Building consent culture

I am at IETM Munich, an international gathering of performing artists. I was fortunate enough to be given a platform here to speak to Newsround delegates for 3 minutes.

Here are the notes of what I said:

I am a polyamorous, pansexual, relationship anarchist, performing artist, mother, activist and I’m telling you this because

The personal is political.

Is it better to ask for permission or forgiveness?

We live in a culture of entitlement – some feel entitled to take what they want.

A Pussy grabbing President appoints a rapist to the Supreme Court.

In the uk two women die every week in incidents of domestic abuse.

A fascist has taken over Brazil. And where next?

The planet is on the brink of extinction.

Are we complicit? I did not consent to any of this. Yet this is what we teach our kids and this is the way we treat eachother and this is the context for our work.

We teach our kids that boys will be boys and nice girls don’t.

We hoodwink ourselves that men are predators, women are prey and human nature is competing for scarce resources – power and fear.

We give in to the social scripts about how to behave – I like sex! I enjoy it as often as I can, consensually. But I’m not supposed to talk about that – why? Who does that serve? It is important to talk about sex and the things attached to it like STDs and what std testing is and how to avoid getting these diseases. If we don’t talk then how can we inform and build on people’s knowledge? Sex shouldn’t be seen as a scary thing.

We allow some to hold power over us and yet we take our own privileges in our stride – our warm homes, our white skin, our cis gender, our hetero sex, our able body, our university education and our state arts funding.

We make the art that the system permits us to make, and tick the boxes and talk about transforming lives.

Wake up IETM. We cannot transform anything without consent – if the state, of those in power are using heir entitlement to limit and silence those without it we MUST challenge them now and speak our truth to power. We must not ask their permission, but if necessary defy their laws and rules.

We must challenge all the insidious scripts that are telling us how to behave and what we can and can’t talk about – instead we must do what is authentic for us and the people we come into contact with.

We must build a culture of consent, starting with our own sphere of influence.

I am one artist. If I have to smash the patriarchy one person at a time I will.

My project is consent conversations.

Through my own interpersonal relationships and my work I am building consent. I challenge you to talk with me about what consent means for you and your work, and to create a global radical movement, finding new ways to ask permission of the right people, to build community, to talk about taboos, to be the change we want to see in the world.

Artists, producers, anyone who gives a toss – talk with me about how we build a culture of consent.

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