Intention of the Festival
The Festival of Sensations was created out of the desire to give queer expression a platform. We wanted to place queer joy at the center, instead of just on the sidelines. We strive to provide a safeR space for sensual development, physical expression and to create ideal conditions through our diverse program. Our event is both participatory and just invites you to watch and enjoy.
The body-positive approach of the event creates a foundation to gently reconnect with oneself and others. After 2 years of the pandemic, it is essential for us all to get to know and love ourself and others anew. Our festival will provide for this with workshops, classes, talks and interactive games, and provide tools to make new connections.
Bringing the Queer Community Together
In our society, many people face marginalization. Queer people, fat people, and people with immigrant backgrounds are examples of groups which often experience feelings of exclusion, being stared at and judged. This festival aims to create a safeR space where they can creatively and artistically live out their needs and expressions. Queer art is to be celebrated and the network strengthened. Our focus is on drawing together our various marginalized communities through our senses.
The festival also aims to provide opportunities for networking – as we are inviting queer activists and facilitators from all over Europe. Numerous workshops, performances & theater productions, installations, live music, DJ sets, a costume corner, film screenings, talks and discussions will bring together the themes of sensuality, sexuality, gender, utopia, love and connection within this festival.
The Festival of Sensations is an event where people can engage in potentially intense interpersonal interactions, including touch and transformative exercises. It is everyone’s responsibility to understand, ask for, and choose whether to give or withhold consent. Together, we seek to create a supportive and consensual space where people are free to say no, are accepted for who they are, and have the ability to explore different aspects of themselves if they choose to do so.
In order to support such an environment, we expect everyone at Festival of Sensations to follow the policy below while they are attending our event and interacting with anyone present or involved with the Festival of Sensations. (We also hope our values and policy can be an ongoing inspiration for any interactions beyond our festival as well!)
All participants, volunteers, facilitators, staff, delegates and core team members are subject to this policy & procedure, as well as receiving support & consequences, without any exemption.
- Treat everyone as an equal by default. That means approaching everyone with consent and personal agency in mind: Everyone has the responsibility to always ask consent and be ready to gracefully receive a no. Same goes for managing and expressing boundaries/refusing any interaction without the need of an explanation.
- Nudity, outfits, flirting, or any expressed sexuality or identity is not an invitation for escalating interaction, which would require explicit consent.
- Each participant is responsible for making sure, to the best of their ability, that everyone involved has the physical, mental, and emotional capacity to give informed and voluntary consent. That applies both during negotiation and the activity itself. When in doubt, consider taking the lesser risk of incidents by downscaling the interaction (adjusting it to a level which feels certain and comfortable for all parties involved.)
- Anyone can withdraw consent at any time during any activity. A “no” in any form, verbal or nonverbal, should be taken as a withdrawal of consent.
- All participants are responsible for stopping immediately any activity at the withdrawal of consent, or when they feel uncertain of ongoing consent. While you can discuss a deescalation of your activity, you do not negotiate the withdrawal of consent.
- Ask consent for anything that ventures into someone’s personal space. For example: ‘Can I join you/sit here/etc…?’.
- When sexual energy/arousal/intention/interaction are involved:
- Give clear and explicit consent to the negotiated acts.
- Participants need to agree on the meanings for safe words or safe signs when used. Ask each other how your ‘no’ and ‘stop’ sounds/looks like.
- Unless previously agreed upon, we recommend avoiding re-negotiating in the middle of an activity. When a person is not in a clear state of mind, you may not have full or informed consent—even though they agree in the heat of the moment. If you do anyway, be aware of the heightened risk and responsibility that comes with this.
Sometimes things go differently than agreed on, either by mistake, lack of information, miscommunication, differing nonverbal communication styles, or physical limitations (slipping, mishearing, bumping into…). While we strive to avoid these ‘consent accidents’, we understand that it is a part of daily life.
Other times, consent gets intentionally broken by, for example, not disclosing important information, being driven by personal desire at the cost of the other’s autonomy, or by challenging the other person’s boundaries.
In both cases — accidental or intentional — you can inform us and we will initiate the procedure with the intention to (re)build on community safety, educate on better consent practices, and/or build capacity for accountability.
We offer the following ways to support you and address this:
- Approach any member of the Awareness Team, the Conflict Support Team, or Core Team to discuss an incident
- Access our report form online and fill it in.
- Write your message in a private channel to our Telegram number which is only accessible by our Awareness Team (+43 677 643 084 18) and the CST Team (+4368120672556)
- To report an incident concerning an Awareness Team/CST member, please approach another member of another team/core team. All team members commit to holding each other responsible and supporting each other in taking accountability by informing at least one other member for proper follow-up.
There is a procedure in place which you can read below so you are aware of what happens with a received report. Please contact us as soon as you are able (the form is available for 6 months after the event. After the 28th of February 2023, you can still send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org). It is your right to report what happened and to ask for support.
Please be respectful of other people and be mindful of their feelings and personal space. This space and its Awareness Team prioritize safety, equity, respect, and well being. If behavior we consider to be potentially unsafe, inappropriate, or disrespectful is observed or brought to our attention, the Awareness Team will respond. They will attempt to meet, discuss conduct, and recommend action to change unsafe behaviors. We will prevent entry and revoke access without refund in response to serious, dangerous, and repeated offenses that jeopardize the safety and agency of our space, our participants, or our team members.
Under no circumstances do we tolerate discrimination and harassment. This includes, but is not limited to, discrimination and/or harassment on the basis of: gender identity or gender presentation, sexual orientation, relationship status, relationship type or practice, socio-economic status (class), race, ability, language fluency or accent, age, physical appearance, mental health status, education, religion or lack thereof, and body shape.
We acknowledge that most of us grew up with discriminatory beliefs and practices embedded in culture. This festival aims to be aware of this, and support each other in this (un)learning process of becoming anti-discriminatory. We will not just ban people who are in this learning process and make errors. A key attitude we look for is willingness and openness to listen, learn and grow, and face the discomfort that comes with it. The Awareness Team can support with this.
Discrimination is not limited to individual behavior but is deeply embedded in our socialization, our institutions, and organizational structures. All these forms of discrimination can be either implicit or explicit.
