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11 April 2015 – minutes

Notes on Forum for Radical Sharing Skype meeting 11/4/15

Linnéa, Sophie, Patrick, Dunya (for first hour)

Linnéa presented her proposal for how the 3 planning meetings will be structures

  1. Evaluating last time
  2. Nuts of bolts of next one
  3. Fine tuning our plan

Meeting 2 will be 10am Saturday 18th April

Because Dunya was joining the planning team and the rest of us had not met her, we asked why she had wanted to become involved in planning this event. She said she had noticed a lack of places where diverse people coming together to share radical campaigning methods, and she wanted to make that happen, especially where it was leading to action.

Review of last Forum

We did not allow enough time for funded groups to really reflect, and some of the groups had not prepared. We were concerned now that we should treat all those attending, whether funded or not, in the same way, even if we are particularly interested in how things have gone for the funded groups. Marc Hudson’s sharing skills approach could be useful. Challenge is to bring people together and get them talking and collaborating on the day.

Review of afternoon last time, when we used an Open Space format. Topics selected by participants were very broad. Energy was a bit lost, but fundraising ball people generated energy and enthusiasm.

However, there was no real follow up by us after the event, bar a quick email to ask about developments. We need to consider this.

Aims from our invitation

“The Forum will provide a way for you to talk to each other and with us about the methods you used in achieving your goals, how you (and your group/organisation) felt about the funding process, what you need or would like to see from a supportive activist community, or anything else you find of interest. Our vision is that these Forums will begin to build and enable long-term relationships between activists and the different areas of activism which are the foundation of genuinely widespread social change.”

For the morning we need to build trust, which can most easily be done in small groups rather than large group icebreakers. Linnéa liked Marc Hudson’s way of doing introductions in ‘his’ small group. Perhaps starting in pairs, going on to self introductions to the whole group, and then moving to small groups according to community of interest (asylum, women, race etc). Perhaps placing an Edge member in each of the small groups. Have several go-rounds with a facilitator to elicit meaningful responses. Some danger of jealousies and historical antagonisms from same community of interest but working in different ways.

Much of the discussion centred around methods, challenges, and needs

Methods.

We promised participants an opportunity to look at methods. We could list the methods that we see people using to create change, eg. lobbying to change policy, engaging your community to build skills and capacity, arts and culture eg, members drumming and performance projects like Shafted?!, protests and demonstrations (the spectrum of indirect to direct action, as outlined in Sophie’s Taxonomy of Action paper later).

This is about getting groups to clarify how they propose achieving their goals, which is part of what we are trying to achieve from the day.

Needs vs challenges.

Challenges are more practical than needs, and therefore may be easier to elicit from participants (ie. should come first in our programme?)

Challenges (and obstacles?). We are interested in what challenges people face and ideas for dealing with them. People often say “funding” is a need but we need to dig deeper “what do you need money for, and are there ways of getting those needs met without funding?” ie. cheap or free meeting places, ways of getting round the cost of travel. Can other participants help with any of these challenges? Marc Hudson says the first question is “how can we help the participants to use their day together to create new links, identify skills gaps and people who can plug them”.

Possibly breakout sessions about issues like communication, transport etc?

Needs. Getting people to assess what skills they need? Looking at Marc’s constructive criticism, and the exercise he offered at the last Forum, he has a very strong focus on skills, what skills do groups need to progress? Can we do some skill-sharing on the day? We also need to think about resources.

Make follow-up about how to meet needs, especially tapping into wider expertise.

What will we ask people to do before the day?

Planning.

What can we do to help ensure ideas that come up at the event are followed up afterwards? For example, there was a lot of enthusiasm about the fundraising ball but it seems it didn’t go ahead. Not an unusual thing to happen, but can we do something about this? Perhaps an action planning session at the end, asking people commit to certain tasks and setting future meeting dates?

Linnéa hopes we can send out the agenda to participants before the day.

Bookings. So far 8 groups have booked.

Next skype meeting will be 10am Saturday 18th April.

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