The Program-November 5th & 6th, 2016 Symposium

Transformative Social Change Symposium November 5-6

Gatehouse/Humber College: Building L-Room 1017


 “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” Maya Angelou

By virtue of participating in this symposium everyone will be assisting in the actual real time creation of a Centre for Transformative Social Change.

The symposium will be dedicated to providing experiential/transformative learning opportunities for students and community members who want to engage in the processes of creating transformative social change. Participants will be learning with people who have created or are in the very process of community based organizations and social justice movements on the local, national and international levels.

 Key features to explored, experienced over the 2 days

  • What is transformative social change (TSC)?
  • What does it mean to facilitate TSC
  • What are the essential skills required to be engaged in TSC
  • What are the essential steps to go through in starting your own TSC Organization
  • What are the essential steps to go through in starting your own social transformative movement
  • What is link between trauma and transformative social change
  • What it the role of creating film in the process of transformative social change
  • What are the issues and questions about TSC that are missing from the 2 day symposium

Pre-symposium question (s) and activity:

 “We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”-T.S.Elliot

Activity:  What has taken place in your personal story that has motivated you to be here at this event? Why do you want to participate in this event? What is your passion in relation to engaging in transformative social change?

To answer theses questions please take time to respond to the following:                                                  

Write these 3 words at the top of your page: Child, Youth, Now-use these words as reference points as you take time to write out a story-your story-the story that brought you here today.  As you write, just let the words surface, there is no need to find the correct phrase, the correct spelling, you can simply jot down bullet points if you like, or just write and let a story surface.  Who were the people, what where the events, places, big or small moments, struggles and successes, that when you reflect on these 3 stages of your story a theme or themes emerge, which may offer some insight as to why you are giving your time and energy to be part of this symposium.

While there is no set page length, and in fact this activity has been known to lead people into a great many other journeys, for this event, a half page or full page or longer will be wonderful to begin the process of critical self reflection as it relates to engaging in transformative social change.

*Please bring your written story to the symposium. It is a foundational and vital element for the flow of the full 2 days.

Transformative Social Change Symposium Agenda

Day 1

9:00-910     Welcome from the student planning committee

910-925       Opening indigenous smudging/song-Sue C.

925-935      Mindful meditation /Ba Duan Jin-Jeff C.

935-1030    Processing (Pre-activity) everyone has brought to the event; within the context of transformative social change

1030-1050  Break

10:50-11:00 Film/photos/quotes/

11:00-12:00 Plenary session: Setting The Context For Transformative Social Change-Alok, Ardath, Ahmeda, Young, Steve

12:00-12:45 Lunch

12:45-1:00  Ba Duan Jin-Brad H.

1:00-2:00 – Presentation from groups on the process they have created or are currently going through to engage in transformative social change-ANBU,RAWHIDE, SOMALI YOUTH, JESSICA-FIND HELP, FULL CIRCLE, MINDFULNESS-DEAN/JEFF, MARCIA-TRUST 15

2:00-2:15 – Film-Breeze of Hope

2:15-2:30 – Break

2:30-3:30 – Open Space Process-focusing on creating next steps for TSC initiatives-these initiatives can include building on the initiatives that are already happening, or building on your own initiative that you brought to the symposium to work on or one that grew out of the symposium.

3:30- Closing process

*Note: that there will be time, space throughout the 2 days for people to spontaneously write or paint, draw statements of insight, observation, reflection, as well as providing the time to have people make statements on film about their experience, their initiatives that they are engaged in

 Day 2

9:00-9:20        Mindful meditation/Ba Duan Jin-Jeff C. & Brad H.

9:20-10:00     Film as central to the process of creating transformative social change-James B.

10:00-10:15   Break

10-15-10:30   Ba Duan Jin-Brad H.

10:30-11:45   Small group meetings based on open space process of Day 1

11:45-12:30   Lunch

12:30-1:00     Feedback from small group processes

1:00- 1:15      Meditation/ break- Jeff C.

1:15-2:00       What needs to happen to support the initiatives highlighted in the symposium-Committee Members

2:00-2:15      Film-“Happiness Project”

2:15-3:00      What needs to happen for the ongoing evolution of the Centre for Transformative Social Change– Committee Members 

3:00-3:30      Closing process

  *A few words about the Open Space Process:


The open space process for this particular day is based on the formal Open Space process developed by Harrison Owen.

“Open Space is the only process that focuses on expanding time and space for the force of self-organisation to do its thing. Although one can’t predict specific outcomes, it’s always highly productive for whatever issue people want to attend to. Some of the inspiring side effects that are regularly noted are laughter, hard work which feels like play, surprising results and fascinating new questions.”

Specific to this symposium on Transformative Social Change the following steps would be offered.

  • “this time (open space) is understood as ‘a “breathing” or “pulsation” pattern of flow, between plenary and small-group discussion”
  • the open space topics typically grow out of the plenary sessions-i.e. discussion on the transformative justice/social change panel, may lead someone to want to explore in more depth how does their specific organization build in ways to integrate in transformative justice practices within their specific organization
  • this person would put forward this statement on  a wall/ bulletin board with space underneath the statement for people to sign up;  (as a theme-these statements are often framed as a question being preface with (“HOW TO… OR HOW CAN WE…”) statements would be going up throughout the day, and in fact may start going up when people first arrive-because they may have already been motivated to explore a topic based just on the outline of the day’s program,
  • the person making the statement would also facilitate the discussion in the small group process
  • there would be a note taker/laptop scribe recording and playing back points that are surfaced in the discussion
  • while the time is limited (60-90 minutes) one of the outcomes can be an action statement: i.e. “ we are creating a working group to create a workshop on transformative justice that will be open to community agencies in the Toronto area”
  • elements of open space are: passion, diversity, listening rather than waiting to speak, a feeling of urgency, inclusiveness; these are just a few of a great many more elements that are to be present in an open space group discussion
  • understanding that the content of the open space is intended to be shared-through a follow up report of the full symposium with all participants of the symposium
  • i)the size of the group can be from 1 person onwards-there is no set number-whoever shows up is considered to be the person with a genuine interest in the issue being presented-also people may join in the group and decide to leave the group-the butterfly element of flitting around is not uncommon to this process; ii) the most common start point is the person providing context to the statement they put on the wall during the day; iii) usually there is a go round in the group for people to say their name and what there connection is to the topic being discussed; iv) at this symposium there will be the option of having a talking stone for each group-this can be helpful in having each person given an opportunity to speak or to pass on speaking and just being there to listen; v) this time is in essence an introduction to the issue it is not intended to solve the issue-it is a time to find ways and means for people to continue the momentum –creating next steps-for the issue; vi) it is important that there is someone keeping time; vii) a group check out is important i.e. “could we hear a word or statement from each person in the group about what just took place.” Followed by a thank you from the person who presented the “How To statement “
  • Additional nuances: i) each group will receive a space allocation depending on the number of people in the group, sometimes this can feel a little disorganized at the outset of the process as people may still be deciding on the group they want to sit in on, but this really is a good time to just go with the flow-there will be an inventory of group spaces to choose from-on this particular day; we will introduce the open space portion of the day, we will also have designated students to direct the groups to their space allocations-within the building; ii) people to be designated for the role of scribe, iii) people designated for the role of photographer-,iii) people to be designated for the role of time keeper.
  • Something surprising or challenging, surfacing in this overall process, is not uncommon. So when it does, this is when it is best to first of all breathe, then smile, and then move forward from a stance of an open heart, this is often the beginning of a step towards transformative social change