Just two days until Secular Women Work workshops at Skepticon. Come find us starting bright and early (enough) on Friday!

Wiki Editing 10 a.m.
History is only “real” if it’s documented, and Wikipedia has quickly come to be the central repository of that documentation. Bring your favorite wifi enabled device to help us record our history.
Monette Richards

 

Abortion MythBusting 11 a.m.
The push to limit reproductive rights depends on a lot of bad information. Come work through how to counter the most common of these with an accessible blend of understanding medicine and cause and effect.
Niki Massey

 

Combatting Impostor Syndrome 12 p.m.
The push to limit reproductive rights depends on a lot of bad information. Come work through how to counter the most common of these with an accessible blend of understanding medicine and cause and effect.
Stephanie Zvan

 

Succession Planning and Building Leadership Teams 1 p.m.
Organizations live or die on the strength of their teams. Come find out how to build a strong team that won’t fall apart when a key player leaves.
Stef McGraw

 

Finding Great Speakers 2 p.m.
Building a speaker list for an event or lecture series means balancing name recognition, offering something new, diversity, cost, and a host of other factors. Come talk about where we can find the
Chelsea Du Fresne

 

Funding Social Change 3 p.m.
This workshop will cover everything from how to create an effective plan for raising funds, making the ask and what to do when the money comes in.
Steph Montgomery

 

Activism Within Limits 4 p.m.
Not everyone can march at a protest. Not everyone can donate to support their causes. Whatever limitations you live with, however, there are still ways to help change the world. Come brainstorm.
Trinity Aodh

 

A few years ago, atheist and skeptic organizations started adding workshops to their conferences, and that was great. Workshops are hugely useful when you’re trying to become more effective, as the activist wings of both movements were, or when you’re trying to apply abstract principles to your life, as rank-and-file members of both movements were.

There were a few problems, however, because everything was new. While some presenters knew what to expect from workshops and had maybe even facilitated some before, most people didn’t. They had skills and knowledge to share, but no good idea of how to get that across in a workshop format. Nor were conference organizers clear on what they wanted or expected from their workshops.

As a result, we ended up with a few workshops and a whole lot of mini-lectures. Now, lectures can be great, and if your purpose in adding workshops to your event is to keep adding content after you’ve spent your speaker budget on the main stage, there’s no reason to stretch beyond the mini-lecture. But if your goal for workshops is to get people to change their behavior, to be more effective or to live their principles more fully, lectures can’t substitute for workshops.

Why? Because the interactive nature of workshops builds confidence at the same time it conveys information. You can walk away from a lecture thinking the information is interesting but you don’t have what it takes to apply it. You can’t do the same with a workshop where you’ve spent a good chunk of time applying your new knowledge. You know you can do it because you just did.

So now that I’ve convinced you, as an organizer or potential workshop facilitator, that you want to offer real workshops instead of mini-lectures, how do you go about it? Continue reading

Skepticon has just announced that it’s open for workshop proposals for this year.

Workshops are held on the Friday day of Skepticon from 10:00am until 4:00pm.

Click here to fill out our application form to be a workshopper at Skepticon 8!

That’s not all! We’re excited to announce that we will be partnering with the amazing women over at Secular Woman Work to bring you an entire track of workshops presented by even more awesome ladies! Want to be a part of their exclusive workshop track? Drop them a line at: secularwomenwork@gmail.com to get in on what is sure to be our best workshop lineup yet.

Oh, hey. What’s that? Yes, Secular Women Work will be organizing a set of workshops at Skepticon. That means hands-on practical skill-building and group discussions sharing solutions to common activist problems–all brought to you by experienced activists who are women or genderqueer. There’s a lot of experience and skill in this movement, and we want to celebrate it by putting it to work making us all better activists.

Who will you see presenting in the Secular Women Work track at Skepticon? What topics will be covered? Frankly, we don’t know yet. We don’t know who will be there. We don’t know what their strengths are. What we do know is that there is never any shortage of talent at Skepticon, nor any shortage of generosity. We pledge to find you skilled activists who will deliver well-structured workshops for you to learn from.

(If you happen to be one of those activists with an idea for a topic, and you’ll be at Skepticon on Friday, please use the Secular Women Work email above to let us know. Even if you’ve never put together a workshop before, please contact us. We helped more than one presenter at our conference structure their workshop, and they all went well.)

Why should you trust us to find you good workshops? Here’s what people had to say about our conference last month. Continue reading

with Miri Mogilevsky
Workshop Track 2
Set 3

Online groups are great, in part, because the barriers to participation are lower. However, letting these spaces be overrun by any kind of behavior becomes its own barrier to participation for many people. Let’s talk about how to set boundaries for behavior that keep our spaces accessible to the people we want participating.

Miri_Mogilevsky_smMiri Mogilevsky recently graduated from Columbia University with a Masters in Social Work. Her blog, Brute Reason, covers topics such as social justice, psychology, mental health, and whatever else keeps her up thinking till 3 AM. When not writing, Miri devours books and talks to anyone who’s willing to listen about how amazing New York City is.

with Lauren Lane
Workshop Set 2
Track 2

“But what can a nobody like me do?” This is one of the heartbreaking questions we hear in activism, especially since the answer is “Nobody is a nobody” and “So very, very much”. Come to this workshop and come away with ideas on how you–yes, you–can make a difference.

