Why create safe spaces and what do they look like?

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Why create safe spaces and what do they look like?

To help start the conversation and keep the focus of this discussion thread, please consider and respond to the following questions:

  • Why create these safe spaces for communities at risk? What is the goal or purpose? What are the anticipated outcomes?
  • How do these safe spaces support your organization's strategy? How do they support other aspects of your work?
  • What do these spaces look like? Are they online? Are they physical spaces? Are they unexpected places? Share your examples of traditional and untraditional spaces.
  • What communities are being protected by these spaces?
  • How do these safe spaces support other tactics your organization uses to prevent the need for this kind of protection? Or, what other prevention tactics are you using to support the creation and use of these safe spaces?

Share your experiences, thoughts, ideas and questions by adding a comment below or replying to existing comments!

For help on how to participate in this conversation, please check out these online instructions.

safe spaces are unlimited

war is everywhere, and in different shapes, direct and indirect, cold and hot, organized and random, reasonable and unreasonable... so, when thinking of a safe space for humanity, one cannot be limited with one, two or even ten ways or tools; with the fast expansion of media and the quick uprisings that is showing up in many countries, when we think of "safe" we think of it to all humnity, without minding the age, the color, the ethnicity or anything... tools for creating safe spaces: religion, media, data, dialogue, exchange resources... purpose? a dignified living human being. outcome? interaction, support, overcoming violence. who benefits? all, simply all. safe spaces are UNLIMITED

safe space

The entire "Nation" can be a safe space when made. If policies and International conventions are ratified, implemented, people are more sensible than the world can be a safe space. 

The need to create safe spaces

I think the paramount reason for the need to create safe spaces is life.

In Visayan Forum, our strategy is to create Safe Spaces at each point in the Trafficking Phenomenon where human life can be preserved, respected, saved, and empowered.

Our community-based child protection mechanism lodged in vulnerable communities engages the community into a watch-group mechanism against women and child abuse, exploitation, and trafficking. A case referral mechanism is well-established with the Local Government Unit to ensure quick response to reported incidences. The community also has a variety of empowerment services such as social enterprise, educational support, and alternative learning to ensure that their vulnerabilities are reduced.

Our transit hub strategy ensures that potential victims of human trafficking are intercepted and rescued on-site through a multi-sectoral task force. It is complemented by an on-site sheltering facility. This is crucial because it is at the ports and airports where trafficking victims are last seen. Therefore a strategic choke point located in these very areas help stop trafficking.

Our Center of Hope, is more than just a permanent shelter facility, it is is a haven for high-risk survivors. Here, the survivors are provided with a comprehensive set of services to ensure that their resiliency to human trafficking is strengthened. From psycho-social services to social enterprise, our aim at the Center of Hope is to form not just victim-survivors but survivor-advocates and survivor-entrepreneurs.

We do this because we believe in the primacy of the human life and that no filipino is for sale.

For more information on our safe spaces, you may watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mu3Sdwslp44



Visayan Forum

That looks like a fantastic and very strategic campaign Ari - and I can see from the video how vital the safety of the shelter facilities are to break the hold of the traffickers and to build the reslience of the survivors.  I could see the younger workers in t-shirts meeting the young people in the transit depots - I imagine that their role would be to reduce fear and be a sort of reassuring peer-contact instead of having police in uniform. 

Brilliant work!

Strategic, Synergistic and Compassionate service

Anthony, thank you for your encouraging words.

We try our best to deliver comprehensive services to potential and actual human trafficking victims. Indeed, on-site shelter facilities and long-term shelter facilities for high-risk victims are essential in, as you say, breaking the hold of traffickers and building the resilience of victims.

Most of the time, if the needs of a victim (potential or actual) are not addressed in a speedy and satisfactory manner, development workers run the risk of losing them altogether. This is so because in these situations the victims do not feel safe and are anxious. A wide array of services that includes provision of food, shelter, medical and legal assistance, case facilitation, psycho-social interventions and even reintegration services can ensure that victims remain in safe and secure custody. Remember that most of the time in human trafficking, the victims are recruited on false promises of a better life, therefore we have to at the least provide them with a safe and viable transition option upon rescue in order to effectively take them into custody. Also, the shelter provides a venue for processing of the case away from the trafficker, therefore, as you say, undue pressure and adverse hold is minimized.

