Study Groups and Workshops

The Ash Center regularly supports a number of non-for-credit study groups and workshops for interested HKS, Harvard, and other Boston-area students to work and learn from practitioners and scholars affiliated with the Center. Most study groups and workshops are convened by fellows with varied backgrounds as political practitioners, policy advocates, technologists, and academics who are interested in sharing their real-world experiences. Unless otherwise noted, study groups require no prior registration or application. 

Spring 2020 Study Groups and Workshops

Study Group with Miles Rapoport and Tova Wang -- A Democracy Agenda: Conversations with Leaders in the Field

Join Miles Rapoport, Senior Practice Fellow in American Democracy, and Tova Wang, Ash Center Democracy Fellow, for a five-part study group which will examine various aspects of the burgeoning democracy reform movement sweeping through states across the country. Throughout the semester, leading advocates, organizers and scholars on voting rights, social movements, and structural election reform will share their unique experiences and perspectives. The group will discuss democracy reform campaigns, lessons learned, and the building of a movement to make democracy more inclusive, participatory, and responsive. Email Miles_Rapoport@hks.Harvard.edu or Tovawang@hks.harvard.edu for more information.

 

Study Group with Victoria Alsina -- Cities for Democracy: Tools to Improve Representation in Your City

Join Victoria Alsina, Ash Center Democracy Fellow and Academic Director NYU Center for Urban Science & Progress for a three part spring semester study group starting in late February examining political representation in cities. Representative democratic governance processes face several critical legitimation and effectiveness problems. Public engagement is sometimes seen as a solution to overcome them. In connection with that, the past three decades have seen a proliferation of large and small-scale experiments in citizen participation, specially at the local level. In mature democracies the unmistakable symptoms of political malaise manifest themselves as declines in party membership, decreased electoral turnout, and a rise of nontraditional parties and other political formations. This picture contrasts with a generalized proliferation of social movements and popular initiatives in the public sphere, mostly driven through the aide of social media and new technologies, and many of which are precisely expressive of such popular dissatisfaction with traditional democratic politics and of some wish for disruption. However, these civil society uprisings and mobilizations are proving unable to find the means of institutional articulation and mechanisms for generating practical impact and transformation. Thus, unless and until our party systems develop solutions to reconnect with popular constituencies and properly articulate their interests within the framework of representation, these legitimacy deficits will continue to deepen. Increasing citizen participation is also sometimes seen as a way to increase the effectiveness of law and policymaking, improving the provisioning of public goods and services. This study group will discuss to which extent such efforts can indeed help to repair the effectiveness or the legitimacy of democratic governance processes. 
Email Victoria_alsina@hks.harvard.edu for more information. 

Study Group with Johnnie Lotesta and Gali Racabi on American Labor Organizing Past, Present, and Future

Join Ash Center Democracy Fellows Johnnie Lotesta and Gali Racabi for a spring semester study group on the struggles and successes of the U.S. labor movement. They will examine unions’ past efforts to represent and give voice to marginalized groups within the workplace and without. The study group will also look at the role of the labor movement in important social transformations – such as the advancement of civil rights – as well as the organized attacks that have contributed to labor’s decline in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The study group will conclude with an eye towards the future, debating the prospects for aspirational labor law reform at the federal level. In these ways, the study group aims to shine light on labor organizing innovations past and present in order to deepen scholarly and practitioner insight into the possibilities for cross-sectional, worker-driven institutional change in the American context.
 

Technology and Democracy Workshop Series 

The Ash Center's Technology and Democracy Workshop Series are hands-on, cocurricular events designed to help HKS students develop real-world technology skills. Led by a network of technology practitioners, participants spend work together and with the workshop leader to learn how to apply technical skills to impact real-word scenarios. Click here to view past Technology & Democracy Events and Workshops.

Upcoming Study Groups and Workshops

2020 Mar 30

CANCELED Study Group -- Innovation Labs in the Public Sector

1:00pm to 2:00pm

Location: 

Ash Center Conference Room 226, 124 Mt Auburn Street, Suite 200 North

Join Ash Center Democracy Fellow and Academic Director NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress Victoria Alsina for the second session of her three-part study group on improving representation in cities. This second session will focus on innovation labs in the public sector and discuss how to create an innovation lab, models, activities, and best practices. Participants will discuss various examples of innovation labs including GovLab Paraguay. Lunch will be served.

