Huddlecraft
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Huddlecraft

Enrol Yourself is 5 years old and we’re evolving

We’re turning 5 years old, and with that, some big changes are coming…

The Enrol Yourself icon peeping out from behind a changing room curtain and winking.

In a nutshell 🥜

We’re having a birthday party on April 21st, in London, and you’re invited.

We’ll be unveiling:

  1. A new name (keep reading to find out!) and a brand refresh 🎩
  2. Our North Star and direction of travel for the next 5 years ⭐
  3. Open applications for the next Host Fellowship 📮

We’ll be celebrating:

  1. The people who’ve made it all possible 👫
  2. Our work and journey to date ⛵

We’ll be replenishing:

  1. Our Abundancy Fund, via party tickets and a raffle 💰
  2. Our well of enthusiasm and motivation for the next leg of the journey💓

Read on for more about all of the above…

The long version 📗

Enrol Yourself is no longer a baby, we’re turning 5 this April. I’ve always resisted the narrative of ‘my startup is my baby’, partly because I don’t believe it‘s very inviting for others. Despite this, I do feel a very strong duty of care. But ultimately I want to work for Enrol Yourself not because I’m bound to, but because I want to, and because I can’t imagine anything more fascinating, challenging and worthwhile to spend my attention on.

So, we’re no longer in the baby stage, and it’s time to have a party. Time to celebrate all the people, the work, the commitment, the struggles, the wins, the friendships, the creativity, the impact and the multitude of surprises that have fruited since we began.

Enrol Yourself started as an experiment. Could Iacob and I design and make our own education? Whilst holding down our full-time jobs? Would other people want to journey with us? Could we find a dozen people to commit to this thing we were calling a Learning Marathon? Would they trust that we weren’t an absolute joke, hidden behind a nice webpage?

Flashback to our initial webpage for Enrol Yourself

Questions bred more questions. If a dozen people joined the first Learning Marathon, how many more participants might be out there? Now that I’ve hosted the Learning Marathon, who else might want to? What training could help prepare them for what’s coming?!

If the Learning Marathon is powerful for individuals, what might it do for organisations? How can we bring in enough money to sustain this work? What could be enabled if we had a licensing model? How can we continue to widen access to participation in these experiences?

An Enrol Yourself peer group gathered at their Showcase event.
One of our early groups at their Learning Marathon showcase

Peer groups hold power, but how does that power actually work? What are the limitations? If we can apply peer groups to lifelong learning, where else can we apply them? What can peer groups do for climate action? For the new economy? For social justice? How can peer groups support us to change things that resist change?

What would it mean if everyone, everywhere, could put their purpose to the power of their peers?

Continual pressure to find ways to sustain our work has gradually chiselled, sanded and — sometimes — hammered us into our current model. There has been some sweat and tears along the way (fortunately no blood). There has been personal sacrifice, including several years when I was the only full-time team member and lived on <£10k per year, in London. Growing pains have been weathered thanks to the support of family, friends, participants, Hosts, partners and supporters. I, for one, am ever so grateful.

Today we’re a core team of 4. Becoming a team was a personal turning point. It brings me so much joy — and some relief! — to share the full-time dedication to Enrol Yourself with 3 people who I also count as friends. Between us we hold all the threads and hold each other to account for our work life balance. Thank you to Anneka, Sarah and Katie.

The 4 members of the Enrol Yourself team.

The formation of our team has grown our confidence in what we can offer, which can be broken down into 3 parts:

A Platform for peer groups. A distributed network of people creating, hosting and participating in their own groups, supported by our team, tools, training — and the tried and tested Learning Marathon structure.

Currently we deliver this through the Host Fellowship, which we launched in 2020. People that want to create and host their own Learning Marathon join the fellowship and we make it happen, together. To date, there have been 30 Learning Marathons with almost 300 participants across the UK, Germany, Brazil — and globally via online peer groups. If you’re curious, you can register your interest for the next Host Fellowship here.

We continue to work to lower barriers to entry to peer groups. In 2020, we set up the Abundancy Fund for Inclusive Learning with a coalition of partners and crowdfunded 33 bursaries on the Learning Marathon for 2021–22. Read more about the impact in Anneka’s blog.

