As the year draws to a close, we are taking the chance to look back at some of our achievements since locking down in March 2020. We wish to thank our incredible team who have stuck it out with us during these tough times, despite both personal and collective challenges.
We are also very grateful and humbled by all the support we have received from our members. We are very proud of the work we all have achieved together.
In no particular order,
Studio initiatives in 2021: financial accessibility
- In 2021 we have created a Rope Fund which is supported both by member donations and by the studio itself. A possibility to donate is offered on every event ticket purchase, and these donations allow us to offer free tickets to folks who are facing financial barriers to accessing our classes
- The total donated since summer 2021 has been just over £1100
- Applications to these solidarity tickets can be made via our website, and are available for a pair to join a class of their choice. This year we have been able to allocate tickets to all applicants – this has been a total of 10 pairs totalling a ticket value of £1700
- We have also resurrected our Pay-What-You-Can classes – formerly known as “Community Classes” – in which tickets are donations based and open to all levels. Both the studio time and teacher time is voluntary with all proceeds going to charities
- Since August 2021 we have donated over £1000 across 4 charities through this initiative:
- We have also made a more explicit approach to studio bookings, offering sliding scale for bookings where the budget is limited and/or where the event is by/for marginalised communities
Team training & changes
- Before reopening, the team was offered a 2 day intensive Consent and Leadership training with Consent Academy
- Following this training, the team has delineated a clear Consent Policy for the studio as well as a more transparent structure for dealing with consent incident reports
- The team was also offered access to a series of online courses on the following topics: DEI, mediation, bias & adult teaching
- Aside from our main team (House Cats), we have also created a volunteers team to help with jams, creating a more accessible entry point for folks to participate in the the life of the studio
- We have also hired 2 extra people for the store team
- The teams have not only grown in number but in diversity – our team is now composed of trans and non-binary folk, neurodivergent folk, people of colour and representing a wider range of ages
Keeping in touch
- Over lockdown 2020 we have created a Discord channel to connect directly with members and provide opportunities for members to more easily connect with partners and make friends. The server now has close to 500 members
- We have also started a Telegram channel to create ticket release broadcasts for those not on social media
Imagery & representation
- Following conversations with members who collectively expressed the desire to see a more wide representation of bodies in our imagery, we started in 2020 a photo project called “About the People” to capture and feature members of the studio doing rope. These images now feature on our website and social media, and better reflect the existing and changing diversity in the studio
- We have also committed to more diversity at events, such as Drawn to Rope and teachers for classes – this was started with our online classes in 2020, and we plan to carry it further in 2022
- Over lockdown we have made significant upgrades to our online store, with a new more professional website, a more integrated back-end, payment of EU VAT, a faster and better shipping system, and more reliable and direct customer service support
- We have reduced our use of plastic in our packaging, moving from plastic bubble mailers to padded paper mailers. We have also reduced the number of printed flyers in the packaging
The physical space
- Over lockdown we have built 2 walls complete with sound and heat insulation and a door. These allow the studio to feel warmer in the winter and also create more privacy across the year
- We also built more shelving across the studio in order to declutter and allow more floor space for folks to tie and socialise. This also provides a safer and more organised work space for the store team
- We have also upgraded all our lighting system which now comprises of par cans, fresnels and colour changing bulbs. This allows to create mood changes for events and bookings.
Our current team is comprised of: GoddessInRope, KaoruNeve, Amy, PetitePretzel, FemmelFatale and Anna Noctuelle. Joining us next year are Pedro and KinkNCuddles. read about them here!