A training and action learning programme strengthening the ecology of social movements and enhancing capacity for transversal and transnational organising
This year-long+ programme aims to respond to the key challenges movements and organisations are facing in Europe, from fragmentation, persistent divisions within and between movements, and a lack of movement capacity for longer-term and coherent strategy. It aims to nurture the interconnected movements and responsive strategies needed to challenge the interlocking systems of oppression we face today.
Combining high quality training, an action learning framework, and cross organisational and movement networking, the programme will enable movements to find new and transformative ways of working across our differences, develop competencies for transversal and transnational organizing to connect across issues, communities, and socio-political cultures – supporting the building of the kinds of impactful social movement alliances required to achieve the depth of structural transformation we need today.
The overall objectives of the programme are to:
– Bring together experienced trainers and organiser/activists to work on key movement building themes and issues using a well-crafted framework for ongoing action learning, coaching, and peer-to-peer inquiry
– Develop collective capacity for long-term strategic projects that can respond to crisis and change
– Build relationships within the learning space across organisations and movements, seeding new transversal and transnational initiatives
– Embed action-reflection learning within movement practices in a well-crafted framework of collaborative enquiry.
The training will be facilitated by an international team from the Ulex Project team, the European Community Organising Network, European Alternatives, and National University of Ireland Maynooth. Together these organisations are developing the Movement Learning Catalyst project.
Key programme elements
The programme is more than a training. It is designed as a transversal movement building project – connecting different struggles and communities across issues, strategic approaches, and localities. The course places action-learning, deep ongoing reflection, and building solidarity-based relationships at its core.
– Transnational organizing and movement building across geographies, countries, cultures.
– Transversal organizing and movement building across different movement issues and organising traditions
– Social movements and social change: Understanding movement histories, case studies, political analysis, reflection and learning in movements
– Solidarity and alliance building between organisations and movements: Intersectional practices, anti-oppression, psycho-social resilience and sustainability
– Strategy in complex and changing contexts: Strategy and complexity, power analysis, strategic orientations to crisis.
This programme will be designed with you and tailored to your context and needs. It starts from the challenges your movement or organisation is facing related to transversal and/or transnational organising in a specific project or initiative. You will be able to select among multiple learning components and resources online and offline to support your learning needs.
- Action Learning Accompaniment: We will provide a structured action-learning process including elements of research support, action-reflection circles, and coaching.
- On-line Modular Curriculum and Seminars: Online seminars or workshops on different topics with live and asynchronous elements. You could select the ones relevant to your needs.
- International Residential Trainings: We will offer in-person residential trainings connected to Ulex Project’s Ecology of Social Movements training.
- Regional Gatherings: We will offer in-person learning opportunities through short regional gatherings based on the geographical spread of participants.
- Peer-to-Peer Learning Circles: We will create circles of 5-6 participants and provide a structured space for ongoing inquiry and reflection into live issues and current practice using a peer coaching method and a forum space.
- Visits: We will support participants to visit each other in different settings to get a clearer sense of diverse working contexts and cultures.
- Personal Mentoring: We’ll offer one-to-one mentoring where requested, with regular check-ins, either in person regionally or virtually.
Who is it for?
The programme is for a group of 40-60 experienced activists, organisers, and trainers based in Europe who:
- Have substantial personal history of social movement engagement and experience to share with each other
- Are embedded in organisations or networks that can benefit from thinking strategically about their place in social movements, and well placed to bring new learning back to their organisations or movements
- Recognise the importance of developing our capabilities to organise transversally and transnationally, across multiple forms of difference within and between our movements
- Care about developing social movement alliances on a scale capable of winning
Applications are welcome from anyone fulfilling the broad criteria listed above. We very much welcome participants who have done previous trainings in this direction (transversal / transnational alliance building). We will select participants from diverse movements and contexts across Europe to share and learn from each other.
Application and timeframe
Participants will need to commit to engage in the following programme activities from December 2022 to December 2023:
- October to December 2022: Recruiting participants, conducting needs analysis, and refining the programme based on participants’ needs and experience
- January to December 2023: 12-month core action learning programme
- 2024 and beyond (optional): We hope to build on the community created and expand the action-learning and organising network.
Cost and Solidarity Economy
We’ll operate the programme in the spirit of a Solidarity Economy and we’re committed to challenging economic marginalisation and exclusion. We want to enter into relationship with you as co-producers and collaborators in the joint project of movement building. There will be no charge for any elements of the programme. We will ask all participants or their sending organisations to consider making a financial contribution towards the running costs of the programme in the range of €500/€1500/€4000. Where activities involve travel and other costs, if participants or organisations can cover these costs themselves, we ask that they do so. However, inability or unwillingness to make a contribution will not preclude anyone from participating. Where participants cannot cover costs, we will engage in fundraising, aiming to help create bursaries to help cover these costs.
Who is going to run it?
The programme development is being led by the Ulex Project in close partnership with the European Community Organising Network, the National University of Ireland Maynooth, and European Alternatives. We will draw on the pool of trainers connected with these organisations to provide training elements, action learning facilitation, and accompaniment/mentorship.
A longer description of the programme can be found here.