In general, discriminatory behavior can look like this:
- using words that were historically used to perpetuate violence against marginalized groups. Here it is important to reflect from which position one speaks – while certain words are perpetuating this historical violence when used by non-members of the groups they address, the same words can be a subversive tool of empowerment when used by members of those groups to refer to themselves. WHO is talking is key here.
- Excluding said groups from certain spaces
- Reproducing stereotypes and therefore violence against said groups
- Violence of any kind against someone because they are a member of a certain group
While this is called a phobia it is actually an internalized hatred against homosexual, queer, and trans people which results in violent behavior towards these groups or creating dangerous circumstances for homosexual, queer, and trans people.
Homo-/Queer-/Transphobia may look like:
- Using slurs or words historically used for the oppression of those groups if you’re not a member of said groups yourself
- Not respecting someone’s pronouns or chosen name / repeatedly deadnaming or misgendering someone
- Denying someone their gender or explain why you think differently about gender as a response to their gender.
- Belittling, erasing or not respecting someone’s sexuality, gender, pronouns, identity
- Using the term “women*” to refer to the openness of trans women and other FLINTA people – trans women are women and FLINTAs are FLINTAs and not “women*”
- Binary/gendered bathrooms
- Using/expecting people as personal education dispensers by asking multiple questions on personal experience without consent of time/energy/availability.
Racism & Colorism
The discrimination against someone because of their racialisation or ethnicity and/or skin color. Since racism can only exist in a long-standing system of oppression and violence there is no such thing as racism against white people! Claiming such only deepens racialisation.
Racism & Colorism may look like:
- Using slurs or words that were historically used to justify violence against BIPoC when you are not a member of those communities yourself
- Microaggressions, such as speaking slower to someone, or in English because you think they don’t know the local language, based on the way they look
- Asking someone where they’re from without context
- Appropriating BIPoC aesthetics or art practices, clothing, words, culture – for example being a white person with dreadlocks
- Centering the discomfort of someone who got feedback of racism instead of tending to the racism.
- Putting racism in a vacuum – Not acknowledging racism to exist. “I don’t see color”.
Discrimination on the basis of class. Classism is a strategy used by members of a supposedly higher class to discriminate against people from a lower class.
Classism may look like:
- Making spaces inaccessible by, for example, asking for a lot of money, a certain type of clothing, events with no childcare
- Making fun of someone’s dialect or way of speaking
- Being ignorant to privileges that come with being middle or upper class
- Writing or speaking in academic language to make someone else feel small
- Claiming laziness or low effort in acquiring skills or financial stability
Discrimination on the basis of gender. This often goes along with a binary understanding of gender where women and men are opposites.
Sexism may look like:
- Treating women as inferior to men – equating feminine to weak and masculine to strong.
- Seeing women as objects to be used/watched for the pleasure of men
- Gendering care work and housework as feminine.
- Using slurs against women
- Calling a woman too emotional or even hysterical as a way to diminish arguments
- Letting kids play only with specific culturally gendered toys – denying choice based on gender.
- Making fun of crying men – equating being emotional to being feminine.
The discrimination on the basis of age. This can affect older people as well as younger people depending on the context.
Ageism may look like:
- Refusing people over or under a certain age to specific spaces/roles.
- Asking for someone’s age out of context
- Viewing/stereotyping older people as undynamic, boring,…
- Viewing/stereotyping younger people as lazy, hedonistic,…
- Making jokes about someone’s age
- Not taking someone seriously based on their age
The discrimination against people with disabilities. This form of discrimination is mainly based on the conception of able people being superior to people with disabilities.
Ableism may look like:
- Making a space wheelchair inaccessible or not providing wheelchair-accessible bathrooms – Architectural exclusion/ignorance.
- Using slurs or words historically used for the oppression of disabled people if you are not a member of this community yourself
- Disregarding mental illness as disability
- Speaking to someone with a disability as if they were a child – belittling
- Not granting disabled people their autonomy and privacy
- Asking intrusive questions about someone’s disability
- Not “believing” someone is disabled
- Using allyship as personal benefit/decoration – Ally is a verb, not an identity: you are only an ally when you are taking action to fight oppression
- Sometimes you can act as an ally, while in some situation you are the marginalized person
How to help in situations where the Awareness Team is approached with the above issues:
While all of these forms of discrimination can happen separately, a lot of times they intersect with each other – meaning that several forms of discrimination are influencing a situation. In these moments it is especially important to be present and open to the needs of the people that are affected.
We ask you to support members of marginalized groups and to stand with the oppressed. While in theory this might sound easy, in reality, situations are usually more entangled. Sometimes it can be hard to disentangle the complexities of certain conflicts. While sensitivity for political issues, for macro-politics and the engagement in these topics all help, it is most important to take care of the people who are involved.
- Listen, support, and ask if you can provide options for the person who is affected by discriminatory behavior.
- You are here to support this person in a situation which is aligned in a history of oppression and violence. Be as sensitive and caring as possible towards this person and most importantly: listen and acknowledge their experience!
- Do not do anything the person has not agreed to!
- If consenting, offer different options such as talking to the person(s) responsible, a mediated conversation, a shoulder to lean on, change setting, or just a listening ear.
- If the person agrees to any of those things, try to execute this as promised, with follow up, and if not, please respect the person’s choice
Respect for Cultural Identity and their Significance
No racial or cultural caricaturization is to be worn by anyone at the festival. This includes, but is not limited to, black face or things that could be interpreted as black face (such as chimney sweep make-up), Native American inspired headdresses (including hawk or eagle feathers), and stereotyped costumes and makeup.
Threatening Symbols and Political Beliefs
All political beliefs are welcome and we will not bar someone for their political affiliation.
People often dance for an escape and a place to feel safe in a community. To that end, we ask people to be thoughtful of other people’s sense of safety and belonging when choosing what clothes to wear, slogans to represent, and political conversations to have. Moreover, if there is someone you want to engage in a political discussion but they are not willing/interested, we ask you to respect their boundaries. However, if someone is making harassing or discriminatory statements, it is not okay. We cannot tolerate intolerance nor can we permit signs and symbols that have become associated with political intimidation, trolling, white supremacy, transphobia/trans-exclusionary feminism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, etc.
For more information on our (un)dress code, please check out our website.
Festival of Sensations is an event where we will establish a break from the usual centering in commercial spaces around mind-altering substances, generally alcohol.
