So You Want to Host a Ropenspace

October 12, 2009

Back in the before times, when I was doing “Graydancer’s Ropetastic Unconference Extravaganza” in various locations question, the question most asked by people was: “When will you do a GRUE in [insert their city here]?”

Well, the answer to that question now is “Never! The Age of GRUE has passed, the wheel has turned, the world has moved on.” But there is also a follow up: Why don’t you just have a RopenSpace instead?

The thing is, I never planned the classes at GRUE’s — I facilitated them using Open Space principles and instructions that are freely available on the web. I helped the organizers get things rolling, and then I “held space” to make sure they ran smoothly, and because I’ve done it a time or nine before, they usually did. And even when they didn’t, they were good. It was a kind of magic.

There can’t be any more GRUEs, because I don’t want events that have my name (remember what the G stands for) happening when I’m not there. But there’s nothing saying you can’t have your own similar event — and we’ve even created a template for it, called the “RopenSpace.”

RopenSpace Logo
RopenSpace Logo

There have been a lot of RopenSpaces. The first was at Shibaricon in 2013; when ROPECRAFT and Tethered Together came around, they adapted the model. They’ve been facilitated by many different kinksters — DoNotGoGently, Naiia, Jakewing — and in many different towns because the concept and branding are freely available under a Creative Commons – BY 4.0 license.

That means you can totally have your own, as long as you satisfy two conditions:

  1. Attribution — You must give appropriate credit  (“from Graydancer” is fine), provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made . You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor (that’s me!) endorses you or your use.
  2. No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits. That means that Ojipan is welcome to create and sell his own version of “OjipanSpace” using the concept, and he can totally license his version of it, but he can’t restrict others from using the original RopenSpace.

space and logistics.

These are the basics:

You need spaces for the following:  

1) social meet & greet – usually a place similar to wherever a local “munch” is held, though having it at a private home also works IF it’s big enough for everyone to show up. this is NOT a play party, or a formal anything – it’s just getting to know each other.

2) Main space for Saturday Day: the ideal space has one large “group” area big enough to fit everyone, and several smaller “breakout” areas for smaller sessions. Dance studios (worked really well), yoga studios (worked ok, a little noisy) houses (worked fairly well, though with large groups it’s hard to find one room) a bar (worked REALLY well, with multiple levels and rooms), and places like party halls all work. Usually you want a couple of suspension-ready frames or other equipment available, but people will make do with what is there — don’t think you can’t have a RopenSpace because you don’t have enough equipment.

The space also has to have food allowed – one of the important ideas is that people don’t get to leave for lunch, it is brought in and made available. The SL GRUE was one of the best examples of this; Madison also did a good job.

It should also be open to all adults – that means 18 and up. It is my strong belief that if you can vote, die for your country, or be tried and convicted under the full extent of the law, you should be able to talk and learn about kinky sex, too. 

Most important: the space owners need to know exactly what is happening. And by that, I mean they have to know that this is a bondage and sexuality gathering of consenting adults. Trust me, you do NOT want to have to try and explain to an irate property manager why that naked lady is tied by her ankle to a suspension frame trying to dip the oreo in her mouth into that glass of milk. 

You may be tempted to use a euphemism, or gloss over it; don’t. You don’t have to go into detail, and you can stress that themes like communication, trust, relationship dynamics are happening — but make sure they know people are gonna get tied up and more during the sessions.

3) Play Party Space The space may or may not be the same site as the RopenSpace; it’s whatever works for a party that the local group would normally have.

More questions? Email Graydancer, and I’ll do my best to answer!

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