From the fall of 2022 to the spring of 2023, the Dept. of the Ongoing developed a Code of Conduct and the main principles of a Care and Complaint Network for the Department of Architecture at ETH Zürich, in close collaboration with Engagement Arts, and together with the Dean and the Dean's Office. This was part of a series of actions overseen by the Dean's Office and Parity and Diversity Commission (PDK) following up on the Engage D-ARCH report of 2021.
This development started with a thorough research into Swiss and ETH procedures and guidelines, looked into best practices within and beyond ETH and engaged with grassroot initiatives, experiences and testimonies. End of february 2023 the Dean's Office shared a draft Code of Conduct across the Department of Architecture for everyone to read and annotate, and this served as the basis for a series of workshops and conversations with different actors and stakeholders at D-ARCH and ETH, both grassroot and institutional.
On May 10th, the Department Conference endorsed the final version of the Code of Conduct and the principles of the Care and Complaint Network. In the fall of 2023, the Dean's Office will oversee the operational aspects of the Care and Complaint Network, including a Care and Complaint Officer, and set up a communication campaign on the Code of Conduct.
The D-ARCH Code of Conduct states what we, as D-ARCH community, collectively strive for in order to create a safe and inclusive work and learning environment. It is a regulatory ideal and a learning tool that helps us assess problematic situations and guide our behaviour in case of confusion or doubt.
This Code of Conduct is a declaration of intent, not a procedural protocol. It does not offer simple solutions or quick fixes simply because these do not always exist. The Code of Conduct is to be seen as an invitation and guiding framework to establish and maintain an open conversation on our shared D-ARCH learning and working culture.
The D-ARCH Code of Conduct is complemented with the D-ARCH Care and Complaint Network that offers support and outlines the first steps to take in the case of breaches of the Code of Conduct. Both are in line with ETH regulations and procedures. D-ARCH has developed these department-specific tools to make the ETH framework more accessible and applied to the specifics of architecture education, and set up a system of care around it.
The Code of Conduct employs a ‘we’ throughout the text, to stress the importance of our shared responsibility as a community and to urge every member to feel implicated and self-reflect. However, this ‘we’ does not eradicate the reality of the power and privilege differences attached to the different roles within D-ARCH.
The D-ARCH Code of Conduct is written in an accessible and clear language. However, it does not refrain from introducing a few key parity and diversity terms and concepts, in order to build up a basic literacy. To back this up, a glossary is added in a first annex. A second annex offers concrete examples and further explanations to the statements of the Code.
The D-ARCH Code of Conduct holds for all members of the D-ARCH community, as well as invited guests. It also concerns behaviour outside D-ARCH that potentially compromises the safety and integrity of D-ARCH’s work and learning environment. It is annually revised and part of an ongoing learning culture.
The D-ARCH Care and Complaint Network aims to lower the threshold to existing ETH procedures, and to set up a care and support structure around it. The Network takes up an active role in the informal phase of the ETH procedure and builds up a departmental learning culture through training and workshops.
The Network also engages with topics that are not addressed in any ETH procedure but stipulated in the D-ARCH Code of Conduct, specific to the D-ARCH working and learning environment.
The Network exists of a group of Confidence Persons that act as first-responders and caretakers, both for victims as offenders. They are supported by a Care and Complaint Officer, who has the expertise and externality to do the actual complaint work, who advises and coaches all the different actors in D-ARCH, and who centralises and studies recurring issues as a basis for further departemental learning and training. A third and crucial pillar is the Department Leadership, who appoints a designated team including the Head of the Dean's Office. The Network also coordinates between different grassroot and institutional initiatives, including but not limited to the Parity and Diversity Committee and the D-ARCH Workgroup on Mental Health and Wellbeing.
Els Silvrants-Barclay (Dept. of the Ongoing)
Petra Van Brabandt (Engagement Arts)