Through this decentralization, we aim to foster higher inclusion of people who cannot or do not want to drink alcohol. Further, we invite people to experience the Festival of Sensations by tuning into their personal baseline of perception. While we are understanding and accepting of diverse medical needs (through prescribed drugs as well as self-medication with the intent to support a mindset that increases personal agency), we ask all participants to avoid recreational use of alcohol and other drugs. There will be no alcohol sold or allowed on the festival premises and campsites.
Further Breaches of Policy
- Anything that presents a clear contradiction to the Values of the Festival
- Trolling & creating intentionally excessive workload
- Abuse of power, acts of intimidation, or any leveraging of interactions/choices that benefits one party and negatively affects the other.
Consequences when the Policy is Breached
Violation of the policy has consequences. These can range from offering support in regulation and growth, to an awareness conversation/warning, to being escorted out of the Festival of Sensations—and/or a temporary ban from the Loslassen Verein activities—in accordance with our procedure. These decisions are taken at the Festival by the CST, and after the Festival by the Consent Committee.
Every reasonable effort will be made to ensure awareness of this policy and execute the procedure, but we cannot make guarantees about our ability to successfully reach every participant and offer satisfaction to all parties involved. Each situation we are made aware of is unique and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the CST (Conflict Support Team). All participants and attendees retain full responsibility for their safety and the safety of others with whom they interact. Failure to live up to providing what we wish to provide can not be used against us in a legal or unreasonable way.
Guidelines for Intimate Interactions between Team Members, Facilitators, Musicians and Participants
This section is addressing ‘you’, meaning the team members, facilitators, performers, and volunteers on shift.
Team members, facilitators and performers often set the tone for festival culture. People will look up to you for inspiration and leadership regarding how to behave in a consent-aware space. This makes them role models. Be careful with your responsibility and always practice authentic consent.
Always aim to empower everyone to say no, offer the possibility to leave a space/situation/workshop/interaction at any time, to not do an exercise when they would rather not, and try to actively reduce peer pressure.
Do not engage intimately with anyone while you are facilitating your workshop, shift or set. If you want to roleplay an exercise during a workshop, pre-negotiate this with your assistant. Inform the participants about this pre-negotiated roleplay/interaction.
When engaging with a participant, keep in mind the heightened risk that this entails. Power can be a strong, yet sometimes subtle, aphrodisiac. Power dynamics can make consent blurry and even more complex. If in doubt, don’t engage at the festival and ask them to message you after the festival if they are still interested.
We recommend waiting until a participant approaches you and not the other way around. In all cases, make them aware of the power imbalance and how this affects consent and accountability.
We do not believe a full ban on intimate interactions between people in power positions and participants is necessary. All interactions between everyone should be negotiated and consensual, and that is always context specific. Further, some facilitators are facilitating in exchange for a ticket—and are therefore in a participant-facilitator double role—further complicating matters. Being in a power position means being aware of the increased risk factor, but forbidding interactions could reinforce and strengthen the power imbalance (and increase the allure of the forbidden fruit!).
More information on how to reduce risk as a facilitator read the Nibana website. They offer great reflection questions to start a conversation about these kinds of interactions.
If a consent accident/ incident occurs, we will start a process according to our procedure.
If anything happens in a workshop, please report to the Awareness Team as soon as possible so we can make sure the impacted person(s) gets support by our Awareness Team or the Conflict Support Team.
Consent, Care and Confidentiality
At the center of the event are the three Cs: consent, care and confidentiality. In addition, there will be enough room for your own creativity, experimentation and self-expression. We invite our guests to contribute themselves creatively and become part of the festival.
All participants are encouraged to be a reliable source of information to spread awareness about consent. As consent is the most important value we invite every participant and team member to check in and take care of each other and themselves. Whenever you witness a possible consent incident or someone who may not be feeling well, you are encouraged to check in with that person if it is within your capacity. If you don’t feel you can handle the situation, let the Awareness Team member on duty know to ensure they check in with that person/situation.
More on our values on our website: https://festivalofsensations.com/values/
Goal of the Document
The purpose of this document is to offer a clear Policy and Procedure to operate at the Festival of Sensations.
We strive to create a SafeR Space together. To do that, we strive to be transparent towards our attendees, volunteers and team members — so that they have more information regarding our procedures (how we plan to handle things), and our policy & code of conduct (how we socially interact & what to expect). This document will also allow everyone involved in our event to know who to address and/or delegate to when necessary.
We count on everyone participating to contribute to the spirit of our festival, read our policy, act in accordance, and understand the procedures. This will ensure everyone attending knows what to expect, and also encourage reflection on personal boundaries, intentions and desires when attending the festival.
What happens when our policy gets broken or a report is made?
This document is intended to give clarity on what to expect when the policy of Festival of Sensations gets overstepped. While every case will be approached individually, we intend to follow a clear and predictable step-by-step procedure.
This procedure is applicable to everyone involved in the Festival of Sensations. This includes participants, facilitators, volunteers, team members, organizers, direct partnerships and collaborators.
The Awareness Team: Our First Responders
The Awareness Team provides emotional care. Their actions and procedures are derived from the evidence based principles of psychological first aid, as well as intercultural research into how to help prevent long term impact of stress/trauma. They act as first responders, not therapists, nor are they qualified in their role to assist beyond the perspective of ‘first aid’. The Awareness Team will respond to people feeling overwhelmed, consent incidents, reports, disputes and emergencies in the moment and potentially involve the CST if needed.
The Conflict Support Team (CST): Our Second Responders
The CST is the ‘second responders’. They are available on-site to help navigate conflicts and consent incidents between people after the first emotional care from the Awareness Team. They can help with supporting the Awareness Team to manage conflict and/or co-regulate people while taking in information, if needed. However, it is important to reserve their capacity as priority for Conflict Support and taking in reports/information. Their procedures are derived from different Consent & Transformative Justice movements that are active with addressing harm in communities.
The Consent Committee
The Consent Committee is not active during the festival itself. Instead, they handle the long-term consequences of consent incidents that might need further mediation(s), an accountability process, or other potential decisions/actions post-festival.
All Team Members
All team members are responsible to have read and understood the policy & procedure, and actively invest to make sure this is distributed to participants, volunteers, partnerships and collaborators as best as possible. They are also responsible to act when witnessing the policy being broken.