The services provided at both the halfway house and Center of Hope are endeavoured to really build resilience hence the variety of programs - from rights awareness to skills building. We believe that educating them on their rights should be complemented with opportunities to harness their potentials for self-actualization and advancement in order to keep them from being re-trafficked.

Yes, you are right, that the younger workers are there to help ascertain that those in transit are not trafficking victims. They are registered social workers. In Visayan Forum, we believe in capacity and compassion in order to effectively communicate to potential victims and rescue them. The girls in the video are personally interviewing passengers and profiling travelling minors and women especially those that show signs of being trafficked. These social workers have to be firm yet compassionate in order to allay fears and doubt while being empowering, a very difficult task if I may say. These same "young workers" however, are brave enough to risk life and limb and face traffickers head-on, they actively participate in high-risk rescue operations, see this video (at about 4:15) by PBS minutes http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=iI8HucI8Cz0

Note however that VIsayan Forum works closely with Law Enforcement Agencies. Over the years, we have built strong partnerships with them that have resulted in many successful interception and rescue operations. Visayan Forum believes that we have been successful at what we do because we do not do it alone.

Strategic and compassionate service provision

Great work you do Ari.In Nairobi for instance children are trafficked for purposes of  child labour, to be employed as househelps, many children come from the rural areas to the city to get jobs and  bus stations especially where  rural vehicles come to the urban are the focal points.Some of these trafficked children come to the city at the behest of their parents and guardians , some come on their own in search of a better life  due to poverty.

Provision of safe spaces for trafficked children is a challenge because  individual organizations have their own criteria for rescue, and  the time a child stays in a rescue centre varies from organization to organization, for some  the maximum is 2 weeks, in some instances   abandoned children ( namely lost and  found ) are put together with children in conflcit with the law, this may have negative impact on the lost children through interaction.

On the other hand , with  rescue of a child victim of sexual abuse,    additional service  may become a challenge eg long term trauma counseling for the abused child, in some instances these children are  rescued from the  environment whereas in  other cases  it becomes a challenge especially  if there are security threats for communty members who have  reported a case and at the same time wish to be anonymous for their own personal security.

The major challenges existing in my region for instance is   immediate access to services for victims of  various forms of abuse , compromise by families  especially in cases of  sexual abuse , if the perpetrator is a family member , many a times the family  want to keep quiet about the matter, more so if it is the bread winner who has committed the crime.

My take is that there is need for a one stop centre which is accessible to all victims of abuse




Why create a safe space for writers and artists?

Writers and artists are often early targets of threats and persecution.  Through their work they give voice to thoughts, ideas, debate and critique, and spread these to a wide audience. Just exercising their right to freedom of expression makes them especially vulnerable to censorship, harassment, silencing, imprisonment and even death.

ICORN is a network of cities that offer safe residencies for persecuted writers. Hosting a writer not only helps that individual; it also sends a signal to other writers, and to repressive authorities and persecutors, that there is an alternative to silence. ICORN’s goal is that the writers can continue to express themselves freely.

Safe spaces protect, send a signal, and model human rights

Thank you, Elisabeth, for sharing a little about ICORN and its safe spaces. You make an important point - the purpose of creating safe spaces is often two-fold:

  1. To protect those at risk, and
  2. To "send a signal" to others at risk and those who are putting these communities at risk, that there is a community committed to empower and protect these people who are at risk.

Creating these safe spaces is a very powerful signal indeed and I am eager to learn of other examples of these spaces and signals.

Another goal of creating safe spaces to add to this list is that of 'modeling the community and environment you seek'. The Empower Foundation in Thailand does a great job of this, using a unique safe space - that of an entertainment bar! Here's more information from the Global Fund for Women website:

With the goal of showing policy makers, employers, and society what safe working conditions for sex workers look like, Empower members raised money to build the Can Do Bar, an entertainment bar owned and operated by Empower. Can Do Bar employees work a maximum of eight hours per night and have one day off per week. Condoms and lubricant are freely available and workers are trained in safe sex education.

The same DJs who spin at the Can Do bar also broadcast information about women’s health, HIV/AIDs, and women’s resources twice a day over the community radio.

“Empower is our community,” said Wi. “It’s a space we own and belong to. We learn, laugh, share and build a place in society for us to stand up together and insist on our human rights.”

