Secular Women Work is committed to making the conference an accessible space, particularly for those from resource-limited settings. Grants include paid conference registration and a travel stipend, where available. Despite being a small conference, we have a selection of grants available. Members of underrepresented groups within the secular movement are encouraged to apply.With the goal of creating future community organizers and activists, grant candidates will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • The conference’s potential impact on the growth of the candidate.
  • Membership in an underrepresented group or groups within the secular movement.
  • Our ability to make sure you can attend and make use of the grant.

We recognize that conferences are often the gateway into organizing, and that experience levels vary widely among those starting out. For us, a commitment and passion for activism are paramount. Everybody starts somewhere! If you’ve blogged but never done “meatspace” organizing, that’s fine. If you just want to increase your civil activism and don’t know where to begin, that’s great too—Secular Women Work will encompass a variety of approaches and starting points. The most important thing is that you apply!

Deadlines

The initial deadline for applications is end of day July 6. After that date, we will award the grants we have available then. If you’ve missed the July 6 deadline but still want a grants, please fill out the form. We can’t promise we will have more garnts available, but we may. Candidates will be admitted on a rolling basis.

In order to apply, fill out the following form with your full name, email address, whether or not you require travel assistance, and what you hope to take away from the conference.

Secular Women Work Grant Form

Best of luck and we hope to see you in August!

-The Organizers

Yes, you!

You made the Kickstarter a success! Thank you for supporting this project. Thank you for helping make this conference come to life.

We are super excited about how much interest there is in making sure other people get to benefit from this conference. We had lots backers for the Endow a Scholarship level! We will have a form up for people to apply for these by the end of April. So, we need you to tell those who might be interested to watch this page.

We will start making announcements about the schedule once we get the Kickstarter surveys back.

Again, this is being done because each one of you believed it could and worked to make it happen.

Thank you.

 

 

 

When we think of activist, we tend to picture some hardcore, kick ass people at protests, on picket lines, sitting at lunch counters, risking arrest or worse, to fight for their civil rights.

 

It’s an intimidating and daunting enough image to make some of us feel we could never fit such a title. Yeah, those people are activists doing activism. But, so are you.

 

An activist is someone working for change.

 

And creating change needs bunches of different pieces to make it happen, not all of which require facing down the police.

Basically, activism is a whole mess of different parts and actions.

It is writing letters.

 

It is standing by your principles.

 

It is phone calls.

 

It is taking a stand.

 

It is signing petitions.

 

Sometimes, it’s as simple as making a declaration.

 

Chances are, you have engaged in activism before today. Well, done!

 

All of these are pieces of activism which fit together into a movement. And that’s what we are building, a movement to make the world a better place for as many people as possible. For that, we need all the activists to do their parts, no matter how big or small, how physical, mental and/or emotional.

 

So, what is an activist? In short, you are.

 

Help us make our conference happen. Donate to our kickstarter.

Our friends in the media are excited about Secular Women Work. For those who would like to promote the conference, we’ve prepared a one-minute spot you can use. Thank you for helping us get the word out!

Download the file.

FOR RELEASE February 27, 2018

Media contact: monette@secularwoman.org

Conference website: http://secularwomenwork.org/

Kickstarter website: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1033564734/secular-women-work-returns

Minneapolis, MN – Secular Woman and Minnesota Atheists are bringing back their activist training conference, and they’re using Kickstarter to make it possible. The Secular Women Work conference will be held in Minneapolis this August 24–26 and features accomplished activists  Jessica Xiao, former program assistant at the American Humanist Association and current Prison Book Club Coordinator, and Greta Christina, writer and cofounder of Godless Perverts. Mandisa Thomas will be returning as well after another successful three years for Black Nonbelievers.

 

Come August, the conference will feature a full slate of exclusively women and genderqueer speakers. The original conference in 2015 highlighted the importance of “women’s work” in the secular movement. Secular Woman president Monette Richards explains, “The recent revelations that atheist figureheads and organizations knew and did nothing about Lawrence Krauss long before his recent #metoo reckoning demonstrate how far we still have to go as a movement in valuing the contributions of women. There’s no better time than now for another Secular Women Work.”

 

The conference has returned to Kickstarter to sell conference tickets and raise additional funding. The first Secular Women Work was the first atheist or skeptic conference to successfully crowdfund. “There’s a perception of waning interest in secular conferences. We think people are just looking for the right conference to take them to the next level in their activism. The Kickstarter lets us test our theory before committing resources”, said Minnesota Atheists incoming associate president Stephanie Zvan. The campaign launches today, and tickets will only be available through Kickstarter until it fully funds.

 

In addition to conference tickets, which will be transferable, the Kickstarter offers backer rewards such as t-shirts, custom SurlyRamics jewelry, and advertising space. Those who can’t attend but want to support the conference can buy and donate a scholarship to another activist. The campaign will end March 29.

 

The Secular Women Work conference will be heavy on skill-building and problem-solving workshops, with panels and speakers covering specialist topics. All workshop leaders, panelists, and speakers will be seasoned activists themselves. Additional speakers are expected to be announced during the Kickstarter campaign.

