roya-ann-miller-196177-unsplash.jpg

The online university for activists, by activists. 

Activist Graduate School is a new educational model for the next generation of activists. 

Whether we are campaigning on civil rights, environmental justice, refugee rights or LGBTQIA and women’s rights, the first prerequisite to success is a theory of social change that guides the methods we employ as activists. The range of potential protest tactics is so plentiful—from direct action in the streets to silent prayerful vigils and self-organized worker cooperatives to electoral ballot initiatives—that every activist, whether consciously or not, relies on a theory of change to decide their actions. If the theory of change underlying our activism is false then our protests are bound to fail. This is precisely the precarious situation activists find themselves in today. 

The difficulties faced by recent social movements in achieving immediate change, despite their tremendous speed and overwhelming size, is a sign that activism as a discipline must embark on a period of paradigmatic reevaluation. What is needed now more than ever is an educational institution that is designed specifically with the needs of experienced activists in mind: an environment where activists can collaboratively study history, theory and strategy in search of the next theory of change that will spark a successful transformative social movement. 

The pressing social issue that Activist Graduate School endeavors to solve is the declining effectiveness of contemporary activism. Our goal is to create a safe educational environment for the practical, urgent and important task of addressing the deep theoretical and strategic challenges facing social movement creators.

Our Educational Model

The Activist Graduate School is an online educational institution taught for, and by, activists. The core mission of the Activist Graduate School is to build an educational institution designed specifically for the needs of experienced activists who want to take their movement work to the next level. Our emphasis is on university caliber seminars on history, strategy and theory of social change through collective action.

This is how it works: our faculty teach in-person courses to activists, these courses are then filmed, edited and made available to online students. Each course is supplemented with an evening symposium that is filmed and made available to online students.

The first Activist Graduate School course will be filmed at Bard College in the Fall of 2018. The topic of the course will be "How to Change the World: Theories and Practices." The first symposium will be filmed in New York City on August 17, 2018. The topic of the symposium will be "Why Do Protests Fail?"

All of the courses at Activist Graduate School are intended to be relatively timeless and capable of serving the needs of activists for many years to come.    

Our Faculty and Administration

Provost and Faculty Chiara Ricciardone
Program Director and Faculty Micah White
Guest Lecturer - Alicia Garza
Guest Lecturer - Dr. Lenora Fulani
Guest Lecturer - Souta Calling Last 
AdvisorRuss Finkelstein
Advisor - Rich Male
Videographer - Adam Rosenberg 

Our Funders

Activist Graduate School received start-up grants in 2018 from the Roddenberry Fellowship and the Voqal Fellowship.