What do other safe spaces look like? Where are they? Who are they protecting? And what are the goals? Share your examples and experiences!

- Kristin Antin, New Tactics Online Community Builder

on sending messages

Hi Kristin,

I agree with your thought. 

In creating safe spaces, we do not only prevent atrocities and protect those at risk, we also reinforce the entire change-strategy.

By creating safe spaces,

1. we build models that other stakeholders can draw inspiration and learning from, enough to motivate them to create another safe space. This is actually what our organization is looking at now, scaling up and replicating the spaces we have built

2. we help propagate a message that can halt perpetrators in their tracks because communities are empowered. This diminishes their capacity to perpetrate a crime especially if they are accustomed to a culture of impunity (such as the case here in the Philippines) because of slow justice systems.

3. we multiply ourselves (as development workers), because in safe spaces, those who are involved, even those who are protected, are necessarily aware of the evil that we endeavor to protect them from. And with the right empowerment approach, we can develop advocates and vanguards out of those we protect too. We therefore have more champions in the cause, and what's best is that they are in the best position to fight because they are at the center of the issue. (this is more applicable to community-based safe spaces, i think, such as our community watch group for children)

All these things help advance interventions and strategies.

If I may again share, here's a short and creative feel-good video on community-based safe spaces established by Visayan Forum. The images you'll see are representations of the work we do at the community and the result of the movement we have built with the mothers, children, and youth of the child-protection mechanism we implement. here's the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZt9l4EJET4





Safe Spaces and Modelling of Human Rights

I would like to share  on a model that works on safe spaces with regard to children.This entails  capacity building for communty members on child rights and child protection.Mapping  exercises are  then conducted on what child protection issues are for each  locality in the community.

For instance in areas near dumpsites, the child protection issue will be  child labour as children collect plastics and metals through scavenging at the dumpsite to earn a living, illicit bear drinking  is a child protection issue for  children living in slums near riverbanks, as these river banks act  as places for brewing illicit beer, commecial sexual exploitation of children  may be a  child protection issue in a place where there are many single mothers who  have no source of income hence children are neglected.

My take is  that the first step is to  conduct a mapping exercise to   find out what are the  challenges in the community that warrant creation of safe spaces, then  a capacity building on what constitutes child rights and child protection if the  safe spaces are for child protection and promotion of child rights, then a  group of community leaders are trained on  child rights and child protection , which comprise of village elders, youth leaders , women leaders  and the local area chief .Monthly meetings are then conducted to  share on identified cases of abuse icnluding interventions undertaken.The concerned organization can then develop an abuse  tracking form to monitor trends, through this , the  concerned organization will be able to tell whether the safe spaces are effective or not in  addressing issues of child rights and child protection

Thank you


Hi edyicorn. Many thanks for

Hi edyicorn. Many thanks for sharing what ICORN is doing.

I am particularly interested in how you have created this safe space. I am sure this entails a lot of resources and that it is cutting through a lot of protocols and systems to provide safe residency for persecuted writers.

Is the government of the host country engaged? if yes, How have you worked your way through the system and enlisted the government? what is its role and what are its contributions?

How have you found and enlisted individuals/organizations to host a writer?  Are these hosts private companies/individuals? if yes, what motivated them to join the cause?

hoping to learn from your strategies.





Individuals - organisations - governments

Setting up a city of refuge (as we call them) is done in as many ways as there are cities. But the idea is that a city (local community or municipality) has a different opportunity to engage and act than what a national government can. Quite often the process starts with engaged individuals, our groups. It can be members of Amnesty, writers’ organisations (like PEN) or houses of literature, journalists’ unions, or individual politicians, just to mention some.  We then try to get the municipality or local government engaged.  This is not just to get an official commitment, but also to secure some longer term financing (each residency is for 1-2 years, and is financed locally).  We have also set up safe cities with the cooperation only of institutions not formally connected to the local authorities, but never with individuals. Often, over time, the local administration and politicians want to be involved on some level. (Example: passa porta in Brussels)  However, the municipal involvement varies depending on the national structure of government. We have found that in some countries local governments and municipalities are not entitled to, or do not have a tradition to engage in this type of activity. In Denmark, for example, they had to change the local government act to allow the municipalities to be able to pay a foreign writer a grant.

