The Facing Race Conference
will be an intentionally multi-racial, multi-issue, intergenerational conference that highlights campaigns, projects, research and art that promotes systemic solutions to racial justice challenges in our time. Facing Race will provide attendees with tools they can use to dismantle systemic racism in their own communities. We are looking for breakout sessions that align well with this emphasis.
Breakout sessions are 90 minutes and can have up to two presenters. Expected attendance ranges from 45-70 people. They can have varied formats—--e.g. interactive workshop, film screening, panel discussion, hands-on art project or skill-building session.
We expect to receive hundreds more more breakout session proposals than we are able to accommodate. When making selection decisions, we have many considerations to balance, including our desire to bring new organizations and voices into the mix at each conference. Please read the criteria below carefully for what we are—--and are not—-- looking for. This will save you and us a lot of time and make your submissions more competitive.
Breakout Session Design Elements: At the end of these instructions and before the proposal applications, there is a checklist of breakout session design elements. It is very important to use this to design your breakout session since these are the things we are looking for in terms of both content and process. Sessions that meet all or most of these nine elements will be given the highestmost favorable consideration. Please use the checklist below as a guide in designing your Breakout Session.
Checklist for Designing Breakout Session
 Participatory: The workshops are interactive, with lots of two-way communication between participants and presenters, including hands-on engaging activities.
 Practical: The workshop offers useful tools, skills, and ideas that participants can use back home, including innovative strategies, exemplary models, powerful narratives, and accessible artistic and cultural expressions.
 Systemic Analysis: Facilitators and participants analyze systems of power and the structural dimensions of racism in order to surface root causes and contributing factors, not simply focused on individual or personal change apart from a systemic context. This may involve looking at how multiple institutions or policies may be compounding a problem, then identifying strategic openings or opportunities for changing the system.
 Solutions-oriented: The workshop will go beyond highlighting the problem by offering or generating concrete, viable and equitable solutions. They aim to change systems, shift power, and advance racial equity in our communities, cultures, and institutions. Racially equitable solutions aim to measurably and materially benefit communities of color, but can include often have positive impacts for white people as well.
√ Action-Oriented: The workshop will connect to active issue campaigns, grassroots community organizing, and current struggles and/or movement-building efforts.
√ Multiracial and Intersectional: Facilitators have a multi-racial and intersectional analysis and approach—with attention to building strategic connections across communities—--even if there is a mono-racial emphasis. A multiracial team of facilitators is also encouraged.
√ Intergenerational: The content is relevant to— and encouraging of— the participation of youth and young people, as well as multi-generational strategies.
√ Narrative-Shift: The content of the workshop contributes to the creation and popularization of stories that highlight equitable values; the humanity and perspectives of people of color, the lived experiences and impacts of racism, multi-racial and intersectional connections, the resilience and leadership of people of color, and the benefits of racial justice in order to displace or disrupt dominant and divisive racist narratives.
√ Geographic Diversity: For a national audience, we want the content and facilitators to relate to different geographic areas. Some breakout sessions will focus specifically on Detroit and the Midwest, where the conference will be held.
Breakout Sessions We DON’T Want:
X Lectures, presentations of academic papers or mostly theory, or panels that primarily involve people talking at others.
X Sessions focused primarily on the personal and interpersonal dynamics of racism, since this conference emphasizes institutional, cultural, and systemic change.
X Workshops that emphasize “diversity” training, cultural competency, cross-racial dialogues and multi-cultural awareness—--or focus more on training models than action strategies—--since there are other venues for this.
X Sessions by national organizations that do not have a connection to people working in local communities.
X Sessions that focus primarily on the problems of racism, without equal or greater attention to the solutions.
X Sessions by individuals not connected to, or accountable to, social justice organizations or communities.Note: Selected workshop presenters agree to help with conference publicity on at least two occasions well in advance of the conference. Sample announcements for various media (such as Facebook and Twitter posts) will be available for your use.