Social Spaces Summit 2013 – Nov 8-11

what it is

The four day Social Spaces Summit will bring folks together that are doing work for radical social change. The Summit is not a conference, but a space for organizers to share common struggles, strategies, and experiences; a space to cross-pollinate, share resources, build relationships (new and old), challenge our praxis, and gain skills.

who’s it for

Organizers of radical social centers, infoshops, libraries, student resource centers, co-ops, artist-run spaces, anyone who works in a physical space that aims for radical social, ecological and political justice.


November 8 – 11, 2013


Vancouver, BC – Unceded and Occupied Coast Salish Territories. We hold the summit in a few different physical spaces that are doing radical organizing work in Vancouver. We will announce the specific locations* soon, and will include accessibility information at that time.


The fees are on a sliding scale from $20 to $200.

Our goal is to make the summit financially accessible for everyone:

  • we will be providing food for the four days and because we strive to make sure everyone has something to eat during the summit, there will be space on the registration form for folks to list food needs and if desired, to be part of the kitchen crew.
  • there will be childcare, as well as activities that include all ages.
  • we have billets for those who request them.
  • limited travel funding is available, please contact us for details


To register, please visit our registration page: /s3-registration (not up yet)

*NOTE: you do not have to present/run a workshop to attend!

Contact us with any questions:

S3 has three main themes:

Decolonization and Space //  Solidarity in Action // Organizing Collectively

As communities who run social spaces, we know about the vulnerabilities of the spaces we work to protect. Sometimes our spaces can fall apart because of structural and interpersonal violence playing out between collective members, sometimes we just don’t have the right tools for getting our shit organized, and often we are fighting against larger forces such as colonialism and capitalism that make it difficult both politically and financially to keep our spaces together.

The Social Spaces Summit is a forum where organizers of social spaces can come together to share skills, have some of the hard conversations, and make connections that will strengthen our movements, communities, and spaces.

Through our three themes we want to address the successes and struggles that we all encounter as folks who are part of social spaces. Below are the three themes outlined with the beginnings of a list of potential workshop/skillshare ideas for each theme. They are just a guide, please do send in your ideas for workshops and skillshares.

1. Decolonization and Space: We recognize that any discussion of space on Turtle Island (on lands claimed by the U.S. and Canada) needs to begin with a serious engagement with the problem of ongoing colonialism. This summit will work toward creative solutions to deepen our relationship to space with an anti-colonial lens. This is key to ending the injustices perpetrated by colonial states who have dispossessed indigenous people of their land, where our spaces reside.

  • strategies for decolonization
  • possibilities for a decolonized commons
  • unpacking and resisting global neoliberalism
  • strategies for engaging with the city
  • funding spaces (income streams & the NGO industrial complex)
  • alternatives to landlords, and land ownership

2. Solidarity in Action: One of the goals of the summit is to create concrete ways to support each other, and to connect each of our spaces’ struggles with the broader issues of displacement and gentrification in our communities.  We hope to challenge and ask the tough questions about how to both keep our spaces thriving, while at the same time being in solidarity with the folks who are most deeply affected by the neo-colonial urban injustices that are rampant in our cities.

  • building solidarity
  • homes as social spaces
  • gentrification
  • understanding common ground and complicity
  • accessibility (physical, emotional, age, economic…)
  • sharing spaces (mutual aid & generosity)

3. Organizing Collectively: Most of our social spaces incorporate a wide spectrum of different forms of collective organizing. Whether we identify as “collective” or not, questions of accountability, and safety are essential in thinking through how to put processes in place to address structural and interpersonal violence, both within our spaces and in the movement more broadly. The summit strives to be a space to think through how we take care of one another, and how we cultivate the friendships from which our politics may emerge.

  • anti oppression
  • dealing with conflict and accountability
  • collective houses
  • radical care (self, intergenerational, and community care)
  • cooking for the movement & other invisible work
  • voluntarism and making a living


Call-out for proposals and workshops: Deadline October 1, 2013!

The Social Spaces Summit is accepting proposals for workshops, skill-shares, and discussions based around the central themes outlined above. Our hope is that people will come to share tangible skills around struggles that affect us all.

*NOTE: you do not have to present/run a workshop to attend!

In your proposal please include:

Presenter(s) names, what community/artist/activist space you organize with, a brief (up to 500 words) description of the workshop.  thank you.

This Summit is an opportunity for rethinking entirely how we inhabit social spaces. Whether we are taking money from the state to survive, whether we squat or share our spaces with radical openness, we all have a lot to feel great about! So let’s get together to challenge and learn from each other and celebrate what we have been up to, how we can get better, and imagine new ways of holding social spaces.  See you in November!

Please contact us with any questions:

* we are wanting the best possible spaces we can find, for everyone! we should know very soon… we recognize that not having the spaces sorted out yet can be a barrier to some folks. if you have ideas, please contact us. thanks.