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Birkbeck College; Community Activism 23.06.09


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The role of the community leader as activist or local campaigner. An introduction to concepts of influence mapping, marketing, tactical choices and the relationship between community services and community activism. Includes group activities to better explore the concepts.

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Birkbeck College; Community Activism 23.06.09

  1. 1. [ community leadership, community voice ] Birkbeck College 23.06.09 / Liam Barrington-Bush / Concrete Solutions /
  2. 2. what is voice? / Representation / / Advocacy / / Campaigning / / Activism /
  3. 3. the importance of voice / The ‘plaster’ of services? / / Cooptation of leadership / / Problem prevention /
  4. 4. voice and service delivery / Potential conflicts / / Legitimacy / / ‘The Cycle’ / services learning voice
  5. 5. knowing the right issue to take on “ Knowing the problem is not always the same as knowing ‘the right issue’ to campaign on…”
  6. 6. knowing the right issue to take on / Is it popular? / / Is it relevant? / / Is it winnable? / / How do you know? /
  7. 7. how a community problem can become a community campaign Parkdale Against Fascism Toronto, Canada, 2002 Problem : Neo-Nazis harassing members of local community, including violent attacks Issue : Small group of neo-Nazis living in Parkdale Activities : Broad-based local rally, leafleting, collective actions, incident reporting phone number
  8. 8. how a community problem can become a community campaign Parkdale Against Fascism Toronto, Canada, 2002 Outputs : 100 local residents at rally, 20+ local shops with anti-Nazi posters, public identification of individuals Outcome : Neo-Nazis leave Parkdale Impact : End to racist attacks and harassment, increased sense of safety in local community
  9. 9. how a community problem can become a community campaign <ul><li>Parkdale Against Fascism </li></ul><ul><li>Toronto, Canada, 2002 </li></ul><ul><li>Lessons : </li></ul><ul><li>Building a united front </li></ul><ul><li>Balancing local perspectives </li></ul><ul><li>Pitfall : </li></ul><ul><li>NIMBYism – ‘Not In My Backyard’ </li></ul>
  10. 10. knowing what change looks like Problem Issue Impact Ouputs Outcomes Activity
  11. 11. Issue End to racist attacks, greater sense of safety Neo-Nazis leave Parkdale 100 residents at rally 20+ shop posters Rally, leaflets, actions, phone number Neo-Nazis living in Parkdale Neo-Nazis harassing members of local community knowing what change looks like Problem Impact Ouputs Outcomes Activity
  12. 12. who can make change happen? / People? / / Government? / / Companies? /
  13. 13. how can you reach them? YOU Audience Target YOU Audience 1 Audience 2 Target YOU Audience 3 Audience 2 Audience 1 Target YOU Target
  14. 14. how can you reach them? Council CEO Local Media Local Strategic Partnership Head of Children's Services Social Workers Local Councillors Service Users Campaigning Group
  15. 15. how can you reach them? <ul><ul><li>Who can make the change, and how can you reach them? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>1) Poor food in local schools </li></ul><ul><li>2) Heart problems amongst Asian men in Ealing </li></ul><ul><li>3) Inadequate leaving-care support for children in foster care </li></ul>
  16. 16. break
  17. 17. framing your issue There are two sides to every story… … So how do you make sure your side of the story gets told? framing your issue
  18. 18. framing your issue You now have 60 seconds to convince the person next to you of something you are passionate about… Switch! Convince them back, with something YOU are passionate about – KNOWING WHAT YOU NOW KNOW ABOUT THEM! Marketing Your Campaign: A Drive on the Dark Side
  19. 19. framing your issue <ul><li>HACAN – Against a 3 rd Runway at Heathrow </li></ul><ul><li>West London coalition against airport expansion, est. 1960s </li></ul><ul><li>Had run many unsuccessful campaigns between ‘60s-’90s </li></ul><ul><li>Arguments had been based-on ‘soft’ issues: quality of life for local residents, noise pollution </li></ul><ul><li>2008: Commission business research firm CE Delft to report on economic arguments against Heathrow Terminal 3 </li></ul><ul><li>2009: Tories promise to scrap T3 plans, if elected </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  20. 20. choosing your tactics/approach “ Insider groups are regarded as legitimate by government and are consulted on a regular basis. Outsider groups either do not wish to become enmeshed in a consultative relationship with officials, or are unable to gain recognition. Another way of looking at them is to see them as protest groups which have objectives that are outside the mainstream of political opinion.” - Wyn Grant
  21. 21. choosing your tactics/approach <ul><li>Insider tactics… </li></ul><ul><li>Access to inside information about policy processes & target’s positions </li></ul><ul><li>Build relationships & mutual trust </li></ul><ul><li>More direct </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrates ‘legitimacy’ </li></ul><ul><li>… but… </li></ul><ul><li>May compromise your position </li></ul><ul><li>May be co-opted by target’s agenda </li></ul><ul><li>May be misrepresented </li></ul><ul><li>Excludes stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>Vulnerable to change in government or personnel </li></ul><ul><li>Easy to waste time </li></ul><ul><li>Often highly nepotistic </li></ul>
  22. 22. choosing your tactics/approach <ul><li>Outsider tactics… </li></ul><ul><li>More involving of different stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>More freedom of action </li></ul><ul><li>Higher profile </li></ul><ul><li>Often more innovative, fun </li></ul><ul><li>Less reliant on political environment </li></ul><ul><li>Widens potential range of debate </li></ul><ul><li>… but… </li></ul><ul><li>May be seen as radical, extreme or irrelevant </li></ul><ul><li>Risk of loss of institutional funding </li></ul><ul><li>May damage future relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Raises questions of legality </li></ul><ul><li>Can be physically dangerous </li></ul><ul><li>Harder to use evidence </li></ul>
  23. 23. choosing your tactics/approach Discussion: Insider or Outsider: When should you use which tools?
  24. 24. re-capping / Voice: What we mean by it / / Voice and Services / / Knowing the right issue / / What change would look like / / Who can make the change happen /
  25. 25. re-capping / Channels reaching our targets / / Framing your issue effectively / / Learning from marketing / / What insider/outsider tactics are / / When to use what tactics /
  26. 26. follow-up [ Liam Barrington-Bush ] [ Concrete Solutions ] [ ]