Chicago Rope has created this set of Conduct Guidelines to help members of our community better understand the environment we want to maintain at our events. Identifying and explicitly discussing the expectations that exist within our space serves three primary purposes: it provides guidance on how to interact with others, empowers our attendees to advocate for themselves, and enables those interested in our events to make informed decisions about participating. We have separate Staffing Policies that outline additional expectations for Chicago Rope Staff Members. We also have developed an Incident Response Policy for receiving and responding to reports about incidents where a member of our community feels harmed or threatened. All of our policies are designed with the goal of maintaining an inclusive educational environment that is supportive to marginalized groups.
Respecting autonomy means allowing people to have a say in how they want to approach their interactions. It involves giving others room to feel, think, and act for themselves. We consider autonomy to be not just the absence of undue coercive pressure but also the ability for people to engage in the ongoing, interactive co-creation of their communities and their selves. We want to cultivate an environment where everyone can learn, grow, and flourish.
Behavior and communication that could be appropriate in one context might not be acceptable in another. Think about the context in which you are acting and allow it to inform your actions. We want all members of our community to feel empowered to identify and explicitly discuss contexts and the social expectations associated with them.
Part of being aware of context involves considering relative positions of power. Power imbalances are part of every interaction. Power can be both explicit and implicit. Explicit power involves acknowledged structural elements such as formal hierarchies, titles, and assigned roles and responsibilities. Implicit forms of power can include privilege accorded to those who are members of certain groups based on factors like race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, socioeconomic status, educational background, and others. We aim to be more conscious in our understanding of how power relations influence our choices and those of others. Our approach to rope education is designed with an awareness of the ways asymmetrical power relationships can constrain or restrict autonomy, result in unintended coercive pressure, or cause harm in ways that might not readily be apparent.
An important step in addressing power imbalances is to listen to others. We cannot fully know the experience of another person. Often, the best resource we have is someone else’s account of what they’re feeling. Create space for others to speak by not monopolizing conversation or punishing others for expressing themselves. Take what you hear in good faith. It is just as important to listen to yourself. Get in touch with how you are feeling. If something is bothering you, it’s alright to take a moment to think things over. If you feel something needs to change, advocate for yourself or seek help from others. Listening is an ongoing process. Feelings and understandings can change, and people’s wants and needs can shift over time. Pay attention and check in when appropriate.
Be aware of those around you. Notice how your actions affect them. If the impacts of your actions do not align with your intentions, take a step back and consider the reasons why that might be happening. Think about what you could do differently next time. Be receptive to feedback and open to learning. If you have questions, ask for help. Chicago Rope Staff are available to discuss any issues, questions, or concerns.
The following are a few applications of these principles in situations that are commonly encountered in our space.
Respect the autonomy our attendees have to determine their own identities. Take others at their word and refer to them using the language they request. It is not necessary to fully understand or agree with someone in order to treat them with respect. We offer name tags with preprinted pronouns and request you use the name and pronouns specified by each attendee’s nametag. We also ask that you avoid language or behavior that is ableist, racist, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic.
Physical contact is often part of social interaction and is a requirement for engaging in rope bondage. Approaches to and experiences of touch can be influenced by personal, contextual, social, and cultural factors. We spend a great deal of time in our classes teaching how to think about touch and how to recognize and respond to the impact our touch has on others. Because rope bondage often involves intimate situations where feelings around touch may be heightened, we request that you follow specific guidelines and practices for physically interacting with others at our events. First, take steps to confirm that the scope and quality of your touch is understood and anticipated. The scope of your touch means how much and where on the body you will touch. The quality refers to the effect of and intention behind your touch. Rough, gentle, distant, friendly, and intimate are all examples of qualities of touch. Some common forms of touch in society, such as a handshake, have a generally expected scope and quality that determines the bounds of what is socially appropriate. Other forms of touch do not carry this kind of expectation and may require more explicit discussion or clarification about scope and quality. Second, keep in mind that someone else’s experience or interpretation of your touch may be different than you what you intend. If you wish to touch others at our events, consider how your touch might make them feel before you act. Do not touch people in ways that you believe will be unexpected or unwanted. If you are unsure, it is better to ask first. If you don’t know someone, we ask that you request explicit verbal permission prior to touching them.
Because we all share the same space at Chicago Rope events, how we inhabit our space impacts other people. Be mindful of those around you and make sure not to enter others’ tying space. Respect the rules of the venue and return any materials you used during class.
At Chicago Rope events, we ask that all individuals speak and act on their own behalf. Those who are in relationships where they may choose to do otherwise are asked to set aside any protocols that could interfere with direct communication with Chicago Rope Staff or with other attendees for the duration of our events.
Chicago Rope trusts the attendees of our events to use photographic technology responsibly.
If you wish to take still photos, please adhere to the following guidelines:
In addition, Chicago Rope may choose to allow audiovisual recording for educational purposes only under certain circumstances. All video recording must be done under the supervision of Chicago Rope staff, and we cannot guarantee that we can accomodate a request to record video. Please speak with staff if you have additional questions about this policy.