National governments are not involved directly in the hosting, but we work with them for general support, to try to secure funding for activities in the member cities in their countries (typically through the art councils) and, maybe even more important, to help with visa issues. In some European countries we have been able to negotiate with immigration authorities to get visa arrangements specially tailored for our guest writers.

Local motivation is often the opportunity to do something tangible for freedom of expression. It is an added motivation that the guest writer actually resides in the local community. This gives inspiration and opportunity for engaging the local community in events, dialogue and learning activities on a multitude of subjects from human rights to literature, and anything in between.  Different local actors emphasize different parts of the work: human rights, literature and writing, and humanitarian or development issues.


local motivations

Thank you for sharing Elizabeth (aologies for naming you mistakenly early on)

I see that innovation is key to your strategies too in order to adapt to dynamics that can facilitate the effective execution of your interventions, such as the need to reformulate policies first in the case of Denmark. And the employment of a multi-sectoral approach is also manifest such as the varying partnerships that capitalize on existing resources and limitations, such as the national government for general support while local governments and institutions focus on the actual hosting mechanisms.

Quite interesting for me is how you have overcome the challenge of engaging the government in such a dangerous program. I'm taking from the context here in the Philippines where even our Freedom of Expression Bill has not moved forward (although the freedom is enshrined in our constitution). I am of the impression that the matter is too delicate, and for politicians and government to clearly place a handprint on it is just marvelous. kudos on your work.

I do share your thought that "local motivation is often the opportunity to do something tangible..." 

In Visayan Forum, like you, we believe in mobilizing local government to help create safe spaces. So raising their awareness and giving them a sense of the reality of human trafficking as it happens in their own communities is crucial in the endeavour to engage them. When they see that their own communities are at risk, they are driven to share the work. 

If I may, what were the challenges you have faced in engaging the government, local and national? and how have you overcome them?

Engaging in dangerous programmes.

We have found that many individuals (including politicians and bureaucrats) want to do 'the right thing', but it is too big for them to take on policy change or national programmes. So a strategy is to offer them an opportunity to do the right thing without being too exposed, or without taking on all of the responsibility. Maybe a bit like what you described when you wrote about the security guard who detected a "red flag" situation? He must have been trained to see this, but also knew that others would take over if/when he notified them (you?) about the situation.

I'll try to get back with examples to share from our work.

Protecting a few for the benefit of many

Interesting to see these first contributions.

PBI protects people and organisations whose work is aimed at promoting human rights, peace and non violent resolution of conflicts. Similar to ICORN we hope that these people can do work that has a wider impact on society. They could be lawyers, NGOs or any kind of civil society group.

We physically accompany people at risk and build up an international support network of politically influential actors such as politicians and foreign embassies in the countries where we work. We hope that these supporters will put political pressure on those who may threaten people we accompany so that the threats don't happen or are limited when they do.

It seems from the early comments that we are all creating safe sspaces for people at risk. Some of these people at risk seem to be individual victims who are extremely vulnerable (children, people about to be trafficked etc) while others seem to have more resources but are threatened because of their work or their potential to challenge authorities (writers, lawyers etc).  I wonder if these different groupings lead to different strategies?

On strategies

Great question Stuart.

I think there is a variation in strategies because there is a difference in the profile of those we seek to protect as well as those we seek to protect them from. As you say, in trafficking, we protect the victims from an illegitimate underground billion dollar industry, which may or may not be the case for protection of writers and lawyers. In the latter, the danger may come from "legitimate" fronts such as authorities.

Such differences entail strategic actions if the protection is to be effective. You have to carefully identify who your allies can be and who your enemies are. Because trusting the wrong person may mean life or death for a victim. Your extraction to shelter plan should necessarily be different.

I suspect your comment about

I suspect your comment about strategic actions applies to many different types of initiative Ari. Despite our different type sof programme, I would say the same about PBI as we spend a lot of time thinking about the balance of political forces and whether we can really protect someone.

