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Student Guidelines

Hugo House is a place to read words, hear words, and make your own words better. If you have signed up for a class at Hugo House, you will be engaging with our literary community in that effort.

Hugo House does not tolerate harassment or discrimination of any kind; our intention is to create a space in which every participant feels safe. Please alert staff if you experience or witness any harassment or discrimination.

The following guidelines are intended to help you and your fellow students approach the workshop experience with compassion, curiosity, and consideration. Sharing work is scary for everyone—but it is the best tool we have to cultivate empathy for perspectives that are different from our own.

The Workshop

All workshop participants share a common impulse to create, though you all come from different worlds and bring different experiences and values to the table. The workshop is an opportunity to be generous, vulnerable, and creative in ways that still question and push each other’s work to be the best version the artist intended. Respectful disagreements can be pivotal in making your own words better.

The workshop can be a highly charged emotional space. Please let your readers know in advance if your work contains violent or disturbing content that could be triggering. In literature, not all provocations are written to cause harm; however, if you feel a piece crosses the line, please tell your instructor or a staff member.

Participation

  • Commit to the expectations outlined by your instructor. Please arrive fully prepared to engage in the process.
  • Critique is often a part of the classroom experience. Be ready to speak about problems with your own work and the work of others in a constructive manner. Critique the writing, not the writer.
  • Agree to disagree. When it comes to feedback, there are no right answers.
  • If you come into the classroom with a background of privilege, be aware of that position and the ways in which it can potentially affect other students.
  • Be intentional in working against traditional power dynamics, which can alienate and silence voices that have been historically marginalized.
  • Remain respectful of all writers (and their work) in the classroom.
  • Be aware that your fellow students have an equal right to the class space and time. Listen closely to the teacher and your fellow students’ comments before responding.
  • Don’t interrupt the teacher or your classmates. Avoid leading the discussion toward subjects not relevant to the work.
  • Put aside personal technology, if not being used for the purpose of the class.

Confidentiality

Hugo House writing classes are based on a mutual expectation of trust in order to sustain our writing community. To protect the integrity of the class, and the ability of students to submit their ideas, do not directly or indirectly disclose, disseminate, publish, or use the ideas, materials, or submissions of any other student submitted as part of a class other than in classroom discussion, assignments, or in closed classroom discussions. No public dissemination of any other student’s ideas, materials, or submissions is permitted without the express permission of that student. Any feedback given from one group member to another related to a project presented to the group is given freely and may be used by the presenting writer as they see fit.

The Space

Along with respecting Hugo House’s writing community, please respect the physical space. Hugo House belongs to writers, and by properly maintaining the space, we allow other writers a safe and positive experience. There are areas of Hugo House that are for teachers and staff only. Please respect the need for staff and teachers to work and prepare. It’s all in order to offer you the best programs and experience possible.

These guidelines were put together with the assistance of Hamline University and Joy Castro.