Code of Conduct and PAL System
One of the things that makes The Summer House and Winter House Weekends different from other events is that every guest who attends agrees to uphold our eight core values. These are designed to make the House a warm and welcoming place for all concerned. If during the Weekend you encounter someone who you feel is breaching the Code of Conduct we encourage you either to speak with them directly (if you feel comfortable doing so) or otherwise to approach a member of the team for their assistance.
Our Eight Values in short:
- Arrive and leave with a friend who vouches for you
- Participate and dress up
- Respect the House
- Respect each other
- Get and give consent
- No lurking or space-invading
- Turn it off
- Play it safe
The Eight Values in more depth
1. Arrive and leave with a friend who vouches for you
You must arrive and leave accompanied by at least one friend who knows you and vouches for your behaviour all Weekend. This is called the ‘PAL System’, designed by Kinky Salon San Francisco and licensed under Creative Commons. There are two purposes behind PAL: first to provide a support network to all guests, and second to ensure accountability — so everyone is responsible for everyone else. Your PAL does not need to be someone who already goes to our events. They can be a newbie like you, as long as you vouch for each other! Your PAL does not need to be a partner or someone with whom you’re in a relationship — they can be a friend or even a relative. Your PAL must be a friend or even a group of 2 friends who know and trust you, and vice-versa. In a rare worst case scenario where our team decides anyone must leave the event, all people in the PAL group would be asked to leave. Hence why it's important you know and trust them. You must not post in public or semi-public spaces or online in order to find a PAL. Read in depth how PAL works.
2. Participate and dress up
We encourage you to decorate your camp; to bring gifts to give to new friends that you meet; and to come prepared with any special skills/talents/party tricks that other guests will enjoy. Prepare to come as your most fabulous self for the climactic Saturday night party. Dressing-up is only compulsory on Saturday night; the rest of the time wear whatever makes you comfortable. On the Saturday night no streetwear, standard cocktail dresses or standard suits — find a way to make it flamboyant. Creative costumes, fancy dress and festival garb, vintage wear, marvellous millinery, kigus and onesies, unique uniforms, left-over outfits from Rumpus, Nowhere, Sparkle Hard, Kinky Salon, After Pandora etc all welcome. Feel free to take things from or drop things off with our fancy dress rail. Please be respectful in your choice of costume, avoiding cultural appropriation — read more:   — and anything likely to upset people or cause offence.
3. Respect the House
Treat the House and its grounds better than you would your own place. This is someone’s home and it’s a Leave No Trace event, so please pack everything away and don't leave it to someone else to clear up your rubbish. That includes cigarette butts and other such “MOOP” — please bring containers to put them in. If camping please raise BBQs off the ground, no open fires and please allow us to serve you rather than bringing your own booze. Please use the toilets rather than the garden, don't smoke inside and please don't use any kind of sound system. When in the camping area please be considerate of other guests, and treat the camping area as a silent space — others may be sleeping. Please support us by abiding to any specific guidelines the House owners give us with regard to things like noise, nudity and where you may or may not pee!
4. Respect each other
This is a friendly and caring place where everyone should feel safe, no matter what their walk of life. So be sensitive to the differences between people and avoid making assumptions or bigoted/prejudiced comments about gender, sexuality, culture, race, age, disability status, body type or anything else. Ask someone what pronouns people use (he, she, they etc) rather than assuming. Steer clear of heavy-handed “chat-up” routines; don’t get too intoxicated; don’t get into arguments. Warm, friendly, inclusive, tolerant, generous, caring, considerate, fun: these are the kinds of words that describe our guests!
5. Get and give consent
Whether it's joining a new group in conversation, giving a stranger a hug, disclosing information someone has shared or borrowing one of their belongings, make sure you ask first. Get explicit consent at every stage. Just because you haven’t heard a “no” doesn’t mean it’s a “yes”. And while asking once is fine, asking several times is pestering. Our team take phrases like “no”, “stop” or “don’t” — or any touching without permission at any time — extremely seriously. If you test another guest’s boundaries by failing to get consent you are likely to be thrown out. Equally, be confident in giving consent by saying what you do want and stating upfront what your boundaries are.
6. No lurking or space-invading
Although The Summer House is a place where new friendships are easily made, be sensitive to the fact that everyone has a different expectation of personal space. There is a difference between looking and staring. If you linger about unaccompanied, stare at people without their permission or invade peoples' space it makes them feel uncomfortable and makes you seem creepy. Don’t do it. If you find another guest breaking these rules, politely ask them to move on or, if it’s serious, report them to a member of the team.
7. Turn it off
The Weekend is a chance to be present in connection with the people right in front of us while leaving the outside world behind. Please keep your phones stashed as much as possible and do not bring phones, laptops, tablets or cameras into any of the indoor spaces. While we respect photography as a form of expression, we ask that you limit close-up portrait photography and video only to people you know personally — and ensure that you get the explicit permission of each person in any close-up frame. Do not tag pictures or videos in social media without permission. Pictures of details or wide/long shorts of the outside spaces are fine as long as they don't include any guests without their permission, or any pictures of the House. We usually provide a photographer to capture general memories of the Weekend, including a group photo from above. Our photographer(s) will make themselves known at the morning meetings and will always ask before taking a close-up. To protect the privacy of the House, keep details of the venue completely secret and do not gossip about any aspect of The Summer House or The Winter House in any public place or social network.
8. Play it safe
We encourage guests to express themselves through safe, risk-aware and consensual activity but it is up to you to clearly and honestly communicate the safety precautions you are taking. Putting the safety or health of another guest in jeopardy is not acceptable.