Note: borrowed/adapted from the Aorta Collective’s Anti-Oppressive Facilitation for Democratic Process (archived page)

One person speaks at a time

Please, one person speak at a time. (It can also be useful to ask people to leave a few moments in between speakers, for those who need more time to process words, or are less comfortable interjecting in a conversation.)

Everyone has something to contribute

We know that each person is coming to the conversation with different levels of lived experience and embodied expertise. We also believe that each person has something to contribute to the conversation. This agreement asks that we all practice being humble, and look for what we have to learn from each person in the room. It asks us to share what we know, as well as our questions, so that others may learn from us.

Aim for more equitable participation

If you’re someone who tends to not speak a lot, please move up into a role of speaking more. If you tend to speak a lot, please move up into a role of listening more.

Please feel comfortable participating

We can’t be articulate all of the time (as much as we may wish we could!). Often people feel hesitant to participate for fear of "messing up" or using the wrong term. This dynamic may be especially intimidating in the digital archives field--which is laden with specific technical vocabulary--and among practitioners who do not possess a strong IT background. We want everyone to feel comfortable participating, even if you don’t feel you have the perfect words to express your thoughts or are unsure about the terminology, technology, etc.

Be aware and considerate of time, and avoid speaking in long monologues

This is helpful for your facilitator, and helps to respect everyone’s time and commitment.

Embrace curiosity

We make better decisions when we approach our problems and challenges with questions ("What if we…?") and curiosity. Allow space for curiosity and creative thinking.

Acknowledge the difference between impact and intent

Often when someone does or says something that causes harm or supports the values of oppressive systems, it is not their intention to do so. But when we use our good intentions to deny (or avoid being accountable for) the harm, more harm is caused. The ask in this community agreement is that we each do the work to acknowledge that our intent and the impact of our actions are two different things, and to take responsibility for any negative impact we have. This can be as simple as apologizing.