Category Archives: Skill-Building

SWW Schedule for Skepticon 9

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


Building a Better Workshop

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 Building a Better Workshop