This article was written by James Wood; Vice-President of the LGBT+ Society...
On Saturday 20th May I had the Privilege of accompanying the President of the UoG LGBT+ Society to a Stonewall training event held in Bath Spa. The training event was centred around creating change and how to effectively run a campaign. The day was packed with activities, group work and networking to help us build our knowledge and share ideas.
Before the training started we were tasked with figuring out our personal aims of what we wanted from the day. Having signed up last minute with little knowledge of the day this was initially a daunting task. However, I finally decided that from the day I wanted to learn more about activism, how I could get involved through accessing resources and networking with others. I decided on these aims as I wanted to both use them to further progress the society, but also become involved in activism on a personal level.
Due to the nature of the training, and how the session worked, it was important that these ideas were shared and discussed between everyone. Specifically, we discussed what we needed from others, what we wanted to contribute and what we wanted out of the day. Some suggestions included acceptance, safe space, discussion, respect and an insight on activism. It was also highly important that each person could feel safe in their contributions, have discussions and disagree with statements, but not people. Respect was at the centre of the day, which was unanimously agreed upon.
The main part of the day, and the focus of the activities, was on how to make a campaign effective. This included two worksheets, that looked at outcomes, objectives and challenges faced during campaigns. After being given an example of a real-life campaign, we were then tasked with coming up with outcomes, objectives and challenges for our own campaign. The second worksheet focused upon the later planning stages of a campaign, specifically, audiences and influencers, activities and mobilisation. Once we had planned a campaign, we were put into groups to present our campaign in hot-seat style. Once we had made out pitch, the other members of the group posed questions and made suggestions to further improve understanding of planning.
The final part of the day consisted of an opportunity to network with people within the room. This was very interesting personally, as I managed to speak to members of LGBT societies at other universities, possibly setting up a link for future collaborations.
Overall, I found the day highly interesting and insightful. The day has inspired me with new ideas for both the society and personal activism. It has made me want to get involved with Stonewall even more in the future and get more involved with campaigning for LGBT+ issues.