Working Group on Organizing, Social Movements, and the Academy

August 20-21, 1998

University of California, Davis

Invitation to Participate Background Information New: Schedule of Events


Dear Colleague:

You are invited to participate in a conversation among activists, community leaders and organizers, academics, and funders to examine collaborative relationships that advance the fields of social activism and community organizing. The Working Group on Organizing, Social Movements, and the Academy meets in Davis, California, August 20 - 22, 1998. It is sponsored by Interfaith Funders and the American Sociological Association Section on Collective Behavior and Social Movements, and COMM-ORG, the on-line conference on community organizing and development

The Working Group will include those who have done collaborative work and those who have not. We will explore the possibilities and challenges in participating in collaborative work, and discuss how to broaden and deepen its practice. (Following this letter is a brief description of collaborative work). We hope to come out of the meeting with some vision of future possibilities and some plans for implementing them.

Collaborative relationships between activists, leaders, organizers, academics, and funders creates:

The meeting of the Working Group starts at noon, Thursday August 20 with lunch, a welcome, and a panel discussion on the possibilities and challenges in collaborative work. Participants will then work in small groups to develop ideas and questions. We will continue working on Friday, then reconvene to identify key ideas and questions. For those able to stay, we will meet Saturday to discuss and perhaps plan future directions for collaborative work.

Invited participants include:

The cost of the workshop will be between $200 and $260 for registration, room in one of the U.C. Davis dormitories, and most meals. If you plan to attend, please complete and return the accompanying registration forms. (Note: This Working Group is nested within a larger Workshop on Social Movements and Society - the registration fee of $75 [$100 after June 15] goes to this Workshop, and will allow you to participate in its opening plenary on Wednesday, August 19. Some members of this Working Group plan to attend this plenary; others do not. There is no separate registration fee for the Working Group.)

If you wish to register, please see below.

We hope you will attend.


Rob Kleidman and Randy Stoecker, on behalf of the planning group for the Working Group on Organizing, Social Movements, and the Academy:


There is a growing conversation among social activists, community leaders and organizers, academics, and funders, around how to advance the fields of community organizing and other forms of social activism. There is also an increasing amount of collaborative work, usually at the local level, between activists, leader, organizers, and academics, and an emerging literature on how to do collaborative projects.

Collaborative projects completed or underway include:

Often, activists, leaders, and organizers are involved in the origin, design, execution, and evaluation of these projects.

Beyond the specific results of individual projects, the growth of collaborative work:

Two important models for collaborative work are:

The Policy Research Action Group (PRAG), a collaborative partnership in Chicago between four universities and more than twenty community organizations. PRAG funds grassroots policy research projects identified and developed by community organizations, and disseminates research results to policy makers and community activists

COMM-ORG, the on-line conference on community organizing and development. Operating out of the University of Toledo, COMM-ORG provides a Worldwide Web site with many resources and links for organizers and academics, and an ongoing e-mail discussion on issues relevant to organizing