Cultural Organizing for Social Change in New Orleans

Cultural Organizing for Social Change in New Orleans: a day-long workshop and gathering 

On July 19, 2014, two dozen artists and activists from the New Orleans area gathered for the 4th annual Cultural Organizing workshop, produced by Arts & Democracy in collaboration with Junebug Productions

Using the newly-renovated Blue Plate Lofts in Mid-City, the workshop attracted folks from the Gulf Restoration Network, Public Citizen, Upward Bound, the Gulf Future Coalition, Foundation for Louisiana, KID smART, as well as ten arts and cultural organizations.

After opening introductions and mapping, amalia deloney of Arts & Democracy shared our working definitions and key element of Cultural Organizing, provoking some deep and insightful conversation. Then Stephanie McKee, director of Junebug Productions, introduced the Story Circle, and we practiced this tool, in small groups of four. A debrief helped us understand how and when to use this tool, and tips for its successful application.

After lunch, participants had a choice of workshops. Keisha Turner led a version of Urban Bush Women’s “Entering, Building and Exiting Community,” a basic primer of working in community settings with integrity and grace. EBX is based on experiential learning with theater games, writing, and movement exercises.  

Deloney, assisted by Kathie deNobriga, led a “Creativity Lab” to support Dancing Grounds’ in their efforts to involve community and maximize impact for their upcoming Social Justice Dance Festival in the fall of 2014. Using an “emergent planning” process, participants offered specific strategies for reaching out and forming partnerships for mutual benefit.

Agenda below:

 9:30        Registration & Coffee
10:00       Gathering
10:20       Welcome & Review Agenda
10:30       Opening Circle/Introductions
11:00       Cultural Organizing Framework
11:30       Break
11:45       Story Circle (Stephanie McKee)
12:15       Lunch
  1:00       Debrief Story Circle: practical applications/cautions
  1:30       Workshops (choose one) 

1) Local Lab: a specific NOLA project (TBA) will have a chance to hear tips from allies & other resource people about how to incorporate culture more integrally and connect with others doing similar work, with amalia deloney/Arts & Democracy & Center for Media Justice

2) EBX Workshop: Entering, Building & Exiting Community, with Keisha Turner/Urban Bush Women
3:30         Break
3:45         Learning/Sharing/Next Steps
4:30         Adjourn