Practitioner code of conduct

Welcome to FORT. We are a non-profit, queer, sober, trauma-informed and accessibility-centered tattoo, bodywork and art studio in Stoke Newington, London.

It’s important that we’re on the same page before we work together, so only continue with your application if the expectations below sound good to you. Some of what we talk about in this document vary in how serious the impact would be if they were disregarded, so there are no one-size-fits-all punitive measures that we’ll follow through with if you ignore them. We’ll always approach any conflict or potential misunderstandings with resolution and learning in mind. But, if we believe you’re intentionally disregarding this code of conduct, or if you disregard it unintentionally and show no efforts to take accountability when challenged — you may be asked to leave the studio, or may not be welcome to return.

If you have any feedback on any of the following, or would like to ask questions, please feel free to reach out to [email protected] and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Here’s what we expect from everyone who works at FORT:

  1. No racist, homophobic, misogynistic, ableist, fatphobic, transphobic or otherwise discriminatory, hateful, shaming or harmful language or behavior.
  2. FORT is a sober space. Do not bring alcohol or recreational drugs into the studio, and do not work at FORT whilst under the influence of alcohol or recreational drugs.
  3. Please be mindful of conversation topics that have a high chance of being triggering. Triggers are very different for different people so it’s impossible to always avoid this, but consider checking in with the person you’re speaking to before discussing topics that contain details of trauma. Also be mindful of others in the studio who might be within earshot.
  4. Clients will also be asked to agree to points 1,2 and 3. If they ignore these points, and if it is safe for you to do so, please remind them. If they continually disregard the safety and comfort of yourself or others, please ask them to leave if it is safe for you to do so. Seek support from other artists/practitioners if necessary. Please do not put yourself in harm’s way and only react to a situation if you feel safe to — with a focus on de-escalation.
  5. We encourage community learning, growth and feedback. If you have an issue with another artist/practitioner or think someone has acted against the code of conduct, and it is safe for you to do so, we encourage calling them in and discussing it with them directly. If you do not feel safe or comfortable doing so, you are always welcome to come to other artists for support or guidance. Frankie is in charge of welfare/safeguarding so please reach out to them if you need help or want to report any problems. Rita or Jamie are also open to discussing welfare and safeguarding if Frankie is not available.
  6. Always respect the security of the building and make sure the outside door is locked at all times. If you are entrusted with keys at any point, keep them safe, return them at the end of your guest spot / residency and do not give them to anyone other than the person who lent them to you. Also never share FORT’s address publicly.
  7. Never assume someone’s pronouns, gender or language they might use to describe themselves, their body or their identity. If you don’t know someone’s pronouns, just ask. But do not ask anyone to disclose their gender identity or sensitive information that isn’t relevant to the tattoo or treatment.
  8. Never comment on or ask about someone’s body or medical history, plans or needs unless relevant to the session or unless they voluntarily disclose or ask to discuss it with you and you are comfortable to do so. Do not give clients explicit medical advice unless you are qualified to do so.
  9. Only discuss parts of your clients body if it is absolutely necessary for the tattoo or treatment, and always use gender neutral and objective language. If you’re unsure on what words to use, follow the client’s lead on how they talk about their body (unless they talk negatively, absolutely do not follow that lead).
  10. Always ask consent before any physical touch occurs with your client, and be mindful to check in throughout the process on their levels of physical comfort.
  11. Never use force to move any part of your client’s body, and if you have to touch them to guide them, ask their consent first, using as much verbal instruction as possible so that they can be in control of the movement, understanding what is expected of them and why.
  12. Always ask consent before any part of the process that causes change to your client’s body, or may result in an uncomfortable physical sensation. For example “Is it alright if I shave the area?” or “Are you ok with me using second-skin?”
  13. If you unintentionally touch your client, or forget to ask for consent before touching them, verbally acknowledge it to dispel any discomfort. For example “sorry I should have asked, is it ok if I put some stencil stuff on? This is to help the stencil ink stay” or “sorry my knee touched your hand, I will adjust the arm-rest”
  14. Position your client and your setup so that no unnecessary physical contact occurs. For example if their hand continually touches your knee, consider repositioning your furniture so that this doesn’t happen, or wrap a cushion or bolster to your leg for their arm to rest on.
  15. Do not flirt with or engage in sexual solicitation of any form with your client, even if they initiated it. Between artist/practitioner and client there is a power imbalance that is unethical to pursue or exploit.
  16. Never ask your client to remove more clothing than is absolutely necessary for the tattoo or treatment to take place.
  17. Do not sexualise your client or their body in any way whether that is verbally, the way you take photographs or through the language you use in captions of any images you post on social media or otherwise.
