“We’re gonna use the heck out of online tools for organising.”
After the Leave vote we looked around and saw that there wasn’t the strong, connected, aligned movement for positive change we thought there was. Old-fashioned, ineffective organising strategies were still being trotted out and still not producing results. Organisations and networks were still working in silos, making limited progress, missing opportunities to collaborate, failing to learn from others’ mistakes or proven models. Many small but mighty regional activists and organisations were still marginalised by London-centric attitudes pervading ‘change making culture’.
So, we thought, what if we tried to create the conditions for self organising and self aligning so that a transversal, intersectional, trans-local/regional movement for positive change could emerge and rapidly evolve like an ecosystem? Our approach was to focus on curating spaces for acquaintance, relationships and collaborations to develop organically, to break down silos and connect organisations.
Our first two Emergency Summit for Change events in Wigan, 2018, and Stoke 2019, were highly participatory and productive, modeling a self-organising way of being together. We learnt a lot from these 2 events about how to bring people and organisations together. They’ve led to some interesting projects and collaborations since. And we’re still going.
Big events are fun and productive, but very expensive and exclusive. So, we started thinking about doing more online. Now, of course, that seems like the only way to go. So, can we build a self-organising movement online? Of course! Let’s do it.
Our approach for the next few years:
- Use the heck out of online tools like Zoom and Slack. We use Zoom for three types of meetings: regular Catch Up Calls, where we share updates, welcome new members, etc.; Steering Group and Working Group meetings; and Workshops and Speaker Events for sharing knowhow’. And Slack is for day to day project collaborations and information sharing.
- Build a relational map of our ecosystem as it develops. If we can visualise our ecosystem that will help us organise and align ourselves.
- Leverage aligned partner events to create opportunities to meet in person. A smart way to build connections and relationships, yes?