Note that some individual events may have other rules or restrictions surrounding photography. In those cases, the rules in place for the event will be clearly communicated to all attendees.
WARNING, THIS RELEASE IS LEGALLY BINDING. PLEASE READ CAREFULLY BEFORE SIGNING!
BY SIGNING YOU GIVE UP YOUR RIGHT TO RECOVER ANY COMPENSATION FOR ANY PERSONAL INJURIES, DAMAGE TO YOUR PROPERTY, OR FOR YOUR DEATH ARISING OUT OF YOUR USE OF CR EVENT PRODUCTION LLC, SECOND CITY KINBAKU, OR ANY OF THEIR AFFILIATE’S (COLLECTIVELY, “CHICAGO ROPE'S”) FACILITIES, SUSPENSION RIGS, FLOOR MATS, AND ROPE (COLLECTIVELY, THE “EQUIPMENT”), OR ARISING OUT OF YOUR PARTICIPATION IN CLASSES OR SOCIAL ACTIVITIES (COLLECTIVELY “ACTIVITIES”). YOU ARE RELEASING CHICAGO ROPE'S VENUE, THE DESIGNERS, MANUFACTURERS AND INSTALLERS OF ITS EQUIPMENT AND ANY PERSON USING CHICAGO ROPE'S EQUIPMENT OR PARTICIPATING IN ITS ACTIVITIES. THIS RELEASE IS BINDING UPON YOU, YOUR HEIRS, ASSIGNS, AND PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVES.
WARNING: ROPE BONDAGE IS DANGEROUS. I, the undersigned, acknowledge and agree that the use of the EQUIPMENT at CHICAGO ROPE events and participation in social and instructional ACTIVITIES organized by CHICAGO ROPE have INHERENT RISKS. Those risks include, but are not limited to the following:
I FREELY AND VOLUNTARILY ASSUME COMPLETE RESPONSIBILITY for these risks and for the injuries that may occur as a result of these risks EVEN IF injuries occur in a manner not foreseeable at the time I sign this Release. I realize that by voluntarily assuming the risks involved, I am SOLELY RESPONSIBLE for any loss or damage I sustain, including PERSONAL INJURIES to me, damage to my PROPERTY, or damage arising out of my DEATH.
I agree to release and discharge CHICAGO ROPE and all of its owners, members, affiliates, parents, subsidiaries, contractors, volunteers, insurers, managers, officers, employees, agents and representatives, as well as all other persons, corporations, sponsors, or other entities that might have any liability to me (the “Released Parties”) from and against any and all damages, actions, claims and liabilities of any nature specifically including, but not limited to, those arising out of any PERSONAL INJURIES sustained by me, damage to my PROPERTY, damage arising out of my DEATH, or any damage related to the NEGLIGENCE of the Released Parties to the extent permitted by law, whether known or unknown, anticipated or unanticipated, suspected or unsuspected, relating to or arising from any activity, occurrence, or event involving the equipment or CHICAGO ROPE. I further agree to indemnify, hold harmless, and defend the Released Parties from and against any loss, damage, liability and expense, including costs and attorneys’ fees, incurred by any of the Released Parties as a result of my using the EQUIPMENT or participating in any ACTIVITIES sponsored by or involving CHICAGO ROPE.
Lost or Stolen Items: CHICAGO ROPE is not responsible for any lost or stolen item of personal property while said property is at the a CHICAGO ROPE event or while the user is at any CHICAGO ROPE sponsored production, special event, and/or program.
The laws of the state of Illinois shall govern the rights and obligations of the parties to this Release and the interpretation and enforceability thereof. I agree that any lawsuit brought against any of the Released Parties or otherwise in connection with my use of the Apparatus shall be brought solely in the federal or state courts of Chicago, Illinois. If any provision of this Release is deemed invalid, the invalidity of such provision shall not affect the validity of the other provisions.
I HAVE READ THIS RELEASE THOROUGHLY AND UNDERSTAND ITS TERMS. NO ORAL REPRESENTATIONS, STATEMENTS OR INDUCEMENTS HAVE BEEN MADE TO ME THAT CHANGE, ALTER OR MODIFY ANYTHING WITHIN THIS RELEASE. I AGREE TO ALL TERMS AS THEY ARE STATED IN THIS RELEASE. THIS RELEASE SHALL REMAIN IN EFFECT UNTIL CANCELLED OR MODIFIED IN WRITING AND SIGNED BY A CHICAGO ROPE REPRESENTATIVE.
BY SIGNING BELOW, I CERTIFY THAT I AM AT LEAST EIGHTEEN (18) YEARS OF AGE AND THAT I HAVE READ AND AGREED TO CHICAGO ROPE'S CODE OF CONDUCT, PHOTOGRAPHY AND RECORDING POLICY, AND WAIVER AND RELEASE OF LIABILITY.
I UNDERSTAND THAT FAILURE TO FOLLOW THESE POLICIES MAY RESULT IN CONSEQUENCES INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, REMOVAL WITHOUT REFUND FROM A CHICAGO ROPE EVENT AND BANISHMENT FROM FUTURE CHICAGO ROPE EVENTS.