After my workshop last year was an all around stressful experience I thought it seemed sensible this year to do two!
My first one kicks off the Bookfair at 12.20 in the main assembly room upstairs. I don’t like that room, its big and echoes and the seats get set out in rows with a table at the front so we face everyone like teachers. I think I may take the mic and go stand next to the seats… or maybe that will be worse?
Here’s the blurb from the program. “Is Bart Simpson an Anarchist? – We felt some of Bart Simpson’s calculations on this year’s bookfair poster were at best debatable and at worst problematic. Does Work minus Bosses, or Money minus Bankers really equal anarchy? What do we mean by the term “Work” anyway? And can money really have a role in an Anarchist society?”
This one came out of some people not being too happy with the Bart Simpson poster for the bookfair and it sparked a bit of a debate so I decided to continue it at the bookfair. I’m completely winging this one and relying totally on other people speaking so I can just introduce the debate and take stack. We have been given an hour and a half but I hope to keep it to one hour as I’ve got a million other things to do on the day.
The second workshop is in “The Room with a View”. I assume the name is ironic as from what I remember the were not even any windows in it. Here’s the blurb: “Why Men Against Patriarchy? An Introduction and Q&A with one of Bristol’s newest groups. What is patriarchy and why should men challenge it? What do we talk about? Do men have a role in feminism? Why have meetings for men only? How can we confront patriarchy? What are our future plans? All genders welcome.”
I had this room last year for the workshop I did. It’s designed to hold 12-15 and I had over 25 in there. I had to turn people away. I’ve already spoken to a number of people who want to come, so it may well be another full one. I would have liked a bigger room but the organisers have to judge what would be popular and give spaces accordingly. The Trinity is a great venue in some ways but suffers with having small spaces for meetings.
Calling it a Q&A gives the wrong impression. I’m hoping people will pose questions about men’s role in challenging patriarchy, but I’m hoping where possible all attendees will be able to answer the questions as a group. I’m also bringing paper and pens along so people can suggest ideas for our meeting and events and if we have time maybe explore some of them. In the last couple of days I’ve met some men who have had conflicting views about men’s role in feminism. It gave me a chance to see how my answers to those concerns go down. Someone else kindly informed me they were planning on coming to the meeting to shout stuff out and tell us what we are “doing it wrong and what you should be doing instead”. Well, I think she was probably just joking and I just took it seriously, hopefully people will put their hand up instead, rather than disturbing the meeting, or write their ideas down on the paper provided. I’m more than up for listening to all concerns (that’s why we hare having the workshop) and working on addressing them or incorporating the ideas into how the group functions.
One of the purposes of this workshop is to increase transparency and give an incite into how our meetings functions. Also we want to use the opportunity to get ideas for more public events and actions, as this is a direction we want to start to move the group more, along side our current meetings. I’d encourage people to come along. We don’t have all the answers but we can try, and where we can’t answer we can explore the themes and issues around them. I hopefully will have a handout ready by then. If I do I will put one up here too. I like handouts!
Hope to see you all there.