IDEA Community Guidelines
Theater often brings productive discomfort to the surface. Portland Center Stage at The Armory is committed to grappling with that discomfort, on and off the stage, and we invite members of our community to participate in that growth process with us. Our goal is to co-create safety for our community by identifying and interrupting instances of racism and all forms of oppression when we witness them, through specific actions rooted in the principles of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA).
This document seeks to define ways we will undertake this work, including how we intend to hold our community and its individual members accountable. These guidelines specifically address interpersonal relationships and exchanges — not necessarily the content of the art that Portland Center Stage at The Armory produces — although we strive to uphold these values of IDEA in the work we create as well. As an arts organization, we may produce work that depicts racism or oppression; we endeavor to always do so responsibly, and we always invite conversation about that work.
Please note that Portland Center Stage at The Armory has an anti-harassment policy in place. This document supplements and does not replace that policy.
I: What We Believe: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility at Portland Center Stage at The Armory
Portland Center Stage at The Armory recognizes that racism and oppression exist in the world, and at times in our own community. As a company, we seek to create a space where racism and all forms of oppression do not gain traction. We believe the burden of dismantling systemic racism and addressing and interrupting oppression is predominantly the responsibility of those who are least impacted by oppression (e.g. white, cisgender, able-bodied men or others with identities in common with the relevant dominant cultures).
Acts of racism and oppression can take many forms, including but not limited to:
- The use of slurs when referring to a person of an equity-seeking group
- Microaggressions against an individual of an equity-seeking group
- Invasive and inappropriate questions, comments, and touching
- Refusal to serve or receive service because of an individual’s membership in an equity-seeking group
- Any threatening behavior, including speech, that puts our community members at emotional and/or physical risk
We actively encourage consensual conversations about race, privilege, power, and oppression, and believe that centering IDEA in our work and our space will lead to a deeper understanding of ourselves, of our community, and of the theater. Portland Center Stage at The Armory recognizes that every individual carries a different body of knowledge related to anti-racist practices and the promotion of IDEA. The foundation of this work is self-education and the un-learning of oppressive behaviors.
II: Our Community Commitment
Portland Center Stage at The Armory is committed to acknowledging and dismantling systems of oppression. We strive to interrupt and prevent acts of racism and oppression in our community to the best of our ability.
By entering Portland Center Stage at The Armory facilities — as an employee, board member, patron, artistic collaborator, client, vendor, donor, volunteer, or other visitor — or by participating in an off-site company event or meeting, you become a member of our community. As a community member, we ask that you uphold these values, that you actively and intentionally avoid participating in behaviors that harm equity-seeking groups, and that you be open to dialogue and learning should an issue arise.
Community members are expected to act on our commitment with the following guidelines:
- When an incident occurs, community members not heavily impacted by the incident will check in with those impacted by the incident and work together to determine the best way to proceed. This may include interrupting the action, educating the offender, and/or documenting the incident. In most cases, the best practice is to engage a staff member before intervening in the incident.
- We will acknowledge that the impact of our actions is always the most important consideration, but we will make space for intentions when appropriate*.
- We will choose to preserve relationships only when:
- to do so would not further inflict harm on individuals and groups most impacted by oppression, and
- the community member(s) who engaged in harmful behavior commit(s) to meaningful and appropriate* follow-up to the incident.
- When members of Portland Center Stage at The Armory management witness or are made aware of an interruption, they will seek to learn about the incident, support those most impacted by the incident, and support the community member who chose to interrupt.
- Community members, including management, shall not retaliate against nor seek to discipline other community members for acting in good faith to uphold these community standards.
- All reported instances of racism and oppression will be documented and followed up with in an appropriate* manner and in a timely fashion by Human Resources or the IDEA Team. (See link to Incident Report below.)
*Appropriate is defined by the context and the people affected by the incident. Physical safety will always be an immediate priority.
III: Accountability and Growth
Portland Center Stage at The Armory acknowledges that the work to dismantle systemic racism and oppression is an ongoing process, in which growth is continual and never complete. Within our community, we seek to continue this work in perpetuity and are dedicated to reviewing and revising our approach, which may include seeking guidance from outside facilitators. We commit to transparency in decision-making while protecting confidentiality as needed.
The Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) Team will review this document no less than annually, and will provide a direct method of communication for members of our community who wish to share their thoughts/feedback. To honor our commitments to transparency and accessibility, this living document will be available at pcs.org/IDEA.
Theater pushes us out of our comfort zones, and can be used to start big conversations and effect big changes. Our work as people and community members in the fight for equity is just as important, and can be just as powerful, as the art we choose to make and support. Theater, and specifically Portland Center Stage at The Armory, is a place for growth, questions, productive discomfort, and community engagement. We strive to do this work responsibly.