workshops

One way we support effective community action is by organising, designing and facilitating workshops. We do this primarily in two ways: (1) tCA-initiated workshops that are open to everyone; and (2) in-house with organisations to address specific challenges or priorities.

We have facilitated workshops with literally hundreds of groups, organisations and networks, representing most social movements: human rights activists, environmentalists, indigenous activists, queers, disability advocates, unionists and union educators, feminists, people working for economic justice… Click here for a list of organisations we’ve worked with since 2005.

What’s happening now?

Check out our calendar to see what workshops tCA or other organisations are organising in the coming months.

What workshop themes do we offer?

Becoming an effective change agent or creating an effective community organisation requires continual learning and a very wide range of skills, understandings and capacities. Activist educators have theorised about what and how effective activists learn. We prioritise topics and forms of activist education that appear most important to our partners and the social movements we most frequently support. We aim to complement rather than duplicate education, training and facilitation opportunities that are available in the Asia Pacific region.

We tailor workshops to the unique needs of social movement organisations. For some of the themes we regularly work around follow these links:

 

community organising: mobilising for change

Community organising builds power in workplaces and communities by facilitating effective grassroots participation. In the USA and UK, this approach has built the power among networks and alliances of active and informed communities. Community organising differs from advocacy, service delivery and community development in important ways. Unlike advocacy, it tends to be informed by a…

 

facilitation

This experiential workshop helps participants facilitate meetings that address both the task and maintenance dimensions of group life – meetings that achieve results and build groups that are sustainable and enjoyable. Participants develop a shared understanding of various facilitation styles and when to implement them. Resource materials are provided for future reference. objectives reflect on…

 

learning organisations and evaluation

Saul Alinksy noted that some of the most effective organisers and activists use campaigns and social movements as learning opportunities. This workshop explores opportunities and strategies to more consciously capture learnings we acquire through social action, and identify the barriers that impede organisational learning. Participants reflect on how their organisations learn and what additional mechanisms…

 

movement action plan

U.S. activist-educator Bill Moyer conceived Movement Action Plan (MAP) to explain and explore the stages and advocacy roles evident in successful social movements. The model’s apparent simplicity may hold the key to its appeal and practical application to activists who seek to analyse, plan and enhance their campaigns. This workshop introduces the key components of…

 

nonviolent direct action (NvDA) and civil disobedience

Violence is often viewed as the ultimate revolutionary means: the gun-wielding guerrilla, the brick- throwing student and the militant terrorist are all common images of the struggle against authority. This workshop unpacks that assumption and explores how to respond to injustice that is neither timidity nor resorting to the same violent methods of those we…

 

scenario based campaigning workshop

This workshop throws participants into a realistic campaign scenario where they build alliances, identify and lobby decision-makers, convene public meetings, issue media releases and develop strategy on the run. New trigger events keep coming, forcing players to react, organise and strategise. The scenario is interspersed by debriefings to analyse tactics and their results. The role-play…

 

social movement educate the educator ed2

Activist education is conducted by and with activists, is openly interested in the processes of change, and utilises educational methods that bring about change toward social justice. Activist education builds a sense of personal agency in the learning environment. We use the expression ‘activist education’ to describe our work. This has implications not just for…

 

Strategising for change

This workshop introduces a suite of practical tools for developing and evaluating campaign strategy. Workshop participants apply these tools to real-life problems to develop realistic strategies and tactics. The tools are suitable for both small grassroots groups and larger professional advocacy organisations. Many of those who have participated in the SfC workshop say that it…

 

sustaining activism

Activist energy is a precious resource. Activism can be incredibly stressful and emotionally demanding, and many activists keep ‘running on empty’ without taking the time to replenish their reserves. Resulting burn-out harms the individual as well as the campaigns and organisations they are part of. This workshop encourages activists to prioritise their own health and…

 

theories of change

Our campaigns for a better world take place in a context, and reflect social and political realities and trends. This workshop challenges participants to ask critical ‘big picture’ questions about change, and engages them in reflection and dialogue. The workshop is inspired by Greg Speeter’s urging that “social change agents need to have some sort…

 

working in groups

Successful campaigns depend on effective groups that are characterised by cooperation, respectful relationships, clear communication, and effective decision-making processes. Often people in social change groups and organisations are so preoccupied with the change they want to achieve in the world, and the tasks they have to complete, that there is little investment in setting up…

What are people saying about us?

