June 15, 2020 @ 6:00 pm – July 2, 2020 @ 7:30 pm
Earth Activists Online

Collaborative Groups Are Necessary For Lasting Change

As I write, the streets are filled with protest and flames. We are in an insurrectionary moment, when the pain and rage of centuries of racism and injustice are bursting out. But when this moment passes, we will need to do the hard, long-term work of making systemic change. And we’ll need to do that together, in groups and communities.

We planned this course on Empowering Collaborative Groups weeks ago, but now it seems ever more relevant to explore the ways we can work together more effectively and structure our groups to nurture creativity, connection, and impact. In doing so, we’ll need to confront some of the deep structures that separate us, as racism does, and learn to be more effective allies.

When we create and work together in community, we are forced to deal with—other people! Those annoying beings who do not always agree with us, and want their own way! Collaborative groups may be healing, nurturing, and inspirational—or they may founder on the rocks of conflict and poor communication. But when we understand their patterns and challenges, we can design structures that favor supportive, nurturing relationships—in person, and online.

In this three-week online course, Starhawk guides us through her book The Empowerment Manual: A Guide for Collaborative Groups. We’ll explore how to create a group vision and mission, how to balance power and responsibility, accountability and trust.

Tickets are limited so we can keep the class more manageable and interactive, so if you would like to attend, please register soon!

What You’ll Learn

Communication skills for face-to-face and virtual interactions,

How to identify patterns that make for problems in relationships.

Craft a group vision and write your mission statement

Design group structure and form agreements

Manage and transform conflict

Step into your personal power within your group

Return to your group with actionable skills to improve communication and relationships

Insights from both permaculture and magic will help us learn to be more effective and joyful as we work together to regenerate our world. 

This Course Is For You If You Are:

  • A group or organization seeking to make change.
  • An individual involved in social justice/political organizing
  • A nonprofit, NGO, or ongoing long-term organization that seeks to work collaboratively.
  • A spiritual circle, ritual group, or faith community.
  • A community group, Transition Town, collective, or worker-run cooperative.
  • An intentional community, co-housing community, collective household, or a group living together for economic reasons.
  • Seeking to start a community or collective living group in the future.
  • A collaborative arts, theater, or music group… or a band!
  • An Individual wanting to take skills back to share with their community.

Course Topics

  • Forming a group vision and mission.
  • Power, privilege and responsibility: how do we build meaningful diversity in our groups and communities? How do we challenge the dominant culture and become strong allies and accomplices for one another?
  • Communication: why is it more complex in collaborative groups? Creating a culture of appreciation and accountability. Effective feedback and constructive critique. Building trust.
  • Group structure and boundaries: In-groups and out-groups. Norms, rules and agreements.
  • Embracing, not fearing conflict: constructive conflict and mediation. Dealing with difficult people (starting with ourselves!)
  • ‘Leaderful’, not leaderless groups: different leadership styles and approaches. Eldership. Stepping into our power.

What’s Included

  • 6 live, interactive 90 minute sessions with Starhawk, all recorded for viewing at your leisure (though we highly recommend attending live when possible.)
  • Digital materials, readings and exercises you can download and use with your own groups.
  • Membership in our private online training community where you can connect, share, and learn with others in the course.
  • Ongoing support through the course from our teaching assistants.
  • Community engagement with Starhawk via our virtual classroom.
  • An exclusive discount code for the course text,The Empowerment Manual by Starhawk

Course Structure & Schedule

We highly recommend attending live if possible! The live sessions will include interactive exercises that will help you apply your learning in a hands-on way. Our live sessions will take place on Mondays & Thursdays beginning June 15th through July 2nd, 6-7:30pm Pacific Time (find your timezone here). All sessions will be recorded and uploaded to our virtual classroom for you to watch when you can.

Session 1: Vision, Values, and Mission | Monday, June 15th

Session 2: Power and Responsibility | Thursday, June 18th

Session 3: Communication and Trust | Monday, June 22nd

Session 4: Inclusion/Exclusion, Norms and Rules | Thursday, June 25th

Session 5: Conflict in Groups | Monday, June 29th

Session 6: Leadership and Eldership | Thursday, July 22nd

* This course counts toward completion of our Regenerative Land Management Curriculum.

Textbook for the Course

Starhawk. The Empowerment Manual: A Guide for Collaborative Groups. New Society Publishers, 2011.

This book draws on Starhawk’s decades of experience—often wonderful, sometimes painful—in spiritual groups, activist groups, permaculture groups, collective households and more.

After you register, you will receive a discount code to purchase a copy of The Empowerment Manual (digital or paperback) directly from the publisher.


We have several Diversity Scholarships available for this session, as well as a handful of Work-Trade slots. If you would like to apply, please take a couple minutes to fill out this application:

Apply for Diversity Scholarship or Work-Trade

If you are finding trade or price to be a barrier, please send an email to info@earthactivisttraining.org with a brief introduction.

A Note on EAT’s Financial Values

Earth Activist Training wants our courses to be accessible, and don’t ever want money to be a barrier to people getting the information, skills and resources they need. We believe people should be paid fairly for their work, including our instructors, administrators, tech people and coordinators.

Frankly, these two values sometimes seem to be in conflict. We do the best we can to find a fair balance. We offer many resources for free or at very low cost, and charge for others. We fundraise to support scholarships and work trade for our online and in-person courses—but that also takes time and work. When you donate, pay for a course or pay at the top of our scale, that helps support our organization, provides access for those who have fewer resources, and helps us keep the work sustainable.

We know this is a hard time for many of us financially as well as in every other way—and that includes our team who have all lost major sources of their livelihoods in the last months. We are deeply grateful for the generosity so many of you have shown. We can take care of one another! Thank you!

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