Community Engagement Project for 2017

FiLiA are thrilled to have secured funding from ROSA to pilot a community engagement programme. The funding will enable FiLiA to design and test a process to engage women experiencing disadvantage with the 2017 Feminism in London conference. Our aim is that this pilot will be the seed of a much wider and sustained community engagement programme that reaches across all of FiLiA's work and ensures that the experiences of the most disadvantaged women are at the centre of all that we do.

The pilot, launching in January 2017, will reach out to women with experience of the prison system and will have two phases of activity. The first will support a small group of women who have exited the prison system to participate in the planning and delivery of the 2017 Feminism in London conference. The aim is both to benefit the project participants and to put their voices and experience at the heart of the conference. As the biggest feminist conference in the UK, it is critical that Feminism in London is an effective platform for the voices of the most unheard and misheard women in society. The second phase will see the development of a dialogue toolkit which will be free to download from the FiLiA website and which will offer session plans to lead discussion groups with women about issues raised at the 2017 Feminism in London conference. We will be out reaching to five organisations working with women with experience of the prison system to test the toolkit, with these pilot sessions co- facilitated by participants from phase one.

The FiLiA Community Engagement Programme is part of an important feminist history of using community development and engagement as a practice to move towards social justice and liberation for women. At its most radical, community development seeks to redress balances of power in society by moving power into the hands of the disadvantaged communities whose needs are overlooked by social structures and institutions and whose experiences are socially and culturally marginalised. In developing the programme during the pilot and beyond, FiLiA will be consciously drawing on practice in this area from feminists before us and sharing our new practice and learning to the wider movement.

We are looking for feminists who would like to participate in the development of our community engagement programme. You don't need any experience in this area and if women are interested, FiLiA will facilitate a training session around community development and engagement and their potential as tools for women's liberation. We are looking for volunteers interested in the following areas:

  • Facilitation- supporting the planning and facilitation of workshops during phase one and two

  • Artists/designers- supporting the creation of the toolkit for phase 2 and a poster with participants in phase one

  • Coordination and outreach- identifying and building relationships with organisations for phase two and for the wider community engagement strategy

  • Volunteers will be invited to an initial planning session in January and then work independently with ad hoc meetings as needed. There is no prescribed time commitment, you can take on as much or as little as you wish.

To find out more or volunteer please drop our project leader Laurie a line at: laurie@feminisminlondon.co.uk