By ‘act’, we mean:
- Pay attention & observe
- Inform another team member closeby to observe as well
- Take inventory of your capacity and that of the available team members within reasonable reach
- If within your capacity and skill set, act with what feels appropriate to the situation: interrupt, listen, assess, distract, deescalate,…
- Redirect to the right people for follow up (Awareness Team, Conflict Support Team, Consent Committee).
Once something is brought to the attention of these teams, we initiate the procedures as indicated below. Each procedure has an indication of which team(s) execute them.
Our Values in Approaching This Work
We recognize shared responsibility on individual, organizational and systemic levels in consent incidences and acknowledge compounded systemic oppression that can result in traumatic lensing of our experiences and shape our reactions.
We respect the fullness of each experience, and we do our best to differentiate between uncomfortable disagreement, conflict, hurt, harm, and abuse. (see the Glossary)
- Non-Binary/Spectrum Approach
We resist binary thinking like black-white, good-bad, victim-perpetrator, male-female,… and embrace the spectrum of human complexity, interactions, all their shades, all the intentions and impacts, and how this all intersects.
We believe incidents like this have the risk of escalating unnecessarily, if confidentiality is not valued. Therefore we try to keep reports in the smallest circles necessary to provide constructive support. When essential for harm reduction, we might share essential details to people who need to know, in order to support the intention of harm reduction. This is done preferably in an anonymized way to support vigilance for certain behavior, rather than certain people.
- Harm Reduction
Our priority is to attend to harm and the needs that support its reduction/recovery while offering support to everyone involved. This includes not transferring harm from one place or person to another, for example by revenge or punishment. We will also try to explain consequences where needed, to make sure it’s clear where they come from.
In general, our intention is to:
- Be visible and available.
- Model healthy responses: be calm, courteous, organized and helpful.
- Pay attention to our own emotional and physical capacity, reactions, and practice self-care (especially before and after a shift.)
- Remain within the scope of our expertise, as well as our designated role, and potentially delegate to someone who might be better suited for the particular request/situation.
- Maintain confidentiality as appropriate.
- Make appropriate referrals when additional expertise is needed or requested.
- Be knowledgeable and sensitive to issues of culture and diversity.
Our Intention is NOT to:
- Pressure you for more details.
- Offer unsolicited advice – also to not offer advice if asked in a moment of crisis because it is too risky.
- Offer judgments.
- Label or pathologize anyone.
- Touch you except in order to secure medical assistance/prevent physical harm.
- After reporting and supporting, the people of the team who supported you will refrain from engaging in any intimate interactions.
- Find out your part of the responsibility in the situation and focus on that.
- Ask you to reflect on your part of responsibility during a state of crisis.
- Speculate or offer possibly inaccurate information.
- Either encourage or discourage you from reporting anything to law enforcement.
- Core Team
- Awareness Team
The Awareness Team is there in any case where someone needs emotional support, maybe if they feel confused or insecure. Especially if someone just experienced a consent incident or discrimination, feels overwhelmed or challenged, the Awareness Team are the ‘first responders‘.
The Awareness Team is our spaceholder and your safety contact in case you feel confused or insecure, experienced harm or discrimination or need support with a conflict. Whenever you have a question, feel overwhelmed or overtaxed, don’t hesitate to reach out to the awareness point or to the mobile team. They will additionally be reachable through Telegram messenger, and the awareness phone (+43 677 643 084 18). There is a dedicated safe space accessible only by and with the Awareness Team.
People on duty will be wearing recognizable head jewelry.
- Vik – Awareness Lead -Pronouns: they/them
Conflict Support Team (CST):
In case a consent incident or conflict of any degree occurs, we have a dedicated team that can support all people involved. We are available for receiving stories of struggle, provide support on the topics of consent, responding to calls for help, mediating, intervening to prevent potential consent incidents or violations, or how to deal with the aftermath of one. We operate with the intention of reducing further harm and building agency & capacity for the people involved, and related to the Festival of Sensations.
Who is in the CST:
- Olivier (Ollie) – Pronouns: Name/they/them
- Penny Campbell – Pronouns: they/them
Security / Safety Team:
- Awa Stern www.awa-stern.info/
- Saturday night Bob as Camping Nightwatch
The Consent Committee reviews the reports and makes decisions regarding the attendance for next year of people who were reported or are in an Accountability Process.
- The CC’s role is to receive the information reported by the Awareness Team and/or CST, review that information, and make decisions based on that information.
This decision and what weighed into it will be communicated to the reported person and/or their accountability support, as well as the person who reported them and the core team.
If the reported person is someone from the core team, an explanation will be given to our community members (members of the Loslassen Verein) about what weighed into this decision in order to support our community moving through this incident.
- The CC is made up of people with no conflicts of interest and, where possible, include people from outside the Organization.
We are still searching members for our consent comitee if you are interessted please fill out our Form.
How We Create A SafeR Space
At Festival of Sensations, we strive to create a safeR space for people who are routinely marginalized by society to feel comfortable and catered for. We encourage everyone to actively ask for feedback about their language, behavior, etc. and incorporate it. When getting called in or out, try to stay calm and apologize and check in with the person later, if possible. Remember that acknowledging mistakes and being accountable for your actions only helps with building trust and a feeling of safety.
Here are some of the ways that we work towards creating a safeR space:
Gender Neutral Language
We strive to use gender neutral language when possible, especially when addressing groups of people or people whose gender we do not know. Please do not assume anyone’s gender, sex or sexuality based on how they appear. Be mindful – if you are unsure, simply use their name and/or ask what pronouns they use before addressing them. Also, when introducing yourself to a group, please mention your pronouns.
Creating a safeR environment entails providing for physical safety as well as emotional! Therefore, we would like to share with you our strategy to avoid any complications due to COVID.
We are creating a space where the most vulnerable people in the community are safeR. Therefore everyone, including Construction Crew and Staff members, need to show a negative PCR-Test (not older than 48 hours) at the Check-In. PCR-Tests in Vienna are free of charge for all EU citizens and can be obtained at test sites or purchased at drug stores/pharmacies and fuel stations. If you are arriving from abroad and have no accessible PCR testing methods, we also accept a negative certificated Antigen Test (not older than 24 hours). With this step we want to create a small safeR bubble, meaning that there will be NO obligation to wear masks at the festival nor maintain a 1.5m distance from each other. As Festival of Sensations is an outdoor festival, we believe that these measures are enough to reduce the risk of spreading COVID.