Strategies on protection of different groups

Hello Stuart


My take on your posting is that  each group requires a  distinct strategy based on the needs.For instance in case of  children victims of abuse , the strategy would entail rescuing the child from the abusive environment while at the same time maintaining family links, this is because  the family is the best  place  for the child to be unless  the family contravenes the best interest of the child,  creating safe spaces for children would be different from creating safe spaces for an adult  who is viewed as as having different political views from the  others.In terms of self protection , its also easier  to monitor children  as opposed to adults  where movements of adults may be difficult to control and may end up finding themselves in danger , thus comprimising the  intended protection and safety


Thank you

An example of a good tactic

Dear all, my name's Noufel. I'm an ICORN writer.Thanks for allowing me to participate in this space brain-charming. I'm glad to acknowledge here the importance of safe places mainly to social actors: writers, journalists, artists...Because wether we like it or not we are representatives of our societies mainly when our work is socially and politically committed. Whenever we find a safe place, it's there that our work continue and get get enforced. I left my country in 2009, I lived stuck in Spain for quite a long period because I didn't find a safe place. When ICORN saved me (I mean it), I started living again, producing and sharing my experience with my hosting country and also all over Europe. I since I joined ICORN published 3 individual books, participated in 3 others and tens of press articles, dozens of conferences, debates and performances. I wasn't even able to publish in my own country because of a lot of factors and my voice was silenced (when I say my voice, it's also the voice of thousands of people because what I write about is their daily problems, daily frustrations, their eternal struggle). Organisations like ICORN are thankfully doing a huge job. Artists, writers, journalists...etc, need them to carry on their work, their fight. 

How can beneficiaries participate in the creation of safe spaces

Thank you for sharing your perspectve, Noufel! It's great to hear from those that have benefited from the creation of such safe spaces.

It would be interesting to hear from you about how organization could involve their beneficiaries/stakeholders into the creation of safe spaces. Are there opportunities for you to be involved in the process? I don't know how much this applies to the ICORN spaces, but I would be curious to hear your perspective related to ICORN or other approaches to making safe spaces.


- Kristin Antin, New Tactics Online Community Builder

Dear Noufel, what you wrote

Dear Noufel, what you wrote is so touching and inspiring. i would love to know more about your books, what did you write about? what solutions do your books offer to the daily conflicts, troubles and fights?

Types of "space"

Already we seem to have a variety of types of "space" that we create.

There are safe houses in the midst of danger, actual physical spaces that offer protection. PBI's "space" is more of a metaphor, where people can work and live more freely with accompaniment than without it. ICORN's "space" is to enable people to live in another country.

Are there other types or examples?

Other kinds of safe 'spaces'

Good question!

  1. Similar to 'physical spaces', Harassmap is creating safe neighborhoods (see my post in the other discussion thread for more info)
  2. I would love to hear of any examples of online safe spaces. Do they exist?

What other kinds of safe spaces exist? Thanks!

- Kristin Antin, New Tactics Online Community Builder

Other kinds of safe 'spaces'

Hi Kristin and Stuart,

this conversation is bringing to mind very many other kinds of safe spaces - not all about protection of vulnerable groups.  

What comes to mind is peacebuilding programs - post conflict initiatives which seek to restore people's sense of safety - whilst also working at psyco-social recovery, healing and various conflict transformation processes -  There's rich learnings about the importance of creating safety within that field of work!

People need to feel safe in order to participate in any sort of restorative justice or conflict transformation process - which in itself asists in restoring safety. And in that context an array of faciltation skills are used to create safety- aggreements, clarity of process- slowly building trust. Facilitators and trainers tend to be adept at creating safe spaces - even if for a short while - because it is so crucial to the group process. People tend to feel safer when they are listened to and respected, and when they can particpate as equals.

There's also the collective sense of safety required for any group to take action for justice or human rights - the safety we might feel as part of a wider movement - or a as part of a well functioning organisation that allows us to take greater personal risks.  Safety helps us overcome fear.

This is the safety created by the Madres de Plaza De Mayo when they started organising together - or in large rallies or marches - or the safety created by thousands staying in Tahir square.

In this sense safety is connected with solidarity - the safety we feel when we work alongside others - when we know others will work with us - the sense of safety that comes with making eye contact and all the sutble reassurance we give to each other all the time - simply by working together.  Safety helps us resist from a place of strength.

Of course when that sense of safety and solidarity is broken within movements by sexual violence or conflict its particulary difficult. But many movements these days are getting better at responding to violence within or creating safe spaces within movements. Organising 'safe spaces' - having conflict resolution or peace teams planned and ready - having clear rules about interpersonal behaviours and what is not acceptable are some I can think of.

