This is a legacy page for the James Lawson Institute (JLI), which ICNC organized in 2013 and 2014.
The James Lawson Institute was an eight-day program for North American activists and organizers dedicated to the study and evaluation of movement organizing and civil resistance. The JLI was a tremendous success, but ICNC did not have the capacity to continue this resource intensive program from 2015 onward. However, the James Lawson Institute has re-constituted as an independently-funded program, and ICNC is an organizing partner in this effort. Information on the new and independent James Lawson Institute can be found here.
Below is the announcement of the 2014 JLI, organized by ICNC.
The James Lawson Institute:
An Eight-Day Experience in Strategic Evaluation of Nonviolent Civil Resistance
August 16-23, 2014 | Nashville, Tennessee
In the 1960s, the Reverend James Lawson organized and led one of the most effective campaigns of nonviolent civil resistance in the 20th century: the Nashville lunch counter sit-ins for the US Civil Rights Movement. In the years that followed he was involved in strategic planning of numerous other major campaigns and actions and was called “the mind of the movement” and “the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world” by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The US Civil Rights movement, the US Labor movement in the 1930s, the women’s suffrage movement, the anti-nuclear movement, and other movements in North America and abroad in the decades since did not just engage in activism. They organized people, mobilized them by the millions, and galvanized participation from a broad cross section of society. Collectively, these movements provide a model for how nonviolent change can be organized to win rights, justice and change in very adverse conditions.
The James Lawson Institute (JLI) looks at these past movements, and numerous contemporary ones around the world, from a strategic perspective, and engages participants in depth about a wide variety of aspects of organizing and activism in North America. It is a structured seminar to discuss what kinds of strategies, tactics and practices are effective for people organizing movements and waging civil resistance campaigns.
Topics to be discussed include:
- The Current State of North American Organizing and Activism
- The Core Dynamics of Nonviolent Civil Resistance
- Movement Formation, Sustainability, and Coalition Building
- Strategy, Tactics, and Planning
- Movement Language and Media
- Managing Repression, Radical Flanks, and Maintaining Nonviolent Discipline
The content is a mixture of theory and practice and is based on the experiences of numerous activists and organizers around the world as well as leading scholarship in the field of social movement and civil resistance. The daily schedule usually includes two presentations and two exercises, as well as an evening program. We will learn from case studies, theoretical frameworks, participant exercises, planning tools, academic research, and each other.
Sessions will be facilitated by James Lawson and the advisors and staff of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC).
Who Should Apply: North American organizers and activists who are working to organize within the United States or Canada.
The educational environment of the Institute will be rigorous, and we encourage participants to apply who want to share, learn, and work hard for the full eight days. Also, at least half of the learning during the week will draw from participants’ experiences and insights so a good base of field work and/or study in grassroots organizing, movement building, campaign organizing, nonviolent civil resistance, media work, or related areas will be very helpful.
The original application deadline of April 13, 2014 has now been extended to April 20, 2014. No applications will be accepted after April 20, 2014.
You can stay up to date with all the news on the James Lawson Institute (JLI) 2014 on our Facebook page and Twitter feed. You can view the JLI 2014 flyer here. If you have any questions, or would like to request a paper application, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
When: August 16-23, 2014
Where: Scarritt Bennett Center, Nashville,Tennessee
COST AND SCHOLARSHIPS:
Registration fees for participants are as follows:
$500 – Individuals employed by media, commercial or government organizations
$350 – Individuals with large nonprofit organizations and foundations
$200 – Individuals with local nonprofit and educational organizations
$100 – Organizers, activists and individuals not institutionally affiliated
The JLI registration fee is the only charge requested. Accommodation, all meals, and learning materials for the entire course are paid by the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC). Accommodation is in the dormitories at the Scarritt Bennett Center and meals are arranged through the Scarritt Bennett Center.
In addition to the JLI registration fee, participants or their sponsoring organizations are expected to cover their own travel expenses to and from Nashville, Tennessee. However, if an applicant or sponsoring organization cannot afford to pay for travel and/or registration costs, need-based scholarships are available and can be applied for in your JLI application.
Learn more about Rev. James Lawson and nonviolent civil resistance:
“‘A Totally Moral Man'”: The Life of Nonviolent Organizer Rev. James Lawson” by Peter Dreier, Truthout.org, August 15, 2012