Call for Workshops

 5th Annual Twin Cities Social Justice Education Fair

Call for Workshops

Theme: Upset the Setup!


Submit workshop proposals by Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

There’s a lot cooking in the Twin Cities and the social justice pot is bubbling over! Whether it’s student walkouts, teach-ins, takeovers and/or curriculum restructuring students, staff, and families are sending a clear message that the educational system is fundamentally flawed and they’re out to reclaim what is rightfully theirs- an educational experience that challenges the status quo and forces us to think critically and act radically. From K-12 education to Adult Basic Education (ABE), all the way to the colleges and universities, many of us know that we are learning, teaching and laboring in spaces that were designed without many of us in mind. We’ve entertained the existing educational system’s politricks for far too long, which is why we’re calling on youth, educators, families, school staff , and communities to “Upset the Setup!”

Upsetting the Setup requires a commitment to radical politics. “Radical” comes from the word “radix” which means “root” in Latin. We can no longer invest our time and energy in educational reform that does more to till the soil of power and domination than uproot systems of oppression. We are interested in change from the ground up. In the spirit of Audre Lorde, attempting to fix the setup with the tools provided to us by those in power will only support the foundations of the setup rather than dismantle it. We all have the capacity to be better builders. However, we must also learn what systems of power and oppression must be destroyed in order to build an educational space that is both for us and by us.

As we work together to dismantle hierarchies in the spaces we learn, we seek a liberation education that frees us from biased curriculum, isolated classrooms, school resource officers (police), teachers and educational standards that deny our collective empowerment. We know that as social institutions, schools can never be the sole gatekeepers of knowledge. For those whose (intersecting) identities are constructed as deficits, schools tend to examine, extract, and exploit the rich gifts and contributions of (multiply) marginalized students.

Community remains one of the most valuable sites of knowledge production, and there are plenty of undercover intellectuals without formal credentials who could teach the educational system more than they can ever be given credit for. So while we upset the setup, we must also step up and support the informal systems of education rooted in our communities. In other words, as we uproot the unequal elements of traditional education, we establish roots in the spaces we call home. We invest our hopes for revolutionary educational change in  one another, not the setup.

We are currently seeking proposals for workshops from those committed to upsetting the setup we call “education.” Please submit a brief proposal of no more than 200 words by visiting our website by Wednesday, September 21st, 2016.

Below are some questions and themes we intend to wrestle with and build on at the fair!

  • How do we build solidarity across our different educational roles to support youth organizers committed to upsetting the setup?
  • How can we interrogate the spaces in which we learn (e.g. schools) while appreciating the spaces that taught us the most (e.g. community)?
  • What critical and radical teaching and learning strategies can and do we, as educators, parents, staff, and young people, engage to revalue and foster our community knowledges in the service of “upsetting the set up” within schools and beyond, in community spaces?  
  • In the course of organizing to upset the setup, how do we avoid reproducing the same types of violence and oppression we seek to dismantle?
  • How can we be in but not of the setup called “education”?
  • How do we uproot systems of educational inequality rather than continuously till the soil under the guise of “reform,” “policy change,” and “inclusion?”

Come through and help us imagine and plan for a new educational system. We need you to step up and help Upset the Setup!

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