Please note that these measures will not guarantee a COVID-free environment. If you experience symptoms during the festival, please contact a team member and we will help you get a test as soon as possible.
If anyone tests positive during or in the two weeks following the festival, please inform a team member via the Emergency Number (+43 677 643 084 32) or in person wearing a mask at the festival, or after the event by sending an email to email@example.com. We will inform all attendees while maintaining your confidentiality. Contracting COVID is not a moral failure on your part, and we will not judge you for getting sick. It is, however, of utmost importance that we react swiftly and appropriately to ensure that the virus does not spread further.
Festival of Sensations attendees should feel free to wear whatever clothes allow us to express ourselves and are suitable for the varied activities arranged to engage all five senses.
The following are some specific points to consider: They are directed towards avoiding harm or misunderstandings and are based on experiences at previous sex- & body-positive and spiritual events.
Nudity at Festival of Sensations
As a Body Positive festival, we will feature nudity both during certain workshops/performances and sometimes informally.
When interacting with people wearing fewer clothes than you are used to, please remember this basic principle:
Someone being naked does not necessarily make them a threat, and it does not mean that they have provided you with consent.
Consent applies most obviously to physical content, but also to comments and lingering looks.
No Far-Right or nationalist Iconography
Festival of Sensations welcomes attendees of all religions and ethnicities, and for this reason we have a strict ban on symbols and iconography associated with the far-right. This includes (but is not limited to) the symbols covered by the Prohibition Act 1947 (DE: Verbotsgesetz 1947).
If in doubt, please err on the side of caution rather than ‘reclamation’ (especially if you’re not part of a group directly targeted by contemporary far-right groups.).
National flags should also be avoided wherever possible.
Avoid Appropriative Styles & Costumes
Cultural exchange is a beautiful thing, but it does not take place outside of the context of colonialism and imperialism. Please avoid cultural appropriation from cultures you do not personally belong to. If in doubt, defer to someone from the culture being drawn from (either directly or through reading).
While not everyone from marginalised communities agrees on what constitutes ‘appropriation’, it’s best if conversations around these topics are centered on their perspectives rather than defensiveness. With this in mind, we specifically discourage the following:
- Usage of Indigenous terms & artifacts by white-privileged people: feather headdresses, tipis, sweat lodges, “Aho”, dreamcatchers, “tribe,” references to spirit animals, etc.
- Locs worn by non-Black people should be avoided. Inspired by Smut Slam, we invite those who choose to wear appropriative hairstyles to learn more about racist microagressions, and to cover their hair while at the Festival.
As Smut Slam puts it, we aim to create an event which:
“strives to create a supportive and safer space, both onstage and off, and we recognize that style and behavior of individuals can contribute to an environment that feels unsafe for marginalized people. This is why we are asking non-black people who wear culturally appropriative hairstyles (for example, dreadlocks or box braids) to do research about these racist microagressions, and to cover up such hairstyles at Smut Slam while they are doing the work.”
If you are still confused about what is and is not appropriate / appropriative, check out these useful resources from BIPOC creators:
- On Vikings
- Black Hair: History & Myths
- Socio-Historical Legal Analysis
- White Feminist
- Tangled Roots: More (US) History
- Current & Historic Laws
- Activism in UK
- Black UK Lawyer
- White Tears
- “The Talk”
- Reducing White Fragility
- Black Insight on White Tears
- Academic: White Women’s Tears
- Academic: White Victimhood
- Trauma & Transracialism
- Native Dances
We want to reduce our carbon footprint and create a sustainable space, therefore we have considered a few steps with which you can help us keep Festival of Sensations environmentally friendly.
- Eco-Friendly departure and arrival
- The journey from Vienna to Hainburg an der Donau is easy and comfortable by train. The station is just 10 minutes walking distance from the festival area.
- Leave your car at home or use the community for ride sharing.
- Food & Beverages
- We offer 100% plant-based food.
- Water is for everyone, so you’ll find free water containers distributed through the festival area. We will not use disposable cups, so bring your own bottle/cup to refill.
- You’ll find only glass bottles and sustainable carton cans at our bars. You can always use your self-brought cups/bottles if needed.
- Many of our beverage partners compensate co2 with each sold product.
- Plastic & Disposable Plastic
- There will be no disposable plastic at our festival. Help us keep the area clean by bringing back your dirty dishes to the sign posted areas. To save water, we will wash everything with dishwashers. If you feel like it, you can also use our wash tunnel.
- You can help reduce plastic by avoiding buying products at the supermarket with non-recyclable packages.
- Don’t litter the environment. In the festival area you can throw your waste in designated trash bins. If you are going for a swim at the Donau or a hike in the beautiful forests and mountains outside of Festival of Sensations, just bring back your trash and dispose of it correctly.
- Sustainable Purchase and Reuse
- Lots of our production material and decorations are reused or borrowed from other collectives and festivals. In many cases the material is bought second hand. We welcome you to consider this option for your next private purchase. Recycling purchases save useless additional plastic packages and money.
Edited and adapted by Olivier Dieleman, Janina Vivianne, Jules Gleeson and Ella Shields.
Base document written by: The Pan Eros Foundation and the Consent Academy
– Creative Commons License – 2020 – V3.1
The Consent Academy is happy to share the ideas and format of this Consent Policy. We ask for credit/citation on any duplication or use via Creative Commons. If possible, a donation is also welcome but is not necessary.
For more information, contact us through our website: www.consent.academy
Glossary aka Definition of terms
by Consent & Leadership Series: Transformative Accountability Theory – Copyright Consent Academy – www.consent.academy
Common Language: The set of words, and understanding of those words, that a group uses to understand each other. It makes communication and negotiation possible between people within that group.
Code of Conduct: A set of rules outlining the norms, rules, and responsibilities of an individual in an organization; a definition of proper behavior within a space that reflects the core values and goals of the group in charge of that space.
Consent: The explicit or implicit verbal communication made by a person that they are willing to have something done to them by one or more other persons, or that they are willing to perform an act at the request of one or more other persons.