 

The conference will be held in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs on the University of Minnesota’s West Bank campus. Conference organizer Chelsea du Fresne explained that the venue was an important factor in making the first conference special. “Not only is the space wonderful for getting to know other activists, but being surrounded by so much political accomplishment is inspiring. Today, more than ever, those reminders that we can make a difference really matter.”

 

The conference is a joint project of the Minnesota Atheists and Secular Woman.

 

You can find the kickstarter here.

We are just over a week away from Skepticon 10! Check out the workshops we have in store for you.

Friday

Creating a Welcoming Group – 9:00 AM
Mandisa Thomas
You can plan the events, but to get people in the seats, they have to feel they belong.This workshop will walk you through making your group a welcoming one.

Organizing a Lobby Day – 10:00 AM
Monette Richards
We’ve clicked on action alerts, sent faxes, emails and texts. We have even called our elected officials, mostly to end up in voice mail. What’s the next step? Why not go visit them in person? Why not take your friends, too!

Secular Activism Campaigns: What Works, What Hasn’t Worked, and How To Be More Effective -11:00 AM
Debbie Goddard
Building on the activism framework presented at Skepticon 9, Debbie Goddard will guide the workshop through a hands-on analysis of several secular campaigns. We’ll look at how they were designed, who they’re “talking” to and why, how they measured effectiveness, and what, in hindsight, they could have done better. We’ll also brainstorm new activism campaign ideas and messaging. Bring your experience and your creativity!

Making Ourselves Relevant In the Resistance – Noon
Greta Christina & Debbie Goddard
On paper, organized atheism and skepticism should have a major role in the current resistance movements in the US. Do we? If not, why not? In places where we do, what helps make that happen? What do we have to contribute to these movements? And what can we do — on the individual, local, and national levels — to improve our presence in the resistance and make more of a contribution?

Deescalation –  1:00 PM
Rebecca Hensler
With every direct action, there is a chance the situation will get out of control. Explore ways to deescate before things get bad.

Creating a Self Care Plan – 2:00 PM
Hiba Bint Zeinab
We often talk about the importance of self-care. But do we know how to actually put it into practice?

Imposter Syndrome – 3:00 PM
Stephanie Zvan, Monette Richards and Jessica Xiao
Impostor syndrome is that feeling that you’re just faking what you do and are going to be found out any minute. It keeps us from fully appreciating our own work and from tackling new, ambitious projects that need to be done. Come gather tips and exercises to combat this problem and be a more effective, secure activist.

Consent- 4:00 PM
Heina Dadabhoy
Have questions about consent? Fnd answers as you work through this workshop.

Saturday

Start your own podcast – 10:00 AM
Marissa Alexa McCool and Maddy Love
So, you wanna start a podcast…

Lessons from AIDS Activism – 11:00 AM
Ingrid Nelson,  Laura Thomas & Rebecca Hensler
Learn Direct Action from activists who have been there and done it. These members of ActUP will go over the lessons they learned during AIDS Activism.

Sunday

Finding Your Way Around Moose –  2:00 PM
Sam Farooqui
Ex-Muslim issues can be really complicated for never-Muslims to parse. Frequently, never-Muslims fall prey to overcorrection, saviorism, or just plain silence. This workshop has been designed to educate never-Muslims on the intersections that tend to be involved where ex-Muslims are concerned, and how to work with and for those issues, in order to create substantive change.

How to do a Workshop – 3:00 PM
Stephanie Zvan
Do you want to put on a workshop, but aren’t sure how to design an effecctive one? Learn how to use the interactive nature of workshops to build confidence while conveying useful information.

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

Handling Public Criticism 10 a.m.
It’s going to happen to us all sooner or later. If we don’t get criticized, it’s because we’re not accomplishing anything. How do we keep our reactions productive?
Stephanie Zvan

 

Celebrating Activism 11 a.m.
There’s always more work to be done, but celebrating our wins is one of the keys to avoiding activist burnout. But how do we do that?
Monette Richards

 

Effective Advocacy: A Humanist Approach 12 p.m.
As activists and members and allies of minority populations, advocacy plays a big role in our lives; but how can we ensure that our advocacy is truly effective, and not leading to further harm? This workshop explores power and control dynamics and common missteps as well as provides you with tools and tips to be the best advocate you can be.
Amanda Novotny

 

Craftivism: The Politics of Knitting 1 p.m.
Who would think of knitting as a subversive act? Bring your yarn, y’all! Let’s discuss, and engage in, some craftivism!
Kelley Freeman

 

Student and Non-Student Groups Working Together 2 p.m.
Student and non-student groups share many goals, but they don’t always have the best track record working together on them. How can we change this?
Debbie Goddard

 

Social Justice: From Theory to Practive 3 p.m.
If there is a devil, it’s in the details
Heina Dadabhoy

 

Planning for Direct Action 4 p.m.
Confrontation can be powerful, but make sure your prepared for everything that can happen.
Rebecca Hensler, Ingrid Nelson, Laura Thomas

 

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