Friday, April 01, 2011

Sudbury: Writing for Social Change Workshops

Just sent out the following callout for a series of three writing workshops for people interested in doing writing related to social change in Sudbury. I'll be facilitating the middle workshop and other local writers/activists will be facilitating the other two. If you are interested in attending, please let me know!

All of Us Are Writers -- Writing for Social Change

Words are vital tools in all of our diverse struggles to make the world a more just and sustainable place. At their best, well chosen words can change minds, move hearts, and stir people to action. Yet who among us has not agonized at one time or another with getting words, any words, down on the page, or with knowing how exactly to put our words together for a specific activist purpose.

Sudbury residents are invited to participate in a three-part workshop to help us develop our capacities to write for social change. Whether you are an environmentalist, a student activist, a feminist organizer, a peacenik, a union steward, or a general purpose rabble-rouser, you can come and learn about overcoming barriers to writing, about opinion writing, and about publicity writing.

Each session will be facilitated by a local writer and activist. They will all be held in the large meeting room in the basement of the Main Branch of the Sudbury Public Library at 74 Mackenzie Street.

Please register in advance by emailing scottneigh[at] or calling Scott at XXX-XXX-XXXX.


SESSION #1-- Strategies for pain-free activist writing
Saturday, April 16, 2011, 1-3 pm

Writing is an important way to communicate about, work through, and reflect on our movements and struggles. It is also a vital part of our struggles. The capacity to write with ease, joy, and fluidity is rare: it is crushed in us through formal schooling, bad teachers, and a world that fundamentally doesn't mind if radicals have a hard time putting our thoughts to paper so that they can be shared. Many of us deal with the challenge of writing by waiting for deadlines to run us down so that we have to produce something, anything, using crises to force ourselves through the panic and boredom writing can induce. Others simply don't write at all.

In this workshop, I offer some strategies and tactics for writing. Topics include: dealing with anxiety, procrastination, and panic about writing; organizing the material realities of the writing process; stopping writing; communicating well with people who can give you feedback; setting up support structures for writing.

Facilitator: Alexis Shotwell-- Alexis is a teacher, activist, and writer. She has given versions of this workshop to students and activists formally and informally, and hears good things about the results.


SESSION #2 -- Opinion Writing and Blogging for Change
Saturday, May 14, 2011, 1-3 pm

We'll never convince everyone that our causes are just, but unless we can present our arguments in concise, informative, and compelling ways, we won't convince anyone. So come on out for tips and practice in writing opinion pieces and an introduction to political blogging. Bring pen, paper, and a few issues you want to write about, whether that is stopping a new greenfield development, reducing tuition fees, preventing homophobic bullying, supporting anti-scab legislation, opposing cuts to services for women, or something else entirely!

Facilitator: Scott Neigh -- Scott has been an activist and a writer for fifteen years, the last five in Sudbury. His writing has spanned a range from magazine-style news articles to op/ed pieces to research reports to books, and he has written a personal/political blog ( since May 2004.


SESSION #3 -- Publicity Writing: Media Releases, Posters, and More
Saturday, June 11, 11:30am to 1:30pm

Whether we're organizing educational events, concerts, protests, or longer-term campaigns, we have to get the word out to people who we don't already know. Come to this workshop to learn more about how to write for public attention. We'll specifically look at writing media releases for getting our stories into media outlets and developing content for posters that can be used in public spaces. Many of the key lessons we'll discuss will be useful for other kinds of publicity writing too. Bring ideas for things you would like to publicize, as well as a pen and paper.

Facilitator: Chris Dixon -- Chris has been an activist for nearly two decades in cities all over North America. He has worked on media releases and posters for everything from benefit concerts to vigils, regional activist conferences to large street protests.

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