Code of conduct

Code of conduct  

Latest version 28.04.2022 Updated by a.pass team 20.09.2022

Care for intra-active borders a.pass approach to discrimination, harassment and conflict

a.pass (advanced performance and scenography studies) is a platform for the study of artistic research practices and is based on the principles of self-organization, collaboration and transdisciplinary approaches. Its legal name is Posthogeschool voor Podiumkunsten vzw. a.pass is an international educational institution subsidized by the Flemish Government.

a.pass proposes co-learning environments for the practice of artistic research with a large spectrum of themes, settings and urgencies. a.pass is committed to research the complexity of difference in co-learning environments but doesn't accept any form of mental, physical or sexual harassment, bullying, intimidation or violence. The interpersonal and collective ethical aspects of these co-learning environments need attention and care, as they have an impact on the affective relations they create. These practices might trigger different sensitivities and conceptions regarding individual, societal, gender, racial, economic and cultural matters. Therefore, at a.pass, we intend for transparency, care and awareness for these differences. As in experimental art, artistic research practices are not predefined and take shape in versatile forms. This might implicate risk taking and question broader personal, political, historical, societal contexts. In these experimental inquiries practiced at a.pass we want to address what are the inter-individual and collective responsibility, accountability and care of all involved in the institution. The study of such settings are part of the program and engage in community building and institutional criticality. There is a tension between art practices challenging boundaries (an affirmation) and the need for care and attention in collective environments to not cross boundaries. The practice of artistic research in a.pass commits to the attempt of everyone (participants, researchers, curators, mentors, staff and co-workers) to discuss their borders and to listen and accept the borders of others. This social and ethical 'negotiation' is an essential component of the a.pass program.

Readiness to create common awareness of boundaries and border crossing: The program's structure offers concrete moments where expectations, critique, and wishes can be expressed and discussed, where feelings and observations can be voiced as well as heard. Besides the engagement in the various research projects, the mandatory gatherings (Opening Week, Halfway Days, and End Week) facilitate reflection upon each member and the community of a.pass. a.pass sets feedback sessions in all its activities to create space for questions and evaluation. Different sensitivities or concerns in any given activity are taken seriously and discussed in the community. Nevertheless, in case it is not possible to address singular concerns in these given moments a.pass has protocols to support all involved.

Participants Assembly: The postgraduate researchers (which have the status of students) are encouraged to gather regularly in the Participants Assembly. These gatherings can be the place to address issues in the absence of any staff members and co-workers. The structuring and organization of the assembly are the responsibility of the participants.

Set moments: The Opening Week is there to state needs and expectations, to place and clarify general questions, and to build positive cultures of care, ways of addressing, feedback, and critique. During the Opening Week everyone at a.pass rereads the Code of Conduct to renew the agreement around this document. The Halfway Days focus on methodology and help us to learn from everyone's ways of doing and reflect about the politics of invitation. A general feedback session takes place at this moment to discuss the current state of the program. The End Week of each block proposes a lenghty global evaluation of each research project and of the entire block. Everyone is invited to bring topics into discussion. Space is offered to raise and elaborate upon questions that appear within the interplay between the 'research' and the 'institutional' side. Individual Coordination mentoring sessions are scheduled every block with each participant of the postgraduate program and the Artistic Coordinator. These sessions are planned to evaluate the trajectory of the researchers at a.pass and to evaluate the program. These are good moments to discuss your feelings and thoughts about the program.

Educational workshops with a bodily component: Some of the educational activities of a.pass involve a bodily component or personal engagement. If you do not feel comfortable at some point, please mention this to the person(s) facilitating the practice and have a talk about it to see if other options are available. If you are in a session, and do not feel comfortable with a particular exercise, you can always stop joining when you feel you need to.

a.pass protocol if borders are crossed: As mentioned above, when borders are crossed in offensive ways, by any of the members of the a.pass community, and if the moments cited above are not enough to question and create consensus about what is adequate behavior in the given situation, a.pass has the following protocols to support all involved .

  1. Addressing the problem informally When offensive behavior (for instance: mental, physical or sexual discrimination, harassment, bullying or violation) is experienced, mention it or address it in the moment, if you feel you can. Or, after the experience, mention your concerns to the person(s) involved. A thorough talk can often clarify the situation. When there is no opportunity to do the informal talk, the incident can be discussed in a formal procedure within a.pass and/or through external mediation.

  2. Possibilities for formal discussions in relation to a grievance

2.1. Buddy system within the Participants Assembly Within the PA a buddy system is organised: participants from different blocks are divided in little groups of 3 (each coming from a different block). These buddies will take care of one another by checking in on how they are feeling.

2.2 Open structure: the a.pass team meeting Tuesday mornings, the a.pass team (artistic coordinator, administrator, production coordinator and technician/scenography) gathers for a team meeting. Participants are invited to bring issues onto this meeting's agenda by contacting a coordinator

2.3 Contacting a coordinator The artistic coordinator and the administrator are there to listen to the issues encountered. Both can be reached by email, telephone, or in-person. Kristien Van den Brande (artistic coordinator: kristien@apass.be - tel +32472420616) and Kristof Van Hoorde (administrator: kristof@apass.be - tel +32486576101)

2.4 Confidential structure: confidential talk If the issue to address is too sensitive for public exposure, or if the participant/researcher or the staff member feels unsure about addressing their concerns in the moment, in the team meeting or in the presence of the person causing the problem, there are confidential access points to speak out and share, or file complaints.

2.4.1 An external ombudsperson can be consulted if it feels more comfortable or in case of a highly sensitive issue or if the complaints involve the administrator or artistic coordinator. a. Nelle Hens (Confidential Advisor): nellehens.vp@gmail.com; + 32 497 78 80 59 b. Vlaamse ombudsdienst: genderkamer@vlaamseombudsdienst.be

2.4.2 The board: board@apass.be

  1. Formal complaint procedure a.pass has a procedure to address complaints, treating them in a formal way, aiming to resolve them. This procedure can be found in chapters 8 and 9 of the 'TER' ('Teaching and Examination Regulations'). In summary, the procedure foresees opportunities for further reporting and discussion, leading to: 3.1. settling of the case, in mutual agreement and - ideally - also in mutual understanding 3.2 a warning and follow up of the person(s) displaying the problematic behavior 3.3 exclusion of the person(s) displaying the problematic behavior. 3.4 start a legal procedure

IMPORTANT NOTE Mind that processes can differ depending on the social-legal status of the person(s) involved and the scale of the problem.

EXTRA INFORMATION For Belgium: you can find info on the websites of the Ministry of Education and of the Flemish Government: [https://www.belgium.be/fr/justice/victime/plaintes_et_declarations/discrimination] (https://www.belgium.be/fr/justice/victime/plaintes_et_declarations/discrimination) https://data-onderwijs.vlaanderen.be/a-z/? D=0&S=0&DT=&tid=290&DO=7&tchk=1609953692355 https://www.cultuurloket.be/inspiratie/interview-alle-beetjes-helpen-om-praten-over grensoverschrijdend-gedrag-uit-de http://engagementarts.be

This document is under construction!!! 09.05.2022