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Trapese Collective – Tools for Social Change Course

Written by Zofia Walczak

Who:  Trapese Popular Education Collective
When:  27th March 2010  to 3rd April 2010
Where:  Ragman’s Lane Farm, Forest of Dean, near Gloucester
Cost:  Deposit of £50 to secure a place will be requested with full amount payable before the start of the course.
Cost of course ranges from £175 – £350, depending on income.
Applications must be received by 12 noon Saturday February 27th 2010 at the latest.


Trapese is a not-for-profit UK-based popular education collective.  Through workshops, film nights and training they aim to enable people of all ages to explore social and climate issues and develop practical alternatives and solutions. 

Popular education is based on values such as a commitment to transformation and freedom.  This means that rather than learning about the world and climate/social issues, participants empower themselves to actually transform their environment.  Unlike in traditional education, popular ‘history’ focuses on the history of the majority of the world (worker’s rights, peasant movements), and not uniquely on the kings and queens and military leaders whose names we had drummed into our heads in Year 9.

Popular education also aims to blur the relationship between teachers and students, instead creating an equal level at which everyone is learning from and teaching each other.  Social change is encouraged through developing critical awareness about the world and promoting social and environmental justice over economic gain, but debate is stimulated by encouraging free-thinking rather than dictating facts.

Past Trapese workshop topics have included: migration; food (history of industrial agriculture and understanding food crisis); climate justice; consensus decision making and non-hierarchical organising; reclaiming space (setting up a social centre and keeping it running); DIY, and understanding the economy (exploring the meaning of capitalism, recession and realistic alternatives).


Providing an educational answer to the need for more grassroots social/ climate justice activity, Trapese have organised a weeklong course starting in March.  The course will aim to answer the questions: how we can move towards a more effective climate justice movement, how can we build more resilient communities and how can we achieve system change instead of climate change?

The course will provide training in grassroots organising, including tools for direct democracy, facilitation, using consensus, popular education techniques and how to plan, communicate and implement effective campaigns. It will explore how these tools can be used to set up community initiatives and ecological and social projects. 

No previous knowledge is necessary, but organisers ask that participants be committed to working co-operatively and respecting diversity.  Time to share ideas, work on practical technology projects around the farm, discuss current political debates, watch films and enjoy food together are also planned as part of the week.

The course draws on the ‘Do It Yourself Handbook’  and Trapese’s work since 2004, including their events at KlimaForum in Copenhagen.

Facilitators will include  Paul Chatterton, (MA Activism and Social Change, Leeds) Kim Bryan, (Press Officer, Centre for Alternative Technology) Alice Cutler, (Freelance teacher/ activist, Bristol).

 To register interest or ask any questions email


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