Summer Institute

The 2019 Summer Institute will take place July 31st - August 2nd at The Working Centre’s "Fresh Ground" location: 256 King St. E. in downtown Kitchener.
Do you work in community?
  • Are you working in creative ways to support people while buffering bureaucracy?
  • Do you find yourself reflecting on what it takes to balance grassroots community building and top-down systems thinking?
  • Do you feel the pressure of trying to respond authentically to community, while also meeting funding requirements?
  • Do you find it challenging to reconcile the rigidity of systems-world thinking with the complexity of the life-world?
How do we...
  • offer sustainable, reliable resources that are agile and responsive to change?
  • build structures without overdeveloping those structures?
  • understand and foster local democracy in our community?
At The Working Centre, we have been asking these questions for thirty years and they continue to inform our work every day. Through trial and error, we have built a grassroots organizational model that integrates the stability of the systems-world with the continual change and unpredictability of the life-world. We have learned how to build room for adaptability and response – on both day-to-day and long-term scales – into the very architecture of a sound administrative model that is accountable to funders. These practices are foundational to our ability to offer resources to our community that are useful, reliable and sustainable over the long term.

One part of serving community is providing tangible resources and focused supports. Another part, which is bound up in the first, is nurturing the spirit of local democracy: helping to foster a community where people support each other and find joy in connecting together. In our work, the way we respond to the people we serve is important to this community dynamic.

Are you interested in learning more about the practices that we have developed in emergent thinking, personalist practices and local democracy?

Whether you are an individual or part of an organization, we invite you to join us in reflection and conversation at our Summer Institute in Grassroots Sustainability.


The 2019 Summer Institute will take place July 31st - August 2nd at The Working Centre’s "Fresh Ground", located at 256 King St. E. in downtown Kitchener.

The Summer Institute is a set of workshops designed by The Working Centre that are geared to describing the philosophy and skills that enable The Working Centre to walk the fine line of rooting in community while remaining responsive, reflective, and guided by virtues.

Join us on Wednesday evening for Fermented Thoughts with our guest Hilton King for a discussion about the restoration of Indigenous cultural ways. Cost is $25 per person and includes food and drink.

Workshops include:

The Working Centre as an Eco-system, Nurturing Local Culture through Community Tools, Addressing Bureaucratic Barriers, a Philosophy in the Pub Night focusing on emergence, effectuation and placemaking, Tour of St. John’s Kitchen Hub, and the Nuts and Bolts of an Alternative Organization.

Cost for the Summer Institute is $250 per person, and includes Fermented Thoughts. You can register seperately for Fermented Thoughts or/and The Daily Circus. For more information, connect with us at:


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