Training the next generation of movement leaders

**APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN for Movement Builders Glasgow – deadline midnight, Sun 4th Feb!!!**


When (dates): 23rd – 27th Feb
When (times): Fri 23rd – 5pm – 9pm, Sat 24th – Tues 27th – 9.30am – 8.30pm
Where: Central Glasgow, venue TBC
How much: scholarships available for individuals and grassroots organisers, up to £1k for larger organisations (see below for more details)
How to apply: fill in this form before Sunday 5th Feb at midnight.

NEON’s Movement Builders programme is a 5 day intensive training course for people working towards big systemic change. Half theory, half practical tools, this five day course puts you in a room with 30 organisers across your region to think about the role of movements in leading change and learn from the world’s most effective groups, leaving you with analysis and tactics to apply to your own organising work. The training will be focused around four core themes:

  • Context and analysis: where are we, how did we get here and what roles do social movements and other forms of organising play in creating change?
  • Strategy: What are the key building blocks of creating change? From thinking through our vision for the world to choosing the right tools and tactics to get there.
  • Story: what role does storytelling play in creating change and how can we take control of the narratives around our movements?
  • Structure: How can we organise ourselves to bring about change in our movements and groups? And how might the structures we build around our work bolster or disrupt our ability to achieve change?

Cost: Fees for Movement Builders operate on a sliding scale:

  • Grassroots/Unpaid Organiser: Free
  • Small Org (annual budget circa £100k): £250
  • Medium Org (annual budget circa £500k): £500
  • Large Org (annual budget circa £2m+) £1000

Please note that this scale is flexible – we don’t want fees to be a deterrent to anyone who wants to apply, so if you’re keen to join the course but having trouble convincing your boss that movement building is a thing, don’t worry about it! Still apply and just make a note of your sitch on the form – we’ll do whatever we can to make it work.

Testimonials from Movement Builders: 

Ian Manborde, Ruskin University & TUC

I am not sure I have ever experienced an educational environment with such energy, dynamism and focus – it was outstanding!

Ian Manborde, Ruskin University & TUC
Robert Holtam, Queer Warriors

I learned so much, met many, many great people and feel my work has been powercharged by all the wisdom and passion.

Robert Holtam, Queer Warriors
Rowan Mataram, Rethinking Economics

I’ve attended many activst-y training things in the past and none have been so clear in their provision of a structure that is easily applicable to all form of organising, from grass-roots groups to NGO’s.

Rowan Mataram, Rethinking Economics
Rachel Tam Hau-Yu, Community Organiser

A role model programme. Empowering, inclusive and LOVING. A school for lifelong movers and shakers, cultivating dedication, creativity and how to love and enable each other to build what we see but don’t believe is possible.

Rachel Tam Hau-Yu, Community Organiser

Want to learn how to improve your organising in a warm, supportive environment punctuated by gentle cussing and ’90’s boyband vibes? Pick NEON. No one else is doing it.

Laura Barker, BLM UK


Meet the Trainers

Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is Training Organiser at the New Economy Organisers Network, and has lead on designing and developing Movement Builders over 2017. She has previously worked on political strategy and campaigns with Compass, on peace and dialogue in Israel/Palestine with the Oxford Research Group, and coordinated campaigns and project around migration. Ayeisha is a black feminist committed to thinking through what it takes to build resilient, effective social movements to make change happen and centres anti-oppression, decoloniality and intersectionality in her approach to training. She also teaches a Basic Beyonce dance class – all levels welcome!



Nim Ralph is a community activist and freelance trainer, facilitator and writer. They work extensively in QTIPOC, feminist and decolonial activism at a community and peer level. They co-founded QTIPOC London, Purple Rain Collective and are an inaugural member of the Edge Fund. Previous to this they co-founded and directed So We Stand; an organisation linking environmental, social and racial justice in the UK. Currently, they are the Lead Trainer at Campaign Bootcamp in the UK and they work internationally with activist groups, campaign organisations and NGOs to train, facilitate and support the interrogation of anti-oppression. They also love to lip-sync battle.