Consent includes the ability to make that expression freely, the conscious understanding of what is being done or requested, and the active willingness to engage. Consent applies to all persons involved in an activity regardless of role. Consent may be withdrawn at any point, regardless of prior negotiations between the participating parties.
Emotional/Psychological First Aid: Interventions that promote safety, stabilize those who experience harm, and connect them with help and resources; designed to reduce emotional and psychological harm and the impact of that harm.
- The purpose is to assess immediate concerns and needs of an individual after harm occurs; not to provide on-site therapy.
Emotional Intelligence: The capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions; the ability to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.
Confidentiality: A set of rules, promise, or agreement that limits access or places restrictions on certain information. An agreement to hold information private within the bounds of consent from an individual or organization.
Need to Know Circle: A group of people, involved in an incident or process, who need to know confidential information in order to make a decision, ruling, or to enact a procedure. No one outside the circle should have knowledge of or access to the information.
Confidential Space: A space (physical or electronic) where shared information cannot be overheard, seen, removed, changed, or interacted with in any way by anyone not in the Need to Know Circle.
De-Escalation: Techniques used to lower the emotional intensity, crisis level, instability, and/or danger in an interaction with one or more people.
- Taking a less authoritative, less controlling, less confrontational, and more consensual approach to help guide a situation towards the least harmful outcome.
- Strategies used to slow down, create space, and use communication to defuse potentially dangerous or inflammatory situations; to deal calmly with people who are experiencing mental and emotional crises.
Resources: Anything that supports the ability to take action or create change: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, monetary, logistical, relational, etc.
Accountability: Taking responsibility through words and/or actions for one’s harmful behavior and/or negative impact on others.
Accountability Circle (or Pod): A group to help an individual to engage better/more thorough accountability and/or to make amends.
Amends: Behavior designed to correct a mistake or to make up for harm done to another. Can be direct or indirect.
Transformative Accountability: A model for working to resolve an Incident that focuses on positive change and accountability; based in compassionate support, harm reduction, recovery, distributed responsibility for harm.
- It supports the person who experienced harm, to get the help they need to recover from that harm.
- It supports the person responsible for harm, to hold them accountable for that responsibility and help them move towards more consensual behavior.
- It supports the organization or community involved, to both recover from the incident and to help set up better systems and norms to better prevent incidents from happening in the future.
- The focus is on recovery and change through appropriate communication, emotional support, accountability practices, and education.
Harm Reduction: A set of principles and strategies for both reducing the overall harm present in a situation and preventing further harm from occurring. We focus on the following:
- We cannot remove the harm that has happened. Nor can we prevent harm from happening in the future.
- We can work to prevent additional harm and to reduce the impact of the harm that was done through appropriate intervention, education, and support.
- Non-judgmental interactions with both the person who experienced harm and the person responsible for it is essential to the process.
- Not transferring harm by supporting harmful punitive sanctions.
- Recognizing issues of power, privilege, oppression, trauma, past experience, and other social inequities impact a person’s vulnerability to and capacity in dealing with harm.
- Acknowledging the real and sometimes tragic impact harm has on a person; be it physical, emotional, mental, or Spiritual.
Accountability Process: The series of interconnected steps an organization, group, or Accountability Team uses to enforce Accountability and Responsibility within its Scope.
A successful Accountability Process takes time and revolves around a person’s ability to change their behavior as part of a harm reduction process.
Trauma: The experience of severe psychological distress following exposure to significant violence, life threatening event, serious injury, or extreme psychological harm that has not resolved within one month.
- Not to be confused with Stress, Discomfort, or Psychological Pain which are normal parts of experience.
Trauma Informed Practice: An approach assuming any individual is more likely than not to have a history of trauma. Trauma-Informed support recognizes the presence of trauma symptoms and acknowledges the role trauma may play in an individual’s life.
- It focuses on: Safety, Patience, Understanding, Consent, Collaboration, Accountability, & Empowerment.
- Used to create safer and more informed environments, policies, and behavioral practices.
Compounded Trauma: Complicated trauma, with increased traumatic response, caused by exposure to additional trauma or poor response to a traumatic event.
- Normally created by three different situations:
A person experiences multiple traumas in short succession.
A person experiences multiple traumas over a long person of time.
A person experiences a significant trauma and then re-experiences it again, either through re-exposure to similar stimulus or from
being forced to relive the experience through re-telling what happened to them before they’re ready to or have enough support.
Creates additional harm, elongates the healing process, & leaves people more susceptible to additional harm.
Secondary Trauma: The emotional duress that results when an individual hears about the firsthand trauma experiences of another. (Also known as: Compassion Fatigue)
Neurodiversity: The range of differences in individual brain function and behavioral traits, regarded as part of normal variation in the human population; variations in the brain regarding sociability, learning, attention, and mood which may cause communication differences; often used in the context of autistic spectrum disorders and the promoting understanding, acceptance, and accommodation of these differences.
Power & privilege
Agency: The capacity or ability to project power, especially over the self, in a given place and time.
Power: The ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or course of events.
- Personal Power: The ability to create change in one’s own environment or circumstances.
Abuse of Power: Improper use of one’s Agency which results in the harm, injury, or oppression of another.
Boundaries: Personal limits that define what is okay and what’s not. “No” is the simplest of stated boundaries.
Coercion: Pushing someone to act in a way they would not choose to by using force or threat.
Privilege: Additional Agency enjoyed by a person, held solely due to their inclusion in a particular group advantages, favors, and benefits given to members of dominant groups at the expense of members of target groups. Privilege operates on personal, interpersonal, cultural, and institutional levels
Oppression: The removal or reduction, either directly or indirectly, of a person or group’s Agency
Bias: prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another Bias is found in all aspects of life, thought, and interaction. It’s a normal part of the human experience
Implicit Bias: Attitudes we have towards people or stereotypes we associate with them without our conscious knowledge.
Cognitive Bias: A systematic error in thinking that occurs when people process and interpret information in the world around them; impacting and affecting the decisions and judgments they make. Comes from: Limited Attention, Personal Motivation, Social Pressure & Constructs, Emotional Pressure, & Heuristic Modeling (Mental shortcuts that ease the cognitive load of making a decision.)
Conflict of Interest: A situation where a person is in a position to either derive personal benefit or person harm from actions or decisions made in an official capacity.