Jane Stabb

Jane Stabb, Community Organiser, Environment Victoria

The Community Organising Fellowship workshop was extraordinarily impactful for me. I had a chance to investigate the theory behind effective organising and campaigning tools that I can use in my practice every day but very rarely interrogate or reflect on.  I found new frameworks and structures that will improve my practice so much. I had the space and place to interrogate my campaign with the assistance of masters!  And I was given the opportunity to build relationships with leaders in my field, to be supported in my thinking by them and to support them by sharing our practice and experiences... 100% pure gold.
2014-05-23T16:45:53+00:00
Jane Stabb
The Community Organising Fellowship workshop was extraordinarily impactful for me. I had a chance to investigate the theory behind effective organising and campaigning tools that I can use in my practice every day but very rarely interrogate or reflect on.  I found new frameworks and structures that will improve my practice so much. I had...
Emilie Carey

Emilie Carey, Solar Citizens


I really admired your facilitation skills. I learnt lots watching you guide us through the evening. I'll definitely be using lessons from last night. You're a total pro and I'm really grateful you're generous enough to share your knowledge.

2016-03-25T10:35:26+00:00
Emilie Carey
I really admired your facilitation skills. I learnt lots watching you guide us through the evening. I’ll definitely be using lessons from last night. You’re a total pro and I’m really grateful you’re generous enough to share your knowledge.
Peter Archer

Peter Archer, World Vision

I have shared with my friends and family that this workshop was the most valuable training I have done. It came at a time when I had become aware of my passion for grassroots activism. The follow-up support equipped me quickly and powerfully to put my learning into practice and age my confidence a huge boost.
2014-03-30T08:11:05+00:00
Peter Archer
I have shared with my friends and family that this workshop was the most valuable training I have done. It came at a time when I had become aware of my passion for grassroots activism. The follow-up support equipped me quickly and powerfully to put my learning into practice and age my confidence a huge...
John Edye

John Edye, March 2017

James and Fee... Thank you for your inspiring leadership, commitment and engagement. You are epic facilitators, and the first workshop was one of the best training experiences I have ever attended. I feel very privileged to be a participant and am looking forward to the next three. Experiencing such a high level of training and working with so many young, intelligent and professional organisers left me feeling a bit overwhelmed by my lack of experience but very optimistic about the future challenges we face, instead of the rather bleak and jaundiced view I came with. Thank you for your compassion and thoughtfulness and the incredible resources that were on our seats on the first day. It was and will be an incredible learning experience.
2017-03-28T12:18:24+00:00
John Edye
James and Fee… Thank you for your inspiring leadership, commitment and engagement. You are epic facilitators, and the first workshop was one of the best training experiences I have ever attended. I feel very privileged to be a participant and am looking forward to the next three. Experiencing such a high level of training and...
Govind

Govind Maksay, MarketForces organiser

Workshop sessions are extremely well structured, with small group work, personal reflection time and larger group discussions included throughout. This approach allows all participants to contribute and caters for different learning styles and personalities.

In addition to the formal learning, the personal relationships I have formed with other participants and the facilitators will be extremely important to help me become a more effective and confident campaigner. Without hesitation I would recommend the Fellowship to other campaigners.
2015-03-17T19:34:58+00:00
Govind
Workshop sessions are extremely well structured, with small group work, personal reflection time and larger group discussions included throughout. This approach allows all participants to contribute and caters for different learning styles and personalities. In addition to the formal learning, the personal relationships I have formed with other participants and the facilitators will be extremely...
anna-keenan

