|We are accepting proposals for the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy in New York, NY! All proposals are due by Wednesday, March 15. Proposals will be evaluated on a rolling basis, so get your proposal in early! Final programming decisions will be made by the beginning of April. Our staff is happy to discuss your session proposal ideas — email firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch.
From June 9-11, hundreds of worker cooperatives will join together to build a new economy based on shared ownership and real democratic management. We want you to add your voice. Propose a workshop and show us your most creative ideas about worker-ownership in content and presentation.
This year’s conference theme of “Resist and Transform” focuses on the potential for the cooperative to be a tool for both resistance in these volatile times as well as a building block for transforming our economy and society. Proposals on history, case-studies, theory, and practical skills are all welcome.
How is your workplace dealing with the current political climate? How are you planning for the future? What is important to your workplace or organization? To the movement locally and beyond? To the sector(s) you operate in? What do we need to act on? How do you plan to grow your business in this environment? What skills can you share to grow the democratic ownership movement across boundaries?
We’re also looking for fantastic educational programming in foundational and advanced cooperative skills for members, leaders, and developers; cooperative movement history; tools for creating anti-oppressive cooperative spaces; profiles of innovative organizations and initiatives; topical issues faced by co-ops of all sizes; and professional development for co-op staff. These courses don’t necessarily need to relate to our theme, so submit the proposal that you think is best.
ECWD encourages proposals from women, people of color, low-income people, people with disabilities, queer-identified people, and people of transgender and/or gender-non-conforming experience.
There are seven types of sessions:
Workshops: Participants practice a skill or set of skills with the instruction and guidance of a trainer or work together to create something, such as a body of shared knowledge, piece of art, or report with the support of a facilitator. A workshop requires appropriate materials and space for participants to practice or work together, such as computers for accounting, a table for art making, or simply small groups for communication skills. If time/space/materials are limited, not every participant may have a chance to practice directly and instead learn from observing others demonstrating/learning. However, if only the presenter demonstrates the skill, the session is more properly a presentation.
Presentation: Participants receive information from one or more presenters. The presentation may include activities, discussions, or Q&A only with the purpose of transmitting information from presenters to presentees. A panel is a kind of presentation where discussion is facilitated primarily between a group of preselected knowledgeable people.
Strategy Session: Participants lay out a shared challenge or opportunity, identify shared affinities or needs, and try to come up with a solution, collaborative output, or methods of communication moving forward. A facilitator helps the participants walk through the process. Small group discussions and self-organizing can often bring out shared affinities, needs and strategy conversations. A possible challenge or opportunity to discuss could be something many businesses are struggling with independently or an issue that relates to the larger cooperative community. Shared affinities might be coops struggling with a similar need. The solution is a plan of action which the participants are personally committing to carry out after the session either in their own businesses or a plan for collective action. This could be a plan for organizational change that the participants will hold each other to, a plan to organize a rally or protest, or the creation of a new organization.
Cultural Program: These sessions could be a musical or dance performance. It may be a short play, poetry performance or other type of cultural program. It could be a storytelling session in which one or more people share a story that either helps participants learn a lesson or get to know each other better. Ideally there is space in these sessions for participants to actively participate – to learn a song, write a poem or share their own story.
Healing/Growing: Participants grow as human beings through processes of healing, introspection, discernment, and communion. This could be a chance for participants to learn practices of self- or other-healing; it could provide ideas and information that provoke thought and transformation; or it could be a chance for individuals who share an identity to gather together. The distinguishing characteristic of a Healing/Growing session is the intention that participants leave the session with deeper personal awareness and/or revived emotionally or physically. Please let us know if you prefer a session during a regular course block or outside of a course block (ex. during a meal or caucus). Some possibilities for healing/growing sessions include (inter-)faith gatherings or morning yoga, among others.
Exhibit: An exhibit is something that can be put in a common space at the conference and remain throughout part or all of the conference. An exhibit could be about cooperative history, a particular project or a new idea.
Full Day Intensive: These are day long or half day long sessions that will happen the Friday before the conference. Facilitators are responsible for organizing the session and doing outreach. Revenue will be split between facilitators and conference organizers.
Courses are organized by category. You may select multiple categories for a proposal, though you must select at least one of the following:
Nuts and Bolts: Skills, Capacity, Financing and Conversions
Coop Support Network: Coop Developers, Technical Assistance and Business Supports, Peer Advising
Economic Networks: Market Connections and Cross Sector Connections
Movement Building: Social Movements, Public Support, Policy and Advocacy Partnerships
Knowing and Growing our Movement: Coop Research and Education
Courses will generally be 90 minutes long and it might be possible to do a double session. We will also accept proposals for full or half day intensive sessions on Friday.
When planning your session, please strive to include content that is accessible to a broad audience. Whenever possible, try to include information about cooperatives that are different from your own. If you are discussing a legal phenomenon that affects one state, for example, do a little research and share information that is relevant to all conference attendees rather than just some. If you’re teaching people introductory accounting/budgeting skills, are you including examples from different types/sizes of cooperatives? Some subjects require specialization, and that’s okay — but be intentional and clear when choosing to limit the scope of a workshop to a specific audience. Also, please be sure to plan courses that are accessible to people with various disabilities. Feel free to get in touch with NYCNoWC staff if you would like support addressing these requests.
Thanks for helping to make the ECWD an awesome experience!
Submit your workshop proposals today!