Our 17th Bootcamp wrapped up on 18th October. Here at Bootcamp HQ we've been recovering from an intense six days of skill-learning and community-building. Read on to find out what we got up to...
This Bootcamp involved some exciting changes to the programme, new additions to the facilitation team, the continuation of ‘creative clubs’ and some new folks in the operations team! Here’s a rundown of the six-day training and information about how you could join us next year.
34 campaigners travelled to the leafy outskirts of London to attend the six-day residential for budding and grassroots campaigners. As always, participants were focussed on a wide range of issues, including institutional racism within the police, LGBTQ+ rights for Muslims, forced adoption of refugee children, and discrimination faced by the Gypsy Roma Traveller community.
The Core Bootcamp Syllabus
Bootcamp teaches campaigning skills and skills you might need when working within campaigning groups. Our newest facilitator, Aliyah, joined Anna, Grace, Josh, Karen, Nim, Noni, Tamara-Jade, Rif and Rowan to facilitate learning opportunities for the group and supported the budding activists to up their campaigning game through interactive team building scenarios.
The Bootcamp Workshops
Kat Sladden ran a comms sessions where the group dissected stories and headlines from newspapers as well as shared good practice to get your story out there to right publications. Kahra Wayland-Larty ran a session on how to make campaign videos and get them to go viral and Faizan Fiaz ran a session on making videos using just your smartphone.
This year, we continued our Creative Club slots, offering ways to reflect on learning creatively and support wellbeing. Bootcamp graduate Amani Eke led a yoga workshop, Ellen Jones ran a workshop about art, activism and self care, facilitator Aliyah Rawat ran a workshop about collaging for self care, and Bootcamp 15 graduate Calu Lema ran a salsa dance workshop.
Campaign Stories and Performances
In the first panel of the week, migrant rights campaigner Minnie Rahman spoke about her current campaigning on the right to rent and the hostile environment as well as working on a new campaign for undocumented migrants.
Minnie told us about her involvement in uncovering the Windrush Scandal, and talked about the challenges of working with multiple groups and identities in one campaign. She also talked about confronting uncomfortable moments in the campaign, including providing quotes for publications that she said do not share her views or support migrants rights.
Minnie also talked about when she and a group of campaigners took the government to court and won! The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants challenged government policy that requires landlords to check the immigration status of tenants. They argued that this causes landlords to discriminate against people of colour, people with accents and those with ‘foreign’ names and the Judge agreed, ruling that the scheme is unlawful. Learn more about this campaign here.
In the second panel, Patrick Vernon returned from Bootcamp 16 to speak about community campaigning, running mental health campaigns, and his recent work around Windrush; Bootcamp graduate Katy Styles spoke about her campaign We Care which aims to get a better deal for the UK’s 7 million unpaid carers; and Elsie Bradley Middle spoke about how to organise in precarious work, based on her involvement in the recent strike at Wetherspoons, as well as how campaigning with ACORN won her and her friends better housing conditions.
“The fun that I have in my life is through campaigning – it’s what keeps me going.” – Katy Styles
The discussion ranged from how to choose the appropriate tactics for your situation, to how to balance work, life, family and campaigning, to building networks through the Bootcamp community, to finding joy in organising and acknowledging the little wins.
To wrap up the week’s evening activities, Bootcamp 15 graduate and activist Tobi Adebajo set up the open mic mood performing some of their songs and covers of other artists at Bootcampers request, followed by an open mic for Bootcampers that included performance, poetry and karaoke.
Fancy being part of the next Bootcamp?
Our 18th Bootcamp (which will take place next May) opens for applications at the start of 2020. Join our mailing list using the form below to be one of the first to know when applications open! You can also email the team with any questions or nominations for our scholarships. Drop us a line at [email protected]
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