Spreading the Village Aunties’ Homemade Honey: Women’s Workshops on Social Media

For International Women’s Day I thought I’d start making concrete plans around extending the scope of village aunties in Scotland.

When I had the idea for this blog, it was all about a collaborative media venue for pro-independence feminists of the left to contribute to Scotland’s conversations, arguments and plans for the independence campaign, and for Scottish independence itself.

Part of the dream was to get loads of women blogging and tweeting and otherwise using social media to contribute and to discuss and to refine theories and to organise. I hoped then and still do that 1,000 feminist flowers might bloom all over the social Web; it’s never been about this blog being the only place for pro-independence feminist writing.

So the next stage after getting the blog going was always going to be starting up workshops or collaborative learning groups for women who want to write, comment, discuss, contribute to Scotland’s cybernat revolution, but who would like a bit of support to get going.

I hope getting together physically, and maybe also in online learning spaces, will end up fostering a village aunties network of mutual support; a community of practice where more experienced women welcome in newer women, mentor them, stand by them when they experience their first bout of misogynist trolling, and so on.

Pretty ambitious. So this spring/summer I’m gonna start with one free workhop in Glasgow, and if I can enlist the right support (*cough* Lou McGill Sheila MacNeill *cough*) maybe an online workshop to reach women further afield.

Who wants to get involved? I have loads of ideas and I’d love to hear yours. I’m particularly keen to enlist a few other experienced bloggers, and maybe also women who are plugged into various venues and resources for community learning.

For those who haven’t yet read the village aunties Take Heed and Manifesto, let me make clear right now: these will be women-only workshops and classes, open to all self-identified women, including trans women and genderqueer folk who feel they are (or have been) oppressed as women.

Everyone else who is down with the aunties‘ manifesto is of course still welcome to post here on the blog as long as they follow the guidelines. I hope on International Women’s Day I don’t need to explain or justify the rationale for women-only workshops. Because I’m not gonna. Plenty of Feminism 101 resources on the web to explain if you don’t get it. Same goes for trans* inclusivity.

More to come: I feel a braindump of ideas coming on!


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mhairi
    Mar 09, 2012 @ 13:49:11

    This is an excellent idea – would be great to get more women blogging.

    I think there are two aspects, first to get more collaborative scottish blogs up and running offering a diversity of voices and secondly to get people blogging in their own right.

    Look forward to the workshop


  2. Morag Eyrie
    Mar 09, 2012 @ 13:55:20

    Absolutely Mhairi. I would hope this activity starts to give women who aren’t quite there yet some skills and confidence to do both. Also, that it gives them linkages to women they meet this way for mutual support and encouragement with their writing (and commenting and tweeting).

    I would also like to use Village Aunties as a springboard for those who want to go on to start their own blogs (collaborative or individual): they can try out posting here. And I’d like women who can’t be arsed with setting up blogs, but would like to occasionally write here, to feel like they have some confidence to do so.

    AND: I have this idea that one exercise in the workshop will be getting folk to come up with an idea and start drafting it in the actual workshop, so we end up with a bunch of posts to go up wherever the women decide they want to put them, very soon after the workshop! Talking about it isn’t enough, what gives confidence is actually doing it and seeing that you can. And getting positive feedback!


  3. Morag Eyrie
    Mar 10, 2012 @ 15:33:48

    OK, having chatted briefly with one or two folk who are genderqueer and/or trans* I am starting to think I also want a parallel workshop / online space at some point for LGBT / trans* / genderqueer participants, because for some folk this may be a more comfortable grouping than a “women’s workshop”. Which doesn’t at all change what I’ve said above about who would be welcome at the women’s workshop. Anyone interested in that?


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