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  • Writer's pictureChiara

Consent, copyright, care

Updated: Jun 27, 2022

My project is based on the crucial link between personal experience and political protest in response to interpersonal violence. Whereas my previous work about personal trauma has been limited to my own experiences and responses, part of this work reaches to a network of women and non-binary individuals who have experienced similar trauma to varying degrees.

From my proposal,

"The work employs the motif of the hand for its capacity to express vulnerability, solidarity, and protest. The connection between personal and political is maintained by utilising the hands of the artist and a real network of allies, rather than the hand in an abstract or purely symbolic sense. "

Once I had begun to settle on the techniques that effectively record expressive hand gestures, it was time to recruit and record the contributions of my allies. This raised a number of ethical, legal and logistical issues. Legally I need to consider issues of consent and copyright. Ethically I have a duty of care to my participants when I involve them in work that is sensitive and potentially re-activates traumatic memories and responses. Logistically I need to work in the RMIT print studio which is full of specialised equipment and chemicals.

I searched online for examples of consent forms. At first I was looking at Community Art as a paradigm, but that didn't fit my concept of the work. I see the work as my own, with the participants contributing their involvement under my direction. The expected display space is academic/gallery rather than a more public space. Then I came across this consent form example which was a much better fit.

I modelled my consent form on this, adapting it to my circumstances. Here is the full document:

Consent form Studio 5
Download DOCX • 16KB

I prepared this list of resources to cover the risk of personal distress which might arise from participation in the project. I included it with a thank you note to the participants. It is important to note that participants remain anonymous in the final work and that there was no expectation that they would discuss their experiences as part of their participation, nevertheless it seemed best to cover any potential difficulties.

Thanks and Emergency contacts
Download DOCX • 14KB

In terms of logistics and the need for participants to be covered by University insurance while in the studio space I ended up limiting myself to student participants for this stage of the project. In future I can register visitors with RMIT Security and bring them into the studio, but time constraints and COVID restrictions made me stick with the simpler solution for the time being.

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