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Exploring Class - a training for trainers

Peace News brings a pioneer in activist training around class and classism to the UK for a ground-breaking training of trainers.

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Do you want to strengthen your workshop facilitation skills? Do you want to help social change groups and mission-driven NGOs deal more skillfully with social class and classism in their own organisations, in their members’ lives and in the wider society?

If so, Exploring Class may be for you.

This intensive, three-day Training of Trainers draws on several decades of work in the US and will adapt US tools to the UK class system. This residential draws in particular from the experience of Class Action, a US organisation that conducts workshops for schools, NGOs, religious organisations, social change organisations, and grant-making foundations. In these workshops, participants share class life stories, identify organisational classism and make action plans for class inclusion and class/race justice.

We believe that rather than telling people what to do, a trainer or facilitator should create designs which empower participants to see for themselves what to do next. Even when it's necessary to present information, our experience shows it can be done in a way that empowers and connects to the lives of participants. Betsy Leondar-Wright

  • Our lead trainer is Betsy Leondar-Wright, one of the co-founders of Class Action. She comes from an upper-middle-class background. Betsy is the author of Missing Class: Strengthening Social Movement Groups by Seeing Class Cultures. She has facilitated over 100 class and classism workshops since the 1980s, including three weekend Class Action Trainings of Trainers.

  • We have two UK co-facilitators. Oluwafemi Hughes is a highly-experienced equality and diversity facilitator who has worked in prisons, and with local authorities and community groups. Coming from a working-class background, she is the founder of Community Dialogue for Change (Brighton). Editor of Peace News, Milan Rai is an activist and trainer from a professional-middle-class background. He participated in a Class Action training of trainers in Seattle in August 2016.

Oluwafemi Hughes

This Training of Trainers is intended for class-aware people who are ready for an advanced workshop because of their experience in raising others’ awareness, whether by leading workshops or community dialogues on other oppression issues, by teaching about economic inequality, by doing educational work in the context of workplace or community organising, or in some other consciousness-raising setting.

This course probably won’t be useful to you if you are committed to other kinds of good class-related work - such as directly serving people in need, policy research or advocacy, building new economy alternatives or grassroots organising.

Our selection process helps to create a learning environment that is diverse by race, class, age, gender, sexual orientation and ability. We also accept people in different movement sectors, with different levels of experience and across geography. If you have experienced marginalisation due to your class, race, gender, religion, nationality or immigrant status, disability, age or other identity, you are enthusiastically invited to apply. Diversity is our strength.

Space is limited, so not everyone who applies will be able to attend.

This course may be right for you if you resonate with our five underlying perspectives:

  1. Class injustice (classism) is not just about poverty and financial hardship; it is also about the unequal respect and opportunities given to people of different education levels, occupations, cultures, accents, ranks, types of housing and neighbourhoods.

  1. The same ugly stereotypes about working-class and poor people that are used to justify policies that widen economic inequality also poison our own mission-driven organisations and keep our lives too class-segregated. Reducing classism means working on all those levels at once. 

  1. Class identity intersects with race, gender and other identities. It’s impossible to work effectively on classism without also tackling racism and all other ‘isms’. Just as diversity workshops can inspire efforts to reduce race or gender injustice, so classism workshops can spark efforts for economic justice and more class-inclusive organizations. Milan Rai

  1. Sharing personal class life stories is a crucial ingredient in freeing up people’s energy to work against class injustice. The ‘popular education’ method of experiential, interactive group learning works well to break the silence about the lived experience of class inequality. We approach each other’s class stories with curiosity and compassion, without blame, guilt or shame. 

  1. People of all classes have important roles to play in building a movement to end class injustice. Working-class and poor people can share their lived experience of class inequities and can take leadership in organising directly affected people. Middle-class and elite people can speak up as allies, organise other privileged people, and share their own human stories that break the myth of middle-class superiority. Mixed-class and class-shifting people can be bridges across the class divide. Authentic human connection in a mixed-class group can be transformational for everyone.

 

Fees

This covers food, accommodation, handouts and  training.

- Individuals

£220 Individuals who are well-off

£110 Individuals making ends meet (including those voluntarily not working full-time)

£60 Individuals who are involuntarily low-income (involuntarily unemployed, low-waged with dependents, retired on state pension)

Please contact Peace News if you are employed by an NGO and would like to attend. You will need to apply in the NGO category (see below), not as an individual.

We also have full scholarships based on need which cover both participation and travel. Please let us know on your application form if you would like to apply for one.

- NGOs

Large NGO £600 (£500 ex VAT)

Medium NGO £300 (£250 ex VAT)

 

Location & timings

The workshop is being held in a step-free-access residential space near Tiverton in Devon.

The workshop will start at 7pm on Thursday 3 August and finish at 4pm on Sunday 6 August. Because of our experiential approach, it is not possible to come late, leave early, or break in the middle of a workshop. Please note that building skills as a trainer can raise important personal issues; emotions may surface during the trainings. Please also be aware that the workshop will start early and go on into the evenings, depending on the training design, the energy of the participants and the group's momentum. Throughout the day, there are ample breaks for rest and for meals, which are included in the fee and served on site.

 

How to apply

Please fill out this form to apply for the workshop. Early registration is strongly encouraged - the final closing date for applications is 30 June.

 

Further details

If you need further details, please contact Peace News editor Milan Rai on 07980 748 555 or via skillingup AT peacenews.info