Highlights

Learning opportunities…

 

  • Guerrilla Workshop Spaces - Attendees are welcome to self-organize and the designated workshop space solely for Guerrilla Workshops.

  • Inter-Cooperative Council & College Houses Tours - ICC Austin is made up of 9 unique houses and College Houses is made up of 7 unique co-ops. Join us on a tour led by local members and is free to attend on Friday

  • Collective Liberation Caucus - This is a forum to examine how our movements for liberation intersect with each other and to build our work based in a common vision of a liberated world.

  • Identity-based Caucuses - Caucuses are spaces for participants from similar identities to co-create, share experiences, strategize, and build power. 

  • Over 50 workshops in 6-course blocks throughout Sat-Sun with course tracks for areas of interest such as Applied Anti-Oppression, Building Cooperative Skills, Connecting to the Cooperative Movement, Cooperate Locally, Developing New Cooperatives, and The Staff and Managers.

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Keynote Speaker: Dr. Tane Ward

Tane Ward PhD is an organizer, author and educator based in Austin, Texas.  Over more than 15 years he has led indigenous resistance campaigns designed to block extractive mining and other development projects.  He has held a number or roles as a director, manager, facilitator and trainer in various organizations and grassroots movements throughout North and South America.  Tane earned his PhD in 2014 in Anthropology from the University of Texas. He writes poetry, nonfiction and fiction focused on mythology, mysticism, social justice and indigenous knowledge.  His first book The Maze of Creation: An Alchemists Guide to the Center is currently being published on Little Crow Press.

 

Housing can Heal us All

Tane Ward PhD will deliver the keynote address this year – Housing can Heal us All – where he will ask: What can the cooperative housing movement teach society about how we communicate and heal?

Over many years of decolonial organizing work, Ward has seen firsthand and written about the colonial wounds that stratify our society.  Decolonial praxis upends the dominant order and orients people around cooperative relationships with the natural world and each other. Healing is key in understanding why and how this will come about.  In this keynote address, Ward will express how this work is undertaken in the homes and hearts of all people.  He will emphasize the power and possibility within the alternative housing movement to bring about societal transformation in both minor acts of daily life and in large-scale political movements.

 

Friday Programming 

Friday there will be pre-conference a day long for cooperative Staff and Managers as well as a day long session for Student/Member leaders that are seeking professional development in the field of cooperatives. Additionally there will be a Cooperative Austin Tour which is an additional fee of $40 USD per person, payable with registration, covers round trip transportation, local tour guides, and lunch. In addition to the free Friday afternoon tours of local housing cooperatives ICC and College houses. 

 

Co-op Development Track

With the cost of living constantly on the rise, the demand for affordable housing solutions is greater than ever. NASCO has pulled together a team of experts to take future co-op founders through the process of starting a new housing co-op, from clarifying the initial concept to drafting your business plan. Workshops in this weekend-long series provide a comprehensive training on the development process.

 

Banquet & Hall of Fame

Every year, the Banquet is a time for all Institute participants to share the same space in reflection, over a hearty meal. We welcome new members to the movement and, in the Hall of Fame Ceremony, recognize individuals who have shown outstanding commitment to the cooperative movement through their hard work and tireless enthusiasm for cooperation. Those wishing to run for Active Member Representative will give brief speeches before members have the opportunity to vote for them.

 

Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) is where NASCO members can voice their opinions and engage in NASCO’s governance. It is also the forum for active members to nominate and elect an Active Member Representative, who serves a one-year term on the NASCO board of directors. AGM delegates will receive a reduction in their registration fees (1 per co-op). 

 

Scholarships

Scholarships funded by donations from private individuals and charitable organizations are offered to attendees whose co-ops have limited resources.

Many co-ops offer their own scholarships and arrange travel for their members to attend the Institute. Additionally, many colleges or universities make funding available for students to attend educational events. Contact your co-op office and/or educational institution for more information.

 

Community Agreements

We ask that conference attendees use the following agreements as ground rules throughout the Institute. These are offered as tools for participants to hold themselves and each other accountable as we engage in a respectful and challenging educational process.

 

One Diva, One Mic

Please, in both large and small groups, one person speaks at a time. It can also be useful to ask people to leave space between speakers, for those who need more time to process words or are less comfortable fighting for airtime in a conversation.

 

No One Knows Everything; Together We Know A Lot

This means we all get to practice being humble because we have something to learn from everyone in the room. It also means we all have a responsibility to share what we know, as well as our questions, so that others may learn from us.

 

Move Up, Move Up

If you’re someone who tends to not speak a lot, please move up into a role of speaking more. If you tend to speak a lot, please move up into a role of listening more. Listening is often seen as a passive skillset and is often less valued - when you choose to prioritize your listening skills, you help the whole group. This is a twist on the on the more commonly heard “step up, step back.” The “up/up” confirms that in both experiences, growth is happening. (You don’t go “back” by learning to be a better listener.) Saying “move” instead of “step” recognizes that not everyone can step.

 

Recognize Intent and Address Impact 

We recognize people’s best intentions when unintentionally causing harm. The impact of someone's actions may not have been intended but nonetheless should be addressed. 

 

What’s Said Here Stays Here; What’s Learned Here Leaves Here

Respect confidentiality. Don’t share people’s personal stories outside of a workshop, but do share the lessons that you learn. Also, don’t use what you’ve heard to shape your full conception of a person or an organization.

 

We Can’t All Be Articulate All of the Time

As much as we’d like, we just can’t. Often, people feel hesitant to participate in a workshop or meeting for fear of “messing up” or stumbling over their words. We want everyone to feel comfortable participating, even if you can’t be as articulate as you’d like, and create a space of learning and dialogue. This helps us move past the barriers of language, class, and institutional education access.

 

Be Curious

We make better decisions when we approach our problems and challenges with questions (“What if we…?”) and curiosity. Allow space for play, curiosity, and creative thinking.

 

Expect and Accept a Lack of Closure

The goal of this conference is to be learning new concepts, developing questions, making connections, and beginning ideas. With such a short amount of time and such diverse content, it is an unrealistic goal to expect closure on every topic. Move beyond a ‘fear of missing out’ and embrace the process.

 

The framing and language for these community agreements were created in partnership with AORTA: Anti-Oppression Resource and Training Alliance. Most of these agreements were not created directly by AORTA and are borrowed from various people’s movements for justice. Get in touch: www.aorta.coop.