Oppression: The removal or reduction, either directly or indirectly, of a person or group’s Agency.
- Ableism: A system that places value on and prejudices and/or discriminates people’s bodies and minds based on societally constructed ideas of normalcy, intelligence, excellence, and productivity.
- Ageism: Prejudice and/or discrimination on the grounds of a person’s age; using a person’s age to determine how smart, wise, right, good, able, etc. they are.
- Sexism: Prejudice and/or discrimination on the grounds of a person’s perceived biological sex; using a person’s perceived sex to determine how smart, wise, right, good, able, etc. they are.
Intersectionality: An analytical framework for understanding how a person’s traits combine to create different modes of discrimination and privilege.
• Looks at how much of the success and respect an individual achieves (or does not achieve) in life can be explained by the possession of certain traits.
- Examples of these intersecting and overlapping aspects/traits include gender, sex, race, class, sexuality, religion, disability, physical appearance, etc.
- Identifies multiple factors of advantage and disadvantage, which consequently add or subtract so that the net effect may be empowering or oppressing.
Harm vs. Conflict
Harm: Significant physical, mental, emotional, and/or spiritual injury; lastin damage or trauma. Emotional/spiritual/social distress as a way to address wrong doing.
Harm Transfer: The process by which harm, when done in one area or to an individual/group, is pushed or moved into another area, person, or group in an attempt to redress, hide, or weaponize the harm. Punishment is the most common.
Intent: The sum of our thoughts, feelings, desires, and beliefs that go into a decision to engage in a behavior. Can be either conscious or subconscious. Intent happens prior to action and may take minutes or moments to form. Intent is not behavior; it is the driving force that causes behavior.
Impact: The effect that behavior has. When we witness or experience someone else’s behavior we perceive it, and then have thoughts or feelings in response. That is the impact. It is not the action or behavior itself, but rather how it lands and affects us.
Conflict: A collision of any kind and degree, between people. This could involve hurt, harm, crossed/vague boundaries, unmet needs, miscommunication, disagreement, uncomfortable and/or escalated tension.
Consequence: The result of an action/behavior; an understandable reaction to the impact of behavior engaged in by an individual.
Punishment: The infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense; something done to a person, which they will not like, hurt them, and/or cause physical/mental/e
Consent Incident & Violation
Consent Incident: An event or occurrence, involving consent, where something has gone wrong.
- Consent may have been broken, bent, misinterpreted, confused, violated, coerced, or otherwise not upheld.
- An umbrella term for anytime someone perceives their consent has been broken by another.
- There is no initial assumption of guilt or fault. There is no initial assumption of how is the person who harmed.
- It is an event that happened which needs consideration, review, and outside support.
- A violation of consent may or may not happen during an incident. Whether or not a violation occurred is up to the person who experienced the harm.
- Primary Actors: The Person Harmed, The Person Accused, The Person Responsible for Harm, & Witnesses
An incident during which:
- A person is acted upon (or is coerced to perform an act) by another or by others in a manner not consented to in advance.
- A person is acted upon (or is coerced to perform an act) by another or by others after a withdrawal of consent is made by the acted-upon person.
- A Consent incident may occur accidentally or intentionally, with or without malice, and may or may not have injurious consequences.
- A Consent incident may be physical, emotional, mental, or social in nature.
- A Consent incident may be obvious to all involved, realized by a subset of the people involved, or only be clear to a single individual.
Everyone has the responsibility to obtain, provide, or withhold consent regardless of sex, gender, ethnicity, ability, age, orientation, relationship status, sexual power dynamics, or any other identity.
Consent Violation: An experience where someone believes their consent was broken, a boundary was crossed, or harm was caused during a Consent Incident.
- Where a person’s agency or consent is taken away by someone else without their explicit permission.
- Only the person who experiences the harm can determine if an incident is a violation.
- A consent violation can happen regardless of the intent of the person who commits it.
Consent Incident Evaluation: Making a judgement or coming to a decision about the severity, impact, and needs surrounding a Consent Incident. May include determining suggested outcomes for the harmed, the accused, and the organization or event committee.
Possible roles & reports of an Incident
Impacted Party: The person against whom the Consent Incident was committed.
Implicated Party: The person (or persons) named in the report as being responsible for the actions outlined in the Consent Incident.
While people often use the word “perpetrator” here, we avoid it for the same reason we avoid “victim”.
Witness: A person (or persons) who witnessed the incident, or part of the incident, first hand.
Consent Incident Report (CIR): A statement outlining the details of a Consent Incident. This notice may be made in-person, by telephone, video, or e-mail. Formal CIRs include an Incident Report and other documentation as appropriate.
1st Party Report: A statement given by the person who experienced the incident directly. Can be either the Impacted
Party or the Implicated Party
2nd Party Report: A statement given by someone who heard the information from the person who experienced the incident directly. Unless there are mitigating circumstances, a 2nd Party Report will be taken as information only; used to support or fill in information for a 1st Party report.
3rd Party Report: A statement given by someone who heard about the incident from someone other than a first hand account. These reports are considered unreliable.
- Unless there are mitigating circumstances, a 3rd Party Report will not be accepted and no process will be engaged.
Anonymous Report: A statement given without identifying information about an incident.
- Unless there are mitigating circumstances, an Anonymous Report will not be acted upon and no process will be engaged but the information stored.
False Reporting: A subversive use of a reporting system to make misleading and/or untrue statements/accusations.
- It is a common fear around Consent Incidents generally relating to the fear or someone subverting the system to create harm or that someone who is “innocent” will be held accountable for something they didn’t do.
- The best data suggests false reports (both in legal cases and in consent incident reports) only amount to around 4% of the totals.
Incident Report: The form completed by the Interviewer when the Impacted Party chooses to make a formal Consent Incident Report. This can be in person, via email, phone, or via our consent report form.
First Responder: The Organization Member to whom the CI is initially reported.
- First Responder’s Role is to make sure the Impacted Party is safe and initiates the appropriate support process
- Practice Emotional/Psychological First Aid where appropriate
- It is not the role of the First Responder to determine the validity of the report.
- The First Responder should never try to convince someone to not report.
- Doing so is grounds for dismissal.
Advocate (our Awareness Team or CST): A trained individual whose role is to support the people involved, with their consent and involvement, through the CIR process and to support them with the mental, emotional, and logistical difficulties that arise from a CI.
