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19 December 2012 @ 07:52 pm
YaaD Work: Class 12: Specialties: Event Planning  
This is one of the reflection papers I wrote as part of my Year and a Day (YaaD) of study with Fieldhaven Coven.

The question is drawn from the Greenhaven Tradition; the YaaD course is not published on the Greenhaven Tradition website, but is made available on a person-to-person basis. Material that is not so closely held is available at http://greenhaventradition.weebly.com/

Class 12, Paper 2d (after class discussion): Choose a skill that you don’t have but would like to have. Do something to explore it – read a book, attend a workshop or lecture, take a lesson with someone more experienced, work with a kit from the craft store, etc. – and see how much you can learn. Write a one-page report on your experiences.


Assignment submitted October 21, 2012

Writing Assignment: YaaD Class 12 - Specialties

For the purposes of this paper, I'm going to define "event" as something that
  • is publicly or semi-publicly announced,
  • involves more than about 10-15 people, and
  • lasts more than a couple of hours.

By this definition, a Fieldhaven esbat is not an event, the Knoxville Pagan Pride Day is, and the Knoxville Pagan Meetup is borderline.

Basic event planning is pretty much the same for Pagan and mundane contexts:
  • pick a date and duration
  • estimate attendance
  • plan for activities (e.g., keynote sessions / rituals, breakout sessions / small group activities, meals)
  • work out a budget
  • plan marketing / publicity
  • plan transportation and lodging. [Beers]

Looks easy, right? Wrong. It's complicated enough that at least one company, Smartsheet.com, has developed a whole set of templates for planning different types of events ranging from a wedding to a business awards ceremony. There are workshops, classes, and even degree programs in event planning.

When you throw Pagans into the mix, it can get even more complicated, especially if the event will include an open ritual. Additional concerns include:
  • Will this be limited-access (e.g., only men, only women, only people who identify with a certain tradition, a certain minimum or maximum number of participants)?
  • Related, will it be inaccessible to people with physical, emotional, or mental limits?
  • If so, how can it be announced in such a way as to be clear and as inoffensive as possible to those being excluded? Jenett suggests including the following information:
    • "Be very clear on what the limit is supposed to accomplish."
    • "Be clear and unambiguous about the limits in ways people can determine for themselves without having to track down someone planning the event and ask. … If you can’t make a limit sufficiently clear in a way that a reasonable person being turned away would not find overly offensive, you should probably be reconsidering that limit and/or how public that event should be. "
    • "If possible, suggest options and alternatives."
    • "And above all, give information in advance." [Jenett-announcing]

  • If there will be an open ritual, will it be based on a specific tradition? If so, how will people from other traditions be included? [Jenett – limits]
  • Similarly but not identically, will participants in the event, or the circle, be expected to come into it knowing certain things? That is, will this be a 101-level event or a graduate seminar? [Jenett – limits]
  • Just how public will the event be? Where and how will it be announced and held, in ways that make the event available to people while not exposing them unnecessarily to being outed?
  • Just as with SF conventions, Pagans tend to consider some things acceptable that public or private policy may not. Will it be necessary to remind people not to bring weapons to a public park ("Yes, that includes your athame"), or that alcohol is not allowed at a particular covenstead ("Yes, really, we do Cakes and Ale with cider")? [Jenett – TCPP]
  • Just as with SF conventions, and I think to a greater degree than in the public at large, Pagans tend to have dietary preferences and issues.
    • Should foods be labeled as "vegetarian," "vegan," "gluten-free," or "contains nuts"?
    • If there is a potluck, do some foods need to be banned completely (e.g., peanuts)?
    • If there is a buffet, should people with restricted diets be allowed to go through first? (That's how alt.polycon handles it.)

  • Should there be an attempt at balancing presentations, or should the event be advertised as being aimed at a certain subset of Pagans?
  • Do you need to worry about security in terms of "outside agitators" or people who are offended that your group is Pagan?

References

Beers, Geoff. "Event Planning 101: Drafting Essential Details." Retrieved 21 October 2012 from http://eventplanning.about.com/od/eventplanningbasics/a/Event-Planning-101-Drafting-Essential-Details.htm. Reference in text: [Beers]

Jenett. "Responsible ritual announcing." Retrieved 21 October 2012 from http://gleewood.org/threshold/2011/02/28/responsible-ritual-announcing/#more-1215. Reference in text: [Jenett - announcing]

Jenett. "Ritual limits: plans that can help." Retrieved 21 October 2012 from http://gleewood.org/threshold/2011/03/08/ritual-limits-plans-that-can-help/#more-1280. Reference in text: [Jenett – limits]

Jenett. "Twin City Pagan Pride 2008." Retrieved 21 October 2012 from http://gleewood.org/threshold/2008/10/06/twin-cities-pagan-pride-2008/. Reference in text: [Jenett – TCPP]



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Surrendering to the mysteryjenett on December 20th, 2012 01:43 am (UTC)
Heee! You cited me! I'm so glad they were useful.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on December 20th, 2012 02:58 am (UTC)
I cited you in this and the next paper. Yes, your essays were *very* useful indeed! Thank you for writing and posting them.