USSF Transformative Practice Track Workshops

There are over 1000 workshops to be presented at the US Social Forum (USSF).

Here is a list of the Transformative Practice Track Workshops that are being offered by various transformative social change intermediaries, as well as a link to “Practice Every Minute” the schedule of offerings at the Transformative Practice Canopy in the USSF Village.


Defining Transformation for Social Change


Event Date:  Fri, 06/25/2010 – 1:00pm – 5:30pm 9:00am-12pm Location:  Transformative Canopy

More and more people are using the term transformation to describe the type of fundamental change that is needed to make society more just and livable for all people (and for all life) on the planet. A critical question is: what is transformation, and how is it distinct from change? This People’s Movement Assembly on Transformation seeks to explore the nature of transformation as it relates to processes of change in general and most particularly as it relates to social change. The purpose of the PMA is to identify the essence of transformation and concretely recommend transformative approaches for social change activists that can inform practices for individuals, organizations, alliances, social change movements, and society as a whole. We will explore, practice, and discuss methodologies of transformative practice from a variety of modalities. Specifically the PMA will seek to create a resolution on Transformation that aims to answer these questions:

1. How do we define transformation? What standards do we want to hold for what transformation is and isn’t?

2. Why is Transformation and Transformative Practice important to the Movement?

3. Why is it essential to integrate personal and systemic transformation?




  • fearlessMEDITATION I:  Practice of the Body

Event Date:  Wed, 06/23/2010 – 10:00am – 12:00pm    Event Location:  Cobo Hall: DO-6B

Fearless Meditation 1: Practice of the body is the first part in a 3 part in depth introduction to non sectarian, universal meditation taught in a social justice context and aimed directly to agents of social change. The workshop rearticulates inner awareness practice in a social justice framework, relating how we engage on the cushion to how we behave in the world. fM I liberates inner awareness practice from the mainstream making it ownable by agents of social change. The workshop helps participants gain confidence, balance, and insight through the “Fearless Sitting” technique developed by master meditation instructor, angel Kyodo williams. fMI focuses on developing the foundation to establish a “steady, comfortable seat” for a stable body and stable mind. Participants can address challenges and start or strengthen a personal sitting meditation practice. The workshop is transformative for beginners and experienced meditators.

By participating in this workshop, participants will:

1) learn how to take a steady, comfortable seat;

2) learn about the M.A.P. of social transformation (mindfulness, awareness, presence);

3) learn how fearless Meditation can help them be more effective activists or agents of social change.


  • Transformative Organizing 101

Event Date:  Wed, 06/23/2010 – 1:00pm – 3:00pm    Event Location:  UAW Building: Ford

Transformative Organizing is an entirely new form of social justice organizing that equally values personal transformation and societal transformation. It sees both of them as essential and integrated into a unified theory of change. Transformative Organizing 101 and 201 Workshops will emphasize an understanding of new frameworks that distinguish change from fundamental transformation and will focus on concrete practices that change the organizer as well as the organized.

The workshops will be based on the work of the Transformative Organizing Initiative (TOI), a multi-year training program that is currently training 85 staff and 70 grassroots leaders from 17 organizations in New York City. TOI is developing a model for transformative organizing – a model based on the belief that transforming ourselves by aligning our behaviors/actions with our values and beliefs with the way we do social change work, can lay the foundation for long-term transformation of society. TOI focuses on generating transformative practices that inform organizing strategies, organizational development, political education and personal transformation.

  • Transformative Organizing 201

Event Date:  Wed, 06/23/2010 – 3:30pm – 5:30pm    Event Location:  TWW: 5

This is the final workshop in the Transformative Organizing series. It is for participants in Transformative Organizing 101 and emphasizes organizational practices for deep transformation.


  • Growing Wings:  Evolving out the Non-Profit

Event Date: Wed, 06/23/2010 – 1:00pm – 3:00pm Event Location:  WSU Student Center: 786

Can you imagine a time when social justice movement work in the United States won’t have to depend on the wealth of rich people and corporations (foundation money)? With deep financial cuts to many non-profits and a record number of organizational closings, we’re feeling more need to re-evaluate the ways in which our communities have done social justice work in the past! In this workshop, you will hear about how several different radical, culturally based, young adult grassroots membership organizations in urban communities of color in the East Bay (California) do their work inside and outside of non-profit agencies. Come hear about how we work across non-profit borders to build movement, share membership, build radical leadership and do transformative work! Exchange ideas about how to evolve out of our dependence on non-profits by creating other structures; share lessons learned, challenges, and inspiration from our experience. We want our participants to experience examples of (1) how several youth organizations run outside of the non-profit system, (2) how grassroots organizations can be in mutually beneficial relationships with non profits, and (3) conceptual understanding of why doing most of social movement work through non profits alone does not serve us [the non-profit industrial complex]. We will also introduce ideas of resistance to and reform of the current system plus building alternative institutions to pave the way for the future we want – we will relate this to non-profits and grassroots organizations. This workshop will be really youth friendly and fun!


