Smart Consent

SC Logo Primary_PNGSmart Consent Workshops were developed at the School of Psychology, NUI, Galway, as a response to student survey results during 2015. Each element of the 2- hour workshop is based on theory and supported by our research findings.
It allows participants to explore in a safe, peer-supported environment, what consent means in the context of human sexuality. Participants are guided through interactive, participatory exercises. This includes, at the outset, a definition of consent being produced by the group, as well as suggestions for what helps and the barriers in communicating consent; that is revisited then at the end, enabling a reworking of initial concepts.
Other exercises draw on psychological theory such as Social Norms, using findings from Study 1 of Elaine Byrne’s PhD, to show both perceptions and misperceptions of gender based comfort levels with different sexual activities.
Vignettes, initially used during focus group-work for the RCNI commissioned Report “What’s’ Consent Got To Do With It ?” (MacNeela et al., 2014) prompt discussion and evaluation of ambiguous consent scenarios. To further illustrate how nuanced the issue of consent can be, a very powerful 10 minute theatre piece from the production “100 Shades of Grey”, an imaginative and unique dramatic interpretation of the RCNI Report findings, is shown.
An exercise on verbalising consent follows, in which a number of statements are presented, with the group reaching consensus on those they would use to communicate consent.
The full 2 hour Workshop was launched during Shag Week in conjunction and collaboration with the NUIGSafeCampus initiative. Attendance was voluntary and feedback has been very positive; however, the challenge remains to get the message “out there” and raise awareness of the benefits of attending a Smart Consent Workshop.

See Elaine’s Student Talk on this topic 


Elaine Byrnes

Elaine is a Doctoral Researcher in Psychology, NUI Galway. Her research interests include: Sexual Consent, Sexual Health, Emerging Adulthood, Gender, Alcohol and Drugs, and Mixed Methods Research.