Lauren_Lane_smLauren Lane is the Founder and Executive Director of Skepticon, a national conference located annually in Springfield, MO that promotes skepticism, science education and community building. During her tenure as an undergraduate, Lauren held various leadership positions in the Missouri State University Chapter of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a secular student group that revolutionized student activism. She has been a contributor to The Friendly Atheist, MadArtLabs, and has previously spoken at conventions such as the Secular Student Alliance Convention, FTBCon, and Reason in the Rock.

with Hiba Krisht
Sunday – 11:15 AM
Workshop Set 4
Track 1

We all know self-care is necessary for activists by now, right? Good. That still leaves us figuring out the how and when. Come learn how to recognize when you need to put yourself first and develop strategies for coping with the everyday stresses and the big events.

Hiba_KrishtHiba Krisht is a writer, lecturer, and professional translator from Beirut. Her stories have been published in The Kenyon Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Blackbird, and Mizna, among others. She is a recipient of the 2012 Jane Foulkes Malone Fellowship from Indiana University and the 2013 JoAnn Athanas Memorial Award in literature from the National Society of Arts and Letters. An apostate from Islam, she grew up between an international expatriate community in Saudi Arabia and Hezbollah guerrilla warfare culture in Lebanon. She has been interviewed about her life and work by VICE News, BBC Radio, and Grazia Daily, among others. She is working on a memoir expansion of her retired blog, Between A Veil and a Dark Place.

with Heather Rosa
Saturday – 11:00 AM
Workshop Set 2
Track 1

One of the hardest parts of movement activism is navigating competing needs. Assertive communication is a tool to help us stay both focused and respectful while dealing with those needs. Come find out what assertive communication is and practice being assertive in some common activist situations.

 

Heather RosaHeather was a trained support group facilitator for the non-profit Fellowship for Renewed Living, an organization that served people dealing with divorce or other broken relationships. She served on the FRL board for many years, including three as the organization’s President. She has a long history in small-town politics, serving on her city council and as mayor for eight years. As her city’s representative on the library joint powers task force, she managed to expand her local library system in a time when many systems were shrinking.

with Stephanie Zvan

Saturday – 9:45 AM
Workshop Set 1
Track 1

It’s hard to hear that you’ve screwed up, particularly when you’re pouring time, energy, and heart into making things better. Defensiveness is a natural reaction, but it’s usually not a helpful one. Come discuss strategies to cope with criticism without the world exploding around you.

Stephanie Zvan is the former associate president of Minnesota Atheists, and has been part of the committee running their conferences for the past two years. While blogging at Almost Diamonds, she has put together panels for all three FtBCons, the online conference of Freethought Blogs. She has also run well-received workshops at both Minnesota Atheists conferences and for the past three years at Skepticon.

 

Events on a Budget – Lauren Lane, Chelsea Du Fresne, Stephanie Zvan

Sunday 3:00 PM – Main Hall

Psst. Want to hold a conference? Everybody’s doing it. Whether it’s a conference, a lecture, or a day of workshops, it isn’t as hard or as expensive as you think to put on event in the secular movement. Our panelists will talk about ways to keep your costs low while putting on an entertaining, educational event.

Lauren_Lane_smLauren Lane is the Founder and Executive Director of Skepticon, a national conference located annually in Springfield, MO that promotes skepticism, science education and community building. During her tenure as an undergraduate, Lauren held various leadership positions in the Missouri State University Chapter of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a secular student group that revolutionized student activism. She has been a contributor to The Friendly Atheist, MadArtLabs, and has previously spoken at conventions such as the Secular Student Alliance Convention, FTBCon, and Reason in the Rock.
Chelsea DuFresneBrother Jed once called Chelsea Du Fresne devil spawn, so she has been involved in atheist community organizing ever since. Her biggest not-big project was Skeptech, a progressive student-run conference about critical thinking and technology at the University of Minnesota. Now she mostly plays Skyrim and makes tradigrade jokes.
Stephanie Zvan is the former associate president of Minnesota Atheists, and has been part of the committee running their conferences for the past two years. While blogging at Almost Diamonds, she has put together panels for all three FtBCons, the online conference of Freethought Blogs. She has also run well-received workshops at both Minnesota Atheists conferences and for the past three years at Skepticon.

with Lauren Lane

Sunday 9:00 AM

Main Hall

Lauren_Lane_smThis is a working conference, but working on a conference morning can feel like, well, work. Come get revved up and ready for your day as the coffee kicks in.

Lauren Lane is the Founder and Executive Director of Skepticon, a national conference located annually in Springfield, MO that promotes skepticism, science education and community building. During her tenure as an undergraduate, Lauren held various leadership positions in the Missouri State University Chapter of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a secular student group that revolutionized student activism. She has been a contributor to The Friendly Atheist, MadArtLabs, and has previously spoken at conventions such as the Secular Student Alliance Convention, FTBCon, and Reason in the Rock.