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?

Jack Bertolus

Jack Bertolus, Market Forces

The Community Organising Fellowship introduced a plethora of new and exciting concepts in campaigning and community organising, and gave us the practice and tools to apply these effectively. The time spent learning with and from the talented and experienced cohort was an invaluable insight into Australian social movements and established what I’m sure will be lifelong connections.
2017-11-12T18:54:18+00:00
Jack Bertolus
The Community Organising Fellowship introduced a plethora of new and exciting concepts in campaigning and community organising, and gave us the practice and tools to apply these effectively. The time spent learning with and from the talented and experienced cohort was an invaluable insight into Australian social movements and established what I’m sure will be...
quitcoal

Peter Callender, Quit Coal



Like many campaigning groups, we are constantly grappling with capacity issues, a lack of funding/resources, burnout and how to best manage volunteers. While it's early days, the fellowship is already having significant flow on effects to the rest of the Quit Coal collective and the lessons we are learning are both effective and reinvigorating!


2014-04-16T22:34:36+00:00
quitcoal
Like many campaigning groups, we are constantly grappling with capacity issues, a lack of funding/resources, burnout and how to best manage volunteers. While it’s early days, the fellowship is already having significant flow on effects to the rest of the Quit Coal collective and the lessons we are learning are both effective and reinvigorating!
isaac

Isaac Astill, Divestment Campaigner, 350.org Australia

It would take years of fumbling along for me to learn what the Fellowship has taught me in a few short months. I feel more powerful for it, and I’ve walked away with the ongoing skills and relationships I need to build a more powerful movement.
2015-03-17T19:37:41+00:00
isaac
It would take years of fumbling along for me to learn what the Fellowship has taught me in a few short months. I feel more powerful for it, and I’ve walked away with the ongoing skills and relationships I need to build a more powerful movement.
Nick Aberle

Nick Aberle, Environment Victoria

Learning the theory and engaging with such practical implementation in such depth will definitely make me a more effective and successful campaigner and organiser. I’m looking forward to practicing my new skills in being more rigorous, thinking more strategically, and communicating more effectively. The strength of the bonds formed within the group has already strengthened the climate movement in Australia.
2014-05-10T21:42:00+00:00
Nick Aberle
Learning the theory and engaging with such practical implementation in such depth will definitely make me a more effective and successful campaigner and organiser. I’m looking forward to practicing my new skills in being more rigorous, thinking more strategically, and communicating more effectively. The strength of the bonds formed within the group has already strengthened...
nka

Josey Sharrad, International Fund for Animal Welfare

The Change Agency facilitated our two day intensive strategy workshop to bring together animal welfare and rescue groups from across Australia to set up a National Koala Alliance. James and Taya's facilitation of the workshop was absolutely brilliant and everyone came away with renewed enthusiasm and determination. James' extensive campaigning experience and strategic thinking provided invaluable guidance to this newly- formed alliance and we will continue to tap into his wealth of strategic advice as we go forward to protect koalas. Thank you!

2014-08-18T14:37:24+00:00
nka
The Change Agency facilitated our two day intensive strategy workshop to bring together animal welfare and rescue groups from across Australia to set up a National Koala Alliance. James and Taya’s facilitation of the workshop was absolutely brilliant and everyone came away with renewed enthusiasm and determination. James’ extensive campaigning experience and strategic thinking provided invaluable...
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...
Anna Rose

Anna Rose, ASEN Convenor and NUS National Environment Officer 2005

As a direct result of the training you ran at Melbourne Uni, they will be running a real campaign on public transport concessions next year and are even investing in properly researching so they can have a strategic, directed campaign.
2014-03-30T07:48:37+00:00
Anna Rose
As a direct result of the training you ran at Melbourne Uni, they will be running a real campaign on public transport concessions next year and are even investing in properly researching so they can have a strategic, directed campaign.
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.
alexandra

Alexandra Soderlund, Solar Citizens

The fellowship has managed to achieve that elusive duo of being both a broadening and deepening experience - complete with delicious food. Learning as much from the incredible and diverse participants as the amazing facilitators, the ten days of the first workshop have flown by. I feel like I’ve come a long way as an organiser (and dare I say a person?!) already, I’m excited and a little bit scared to see where I end up. 
2015-03-17T20:59:30+00:00
alexandra
The fellowship has managed to achieve that elusive duo of being both a broadening and deepening experience – complete with delicious food. Learning as much from the incredible and diverse participants as the amazing facilitators, the ten days of the first workshop have flown by. I feel like I’ve come a long way as an...
kate

Kate Lardner, Doctors for the Environment Australia

During the Fellowship, I have embarked on an enormous learning curve that has resulted not only in exposure to concepts and skills, but knowledge of these things, through application of the teachings with leaders in their fields and the opportunity to be integrated into a real time campaign. I have been challenged creatively and analytically and been given the chance to create the openings and space to make my own opportunities arise.  
2015-03-17T20:53:26+00:00
kate
During the Fellowship, I have embarked on an enormous learning curve that has resulted not only in exposure to concepts and skills, but knowledge of these things, through application of the teachings with leaders in their fields and the opportunity to be integrated into a real time campaign. I have been challenged creatively and analytically and...