What is Movement Builders?
**APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED FOR MOVEMENT BUILDERS CARDIFF – LOOK OUT FOR DETAILS OF THE NEXT COURSE TAKING PLACE IN LEEDS, IN LATE SEPTEMBER **
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): £300
- Medium Org (annual budget circa £500k): £650
- Large Org (annual budget circa £2m+) £1200
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:
I am not sure I have ever experienced an educational environment with such energy, dynamism and focus – it was outstanding!
I learned so much, met many, many great people and feel my work has been powercharged by all the wisdom and passion.
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.
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.
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.
Meet the Trainers
Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is Senior Training Organiser at the NEON, and lead on designing and developing the Movement Builders course. She is also the co-founder of KIN – a national network of black activists and organisers working for collective liberation. 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.
James Robertson is an activist, freelance trainer, facilitator and musician. He works primarily on designing strategy, campaign framing, democratic processes and political education. Previously he developed strategy and governance for NUS, evaluated campaign impact 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 an 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 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. We particularly welcome applications from people organising or campaigning around NEON’s key battleground area which are precarious work, climate justice, housing, migrants right and healthcare, although we also encourage applications from folks working on issues outside of this list.
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 intent on building a social movement around the issues they’re working on and see movements as an integral part of how large scale social change happens. Movement Builders participants are keen to explore ways to collaborate strategically with others who are working to tackle the same problem, but perhaps with different approaches or theories of change.
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. Movement Builders cohorts are be made up of people who understand the importance of both self and collective care to the work we do, and believe that building and sustaining a culture based on anti-oppression, deep understanding and solidarity is central to 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 yourself 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.
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 drawing on the Momentum and Movement Ecology content 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, 350.org, Public Interest Research Centre, Momentum UK and the National Union of Teachers. The programme is also supported by partners and stakeholders from Podemos, Movimiento 15M, Migrants Rights Network, and Sum of Us.
The course continues to change and grow after each training, with Movement Builders alumni from London, Manchester and Glasgow feeding into the content and pedagogy as well as forming the basis of our community or practice who actively collaborate across regions and borders.
We will be heading to Leeds in late September and London in November, and have more trainings in 2019 in the works, so look out for more information on those!