After in-person and online consultation (see Part 1), we are moving forward in 2019 and into 2020 with a few key strategies to build momentum with Broad Conversations.
This post summarizes a few key elements including some relevant rationale and musings. At the bottom of the post, you can find a visual representation of our current plan for the next phase of Broad Convos.
This is the main shift for Broad Convos going forward. We have set dates for a monthly gathering for the rest of 2019 and all of 2020. We’ll meet at Workers’ Arts and Heritage Centre at 51 Stuart Street in Hamilton, alternating a weeknight one month and a weekend afternoon the next to accommodate folks’ varying schedules.
Each gathering will feature a speaker who will share insights and experiences on a facet of feminist organizing and activism. We see this as a way to feature and elevate the work of folks already doing the work (and pay them!) and the organizations they work with, towards our goal of building partnerships. This shared learning is in pursuit of a shared goal to build knowledge and skills to pursue feminist work - the liberation and empowerment of women and non-binary folks - safely and successfully in our community.
The second part of each gathering will be a flexible time for working groups to plan actions, engage in more targeted learning, and work on specific projects. The hope is that the actions we undertake will be aligned with and guided by the work of guest speakers and partner organizations in the city who are already doing solid feminist work that can be amplified or bolstered by our shared resources and energy.
This format can evolve; the hope is that that folks who show up each month will build these events over time so they are most valuable to the group. We can have food or not; we can build in time to get to know each other; we can consider ways to keep each other accountable; we can adjust as we go.
To start, we’ll meet in June and July with folks interested in volunteering to support weeknight or weekend gatherings. We’ll talk about how to make this happen: working out solutions for childcare, carpooling or transit subsidies, speaker ideas, advertising, food, fundraising, and/or how to process for accepting working groups. If you’re on Facebook you can RSVP and share the series. We’ve also listed the dates on Eventbrite. If you’d like to get reminders about upcoming gatherings you can sign up for our newsletter.
Board and working groups
Our goals, including shared education and planned actions to support feminist work in our community, need leadership to happen. As a registered non-profit, Broad Conversations has a board and we are looking to expand our current slate (express your interest here).
The other opportunity for folks who want to be more involved is to strike a working group and use our monthly meetings as space to gather and work with other broads on a shared goal. Perhaps you want to undertake intentional learning about racism in our community and plan an action to support a partner organization doing anti-racism work. It could be that you’re keen to build support for an upcoming motion at City Hall and you want to strategize ways to get loud about it. Maybe you’re pissed about cuts in this province and you want to talk about tactical responses and research other groups doing work to protest. There are so many examples of possible working groups to strike. We’ll be talking about how we manage the formation of groups fairly at our first few monthly gatherings.
Acknowledging that not everyone can attend events, for many reasons, and that there are so many knowledgeable and sublime feminists in our community, the relaunch of our community radio show as a podcast is a critical piece of the next phase of Broad Convos. The hope is that the podcast can serve as a complement to our monthly speakers - delving into similar or tangential issues to build out our shared education in feminist activism. The podcast can also help us to build awareness of Broad Convos and to foster partnerships. We also see this as a shared project; if you are interested in supporting or participating please let us know.
Many participants in our consultations on the future of Broad Convos acknowledged this key fact: we will need funding to succeed in many of our goals. We are committed to paying speakers and other contributors, we want to find a way to offer childcare, we have to pay for space rental, we need to spend money to promote our gatherings, and so on. There are several possibilities and models we are pursuing, including a formal or informal membership model and the eventual application to grants. If you are experienced in this area or interested in helping please consider joining the board or just dropping us a line.
The overall picture
We built out this graphic to show that this work is going to happen on different fronts at varying pace and involving a variety of folks.
This is going to be a balancing act. We want to open up space for listening and learning but also for taking action. We want to build a community that provides comfort but also challenges us to be better. We want to find power in our shared experiences but also build knowledge about how power separates and privileges us. We want to build resources toward our shared goals without taking resources away from folks already doing this work. We are going to fail and we are going to learn from it and do better.
Please, come on out and help us build Broad Conversations.