Our values and safer spaces

OUR VALUES

We believe:

  • That cultural institutions must break their links with the fossil fuel industry. To read our full analysis of why this is so important, click here.
  • That oil-sponsored institutions are also ideal venues to provoke a wider public conversation about the destructive activities of the fossil fuel industry, and to amplify the voices of those affected by them.
  • That the issue of fossil fuel sponsorship is deeply entwined with issues of colonialism, race, gender, wealth, class and other injustices. For example, many oil-sponsored museums and galleries contain objects violently stolen by colonial powers, or have workers facing low pay, poor conditions, and zero hour contracts while managers and directors take home six-figure salaries. Boards of Trustees of major oil-funded culturalinstitutions are overwhelmingly white, rich and male, and are rarely accountable to their staff and the public. The negative impacts of climate change and oil extraction disproportionately hit poorer communities, women and people of colour around the world.
  • Oil sponsorship should therefore not be treated as a “single issue” campaign – it is vital to recognise and act on these connections, and ensure that our activities are supporting, not undermining or ignoring, other vital social struggles.
  • Performance and creativity are vital tools in the struggle for a better world, and everyone has the potential to make a positive creative contribution.
  • When we organise together, each of us is vulnerable to either consciously or unconsciously acting out oppressive behaviour towards others. We need to actively challenge oppression and prejudice within our group and within ourselves as well as in wider society.
  • Working for positive social change takes effort, energy and emotional labour. Creating interventions based on performance, creativity, music, humour and honesty can help to refresh and recharge us, and reconnect ourselves and our audiences with the issues that matter on a deeper, more emotional level.

HOW WE AIM TO WORK TOGETHER

In order to uphold our values, we aim to work in the following ways (these are aspirations that we are constantly working towards, we know we have not yet succeeded at putting all of this fully into practice):

  • To be intersectional in our approach – in other words, to be constantly aware of the links and the overlaps between different struggles and oppressions.
  • To raise up the voices of directly affected people and communities in our performances.
  • To constantly learn and challenge ourselves with regard to our own privilege as a group and as individuals.
  • To challenge oppression both inside and outside of our organisation. We recognise that the same systems of domination, unearned privilege, exclusion and institutional violence underpin many different forms of oppression. We need to constantly check and challenge this in the aims and narratives of our actions, and in our engagement with people and other campaigns outside of our organisation.
  • To be open, welcoming and accessible, and to not directly or indirectly exclude anyone for example because of ethnicity, class, gender, gender identity, sexuality, age, income, ability or disability, appearance, immigration status, belief or non-belief, participation to date and experience. We have a Safer Spaces Agreement (see below) in order to begin to address some of these issues.
  • Wherever possible to  challenge oppression within our group in a compassionate way that in itself upholds the values above. Meeting the needs of the oppressed is always more important than sparing the feelings of the privileged, but we will aim to deal with any problems with as much care and sensitivity as we can.
  • For our time together to be a fun and positive experience.
  • To be collaborative in how we assign performance roles, and make it as easy as possible for new members to take on significant roles within performances.
  • To avoid hierarchy as much as possible, and distribute power and decision-making as horizontally as we can within the group.
  • To be a theatre group, not just an action group. To ensure creativity and performance is at the heart of all we do.
  • To celebrate each others’ achievements and contributions, and acknowledge every member’s input.
  • To be humble in the way we work, no matter our level of experience. There is always more to learn.
  • To value and listen to marginalised voices within our group, and within other groups and communities we work with.
  • To strike an active balance in our performances between aiming to end oil sponsorship deals, build public opposition to the fossil fuel industry, and provide a platform for frontline voices. Some performances will have more of a focus on one or another of these aims, but in any given year we will try to give decent time and effort to all three.
  • To not be afraid of complexity, and to show the links between issues even if sometimes a performance would be simpler if it stuck to one idea or theme.
  • To bring out different people’s talents and skills, and help all members of the group find the things they’re good at.

SAFER SPACES

We have a safer spaces agreement that is currently being updated, it will be available here soon.