Apply to Lead a NASCO Institute Session

NASCO is inviting proposals for presentations at this year's Cooperative Education and Training Institute, November 2-4, 2018 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Proposals will be evaluated on a rolling basis, so get your proposal in early! The extended deadline to submit a workshop proposal is August 17th. Final programming decisions will be made by the end of August. Staff are happy to discuss your session proposal ideas - email to get in touch.

This year's conference theme is NASCO’s 50th anniversary: a Legacy of Cooperation. As a movement, we exist because of those who came before us. This year we will be taking a look through history and the lessons learned from co-ops and inter-cooperative initiatives in the past. Co-ops large and small have lessons to be shared from co-op experiences of inter-cooperation, experiments in direct democracy, innovative projects in sustainability,  building regional networks by supporting allied movements for justice, and so many unique projects that can be taken as case studies for this year’s gathering.

In addition to courses related to our theme, we're always looking for fantastic cooperative educational programming in: foundational and advanced cooperative skills for members, leaders, and developers; cooperative movement history; tools for creating anti-oppressive cooperative spaces; profiles of innovative organizations and initiatives; topical issues faced by co-ops of all sizes; and professional development for co-op staff. These courses don't necessarily need to relate to our theme, so submit the proposal that you think is best.

There are six types of session:

  • Presentation: Participants receive information from 1 or more presenters. The presentation may include activities, discussions, or Q&A but for the purpose of transmitting information from presenters to presentees. A panel is a kind of presentation where discussion is facilitated primarily between a group of pre-selected knowledgable people.
  • Workshop: Participants work together to create something, such as a body of shared knowledge, piece of art, or report. The facilitator of the session primarily serves to help the group work together by providing a framework and methodologies, but does not necessarily contribute to the work product.
  • Skill Training: Participants practice a skill or set of skills with the instruction and guidance of a trainer. A skill-share requires appropriate materials and space for participants to practice a skill, such as computers for accounting, dance floor for embodied movement, or simply small groups for communication skills. If time/space/materials are limited, not every participant may have a chance to practice directly and instead learn from observing others demonstrating/learning. However, if only the presenter demonstrates the skill, the session is more properly a presentation.
  • Networking: Participants connect with each other, generally for the purpose of developing relationships that will be of use in the future. A facilitator will provide structures for participants to learn about the backgrounds, skills, aspirations, connections, problems, and successes of other participants. Small group discussions and self-organizing can often bring out shared affinities and needs. Networking is often a primary objective of conference attendees and thus most sessions already serve this function, even when not intentionally designed for this purpose.
  • Healing/Growing: Participants grow as human beings through processes of healing, introspection, discernment, and communion. As a conference session, this could look like a skill-share in which participants learn practices of self- or other-healing; it could look like a presentation in which a presenter primarily provides ideas and information that provoke thought and transformation; or other types of sessions. The distinguishing characteristic of a Healing/Growing session is the intention that participants leave the session with deeper personal awareness and/or revived emotionally or physically. Healing/Growing activities often occur at conferences outside of the traditional course blocks...during meals, caucuses, faith gatherings, morning yoga, etc.
  • Collaboration: Participants plan for collective action. Like a workshop, the participants are working together to create something. In this case, the work-product is a plan of action which the participants are personally committing to carry out after the session. This could be a plan for organizational change that the participants will hold each other to. This could plans to organize a rally or protest, or create a new organization. A Collaboration session may or may not need a facilitator at all.

Courses are organized by category. You may select multiple categories for a proposal, though you must select at least one of the following:

  • Building Cooperative Skills
  • Connecting to the Cooperative Movement
  • Applied Anti-Oppression
  • Conference Theme: "Legacy of Cooperation"
  • Developing New Cooperatives

Courses will generally be 90 minutes long. We will be creating space for a few day-long and half-day intensive trainings. The intensive format is designed to allow participants to dig deeply into one topic, and emerge from the weekend with a more integrated set of new tools and ideas. If you believe that your course requires extra time, you may indicate this in your proposal. (Intensive space is limited).

When planning your session, please strive to include content that is accessible to a broad audience. NASCO is a bi-national organization and conference attendees hail from the U.S. and Canada (and beyond!), representing student and community co-ops from a variety of sizes and sectors (primarily housing, dining, retail, and worker). Whenever possible, try to include information about cooperatives that are different from your own. If you are discussing a legal phenomenon that affects one country (or state/province), do a little research and share information that is relevant to all conference attendees rather than just some. If you're teaching people introductory accounting/budgeting skills, are you including examples from different types/sizes of cooperatives? Some subjects require specialization, and that's okay - but be intentional and clear when choosing to limit the scope of a workshop to a specific audience. Also, please be sure to plan courses that are accessible to people with various disabilities. Feel free to get in touch with NASCO staff if you would like support addressing these requests.

If you're looking for guidance, you may review previous years' conference materials on our website. 

NASCO encourages proposals from women, people of color, low-income people, people with disabilities, queer-identified people, and people of transgender and/or gender-non-conforming experience.

For each session we can offer one free registration (may be split between co-presenters) and partial funding for travel expenses. Because we have limited resources, we may prioritize presenters with lower travel costs or presenters who are able to facilitate more than one session. We are not able to offer funding to skillshare presenters (unless they are also presenting a workshop or other session).

Thanks for helping to make the Institute an awesome experience!

Presenter Info
What should we call you? e.g. she/her, he/him, they/them, ze/hir, etc.
Please submit your bio, written in the third-person, for our website and program guide. 60-100 words per presenter.
Session Proposal
50-100 words, formatted for print/website.
Please provide an outline of your session and/or any notes on the session. This information is for our review and will not be distributed.
How much time are you requesting for this workshop? (Check multiple options if you are flexible.)
This session is appropriate for ... (select all that apply)
Low-tech sessions are encouraged.
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Please upload supporting documents or presentation materials here.
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