This year, Next UP Saskatchewan is offering workshops on topics ranging from storytelling to media to cultural responsiveness for which people of all ages can sign up. These workshops are instead of our usual cohort model as an experiment in offering shorter trainings to more people. In November 2017 and January 2018, Next UP Saskatchewan held nine Skills for Social Change workshops including five in Saskatoon, two in Regina, and two in Swift Current with over 140 people attending at least one workshop each.
This was the first time Next UP had visited Swift Current, home of outgoing Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall. And with a population of 16,000 people, Swift Current is the smallest community Next UP has ever served. Twenty-five participants learned about and practiced Joanna Macy’s Work That Reconnects on Friday, Jan 12th and another workshop on Saturday, Jan 13th focused on storytelling based on the work of Marshall Ganz.
The workshops in all three communities were also offered in partnership with several community-based organizations, allowing Next Up to connect with people who may not have previously been familiar with our work. These partners were The Stand Community Organizing Centre, Str8 Up, Stop the Cuts, CHEP Good Food, OUTSaskatoon, Regina Public Interest Research Group, Student Energy in Action for Regina Community Health, First United Church Swift Current, Swift Current Branch Library. More workshops will be offered in the spring and summer of 2018, with the hope of reaching out to at least two or three more smaller communities.