Anna Keenan, Students of Sustainability Collective 2006

Thank you for your involvement in SoS this year and for your continued commitment over the years to effecting sustainable environmental and social change. Your co-facilitated presentations on activist learning, campaign strategy and activist sustainability were all very well received, generating discussion, excitement, considered thought and motivation from the participants, including myself. Not only was the content inspirational, but to see the way that the two of you work together and so effectively co-facilitate was a lesson in itself. At your “Moving beyond Tactic-Led Campaigns”, you so successfully engaged all in the room and drew from their experiences that it was the most effective workshop I attended through the whole conference. Your involvement in SoS 2005 has had a significant impact on the future of Australian environmentalism by sharing the tools of individual, collective, and community organising, and inspiring us to advocate for and take action towards positive social change.
2014-03-30T07:52:56+00:00
anna-keenan
Thank you for your involvement in SoS this year and for your continued commitment over the years to effecting sustainable environmental and social change. Your co-facilitated presentations on activist learning, campaign strategy and activist sustainability were all very well received, generating discussion, excitement, considered thought and motivation from the participants, including myself. Not only was...
ben_fb

Ben Margetts, Australian Youth Climate Coalition 2007

I wanted to express how grateful I was for the experience to work with Sam and James. It was very special for me to interact with a part of social movements that I feel a lot of affinity with. I also think tCA shows a great example of 'best practice' in regard to organisational interactions. We at the AYCC have benefited immensely from working with you not just in your capacity as trainers, and the learning that was facilitated, but also with tCA as an organisation.
2014-03-30T07:33:22+00:00
ben_fb
I wanted to express how grateful I was for the experience to work with Sam and James. It was very special for me to interact with a part of social movements that I feel a lot of affinity with. I also think tCA shows a great example of ‘best practice’ in regard to organisational interactions....
alycia

Alycia Gawthorne, GetUp! organiser

The Fellowship has challenged the way I previously thought about campaigning and community organising, and made me rethink how I approach my work. It’s afforded me the space to take a step back and look at the entire movement. I feel like the skills I take away from the Fellowship will be invaluable, but far more important will be the deeper understanding I have about my role and how it fits within a larger movement.
2015-03-17T19:33:28+00:00
alycia
The Fellowship has challenged the way I previously thought about campaigning and community organising, and made me rethink how I approach my work. It’s afforded me the space to take a step back and look at the entire movement. I feel like the skills I take away from the Fellowship will be invaluable, but far...
manny

Manny Pasqualini, Community Power Agency

One highlight for me is the focus on relational organising; the importance of taking the time to really get to know the people you work with. The deeper the relationship, the better it stands up to testing times and the sweeter it feels when your movement achieves success.

 The diversity present within this year’s cohort is another major highlight for me. To be able to spend this time learning and practicing day in and day out with people from right across the country and right across the breadth of the climate action movement has been an honour. To share this time and space with two wonderfully inspiring indigenous Australians has filled a gap in my education until now and opened up a real sense of belonging to an Australia that I want to be a part of.
2015-03-17T21:10:26+00:00
manny
One highlight for me is the focus on relational organising; the importance of taking the time to really get to know the people you work with. The deeper the relationship, the better it stands up to testing times and the sweeter it feels when your movement achieves success.  The diversity present within this year’s cohort...
dave & gemma

Dave Muhly, Sierra Club

What began at Pittwater as a collection of skilled campaigners became a cadre of skilled organizers by the final day at Baden Powell. On Sunday evening as we gathered, I overheard one participant chatting with another at a picnic table and heard, "challenge, choice, outcome" as part of her conversation. Another commented at the final circle at how what had seemed like such a large group at Pittwater now seemed like a much smaller group, reflective of how closely this group had bonded as a team despite their vast differences in geography or organizational size or style, but based on a common goal and identity. Concepts like "building teams" and "building relationships" were part of the normal parlance and just a cursory review of the evaluations to date show an increased appreciation for and attention to leadership development and strategic planning. A number of participants reminded me of my off-the-cuff set of definitions about the differences between mobilizing, campaigning and community organising (focusing on local power), and one told me she has it on the wall of her office to inspire her every day. This has been the successful launch of an ambitious and visionary program. Many thanks to James and Kate for their vision, wisdom, and care in developing and nurturing the curriculum and the cohort. Kudos!

2014-09-15T10:27:41+00:00
dave & gemma
What began at Pittwater as a collection of skilled campaigners became a cadre of skilled organizers by the final day at Baden Powell. On Sunday evening as we gathered, I overheard one participant chatting with another at a picnic table and heard, “challenge, choice, outcome” as part of her conversation. Another commented at the final...