Who will attend? | Participants and context

Based on our learning experience, organizing and hosting an online event often feels like weaving questions, decisions and practices that are made in the name of safety, care, rights and that center people. What enables the presence, commitment and mutual learning - is the trust. The participants who show up at your event come because they trust you as an organiser, or they trust their friends and community members who invited them to the event in the first place. This vouch is something you are given as an organiser based on the labor, investment and credit of relationships. It’s the connecting tissue and a source of power that builds, holds, nurtures and moves the entire community. It’s because of this trust that we are committed to making spaces safer, more accessible, and holistic - through an intersectional lens.”

- From our conversations with hvale and notes

Online events pose different access and safety issues and challenges as your participants are coming from different or shared contexts, with different needs. Participants of your event might be your community members, members of your organisation, general public, wider audience on your social media page, members of a specific community, women, LGBTIQ+ persons, human rights defenders, persons with vision, focus or hearing difficulties, with different needs and capacities. You might be inviting people from a specific country, region or from around the world, with one shared or tens of different native languages spoken.

Be mindful that we all have different lived experiences, different degrees of privileges and disadvantages both offline and online within different systems of power that are built at the intersections of our gender, race, age, language, religion, ethnicity, mobility, sexuality, mental and physical health, income, housing, profession, etc. That means that the levels on the spectrum of priviledge(s) and disadvantages are never the same for all people. Based on that, the understanding and practice of safety and daily lived risks just resonate differently to each and every one of us. For these reasons we apply intersectional lens to our approach.

Intersectionality is not primarily about identity. It's about how structures make certain identities the consequence of, the vehicle for vulnerability. So if you want to know how many intersections matter, you've got to look at the context. What's happening? What kind of discrimination is going on? What are the policies? What are the institutional structures that play a role in contributing to the exclusion of some people and not others?”[1]

As part of your preparation consider exploring, designing and running a risk assessment from our FTX:Reboot kit to tap into safety practices and strategies and begin to apply risk assessment framework.

When organising online events, we should always be guided by the needs of participants. The golden three rules of facilitating and supporting participation at the early stage is:

“Don’t assume. Ask. Adjust.”

Consider making a survey and include your participants in the design process. The risk assessment and survey combined will surely help you identify risks and expectations your participants have, and it will also be your guiding star for the technology, content and the tone of the entire event.

Check in
Throughout this guide you will find various approaches that are embedded in deep care when thinking about different aspects of safety that are in service of protecting, honoring and celebrating one’s own self-defined sense of (digital) body, data, heart and mind. One of the aspects to keep in mind when it comes to your participants is facilitation during your event. Our section “(Re)imagining facilitation” might be of help for balancing safety and care while supporting the participation of diverse people with different lived experiences.



[1] Williams Crenshaw, K. (2018, September 27). Keynote at Women of the World 2016 – March 12, 2016. Archives of Women’s Political Communication. https://awpc.cattcenter.iastate.edu/2018/09/27/keynote-at-women-of-the-world-2016-march-12-2016/

Revision #5
Created 28 October 2021 05:00:53 by Cathy
Updated 2 November 2021 13:12:07 by Cathy