  18. Follow these safeguarding expectations in all communications with clients, even when they’re not in the studio. We will take it just as seriously if clients report being sexualised, bullied or harmed in communications with you before or after the appointment.
  19. Please be mindful of other artists and client’s accessibility needs including sensory, and especially auditory needs. Check in with other artists and clients if you are in control of the music, heaters, fragrance diffusers, fans or lighting.
  20. If you see another artist or practitioner doing something incorrectly or unsafely, please find a way to communicate with them constructively that doesn’t disrupt or disturb other clients in the studio, for example by asking them to speak to you in another room.
  21. Please be professional when discussing other studios, artists or practitioners who don’t work at FORT when there are clients in the room. Gossip can get back to other artists/studios through clients or friends and we don’t want to harm our relationships with the industry unnecessarily. If you have genuine safety concerns please speak directly to Frankie.
  22. Please always make an effort to leave the studio cleaner and tidier than you found it.
  23. Please follow strict hygiene protocol as per your licensing/training at all times, ensuring no cross contamination occurs. If another artist or practitioner reminds you of a more hygienic way to do what you’re doing, please listen to them.
  24. We do not condone damaging or shaming discussions about clients, either in other clients’ presence or between artists/practitioners. This is akin to bullying and isn’t the kind of culture we promote at FORT. Always respect your client’s trust and confidentiality if they choose to share sensitive information with you.
  25. If it becomes clear that a client is not coping well with the pain or length of the session, for example shaking, feeling faint or unwell — even if they want to continue, it is important that you make a call to stop the tattoo or treatment.
  26. If a client asks you to stop or take a break, they have withdrawn their consent to be tattooed/touched by you and their request must be respected immediately.
  27. If stopping or taking a break will affect the quality or outcome of the tattoo, we suggest doing the following:
    1. Stop tattooing
    2. Explain what you were in the middle of doing
    3. Inform your client how the interruption might impact the outcome of the tattoo so that they can make an informed decision
    4. Give them options in a way that does not pressure them to continue (e.g. continuing briefly before taking a break, stopping altogether to continue in another session, taking a break immediately, hydrating, eating a snack etc).
    5. If they consent to continuing the tattoo, check in with them regularly to ensure they are still comfortable, and if they express discomfort or if you have any doubts, always err on the side of stopping the session.
    6. If continued breaks means that the session becomes too long for any reason, communicate this with your client and allow them the option of stopping to continue the tattoo in another session, giving them information on how this might impact the cost or outcome of the tattoo (e.g. “we can continue this another time, but it might be difficult to get the stencil on in exactly the same place and may impact the design” so they can make an informed decision)
  28. If your client asks for more changes to the tattoo or the stencil than you have time for in the session, or they want you to make changes you don’t want to do — simply don’t do the tattoo. Never try to convince them of something they don’t want.
  29. When it comes to design and placement, always respect the decisions of your client about their tattoo and their body, and never pressure them to change their mind.
  30. We do not condone tattoos that are racist, homophobic, misogynistic, ableist, fatphobic, transphobic or otherwise discriminatory, hateful or harmful towards an oppressed or minority group. If you are found to be doing tattoos that fit this description at FORT or elsewhere, you will be asked to leave the studio or not be welcomed back.
  31. We do not condone tattoos that are culturally appropriative and we expect artists to take responsibility in educating themselves on the history of their influences and the sensitivity of the imagery/language they use. There is a lot of nuance to this subject, for example someone might ask you to tattoo something from their culture but not yours because they trust you as an artist and like your style. If you’re ever unsure please feel free to discuss with other FORT artists. Sian is especially interested in discussing this topic and can share resources that might be helpful.
  32. We do not condone plagiarism and if you are tattooing another artist’s work we expect you to check that you or the client have permission from the original artist to tattoo their artwork.
  33. When you post tattoo pictures online, do not make them black and white/desaturated or edit them in a way that changes or misrepresents skin tones. Desaturating photos of tattoos homogenises and whitewashes client’s skin.

Thanks for reading. Please proceed with your application to work at FORT if you agree with these expectations and like the kind of space we’re creating.

FORT resident artists

Frankie (they/them)@limpwristtattoo[email protected]Welfare & Safeguarding
Rita (she/they)@nouvellerita[email protected]Welfare & Compliance
Rosa (she/her)@lagershandytattoo[email protected]Print Studio & Community Projects
Ems (they/them)@alien_ink_[email protected]Hygiene & Training
Violet (they/she)@voidplugs[email protected]Social Media & Marketing
Sian (they/them)@sian_shine_[email protected]Communications & Events
Sega (he/him)@segadoeslines[email protected]Guest Liaison & Events

FORT Operations team

Jamie (he/they)[email protected]Creative & Operations Director
Kuba (she/they/he)[email protected]Operations Assistant
Skylar (she/her)[email protected]Finance & Infrastructure