Are you looking for a Red Tent?
“We invite you to hold the paradox that whilst we strive to create spaces that liberate, we will make mistakes, we will be imperfect, we will need to apologise, learn, repair and try again. This is because liberatory spaces are not the norm in our culture. We are disrupting the status quo, we are challenging through our practice and we are also, learning and challenging ourselves and each other. We believe that Red Tents can provide a space to explore this paradox.”
Mary Ann Clements and Aisha Hannibal
At the Red Tent Directory, we see Red Tents as liberatory spaces which make room for us all to receive collective care and so we, therefore, urge women to be as inclusive as possible when creating their Tents. This means thinking about how to make them inclusive by design considering gender expression, age, sexuality, race, (dis)ability, class and access to resources when you establish, run and promote your Red Tent. Please read this guidance about money and the Red Tent.
Our book, Red Tents: Unravelling our Past and Weaving a Shared Future is all about making Red Tents inclusive, accessible and sustainable and covers these topics in depth including creating liberatory space, conflict and challenge and creating a model of shared leadership. You can contact us for support or if you’d want to talk something through.
Our commitment with our work on this website of resources is to support liberatory practice in the way that Red Tents are held and run. From 2012 to 2021 we ran a listings site here that enabled Red Tents to connect to those who wanted to attend them. In the process of writing our book we grew increasingly committed to the inclusivity and accessibility of Red Tents as liberatory spaces and as a result made a decision in Oct 2021 that, because many of our listings didn’t fully reflect this, we would no longer list Red Tents.
Here is more of the story….
It was 2021 when we first launched the Red Tent Directory. In 2018 we decided to write a book rooted in the experience of many of the Red Tents holders whose Red Tents we listed.
It took us three intense and incredible years and our book Red Tents: Unravelling Our Past and Weaving a Shared Future was published in 2021. In it, we describe Red Tents as liberatory and anti-oppressive spaces. This isn’t just a beginners guide to Red Tents, it’s an invitation to create brave, transformative circles.
We really set out a vision for Red Tents, as spaces that can help change and transform culture. We take you, the reader, through steps that can help to centre justice, inclusion and collective care in this work.
After we published the book we worked with our team of volunteers at the Red Tent Directory to try and work out how to make the listings on the Red Tent Directory website reflect the vision that we highlight in the book. But after many long hours of discussion and thought and reflection we came to the conclusion that it was not possible for us to manage the Directory listings website, in a way that felt fully resonant and congruent with our vision set out in the book.
To do so would have needed much more significant resources than we’ve ever had for this project. It would have required people to be able to support Tents individually and for us to understand a lot more about their practice before we would be willing to list them. It would have required us to ask Tents to make commitments to liberation-centred and anti-oppressive practice, and it just didn’t feel possible for us as a small team of volunteers working a few hours a month each to engage in that deeper work of understanding and supporting the practice of Red Tent in that way.
And so, after many hours of reflection, we made a difficult decision to end the listing service that we had been providing at the Red Tent Directory.
In the end, we felt that this decision, is the best way, with the tools and resources that we had at our disposal, to really embody our commitment to creating safer space for everyone.
If you haven’t yet, we invite you to consider reading our book. We hope that when you do, you will find inspiration for your Red Tent and feel inspired to share the ideas that are in it. We really believe that Red Tents can be a way of creating radical spaces for collective care and healing.
Although we no longer share listings for specific tents we want to honour all of you that have been a part of this journey of the Red Tent Directory, and hope that you’ll continue to benefit from the book. May your Red Tent spaces continue to thrive.