A Studio where we partner with organisations to tackle steep learning curves using the power of peer-led approaches.

We collaborate to scale learning curves as diverse as; how to support women to move their money for the planet; how to apply the principles of Doughnut Economics in people’s neighbourhoods; how to shift the NHS toward an integrated care system.

We tackle these challenges as a collective of facilitators, designers and strategists. More about our recent studio projects here.

We also run a 3-day immersive training for people and organisations who want to learn how to apply the power of peer-led approaches to their own challenges. Huddlecraft 101 is for anyone working on learning, community, culture or change, and it runs again in May, more details here.

A Community of co-learners, for our Hosts, participants and partners.

The story of the 21st Century will be a story about the steepest collective learning curve in human history. We are a community of co-learners, facing this curve together.

Our community started in an organic way, with an intuitive sense that connecting people across our peer groups, and across our work, would be a good thing. Gradually we are sharpening our shared intention, whilst preserving the informality and warmth which people enjoy. Read more about how we’re stewarding our community, in Sarah’s blog.

We are putting strong and long-lasting relationships at the heart of our approach to community. By doing so we are intentionally weaving a network structure that embodies research which shows that small clusters of strong relationships are far more conducive to complex behavioural changes and shifts than weaker ‘fast food’ relationships. We want this network structure to support our community to progress their missions and purposes.

With all these new roots and shoots, it’s time for us to repot. We’ve outgrown some of the structures we put in place at the beginning, and we need some fresh soil to fuel our next steps.

So, this year, we are making some significant changes:

  • Changing our name from Enrol Yourself to… Huddlecraft

The name Huddlecraft emerged from a collaboratively produced 3 year impact report by the same name, which we made in 2020. This name embraces the breadth of what we do, now that we have a few more strings to our bow. The word huddle means ‘to come together as a group’, craft means ‘to exercise skill in making’. We hope that says it all!

We will also be evolving our language around the Learning Marathon to further enable Hosts to adapt our structures and tools to their own contexts. Watch this space!

  • Refreshing our brand

A lot has changed since we created our brand. The brand has done us proud, as have our brilliant illustrations by Ellie Pritchard, but we’re excited to reflect the fullness of what we’re up to in the way that we communicate. We also want to continue down the path of designing for distribution, creating a brand that is flexible, malleable and can be used in a decentralised way.

Some collaborative mood-boarding action to kick start our rebrand
  • Becoming a Community Interest Company

We have embarked on a long process — far longer than we ever imagined! — to shift our organisational structure to one that will suit the nature of our organisation to a greater extent. We are in the process of becoming a Community Interest Company, to structurally acknowledge our social purpose and commitment to our community.

We have been learning just how challenging it is to transform the structures and governance of an organisation, and just how much resistance there is ‘in the system’ to this kind of transition! Hopefully we will have more news soon.

  • Living our values as a team

Towards the end of last year, we made the decision as a team to trial 90% working hours from January 2022. For us this is principally about climate action, team wellbeing, and learning how to shift hard-to-shift behaviours, cultures and structures. I’ve written a blog for Hatch Enterprise about how it’s going in practice.

The Birthday Party 🎈

So, to circle back to to the start of this post, we’re throwing a party. If you’ve read all the way down this post then you are 💯 invited!

We’ve booked the London Canal Museum, a beautiful waterside space in the heart of Kings Cross. Your ticket includes delicious food from Houria (a food business born on the Bristol Learning Marathon) and free flowing drinks.

There’ll be exhibits, performances and a pop-up library as part of our ‘meta-showcase’, telling the story of our 30 Learning Marathons, 25 Hosts and 300 participants. As well as celebrating our story so far, we’ll be unveiling plans for the next 5 years.

Hosted by the brilliant Reuben Christian, we’ll be drawing an epic raffle. Confirmed prizes include:

All tickets to the party include 5 raffle tickets, but you can buy more if you’d like to increase your chances of winning. And for those who want to keep going after 10.30pm, we’ll be sorting out an after party close by.

All proceeds from the tickets and raffle will go towards replenishing the Abundancy Fund, for bursary places on future Learning Marathons.

You can grab a ticket here, we hope you can join us!

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