The Digital Games Research Association is committed to supporting diversity and inclusivity within the annual DiGRA conference, and more broadly in the field of game studies and beyond. In consequence, DiGRA 2017 has adopted the following safer space policy and implemented numerous diversity and inclusivity initiatives in the ongoing effort to improve the diversity and inclusivity of this annual conference.
Improving the diversity and inclusivity of DiGRA is an ongoing conversation, and as such, we are also delighted to be hosting the first workshop on inclusivity in DiGRA – “Gaming the Systems: Towards a More Inclusive DiGRA” – on July 2nd. If you feel that this policy can be improved in anyway, please contact the DIGRA 2017 General Chair Marcus Carter <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Specific Diversity and Inclusivity Initiatives at DiGRA 2017
- In acknowledgement of the prohibitive cost for many of attending a DiGRA event, we are introducing discounted registration rates for people from lower income ($50AUD fee) and lower middle income ($100AUD fee) countries. Further details will be made available when registration opens.
- We recognise that conferences and established communities like DiGRA can be intimidating for junior researchers and people joining the field for the first time. Consequently, on the first day of the main conference (July 4) we will be hosting a lightly catered ‘New to DiGRA Breakfast’, for people new to the conference to mingle and meet other newcomers, as well as the DiGRA 2017 committee and a small number of senior members of the community.
- Along the same principles, we are also organising a ‘Gender Diversity Breakfast’ on Day 2 of the conference (July 5), for women, transgender and non-binary identifying delegates. While the diversity workshop, many talks and panels during the conference will create opportunities to talk about how to improve DiGRA and Game Studies, it is our hope that this breakfast will facilitate new networks for support and advice within the community.
- DiGRA 2017 aims to be a gender inclusive space. As such, we encourage all attendees not to presume folk’s chosen pronouns, or that they use pronouns, and name-badges will have a space where attendees can declare their preferred pronouns if they wish. We encourage all attendees – even those who do not worry about being misgendered – to add their preferred pronouns to their name-badge. The venue for DiGRA will also have gender-neutral bathrooms.
- DiGRA 2017 is also adopting DiGRA Australia’s successful policy on Twitter usage. Panel chairs will identify each individual speakers preference regarding how they want the audience to tweet about their talk, if at all (this includes the use of photos, directly tagging presenters in tweets, ecetera). Any violations of a presenters wishes must immediately be deleted when brought to the offenders attention. Attendees are also required not to use potentially harmful hashtags and terms on official event hashtags.
We further note that the DiGRA 2017 conference venue is entirely wheelchair accessible. Attendees are advised to use the entrance off Burwood Road for best lift access.
Safer Space Policy
A safer space policy aims to foster an environment of respect which makes ALL participants, particularly those who are typically marginalized or excluded, feel welcome. Differing opinions and perspectives are crucial to effective discussion, but all attendees ultimately take responsibility for their own speech and behaviour – in person, and on social media – throughout the entire conference and associated social gatherings.
Attendees are encouraged to:
- Ask respectful questions and avoid dominating a presenter’s question time to further any particular agenda. Question time after a talk is intended to give presenters the opportunity to expand on their talk in response to audience questions, and is not a platform for the audience to individually reply.
- Be mindful of and understand that intersectionality shapes our lived experience.
- Actively include all attendees in social gatherings (such as post-conference dinners and social events), particularly those for whom English is not a first-language and junior students.
Examples of unacceptable behaviour in person and online includes, but is not limited to:
- Verbal communication (public or private) that demeans, devalues or is derogatory towards ones gender, sexuality, physical appearance, body size, class, appearance, race, religion, language, age, ability, and/or socio-economic status.
- Not using content warnings when discussing content that may be harmful or offensive, such as graphic discussions or depictions of hate speech or sexual violence.
- Display of sexually demeaning imagery in public spaces. (Sexual imagery can be acceptable provided it is clearly contextualized as critical work and explicit forewarning is provided, but such imagery should not be offensive or demeaning to any of the identificatory attributes listed above).
- Bullying, stalking, following and other such intimidating behaviour.
- Photography or recording without consent.
- Explicit mentioning of individuals on open social media using the official event hashtag without their consent (see also official Twitter policy below).
- Disrupting or hijacking conversations (during talks, in question times or in general discussion).
- Inappropriate non-consensual physical contact.
- Unwelcome attention of any kind.
- Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behaviours.
We recognise that the above list is not all-encompassing, and it is thus crucial that all DiGRA participants should be considerate, mindful and respectful of other participant’s safety, and refer any concerns to the conference committee.
Participants asked to stop any harassing or harmful behaviour are expected to comply immediately or they will be required to leave the space.
In the case of repeated offending behaviour, DiGRA will take any action deemed appropriate to resolve the situation and make the space welcoming. Examples of such action include: verbal warnings, written warnings, temporary or permanent barring from DiGRA events and online spaces.
If you feel that someone is making you or the space feel uncomfortable, if you see that someone else is being made to feel unsafe, or if you have any other concerns, please contact the organizers. You may do this in person (staff will be identified at the opening sessions) or via email to Marcus Carter <email@example.com> or Laura Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org). Our representatives will be happy to assist you with action, the provision of security or appropriate next steps.
These policies and initiatives are inspired and motivated by several excellent organisations that have established similar policies before DiGRA, in particular ReFIG, as well as Different Games and AOIR. Further thanks to the DiGRA Diversity Committee and Emily Flynn-Jones for their recommendations for initiatives to introduce at DiGRA 2017. We also thank the Canadian Game Studies Association, from whom we have borrowed the idea of a breakfast for new attendees.