Anna Stewart Memorial Project


First Program: 9 - 20 May 2016

Second Program: 17 - 28 October 2016

Overview

Background and description

Anna Stewart was a Victorian union official active in the union movement between 1974 and 1983. Anna was passionately dedicated to raising awareness of and addressing the issues confronting working women. Anna believed that in order it achieve this, it is vital for women to become active in their unions, to take on leadership roles and to work together to achieve common goals.

Tragically, Anna passed away in 1983, aged 35. However, the influence of Anna's life and work remains immeasurable. She brought hope and support to women throughout the trade union movement, providing them with the strength and confidence to continue the fight.

After Anna’s death a number of trade union friends and colleagues met to discuss how best to remember her life and work. The Anna Stewart Memorial project was thus born. The project was conceived as an annual two week on the job training program for women unionists, giving participants access to union organisations and the opportunity to develop their awareness of the ways in which unions can work to redress the issues faced by women.

Project Scope

The Anna Stewart Memorial Project was established as a way of promoting women’s leadership within the union movement, helping women gain access to and influence over decision making structures.

The ever-changing face of the industrial relations system and the political climate in which it exists has given cause for the scope and design of the VTHC’s ASMP program to change too. The brief of the 2016 ASMP is empowering women to mobilise within their union’s structure, to learn campaigning skills, and to think about how they can flex their campaigning muscles in order to create change. They will train as activists and be named as such.

Feedback sought from the October 2015 ASMP participants revealed the high level of value they placed on pilot sessions that were trialed during the program, specifically the Talking Rights and Taking Action on Rights sessions. These two sessions were designed to educate the program participants on current industrial struggles facing women workers, and how to combine and apply union strength with campaigning knowledge to combat them.

This style of session will take precedence in the May and October 2016 ASMP programs.

Dates

It is expected that, unlike previous years, activists will attend Trades Hall for training on the Monday and Tuesday (9th and 10th May) of the initial week, and the regular days of Monday and Friday (16th and 20th May) in the second week. We feel that this will foster a greater sense of context and preparedness for their time with affiliates.

It is also expected that the activists will be available for and attend all sessions held at Trades Hall during this time.

Continuing activist and leadership training

In addition to the two-week activist training course, as of 2016 the ASMP will run a monthly skills training workshop for fourth months, post-intensive. The purpose of the monthly workshop will be to further equip activists with campaigning knowledge and skills, and allow them to further foster and develop connections within the movement, outside of their own union. Workshops will focus on conversation training, public speaking, social media, and industrial relations knowledge.

Actions in your union

While undertaking their training, the ASMP activists will be required to select an assignment to complete during their time with affiliates. This project is intended to complement the skills and learning the activists are undertaking, and provide a focal point for their new knowledge. It is also intended to provide the activists with extra-curricular work to complete at times when affiliate mentors have administrative or other, non-campaign and organising, tasks to complete. An outline of assignment options will be given to each activist, and a decision about what they pursue will be made by the activist in collaboration with their host union.

Application form is available here

For more information please contact Therese O'Loughlin