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?

Richard Yin

Dr Richard Yin, Doctors for the Environment Australia 2020

We had the privilege of working with James Whelan and The Change Agency over two days to clarify our understanding of campaigning and advocacy. With over 20 doctors and medical students from varied experiences in advocacy work present and a very complex and full agenda, the workshop was a huge success made possible through a very thoughtful and professional facilitation process from James. I can only commend the quality of his work and thank him once again for the weekend.
The Change Agency
2020-02-25T11:16:05+11:00
Richard Yin
We had the privilege of working with James Whelan and The Change Agency over two days to clarify our understanding of campaigning and advocacy. With over 20 doctors and medical students from varied experiences in advocacy work present and a very complex and full agenda, the workshop was a huge success made possible through a very thoughtful and professional facilitation process from James. I can only commend the quality of his work and thank him once again for the weekend.

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. 
The Change Agency
2015-03-17T20:59:30+11:00
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. 
John Hepburn

John Hepburn, Outreach Manager, Greenpeace Australia Pacific

When you stop learning, you stop growing. For social movements and organisations to grow and develop, they need to learn from their successes and failures. The Change Agency have played a key role in helping Greenpeace to do this, to reflect on our work, to focus on what is effective, and to map out some exciting new strategic directions. They've supported our staff and volunteers with some great practical training on campaign strategy, and, of course, they've been a joy to work with.
The Change Agency
2014-03-30T07:35:05+11:00
John Hepburn
When you stop learning, you stop growing. For social movements and organisations to grow and develop, they need to learn from their successes and failures. The Change Agency have played a key role in helping Greenpeace to do this, to reflect on our work, to focus on what is effective, and to map out some exciting new strategic directions. They've supported our staff and volunteers with some great practical training on campaign strategy, and, of course, they've been a joy to work with.
Chris Rose

Chris Rose, Author of ‘How to Win Campaigns’

They (tCA) really are movement makers... the Aussie inheritors of Alinsky.
The Change Agency
2014-03-30T08:05:33+11:00
Chris Rose
They (tCA) really are movement makers... the Aussie inheritors of Alinsky.

Claire Van Herpen, Environment Victoria

The Community Organising fellowship provides a positive and nurturing environment in which to learn and apply the practical skills required to effectively mobilise communities to create change. It's a great opportunity to learn from others in the environmental movement and provides space for collaboration and reflection.
The Change Agency
2015-03-17T19:26:27+11:00
The Community Organising fellowship provides a positive and nurturing environment in which to learn and apply the practical skills required to effectively mobilise communities to create change. It's a great opportunity to learn from others in the environmental movement and provides space for collaboration and reflection.

Cate Faehrmann, Director, Nature Conservation Council NSW, 2005

We did a two-day workshop with The Change Agency early this year which provided our organisation with some much-needed tools for strategic campaigning and planning. There was nothing but positive feedback from our staff and board members about what they gained from the two days spent with James and Sam. The power mapping exercise was particularly insightful for staff and board members alike and as a result our campaigns are more pro-active - we are seeing results!
The Change Agency
2014-03-30T07:51:49+11:00
We did a two-day workshop with The Change Agency early this year which provided our organisation with some much-needed tools for strategic campaigning and planning. There was nothing but positive feedback from our staff and board members about what they gained from the two days spent with James and Sam. The power mapping exercise was particularly insightful for staff and board members alike and as a result our campaigns are more pro-active - we are seeing results!

Naomi Hodgson, community organiser, NW NSW

I can emphatically endorse the value of this time to build skills and awareness in strategic thinking and in specific and practical community organising tools. I am sure that with concerted application of the course content I will become a significantly more confident and effective organiser. Furthermore, the value of the relationships that have been forged among the cohort offer great potential for future collaboration and support to help build a more coordinated, cooperative and powerful environment movement in Australia.
The Change Agency
2015-03-17T20:49:16+11:00
I can emphatically endorse the value of this time to build skills and awareness in strategic thinking and in specific and practical community organising tools. I am sure that with concerted application of the course content I will become a significantly more confident and effective organiser. Furthermore, the value of the relationships that have been forged among the cohort offer great potential for future collaboration and support to help build a more coordinated, cooperative and powerful environment movement in Australia.

Cherry Muddle, Australian Marine Conservation Society

The Community Organising Fellowship has rooted in me a deeper sense of belonging to an intentional, international movement to create the positive changes we wish to see in society, environment, culture and climate. The program delivery is varied, fluid and always interesting. The strengths and highlights for me include learning through shared experience and critical analysis. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed forging strong connections and bonds between fellow organisers, facilitators and guest speakers.
The Change Agency
2015-03-17T21:02:16+11:00
The Community Organising Fellowship has rooted in me a deeper sense of belonging to an intentional, international movement to create the positive changes we wish to see in society, environment, culture and climate. The program delivery is varied, fluid and always interesting. The strengths and highlights for me include learning through shared experience and critical analysis. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed forging strong connections and bonds between fellow organisers, facilitators and guest speakers.
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.
The Change Agency
2014-05-10T21:42:00+10:00
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 the climate movement in Australia.

Jess Kirby, GetUp! organiser

The Change Agency fellowship has been a completely transformative experience for all of us. I’ve met 22 of the most diverse, interesting organisers and campaigners in the country, and been trained by more than a dozen experts on everything from critical pathways, to the history of the environment movement in Australia, to NationBuilder best practice. I can’t recommend this program highly enough.  
The Change Agency
2015-03-17T20:50:52+11:00
The Change Agency fellowship has been a completely transformative experience for all of us. I’ve met 22 of the most diverse, interesting organisers and campaigners in the country, and been trained by more than a dozen experts on everything from critical pathways, to the history of the environment movement in Australia, to NationBuilder best practice. I can’t recommend this program highly enough.  
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The Change Agency