What to do when the safety inside the 'safe space' breaks down?

Good points, Anthony (and it's great to see you in this conversation)! In addition to the goals of creating safe spaces that we already listed above (protection, sending a message, modeling behavior, empowering communities) - safe spaces are necessary to rebuilt and restore communities, overcome fear and build solidarity. All important pieces to demanding and protecting our human rights.

And it's interesting to think about what happens when safety inside the 'safe space' breaks down and how to address those challenges. Has anyone had to face this kind of challenge? How did you overcome it?

- Kristin Antin, New Tactics Online Community Builder

When safety breaks down

I notice no-one has responded to this!!

While PBI has largely been successful in providing protection, things have goe wrong at times. It would be dishonest to pretend otherwise!  People we accompany have been arrested, community leaders were killed in a remote area and we have had to withdraw from a couple of countries due to government pressure.

In some cases, we have asked our political support network to put political pressure on those responsible for the human rights violations and, in general, this has been an effective method for us so that the attacks cease. This is very much part of our method and organisations who lack this kind of resource to respond to violations might think about how they could develop something along the same lines.

But then we have also had to leave people we accompany behind when we have been forced out of a country or region. We have tried to prepare people for this possibility, perhaps helping them to leave as well or maybe devising other ways of keeping in touch with them so that we could inform international community of any human rights violations without actually being physically present.

Examples of online tactics to create safe spaces

Ok, I am going to answer my own question with some tactics that came out of our October 2012 conversation on Empowering communities with technology tools to protect children:

Have any of your used these kinds of technology in the creation of your safe spaces? I know that Harassmap has utilized geo-mapping by using the Ushahidi platform. What technologies have others used?

- Kristin Antin, New Tactics Online Community Builder


Hi Kristin, and group.

Please accept my apologies for my absence since yesterday. It has been quite difficult to get internet access. I was in different city yesterday to speak about a newl enacted law in our country (I will share about it later, because I think it has a relation to our conversations here), and today, I joined our Foundation's President Ma. Cecilia Flores - Oebanda and a team of our Social Workers in a lightning interception and rescue operation at the Port (I will also share some thoughts on this in a bit).

For now, to answer your question, I think it was cause to celebrate for our country when the Inter Agency Council Against Trafficking or IACAT (a government body with representatives from non-government organizations, like us, duly constituted by law to ensure the implementation of our anti-trafficking law) was able to put up the 1343 hotline which is lodged with our country's Commission on Filipinos Overseas, in March 2011. The IACAT saw it fit to provide a distress helpline for victims of human trafficking that can be easily remembered. If I am not mistaken this is one of the firsts for our country where a nationally funded helpline platform was established for a specific cause - human trafficking. This helpline can be accessed even by Filipinos abroad 24/7. In just 1 year it was able to log about 11,000 calls resulting to at least 52 documented trafficking cases. Here's a news item on the platform: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/270861/pinoyabroad/news/human-traff...

Granted that the mechanism still has rooms for improvement, it is still by far, satisfactory in achieving its objectives. 

Before it was launched, the Visayan Forum helped in training the helpline operators in order to build their capacity to address distress calls, evaluate urgency and verify case reporting. I believe, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas has since kept strong in its commitment in ensuring quality operationalization of the helpline.

The other members of the IACAT fell into position as complementary service providers to the helpline, such as the law enforcers and social welfare department acting on verified distress calls, our department of justice providing prosecution services.

For Visayan Forum, we helped popularize the helpline through collaterals such as tarpaulins, posters, and video announcements in strategic areas like town halls, ports and airports, schools, transport terminals and the like. To this day, we distribute contact cards bearing the helpline numbers. We also integrated the helpline in our campaigns and mass mobilizations, and even capitalized on social trends. For example, in one of our celebrated campaigns - the Walk for Freedom, we used Carly Rae Jepsen's Hit "Call Me Maybe" to provide a recall on the numbers (at one point we chanted a different lyric like - "Here's my number, Call 1343". It was such a hit, it even landed in a newsmagazine anchored by one of country's much respected journalists, Jessica Soho. In her coverage, she  presented experts spoke of the significance of capitalizing on materials that has the potential to provide recall - saying that it has something to do with the brain's amigdala. and she mentioned that this kind of social trend finds true meaning when employed in advocacy work such as what we have done. Here's a link, although it's in Filipino: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djF_xy6o0Ls






Types of space

My take on additional space is ideological space where people are free to share ideas be it on social networks  without  them being subjected to arrests or  their mobile phones being switched off by the state because of voicing their concerns  or  being threatened with legal actions .