  • Politicizing Trauma:  Somatic, Trauma and Transformation in Our Movements

Event Date:  Wed, 06/23/2010 – 1:00pm – 5:30pm    Event Location:  Cobo Hall: DO-4C

The impact of personal and social trauma/oppression is highly visible and deeply felt within our communities, organizations and movements. Changing this impact and its causes is one of the reasons we do the work we do – organize, serve, take action, vision and build. Addressing trauma has long been seen as individual healing process available to those with access. We see all trauma (individual and collective), as inseparable from a social context. It is essential, given the historical, generational and current systemic conditions, to understand how deeply it affects our sociual organizing.

In this interactive workshop, participants will be introduced to innovative trauma theory and core somatic concepts and practices. We will learn to recognize symptoms of trauma and apply somatic processes for redeveloping safety, protection and alliance, and access resilience within ourselves and our communities. Somatics offers us new ways to understand and transform the long-lasting impacts of trauma by learning how to track our individual and collective embodied reactions to it by building and supporting resilience in individuals and communities facing traumatic conditions. Working through individual and collective bodies (Somatics), has proven to be one of the most powerful methodologies to address trauma. Developing skills to recognize, work with, transform and organize from an informed deep understanding of trauma, can make our work more powerful.



  • Somatics and Social Justice:  New Ways of Understanding Transformation

Event Date:  Thu, 06/24/2010 – 1:00pm – 5:30pm    Event Location:  Cobo Hall: DO-7A

For decades, Somatics has been a powerful path for understanding transformation through the body. It’s offered a new paradigm for understanding how we continue to perpetuate the behavior patterns and systems we are trying to change, and offers theory and practice through which individuals and groups can transform. Through somatic process and practice, we can change what has become deeply habitual or automatic and develop transformative practice. We are able then to “embody” what we most deeply value and can act from that place. We learn to respond to stress, oppression and trauma guided by a libratory vision.

As a change method that centers the mind/body as the primary site for understanding and transforming the impact of trauma, somatics also offers relevant processes for:

  • personal and collective healing,
  • leadership development,
  • building stronger relationships and trust and
  • weather conflict acting on principle more than reaction.

While somatics as a discipline has primarily been used to increase resilience and capacity for individuals and groups – we believe that it can also be used to inform a deeper understanding of systemic trauma and collective social change. We believe that it has the potential to be a transformative framework for individuals and groups working to change relations of power in the world. We believe that a collective use of somatics can increase the holistic effectiveness and relative impact of community organizing and movement building. Through 2009 and early 2010, we gathered 25 organizers and movement builders to explore that application of somatic principles and practices to movement work and grappled with what we really meant by transformation. In this experiential workshop we will share our learning so far and continue to explore how somatics can inform ways we take collective action, address systemic trauma, and embody liberation.



  • Art is Change:  Art & Creative Practice for Cultural and Political Transformation

Event Date: Fri, 06/25/2010 – 1:00pm – 3:00pm   Event Location:  Cobo Hall: O2-38

“Art Is Change: Art & Creative Practice for Cultural and Political Transformation” will be an interactive/experiential session that introduces the idea of cultural transformation as a framework for political and social justice work. Participants will explore and experiment with the impact of art and creative process, tell stories of that  impact on their own work, and challenge each other with questions that are on the cutting edge of cultural organizing. This includes the tension between cultural equity and cultural transformation and the challenges of embodying our cultural values.


A full schedule of practice and practice-based workshops will take place every program day (Wednesday-Friday) of the Forum in the Transformative Practice Canopy in the USSF Village. (Tuesday is Opening Ceremony and Saturday is an All-Forum Assembly)

Click the links below to view and download a schedule of the wide range of practice and learning opportunities available:

Transformative Practice & Organizing Workshops & Canopy Schedule
View and download online here (PRINT quality):

Read about the many streams that flow into one great river of Transforming Our Movements that will be representing at the USSF

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