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Fellowship topics and tools

The Community Organising Fellowship learning is structured around 7 key learning areas. Graduates leave the Fellowship with a strong working understanding of:

Campaign Strategy - including tools for analysis and planning campaign strategy, with opportunities to practice and apply them to real and hypothetical situations. Graduates will develop strategic confidence and competence to analyse changing situations and devise an emergent strategy, as well as an understanding of mass movement strategy. They also strengthen their analysis and ability to see their campaign/organisations/roles in the longer view of social change and as part of a movement ecosystem, and develop the confidence to share these strategy tools and processes with our teams and communities.

Example of concepts covered:

  • Theories of change  
  • Deciding where to focus your strategic efforts
  • Strategic planning & analysis tools
  • Campaign evaluation

 

Community organising - Developing an understanding of and applying the fundamental concepts and theories of community organising, including how to form or develop groups capable of taking collective action for change, move large numbers of people to take action and support groups to form enduring movement structures to secure lasting change. Participants will also develop skills central to community organising including coaching, public narrative, building relationships, community mapping, and explore various approaches and contexts of community organising.

Example of concepts covered:

  • The role and power of personal narrative 
  • The skill of storytelling
  • Self-interest and values
  • Public concerns, private concerns and collective action
  • Relational organising and relational meetings 
  • Community mapping
  • Alliances and coalitions 
  • Holding powerholders accountable
  • Entering, leaving or handing over a community
  • Styles or approaches to community organising 

 

Building movements rooted in justice and solidarity - with a focus on deepening an  understanding of racial justice, and building on an understanding of how intersecting systems of oppression (white supremacy, colonisation, capitalism, cishet-patriarchy etc.) operate in our society, our movements, our organisations and on ourselves. Share learning on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, resistance and contemporary issues (with resources to continue learning journey) and build on the understanding of how non-First Nations people can support First Nations-led campaigns for justice. Explore the concept of solidarity and deepen commitment and capacity to work in solidarity with communities facing injustice 

Example of concepts covered:

  • Solidarity and shared interest
  • Being a good ally/comrade/solidarity
  • Intersectionality
  • Privilege
  • Transactional/transformational relationships

 

Leadership and working with groups -exploring the core practices of leadership in community organising, acknowledging the many different conceptions of leadership across contexts and cultures. Understand and practice leadership identification, develop skills and tools for leadership development. Diagnose your self-leadership strengths and challenges. Grow and practice peer coaching and mentoring skills. Share and apply tools and skills for sustaining healthy and effective groups and teams. Understand what makes groups tick and how to maintain strong group health, including learning to manage group dynamics and conflict. Graduates are equipped for the challenges of bringing about organisational change.

Example of concepts covered:

  • Leadership definitions and behaviours
  • Group dynamics and social needs
  • Create strong group culture:
  • Enabling team structures
    • Shared vision and shared purpose
    • Measurable outcomes and structured reflection for learning
    • Positive feedback loops
  • Task and maintenance, and the social needs of groups and individuals
  • Communication skills and working with conflict
  • Self-leadership
  • Leadership identification
  • Leadership development
  • Organisational change

 

Facilitating teams and workshops -by developing confidence and skills to facilitate effective groups and teams. Diagnose group dynamics and identify appropriate interventions. Participants also hone and practice facilitation micro-skills and the process of workshop design, delivery, and debriefing/action learning. Graduates are empowered to plan, design and deliver training workshops on a range of topics relating to community organising and campaign strategy.

Example of concepts covered:

  • Process of workshop design, facilitation and debriefing
  • Diagnosing group dynamics and proposing solutions
  • Facilitation micro-skills

 

Community care and sustainable organising -learning to identify and respond to the systemic causes of injustice and the drivers of unsustainability in our work with groups. Developing skills, practices and plans for sustaining ourselves and our groups. Participants reflect on and make plans for cultivating group cultures that embody the practice of community care, where everyone can thrive.

Example of concepts covered:

  • Drivers of unsustainability
  • Tools and practices for sustainable organising
  • Empowering ourselves and others through peer coaching and strategic questioning
  • Organisational change

 

Learning about ourselves and each other/Connecting -By creating a safe learning environment, the group builds relationships of trust, vulnerability, and openness to giving and receiving constructive feedback. Participants reflect on and share their journeys, goals, strengths and learning edges with each other.  All participants have accountability frameworks to support their learning, particularly around tasks undertaken between workshops and for participation during online workshops. This work enables graduates to build strong relationships towards a lasting support network, deepen connections, and grow effective working coalitions and alliances with each other.

Example of concepts covered:

  • Shared values, goals, and experiences
  • Who am I? Explore theory of change and role in the movement 
  • Community of practice; peer support
  • Buddy system
  • Reflective practice and critical thinking
  • Norms
  • Active and reflective listening
    • emotional intelligence and adjusting our behaviour in group situation
    • relational meetings

Mentoring. The Fellowship will include a tailored mentoring program to match all participants with an experienced community organiser or campaigner for monthly discussions. These mentoring sessions can include active and reflective listening, coaching and critical friend feedback.