Want to learn about all kinds of change making, building relationships and people power, and leadership development? Access the recordings and slides from the ChangeMakers Organising School as well as details of upcoming sessions.
ChangeMakers Organising School seeks to strengthen the leadership, knowledge, skills and relationships between the hundreds of thousands of social movement members and organisational volunteers across Australia (and our broader region) who want to take the crises created and exacerbated by the pandemic and make deep real change.
Our core weekly training is a space for ongoing learning. Unlike a short-term training course, it has a broadcast quality – where you can tune in every week for new content that is responsive to what is going and building on a core set of organising conceptual principles. We do this because we believe Saul Alinsky when he says that people build their ambition for change based on the power that they believe they possess. This training is designed to help mass movement and organisational participants across Australia reimagine their power while they work on specific movements and campaigns.
We began our training under the original name – Organising in a Pandemic – in March 2020 as a weekly training ‘touch point’ for people making change at the start of the pandemic. The participants were mostly members of social movements or organisations. They used the training to connect and deepen their knowledge to organise for social change.
Our training is based on organising. We value leadership development and seek to explore and understand concepts like power, action, organisations, narrative, relationships and action as the bedrock for building a democratic public life. While anchored in the practice of the Industrial Areas Foundation, this training has an open and agnostic approach to its content. We seek to bring in new ideas that agitate the organising cannon to make it stronger.
To join the free live training register for the full season or join the ChangeMaker Chats Facebook group for the weekly event registration details. Access the previous season’s recordings and resources: ChangeMakers Organising School – Season One: Organising in a Pandemic.
Session One – Norms, Purpose and Relationships: How we all work best together
13 Aug 2020
The first session took the time to set up the seven week season, focusing on the all-important organising skills required to work well together. In the first half, Isabella Morand explored how to build good group culture and reflections on the norms of this training (as outlined in our purpose and norms document).
In the second half Amanda Tattersall did an advanced training on relational meetings. Participants were supplied with the introductory relational meeting video from the first season. This session provided a brief recap, modelled a relational meeting and then debriefed the meeting teaching several key insights for powerful relational meetings (eg. probe not pry, political autobiography, public and private, questions and interruption).
Session Two – Campaign planning in a pandemic
20 Aug 2020
Millie Anthony from Tipping Point explains the basic tools of campaign planning, including goal setting, theory of change, critical path, power analysis, strategy and tactical approaches.
The second half involved reflections from campaigners on doing our work amidst the complexity of COVID, exploring how campaigns need to shift approaches to respond to pandemic times They’ll show how these elements covered by Millie work in practice, identifying insights for participants for their own campaign work.
Session Three – Learning from the Power of First Nations Resistance and Relationships
27 Aug 2020
In week three, Original Power’s Edie Shepherd presented on the power and history of First Nations resistance. The first half of this session explored lessons from the history of Black Resistance in Australia – drawing from the Frontier Wars, Black Power, Land Rights and fighting Black Deaths in Custody. The session centred Black resistance in the story of struggle in this country, and identifies distinctive, often poorly known approaches that could help inform social change today.
The second half focused on working with First Nations, and through examples shared by Christine Dungay and Paddy Gibson explored lessons drawn from the justice fight for David Dungay Jr and the fight to end Black Deaths in Custody/ Their talks centred on strategies for building powerful Black and White relationships.
Session Four – What does it take to change political decision makers: Campaigning in an election
3 Sept 2020
This session discusses how we can make change using elections. To frame us up, Amanda Tattersall will share some thoughts about electoral politics, how hard it is but the opportunity that is offered. We reflect that we have a lot to learn in this space, identifying some of the struggles we have had.
We then dive into the Northern Territory election, with a local organiser reflecting on their (very recent!) campaign (looking back), drawing out not only what they did but the more universal elements that speak to how the campaign has been contested.
After a breakout, we’ll feature a campaigner from the upcoming Queensland election (looking forward) to share their plans and reflections on how to build an election campaign in real time.
Session Five – Building Scalable, Participatory Activism: How to make the most of your list
10 Sept 2020
Most social movement organisations have contact lists of thousands of people who would be prepared to put in a couple of hours each week or each month. What is the most we can hope for from these supporters? Are donations, petition signing, and the occasional rally all such supporters are capable of?
Nick Harrigan, academic and delegate from the National Tertiary Education Union, will explore strategies of organising large scale, participatory, volunteer run organising in Singapore and Australia. At the core of his talk are two questions:
- How can we create meaningful, interesting, collective activism that supporters can do with minimal resources and training?
- What skills do leaders need to set up such work?
The session offers concepts as well as very practical tools that you could use to test out some of these insights in your group.
Session Six – Taking People from Passive Interest to Active Involvement: Using the conversation tool Anger, Hope, Action
17 Sept 2020
Drawing from the work of the union movement, in this session Alice Solomon teaches the conversational tool – ‘anger, hope, action.’ This is a different conversational practice than the relational meeting – and is designed to work with people in target communities (like a workplace, or an organisation) who are in a space where a campaign is building. The tool explores the specific challenges they face, what change could mean, and encourages them to take action. The tool is a persuasion tool designed to get people to take action.
The session teaches the purpose of the tool, models the tool, provides space for using and practicing the tool, and explores some case studies of when and how it has been applied.
Session Seven – Evaluation & Reflection
24 Sept 2020
This week we’ll focus on the importance of evaluation and reflection in organising before then applying the skill practically by engaging in an evaluation of this season of the training.
We teach the art of evaluation and the (useful) difference between debrief and evaluation. We revisit the organising cycle and hear a testimony of someone who changed how they made change because of insights gained in evaluation.
We also explore the power of reflection and bending the mirror back towards ourselves. We look at reflective practices and things that get in the way. We identify strategies for building a reflective personal and group culture.
After September 24 we’ll take a short break then return with another season of training.
Keen to learn more?
- ChangeMakers Organising School – Season One: Organising in a Pandemic
- So, what is organising? by ChangeMakers host Amanda Tattersall
- Activist Inspiration and Learning in Lockdown
- Changemakers Podcasts
- Organising: Start Here – a guide to many more organising resources in the Commons Library
- Aboriginal Australians
- Campaigning - Digital_Virtual
- Digital campaigning
- Organising - Community
- People power