In addition to my day job as a college teacher, I have been a grassroots community organizer for my entire adult life. I learned about consensus decision-making in my campus women’s centre when I was 19 years old, and began training others in consensus a couple of years later. I have been a part of so many different kinds of collectives since then, from co-living collectives to organizing collectives, and collaborative decision-making is one of my life’s biggest passions (and nerdy interests).
When I moved to Toronto in 2011, I got connected to the movement against mining injustice, where I learned a lot of what I know today about street theatre and other creative, playful, and sometimes humourous activist tactics. These days I am organizing in a neighbourhood abolitionist collective, as well as organizing for disability justice and COVID safety in workplace contexts.
I believe that training can be a helpful way for grassroots activist groups. If you’re interested in having me come train your groups, please be in touch! You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Building Consensus: Making Group Decisions Together
Attending, facilitating, and participating in meetings are a major part of movement building. When we make decisions together in meetings, developing a transparent, structured process that focuses on building a shared understanding and making sure everyone involved has a say can mean that whatever we come up with is more creative and more supported by the whole group. Join us as we spend time exploring effective group decision-making in social movement organizations. Together we’ll discuss and share strategies for fostering good communication, embracing dissent in our groups, solving disagreements with creative thinking, and addressing informal group hierarchy through intentional, structured group process. This workshop will be especially relevant for groups who are used to using “informal” consensus (aka “basically consensus”) as an approach to decision-making, and who tend to have meetings with 3-20 people.
Playful Rebellion: Humour as Activist Tactic
The injustices that face our world today are enraging, devastating, and quite often immobilizing. In our resistance and our attempts to build new kinds of worlds, we can come to take ourselves very seriously. Many of us break down, burn out, and disconnect from our communities in the process. This workshop will explore how activists can use humour, play, and satire as strategic tools to build bonds with like-minded (and not-so-like-minded) folks, to help people understand the ways that power works in our society, and to lift the spirits of our movements. Specifically, we will explore: how to wield humour respectfully (i.e. the ethics of humour); “punching up” vs. “punching down”; and case studies of satirical actions. I will provide opportunities for participants to brainstorm ways to incorporate more humour and play into their own organizing.