Group discussions are the most popular format for workshops at Bike!Bike!. They normally start with a problem that exists within our organizations, attendees speak to their struggle attempting solving this problem, strategies that they have implemented which have worked and those that have failed.
A facilitator should prepare for the workshop by preparing and asking questions, summarizing, setting guidelines, and keeping discussion relatively on point. It is good practice to ask for a volunteer to help keep track of those that wish to speak by watching for hands, doing both can quickly become overwhelming. It is also good practice to ask for volunteer translators, you will probably want to poll your audience first to see if they will be required.
Your audience size may vary, you may want to prepare some different strategies you wish to employ if you end up with a small group as well as decide how that will change if end up with a crowd that is larger than expected. For example, having each person speak to an experience might be very productive if you have ten or fewer people but would not work for a much larger group.
For smaller groups you will want to ask each person present to introduce themselves before beginning your discussion, for larger groups it is better to ask people to introduce themselves once they first speak. An introduction normally consists of each persons' name, organization/city, and pronoun (he/she/they...). Because pronouns are often used in discussions, to reduce the chance of conflict it is important to make note of this and do your best to ensure that you respect it.
A presentation workshop is the format that is common at most traditional conferences but not very common at Bike!Bike!. Presentations are a dialog between the presenter(s) and an audience, often aided by a slideshow. Some time should be saved for questions afterwards or throughout the presentation. Presentation are often used to Bike!Bike! normally demonstrate an organization's experience undergoing a new initiative such as starting a new organization, planning a large event, or re-organizing a space. These experiences are best demonstrated when speaking about first-hand accounts.
Having translations and/or a a translator on hand is best, ask around for help if you can, otherwise it is best to clearly state in your description and before your presentation that translation will not be available.
Demonstrating bike building and repair techniques take place at one of the host organizations' repair workspaces. Remember that Bike!Bike! attendees have a range of bike mechanical experience from novice to expert. If your workshop is intended for beginners or experts, please note this in the description and before the workshop gets underway.
A series of questions are asked to "experts". It is good practice to have an experienced moderator and prepare focused questions and a variety of viewpoints represented in panelists.
In this format of workshop, participants are asked to solve a challenge, engage in a game, or role-play. This can be a difficult format to plan but is often memorable and rewarding for participants. This style of workshop typically uses the experiential cycle of experience->reflect->generalize->apply.
tour of notable or important locations in the area. Ex; Local community & school bike shops. Spots of historical or cultural significance relating in some way to the themes of the conference.
There are usually three to four workshops happening simultaneously. Attendance for each workshop is between 5-60 people. For large discussion or activity workshops, you might consider splitting people into smaller groups to allow for discussion.
If you have multiple facilitators-you may want to have someone co-facilitate your workshop, especially if it is a discussion based workshop. One person can keep discussion on track while the other keeps a speaking queue (takes stack).
Be prepared for people to attend who may not be fluent in the language that you intend to present your workshop in. It is best if you can find a volunteer to help translate your content before or during the workshop. Most commonly, a volunteer will translate/interpret what you and anyone else says immediately after it is said. This may slow down the flow of the workshop some.
Make a Plan
Have a timeline and outline for your workshop. You don't have to follow it, but thinking in advance about what you want to cover and how much time to use in different areas will help people to get the most out of your workshop. In a discussion workshop, have a list of questions for the group. Think about what you will do if conflict begins to happen in the workshop, or if the discussion begins to go in an unanticipated direction. Neither of these things are necessarily bad, and some of the most productive learning experiences can be emotional, uncomfortable, conflict-filled, and unplanned. A safer-space doesn't need to mean a conflict free or comfortable for everyone space, especially if those who are uncomfortable or challenged are the ones who have systemic privilege.
Privilege and anti-oppression
- Be aware of the dynamics of privilege and anti-oppression
- Be aware if certain people are dominating the conversation and how facilitation could help this
- Having a speakers list, not allowing interruptions, or making sure everyone has the opportunity to speak before allowing the same person to speak again can help in some cases
- Asking people to communicate their ideas through a group or partner, rather than directly to group
- Don't put people on the spot because of their identity of race, gender, or other characteristics