to actively foster a space that addresses harm responsibly and reflexively. It is a fact that racism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, fat-phobia, ableism, whorephobia and ageism happen everywhere, but in creating this policy, PLATFORM pledges to do what is necessary to keep people safer. 

We recognize that our organization is imperfect, and we are committed to doing the work required to be safer, responsible, accountable to our community. 

The creation of this document does not signify its completion; it is a living policy and can be amended at any time to reflect the needs of our community. Feedback and criticism is always welcome, and can be sent to outreach@platformgallery.org.

The following behaviour from patrons, exhibiting artists, staff and board members are not welcome at PLATFORM:

  • Racism
  • Transphobia
  • Homophobia
  • Whorephobia
  • Misogyny in all of its forms: misogynoir, transmisogyny, et al.
  • Fat-phobia
  • Ableism
  • Ageism

These behaviors present themselves in both overt and covert ways, and we believe people when they say they have had harmful experiences. As an organization, it is our responsibility to centre the harmed person(s) feelings and experiences in dealing with damaging or violent behaviour.

PLATFORM is invested in transformative justice. We are interested in assisting those who cause harm in their education and accountability. We may do so through one-on-one conversations, inviting individuals in our bi-annual anti-oppression training sessions, or hiring counsellors or mediators to aid in addressing issues. There is not one single solution that fits every scenario that may arise, and we will address each situation with consideration of this. 

How does PLATFORM define harmful behavior?

We define harmful behavior as anything that causes a person(s) distress, crosses personal boundaries, and disrupts the organization’s efforts to maintain a safer environment for all. This includes but is not limited to:

– Non-consensual touching of any kind
– Sexual harassment or catcalling of any kind
– Physical violence of any kind

– Racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, whorephobic, fat-phobic, ageist, xenophobic,or misogynistic comments or artwork of any kind, whether in person or on our online platforms
Offensive attire, including but not limited to hate symbols or culturally appropriative attire 

Who is protected by this policy?

This policy extends to:

  • All people employed or volunteering with PLATFORM, including but not limited to staff, board, exhibiting artists, curators, and workshop facilitators
  • Members and nonmembers of PLATFORM who are attending a PLATFORM event or workshop
  • All visitors during gallery hours

We accept that we are not above our own policies, and the above applies to all staff and board members in equal measure. The above also applies to event partners, our social media platforms, communication, and promotional artwork distributed by the gallery. If an incident occurs online via our social media platforms, it is taken just as seriously as an in-person incident.

How do I make a report and what happens when I make one?

If an incident occurs where staff are present, anyone who experiences said behaviour and feels comfortable notifying us is encouraged to do so. If someone is not comfortable, they may designate someone else to notify us. Alternatively, there will be a labeled box located at our door, where reports and other comments about a patron’s experience can be deposited. This box will be checked and responded to weekly.

At events such as exhibition openings, there will be a designated staff member wearing a button that indicates that they are the Safer Spaces point-of-contact for the event. Upon communicating with said staff member, the harmed person(s) will be guided to a private area to discuss what they need in the moment to feel safer, and what PLATFORM can do to help beyond the initial incident. 

Each individual and situation are different, and how incidents are handled is determined on a case-by-case basis. Staff will respond to the individual needs of community members, which could include connecting with other resources if desired.

If necessary, we may cancel exhibitions, curatorships or workshops if an individual working with us causes harm. All people working with PLATFORM are supplied with a contract detailing the expectation to comply with our Safer Spaces policy. Failure to meet this expectation or participate in education/accountability processes may result in ending a working contract with PLATFORM.

If getting in touch via phone or emailing us suits an individual better than approaching staff in public, they are encouraged to do so. 

How does PLATFORM feel about the police?

The police are our absolute last resort in dealing with harm or violence, and will not be called until every last effort to de-escalate a situation has been exhausted. We recognize the harm perpetrated by police and all their permutations: Downtown Watch, Cadets, etc. All staff at PLATFORM have access to a list of police alternatives and crisis lines. Staff are committed to staying informed regarding methods of avoiding police involvement through online education, workshops, and information provided by local groups such as Winnipeg Police Cause Harm, Bar None, and Manitoba Harm Reduction Network. 

Accessibility & Washrooms on-site

PLATFORM is a barrier free space located on the first floor of 100 Arthur Street. When accessing 100 Arthur from street level, there are two entrance options. The doors at King and Bannatyne feature a wheelchair lift, while the doors at Arthur and Bannatyne do not. The King and Bannatyne entrance features 9 stairs, while the Arthur and Bannatyne entrance has 10 steps. Both entrances have handrails and automatic door buttons. We are located on the main floor of the building, directly across from the Cinematheque box office. On the main floor there is an elevator that can be used to access all levels of the building. 

There are gendered public restrooms with signage on the main floor of the building, down the hall from PLATFORM. These restrooms feature accessible stalls, but no automatic door buttons. There are two gender neutral, single stall restrooms with signage on the second floor. Both stalls have hand rails, but neither have an automatic door button. Our darkrooms are located on the 4th floor, where two single-stall gender neutral restrooms with signage can be accessed with a key (found inside darkrooms). Both stalls have handrails, but neither have automatic door buttons.

The building is located near many public transit routes; the closest bus stops to the building are at King and Bannatyne (#29 bus) or Arthur and McDermot (#17 bus). There are many transit options two blocks east of the building on Main Street as well, including the #16, 18, 20, 31, 32, 35, 42, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 58, and the #1 & 2 Downtown Spirit, which operates as a free shuttle with limited hours. 

PLATFORM offers sensory-friendly gallery hours every day from 11am – 12pm, during which time scent, lighting and audio levels will be reduced. Visitors — both members and nonmembers — with access needs aside from scent, light or sound sensitivity are encouraged to communicate their needs, and staff will be as accommodating as possible. 

READING ROOM

Images of whiteness: can we imagine a world without white eyes?

The Racial Bias Built Into Photography

Black is Beautiful: In the 1960s, Kwame Brathwaite’s fashion photographs sent a riveting message about Black culture and freedom

Aperture Announces Free Publication for Historic Convening at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute

The Canon Of Images: How Is Structural Racism Embedded In Photographs?

Decolonising the Camera: Photography in Racial Time

The Black Female Body: A Photographic History

Two Artists Interrogate the “White Gaze” of National Geographic

The Telling of Black Stories: The Importance of Controlling Our Own Narratives

The Photographer’s Guide to Inclusive Photography

MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora

Why Photo Editors Need to Hire Black Photographers Every Day

George Floyd, Gordon Parks, and the Ominous Power of Photographs

When the Camera Was a Weapon of Imperialism. (And When It Still Is.)

Meet the Black Photographers Who Are Changing Fashion

The New Black Vanguard: Photography between Art and Fashion

Resources for Photographers and Beyond on Anti-Racism