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‘Safe to Create’ Programme Leading the Way to Removing Damaging Norms in the Arts Sector

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin, announced the launch of a series of supports for artists and arts workers in Ireland as part of ‘Safe to Create’, a collaborative programme looking to transform workplace culture and practices, and to provide safe and respectful working conditions for those working in the arts.

Speaking at the launch in the Project Arts Centre, Minister Martin said, “this is a very positive day for the Arts in Ireland. Since I launched the Speak Up: A Call for Change Report in October 2021, my officials and I have been working closely with the Irish Theatre Institute, as well as Screen Ireland, the Arts Council and Minding Creative Minds who have done amazing work in getting us to where we are today. I would like to thank them for their dedication and hard work and, having secured an additional €500,000 in budget 2023 for the ‘Safe to Create’ programme, I look forward to continuing working with them into the future.”

“The ‘Safe to Create’ programme is entirely built on, and informed by, the findings and recommendations in the Speak Up report and so the biggest thank you must go to every individual who responded to the initial SPEAK UP survey. Your voices and first-hand experiences set today in motion and will lead to a safer and more respectful working environment for all. Your courage has brought about positive change for the arts sector and I thank you most sincerely for that.”

The ‘Safe to Create’ programme responds to a series of recommendations identified in the SPEAK UP report and is coordinated by the Irish Theatre Institute (ITI) in partnership with the Arts Council, Screen Ireland and Minding Creative Minds.

The planned supports will include:

  • A resource-rich website featuring practical information, guidance, toolkits and templates for artists, arts workers and organisations regarding ‘Dignity at Work’ rights and responsibilities.
  • A Wellbeing and Support Service for victims of harmful behaviours, including one-on-one counselling, access to legal advice and a 24-hour trauma helpline.
  • A training programme developed specifically for the arts and creative sectors on Dignity at Work issues, including on the topics of tackling bullying and harassment, bystander training, intimacy coordination and more.
  • A Code of Behaviour that organisations are asked to adopt, developed to enable arts and creative organisations to create workplaces free from bullying, harassment and intimidation of any kind. The Code will be accessible on the ‘Safe to Create’ website, along with a register that organisations and individuals can formally sign.
  • Workshop roadshows to provide information for individuals and support for organisations to utilise and implement the ‘Safe to Create’ supports and Code of Behaviour.
  • A ‘Report to Support’ anonymous reporting system, designed to provide a facility for those working in the arts and creative sectors to report incidents of bullying, harassment and sexual harassment without the need to identify themselves or disclose sensitive and personal details. Information collected via the “Report to Support” pilot will be aggregated twice annually and will be used to inform the development and delivery of additional Dignity at Work supports. The Safe to Create website will have information on steps individuals can take to make a formal or informal complaint on individual experiences.
  • A research programme of further study to examine the prevalence and impact of harmful behaviours in Ireland’s arts sector.

In the coming months, ITI and Department officials will be working with its partners to implement and promote these supports, to monitor the impact of measures taken and to collaborate with appropriate agencies to build effective monitoring, accountability and oversight mechanisms for harmful behaviour in the workplace in the arts sector in Ireland.

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