- Where possible, separate Advocates should be assigned to both the Impacted Party and the Implicated Party so as to provide better and more targeted support.
- Where possible, the Impacted Party should have the opportunity to choose the presentation of their advocate to choose what is most comfortable for them.
- Advocates must follow a Harm Reduction strategy and take a Trauma-Informed perspective.
Interviewer (our Awareness Team or CST) : The person, ideally trained, receiving information about and recording the Awareness team or on behalf of the Organization. This should be the senior staff member or Advocate on duty.
- Where possible, the Interviewer should be different from the Advocates supporting the individuals involved.
- The Interviewer’s role is to take down information, without judgment, that is as accurate and close to what is reported as possible. They make no decisions or judgments about the information.
- Interviewers should follow a Harm Reduction strategy, use a Trauma-Informed perspective, and avoid biasing interview questions.
- Interviewers must do everything possible to maintain confidentiality including avoiding sharing information between parties, compartmentalizing information where appropriate, sharing only needed information with staff, and creating a final report that is anonymized.
Director/Board: The Board of the “Loslassen” Organization consists of the Core Team including: Janina Vivianne, Verena, Hp, Jules, Ali, Hydra
- It is the Board’s role to oversee the Consent Incident Reporting process; making sure it is progressing, the guidelines outlined here are being followed, the process is in line with the Organization’s Ethos and Mission, and it reaches a conclusion.
- It is the Board’s role to oversee Accountability Processes and make sure any directives from the Consent Incident Review Committee are fulfilled.
- The Board can appoint someone else to fulfill these roles.
- Should there be a conflict of interest, the Organization’s Board or ruling body can appoint someone else to fulfill these roles.
Consent Committee – Incident Review : A committee, convened by the Board of Directors or their designate, to make final decisions regarding CIs and Accountability Process.
- The CIRC’s role is to receive the information reported by the Interviewer, review that information, and make recommendations based on that information.
- The CIRC should be made up of people with no conflicts of interest and, where possible, include people from outside the Organization.
Code Of Conduct
I understand that everything said or done during the festival is confidential. I can share my own experiences, but I will not talk about what someone else has done or said. I will not reveal real names, nicknames, or explicit details about any person at the festival to someone outside the festival (see below about the photo policy).
I will respect everybody’s boundaries and ensure that all my activities and interactions are respectful and only involve people who have given their consent to the interaction. If I’m unsure about someone’s boundaries, or if I’m not sure if someone has understood my boundaries or if it’s in some way unclear what we have consented to, I will take responsibility for taking the time to clarify this before we continue.
I have understood that it’s not allowed with hateful, harmful, threatening, or bullying behavior, or to discriminate or harass anyone, regardless of, for example: ability, gender identity (to identify oneself as male, female, a blend of both, neither or something else), sexual orientation, sexual preferences, ethnicity, color, age, functionality, social affiliation, religion or other beliefs.
Note: Our event supports autonomous spaces reserved for Black people, Indigenous people, POC and other oppressed minorities/global majorities. If you are interested in organizing such a space, please reach out to our orga team so we can help make it happen!
I understand that I am participating in a festival that is not a substitute for therapy, and I am responsible for participating in a way that I can manage (physically, psychologically, and emotionally). I agree to reach out for support, to trusted friends or festival team, in the event that I find myself struggling.
The event will provide an infrastructure for emotional support and conflict resolution team during and after the festival, in the form of volunteer consent angels who are present all throughout the event, a trained conflict-resolution team available on-site and overseeing consent report forms following the event.
I understand everything that happens at the festival ought to be voluntary, and that I should not be compelled to do anything I feel uncomfortable with (including all exercises in the workshops). I take full responsibility for my boundaries, for what I don’t want to receive and what I’m not willing to give.
I understand that I can at any time change my mind, say No, stop what I’m doing or leave the room or situation. I can always (as long as it’s done with consent) adjust any exercise or interaction to better suit my needs and what I really want to give or am willing to receive.
I am solely responsible for having the (heath) insurance I wish to have during the festival, and I cannot claim compensation for something I did or exposed myself to.
The Sensations Festival is a sober festival – this means use of non-medicinal narcotics is not welcome. We are committed to making the space accessible for people with any chronic issues, for any clarifications feel free to approach us directly.
It is important to create a safer space to explore desires, dreams and boundaries with a clear mind.
Smoking (including vapes) is permitted in the designated areas only.
We will provide a detailed agreement before the festival dealing with practical safety considerations such as fire, etc.
I will not take photos or make audio or video recordings during the festival of the participants without their consent. (You can ask someone to take pictures of you though.)
We ask that participants refrain from taking photos or recording media, with the following exceptions:
- A photo corner and/or photo tent that is clearly marked with a border and signs, where everyone who wants to be photographed can be photographed by someone they have given their consent to.
- Arranged photo and/or video sessions (to create material for your own marketing) that have a defined place and time which has been informed about in advance.
- We will have a photographer and would love to get “the vibe” by making pictures of some facilitators. The photographer will check in with you before the workshop/performance/talk…
During my stay at the Festival of Sensations, I will follow the current restrictions from the Austrian authorities that apply to the situation regarding Covid-19. Regardless of what these restrictions are, I will carefully wash and disinfect my hands before each meal, as well as before and after an intimate meeting.
RESPECT THE NEIGHBORHOOD
I understand that the festival takes place in a defined area on manamana property, and I will ensure that the surroundings in Hainburg an der Donau and its inhabitants are respected by not extending the festival activities to the nearby recreational area in the forest, to the beach, or to any other public locations off-site.
I will respect other people’s need for sleep, and I will not, for example, speak loudly or be loud if I have sex, if that may disturb others who are sleeping nearby.
If I come by car, I will only park the car in designated areas.
I will do my best to check the telegram group or keep an eye on the information board to stay updated, and communicate with the team via email about any changes that might affect my participation in the festival.
We are currently developing a set of values and an accountability procedure that is based on ideas of the social justice and transformative justice movements.
Anything comes up?
We are open for feedback at any time… we are also currently working on a internal safer feedback and report system to be able to address issues inside our association. We will send you the details once our concept has taken form. In the meantime, our team looks forward to hearing from you! firstname.lastname@example.org