Seating preference will be given to students. No pre-registration or RSVP is necessary....

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2020 Mar 31

VIRTUAL EVENT Pivoting to a New Electoral Reality: Building Trust Online and Implementation of Vote By Mail

4:15pm to 5:15pm

Location: 

https://harvard.zoom.us/j/779185853

Join Ash Center Technology and Democracy Fellow Nick Carter to develop your digital toolkit! The workshop will be titled "Pivoting to a New Electoral Reality: Building Trust Online and Implementation of Vote By Mail," with participants learning how voter engagement leaders are scaling their digital programs and adjusting to an election that will be unlike any other. Invited guests include:

  • Darrell Scott, PushBlack
  • ...
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2020 Apr 01

Study Group -- Attacks on Organized Labor Past and Present

12:00pm to 1:15pm

Location: 

124 Mt Auburn Street, South Lobby, Suite 160S, Room 105

Join Ash Center Democracy Fellows Johnnie Lotesta and Gali Racabi for the third session of their spring semester 2020 study group on the struggles and successes of the U.S. labor movement. During the mid-20th century, America’s unions constituted one of the most well organized and politically influential groups in the nation. By the 1990s, however, labor was in a rapid decline. Much of this decline has been attributed to systematic attacks on the organized labor movement through legal suits, employer hostility, and the passage of restrictive labor reforms. This session will examine...

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2020 Apr 07

VIRTUAL EVENT Reaching People Where They Are: Integrated Digital and Field Organizing with Daniel Marks

4:15pm to 5:15pm

Location: 

Register for virtual event details one hour before the event

This virtual workshop will be led by Daniel Marks, an Ash Center Technology and Democracy Fellow who serves as a Digital Manager at Color Of Change. Participants will get a chance to explore the principles of how digital campaigners can best uplift and assist field organizers in down-ballot races. Daniel will also explore the possible ramifications the coronavirus has...

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Registration: 

2020 Apr 14

Tech & Democracy Workshop with Stephanie Valencia

4:15pm to 5:30pm

Location: 

Wexner 434AB, Harvard Kennedy School

The time and location of this event are subject to change. Please check back closer to the event to confirm final details. 

Join Ash Center Technology and Democracy Fellow Stephanie Valencia to develop your digital toolkit. This is a hands-on workshop; participants are expected to arrive ready to learn and practice a new skill.

The Ash Center's Technology and Democracy Workshop...

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2020 Apr 15

Study Group -- Opportunities for Federal Labor Law Reform

12:00pm to 1:15pm

Location: 

124 Mt Auburn Street, South Lobby, Suite 160S, Room 105

Join Ash Center Democracy Fellows Johnnie Lotesta and Gali Racabi for the fourth and final session of their spring semester 2020 study group on the struggles and successes of the U.S. labor movement. In the midst of a competitive primary battle for the Democratic nomination, and each candidate brings their own set of proposals for the future of labor law in the United States. In this session we will unpack the Democratic candidates’ proposals with seasoned labor law experts and debate what we should aspire to in America’s future labor policy.

Guest speakers include Sharon...

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2020 Apr 21

Study Group -- Voting as a Civic Requirement: A Big Idea for the Future?

12:00pm to 1:30pm

Location: 

124 Mt Auburn Street, South Lobby, Suite 160S, Room 105

Join Ash Center fellows Miles Rapoport and Tova Wang for a five-part study group examining various aspects of the burgeoning democracy reform movement sweeping through states across the country. Session 5 is entitled "Voting as a Civic Requirement: A Big Idea for the Future?" Lunch will be served. Seating preference will be given to students. No preregistration or RSVP is necessary. 

Throughout the semester, leading advocates, organizers and scholars on voting rights, social movements, and structural election reform will share their unique experiences and...

Read more about Study Group -- Voting as a Civic Requirement: A Big Idea for the Future?
2020 Apr 27

CANCELED Study Group -- How data science and citizen participation can improve public services and decisionmaking

1:00pm to 2:00pm

Location: 

Ash Center Conference Room 226, 124 Mt Auburn Street, Suite 200 North

Join Ash Center Democracy Fellow and Academic Director NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress Victoria Alsina for the third and final session of her three-part study group on improving representation in cities. This session will focus on how data science and citizen participation can improve public services and decision-making. Lunch will be served.

Seating preference will be given to students. No pre-registration or RSVP is necessary.

About the Study Group 

Representative democratic governance...

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