Alexandra Flores-Quilty is a Lead Trainer on the core team of Momentum US, the training institute that has supported the development of Movement Builders. Based in DC she is an organiser with #AllofUs, an independent political organisation that places pressure on politicians to make real the promise of democracy while also supporting a new generation of leaders for office who put forth a bold agenda that works for all Americans. Most recently she served as the elected President of the U.S. Student Association (USSA), the largest and oldest national student membership organisation. Alexandra was also Chair of the Oregon Student Association (OSA), a leader of the Oregon Students of Color Coalition (OSCC), and Programming Director for the 2013 National Student Power Convergence. She loves gin and tonics, puzzles, Selena, and not talking about politics with political people.


James Robertson works on a range of projects for NUS: developing their strategy, democratic decision making, political education and approach to social change. Previously he provided campaigns consultancy for Jubilee Debt Campaign, managed the Campaign and Democracy Support department at Leeds University Students’ Union and co-founded New Internationalist Campaigners – a subsidiary of New Internationalist Media co-op. Outside of work, James makes music as half of an electronic soul duo called Equals and is a member of Plan C which exists to organise in, beyond, and against capital.



Who is it for?

NEON’s Movement Builders training is for people organising for systemic change on issues of social, economic and environmental justice. You might be a community organiser, activist, campaigner, or none of the above, but we’re after people who are keen to learn and collaborate with others to discover how the lessons of successful, systemic social movements can help us achieve real change today. You might be doing the work in a paid capacity with an organisation,  or as an unpaid organiser, perhaps alongside parental or caring duties. Movement Builders is for people that love humanity and want to protect it, particularly those that struggle more often and face systemic oppression and the unequal distribution of privilege and power.

Participants on Movement Builders will also be keen to share the things they learnt from the training with others outside of the group and committed to building the capacity of those they organise with to become movement leaders. We’re after people who are committed either to building or supporting a social movement around the issues they’re working on, whatever this might look like across different contexts, and see movements as an integral part of how large scale social change happens.

We’ll be prioritising those who have experienced injustice first hand, and are keen to organise with others in their community who are marginalised by structural inequality. The first Movement Builders will be made up of people who understand the importance of self-care to the work we do, and how working on our own self development as humans is a key part of being the change we want to see. We would also hope that participants would be open to being a part of an ongoing community of practice with NEON after the training, supporting and exploring collaborations with other Movement Builders alumni.

If you feel you already know some of the tools you might need to move your movement, and are keen to engage with others who have tried and tested them, this is for you. If in your current organising, you find yourselves needing other people around you that are in the same fight, this training is for you. And if you want to learn from inspiring social movements around the world, Movement Builders is for you. Each participant’s story will be different, but we will share the same baseline of passion and a natural pull towards achieving meaningful, systemic change. 



Developed collaboratively over 9 months, the course draws on the wealth of skills, knowledge and know-how from people within the NEON network and beyond who’ve either led movements or spent decades thinking and learning about what it takes to build and sustain them.

As well as being developed collaboratively with Momentum and Movement Ecology trainers from the AYNI Institute in the US, NEON’s Movement Builders programme has an advisory group comprised of representatives from Cosecha, Take Back the City, Hope Not Hate, Sisters Uncut, Oxford University, University of East London,, Public Interest Research Centre, Momentum UK and the National Union of Teachers. The programme is also supported by partners and stakeholders from PodemosMovimiento 15M, Migrants Rights Network, and Sum of Us.

NEON’s Movement Builders will reflect on the lessons of some of the world’s most effective social movements, analysing how these struggles lay the groundwork for much of the inspirational social change work happening today, and how we might continue to take these lessons forward to build successful systemic movements that can win.


The next Movement Builders training will take place in Cardiff in June 2018 – watch this space for more info!