Safe spaces at festivals in Aotearoa, a research presentation.
Safe spaces are a relatively new addition to the festival safety network which fills a previously unaddressed gap related to mental and emotional risk present within the festival environment. Festivals are intentionally high stimulus environments, designed to engage the senses and provide many opportunities for connection and new experiences. But, the combination of high expectations and potentially days of no sleep, substance use, and non-stop intensity can cause people to tip over into an overwhelmed state. Through the use of physical space, peer support, and crisis intervention safe spaces have the ability to provide psychological intervention in a meaningful manner. Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that treating instances of harm on a individualized level has the potential to prevent further harm and create wide spread positive social change. This is a talk on the first piece of research conducted world wide into how festival organizers and safe space managers understand and shape this service they provide, and the value it has for festival communities.
Holly has been working in the events industry in Aotearoa for nearly ten years, roughly since the inception of safe spaces into the scene here. Although she primarily operates as a volunteer manager she has also worked closely alongside the development of safe spaces at some events. With a passion for social change and individual development Holly finds value in challenging the status quo and giving a voice to those who are still on the path to finding their own.