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COF Curriculum Themes

The Community Organising Fellowship learning is structured around 7 key learning areas. Fellows develop a strong working understanding of:

Campaign Strategy

Tools for analysis and planning campaign strategy, with opportunities to practice and apply them to real and hypothetical situations. Fellows 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 their teams and communities. Fellows will apply the tools they learn in real-time to their own campaigns, and receive regular coaching and constructive feedback from facilitators, mentors, and peers.

Example of concepts covered:

  • Political Economy
  • Theories of Change
  • Tools for developing effective campaign strategy
  • Situational Analysis
  • Tactics analysis & timing
  • Monitoring and Evaluating campaigns

Community Organising

Developing an understanding of and applying the fundamental concepts and theories of community organising, including: understanding and identifying self-interest, public narrative, building relationships, community mapping, coaching, and group building. We will explore various approaches and contexts of community organising.

Example of concepts covered:

  • Approaches to Organising
  • Understanding and identifying self-interest and values
  • Relational Organising and Relational Meetings
  • Power of Storytelling and Public Narrative
  • Community Mapping
  • Coalitions & Alliances

Justice and Solidarity

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 the learning journey) and build on the understanding of how non-First Nations people can support First Nations-led campaigns for justice. We explore the concept of solidarity and deepen commitment and capacity to work in solidarity with communities facing injustice.

Example of concepts covered:

  • History of First Nations' Resistance and First Nations' Self-Determination
  • Master's House and People's House
  • Systems Thinking and Race
  • Solidarity Organising

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:

  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Leadership Identification and Development
  • Diagnosing Group Health
  • Psychological and Cultural Safety
  • Group Culture and Community Care
  • Tools and Structures for Effective Teams
  • Peer Coaching
  • Giving & Receiving Feedback
  • Working with conflict
  • Organisational change

Facilitation and Training

Develop confidence, skills, and experience to facilitate effective groups and teams. Diagnose group dynamics and identify appropriate interventions. Fellows will 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:

  • Workshop Design & Preparation
  • Diagnosing group dynamics
  • Facilitation Micro-Skills
  • Facilitation Practice and real-life application
  • Debriefing and Evaluation

Community care

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:

  • Group Culture and Community Care
  • Tools for creating and maintaining psychological safety
  • Peer coaching and strategic questioning
  • Planning and navigating 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 Fellows have accountability frameworks to support their learning, development, and praxis. This enables Fellows 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:

  • Container Setting
  • Group Culture
  • Zones of Learning
  • Buddy time
  • Relational Meetings
  • Regular reflective practice
  • Peer Coaching
  • Open Space
  • Establishing an ongoing Community of Practice
  • Mentoring

Mentoring

The Fellowship will include a tailored mentoring program to match all participants with an experienced community organiser or campaigner for monthly discussions, including coaching and critical friend feedback.