A popular education approach to staff, board, and volunteer training

The Catalyst Centre offers a wide variety of education, research and facilitation services. And, in addition to meeting whatever immediate needs for which you bring us in, we are committed to strengthening  overall capacity to do your work. We respect your autonomy and want to see you grow as both independent and connected groups. Our focus is on a strong, healthy and harmonious community of groups struggling together for social change. We want to help you transform the way you work, play, think and do. We think this is a unique way to think about all that we do in our communities and we hope that it helps you see the diversity of ways to think about your needs. We welcome discussions about any idea you have, from half-baked to over-cooked. You may be just where you need to be to think outside of the box and bring something really exciting into your workplace or community space. There are many theories about how we all learn differently. Some of us are visual learners while others learn by reading or by moving our bodies. We think an interesting way to think about learning is work-play-think-do.

  • Work: For some of us, we need to keep our eye on the work at hand. We want to learn skills, tools, and theory that help us to make the impact we want to have on social change. We want to look at the way we are doing work and perhaps challenge how we are doing that work. Do we value the voice of everyone in principle but in theory rush to a vote so we can get moving? Do we plan great workshops in a team meeting and then wonder why no community members show up? Some of the topics you might be interested to learn with Catalyst might be: Democratic Decision-Making; Participatory programming; Developing consensus; Volunteer, staff, and board development; Our approach to strategic planning  Seizing The Moment
  • Play: Play is undervalued in our culture and particularly in our workspaces and community organizing.  Setting aside resources to honour our need to play is an excellent way to show how serious we are about thinking outside the box and transforming the way things are done. Let’s not forget how imperative play is to self care! Some ideas of things we could do to embrace learning in a playful way could be: puppet making; Community theatre; Quilting (AKA “Stitch n Bitch”); Zine making and bookbinding; Activism Graphics; Storytelling
  • Think: Often we stick our thinking into a pre-made box called a meeting. There are so many other ways to creatively engage a diverse group of people into amazing conversations—ones that result in transformative ideas. Some ways you might use Catalyst would be: Community conversations; World cafes; Developing strategies and tactics; Working retreats; Embracing resistance and dissent in democracy ; How does social change happen: Developing a theory of change.
  • Do: Yes, do is often a separate activity and may use a totally different skill set or approach. Don’t assume that things will just miraculously happen. Sometimes we can all use a little help to move things along. Here are some different ways to get doing: Collecting stories; Creating murals; Naming the moment; Community Based research; Neighbourhood mapping/scans; Learning praxis.

3 Responses to Work-Play-Think-Do

  1. I would be interested in talking with a facilitator who could support a day retreat for a group of staff from our neighbourhood centre- with a focus on self care, and new creative processes related to our work, and how individuals can see their value and develop leadership skills… Any thoughts please connect.

  2. Naureen says:

    Hi there,
    I have spent some time on your website but did not find any info about upcoming activities in the summer of 2014 or for that matter any thing after Aug 8, 2013. Has this charity organization stopped its catalystic action for popular education in Canada?

    • deborah says:

      Hey there.

      We are still functioning as a charity and as a worker co-operative – just very quietly. We are currently revamping our look and website in an effort to pick up activity again.

      Is there something we can help you with?