Walk Free

If I may just share, there is a global movement called Walk Free which provides an online platform to help create safe spaces by highlighting events, situations, policies, and mobilizing an international network of individuals and organizations from different sectors to sign onto petitions calling for change and the like. 

Here's a link to their website. http://www.walkfree.org/

This movement has significantly contributed to petitioning our government reforming policies on decent work for domestic workers and on anti-human trafficking.

Walk Free

Dear Ari


I think this would be a good  source of information to share  especially in situations where   attractive policies  take years to be implemented.I will check out the website to see what  contributions I can make towards implementation of what is in our Kenyan constitution.



stakeholder spotlights from fD

hey all, have been following the threads and excited to learn more about everyone's work. the following links are profiles of two of our stakeholders to give you an idea of the communities that we work to create safe spaces for, these spaces are both physical (artist residency apartments) and virtual (networks of information/resource exchange). we hope that the result of our efforts in creating safe spaces for culture workers at risk and mapping resources on their behalf, will encourage a social practice of proactive intervention in anticipation of situations of danger.



art spaces hosting activists notebook

hey all, here is a resource that we compiled with the support of new tactics that we've found quite useful in working with art spaces who express a desire to host activists in distress....we are in the process of updating and adpating this document to address regional contexts and discipline specific considersations...




Creating a safe space is not easy in other way its easy as it start from within one’s self.                         Who will create safe space? We always expect that other people will be creating safe space for me but who are ‘we’- we are the society and I am within that society and ‘I’ as an individual denied my responsibility and think this is ‘others’. When we thinking about the ‘safe space’ stereotypically we think about only the ‘social space’ but we never think about physical space, emotional space, intellectual space and which is holistic approach about our space and safety. I  use Dance Movement Therapy(DMT) as a tool for psycho-social rehbilitation and social transformation where creating safe space is a key component. We use DMT to create and nurture the concept of space and safety within one’s self.   I believe dance is one of the best medium which help an individual to develop safety from inside to become a strong individual.

Anyone can write to me at sohinidance@gmail.com to explore more about space and safety through Dance Movement Therapy.

Sohini Chakraboty

Founder Director

Kolkata Sanved

Thank you for participating in this conversation!

To all those who participated in this conversation,

This has been such an interesting conversation on how practitioners are creating safe spaces to protect communities at risk. I can't thank you enough for creating this resource! 

I hope you found it helpful to reflect on your own experiences and exchange stories and examples of how safe spaces are being created and used. I hope you are taking away new ideas, resources, reflections and allies!

We will begin the process of writing a summary of the comments posted here. It will most likely take a few weeks and once we're finished, we'll post the summary on the front page of this dialogue. For those of you that added comments, I'll notify you by email when the summary is posted.

The conversation leaders had committed to participate in this dialogue for these past 5 days. Although that commitment has come to end, you can still add comments until the summary is posted. So please feel free to continue to add your thoughts, reflections, resources and stories!

And finally, we'd appreciate your feedback on whether or not this experience has been helpful to you! Please take a moment to fill out this short survey to help us better understand the impact of these conversations.

Thank you!

Kristin Antin - New Tactics Online Community Builder


What are safe spaces

My opinion on what consitutes safe spaces are physical  as well as ideological.Physical in the sense that these are physical places where people can meet and share ideas  without disruption either from the state or other non state actors .It can also be viewed  being  provided with protection in all spheres while someone is undertaking human rights work which may have security issues .For instance  handling cases of  sexual abuse  among children, human traffficking ,  dealing with substance abuse issues in a region where there are powerful drug cartels, airing opinions that may not augur well with the government of the day , eg promoting democracy in a state where democracy does not exist  or exists only on paper but is missing in practice .Such include   state perpetrated violence, etc

Ideologically , safe space is  the process where  people are free to air their opinions without  fear of  being arrested or locked in police custody