Making spaces safer

Making spaces safer

A Guide to Giving Harassment the Boot Wherever You Work, Play, and Gather

Shawna Potter
AK Press 2019

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"Every time someone wants me to prove sexism in the scene exists I am not going to tell them about having beer spat in my face while I’m singing or about men screaming 'shut up' while I’m talking between songs. I’m gonna hand them this book and say 'No more horror stories, here are some solutions.'" —Kathleen Hanna, Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, and The Julie Ruin

"Never underestimate the tenacity and creativity of Shawna Potter. Here's her badly needed how-to book for people who don't feel they have much power to tap into, nurture, and use ... then help others to do the same. Make a public space safe, without retreating from reality's trigger warnings into a walled off fantasy cocoon." —Jello Biafra, Dead Kennedys and Alternative Tentacles Records

“Shawna Potter’s work represents the best of punk and DIY values—an insistence that we don’t need to wait for politicians or anyone else to act. We can lead by example.” —Will Potter, author and TED Senior Fellow

“Punk made a promise of a freer, fairer, safer, and saner world, but never fulfilled it. Shawna Potter has written a field manual for how, inch by inch and scene by scene, we get there.” —Spencer Ackerman, The Daily Beast

"Making Spaces Safer has so many clear tactics for making shows more inclusive and welcoming, and, as a side effect, more fun for everyone. Whether you book bands, tend bar, want to look out for the wellbeing of your fellow music fans, or own the whole damn club.   Great tips that will help you make your space rule.” —Sadie Dupuis, Speedy Ortiz

Shawna Potter, singer for the band War On Women, has tackled sexism and harassment in lyrics and on stage for years. Taking the battle to music venues themselves, she has trained night clubs and community spaces in how to create safer environments for marginalized people. Now she’s turned decades of experience into a clear and concise guide for public spaces of all sorts—from art galleries to bagel shops to concert halls—that want to shut down harassers wherever they show up. The steps she outlines are realistic, practical, and actionable. With the addition of personal stories, case studies, sample policies, and no-nonsense advice like “How to Flirt without Being a Creep,” she shows why safer spaces are important, while making it easier to achieve them. Punk passion, candor, and anger get the job done!

Shawna Potter is a musician, activist, educator, and writer. She fronts the hardcore punk band War On Women and currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland.


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