Organizing workshops

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Before you start

Clearly define audience and goal (write this down for yourself, put this goal in the announcement, and also start your workshop stating this goal): "At the end of this workshop you know how ... works / can work with ... / use .... tool for your own project" "Basic knowledge/skills about X is required"

Obvious: make sure your workshop is aligned to this goal. Giving extra info can be interesting, but it distracts from the goal and can be a little bit overwhelming for the participants. Doing less might lead to disappointment.


  • Which location is suitable?
  • Does it conflict with another event?
  • What stuff do you need to bring and what do the participants need to bring?
  • Are there any costs involved, maybe for materials. Be clear about this.
  • How do you want to arrange food and drinks?
  • Are there other people involved in giving the workshop?
    • Arrange dates for orga meetings (a lot can already be arranged via mail) and check availability for the workshop date(s)
    • Let them commit to the workshop
    • Synchronize the content
    • Send reminders

If our space is not large enough for your machinations, The ACTA building has shared areas that, with a bit of coordination, we can also use for even larger events.



  • Clear title
  • The goal of the workshop (what)
  • Intended audience, required background (who)
  • Location (where)
  • Date, time, frequency (when)
  • What do participants need to bring and what is made available?
  • Costs
  • How? This is not always put in an announcement, but it can help to give the potential participants an idea of what will happen. For example, if a 3D printing workshop is given, is this going to be a demo or are people going to print and/or design their own things?
  • Where people can sign up for the workshop
  • Send an email to the members@ with the date.
  • Consider if you want it announced on our page. Contact some of the organizers there, to make sure your event doesn't get overlooked!

Announcement platforms

  • Mailing list
  • Posters/flyers
  • Social media

Before the workshop

  • Are there things that the participants need to prepare (e.g. install something on their laptop)?
  • Is there an interesting read or video that participants can have a look at before the workshop?

Send this around to the participants one week in advance

The workshop

  • Be there at least half an hour before the workshop to set everything up, or earlier if setup is complicated
  • Welcome the participants, repeat the goal, house hold announcements, explain how workshop will go.
  • If there are costs, remind participants this is the case at the start. The "Just put it in the donations jar" doesn't always get the desired result. If people come in late, don't forget to mention the costs to them as well.
  • Have short sessions and preferably change type of the sessions, e.g.
    • talk for one hour max continuously, preferably less
    • discuss stuff
    • let people do stuff
    • demo something
    • show videos
  • Plan regular breaks
  • Give short summaries between the sessions and after the last session
  • It depends on your own style, but if you give informal workshops it feels light weight. Which is nice for workshops that are done in the organizers and participants spare time

After the workshop

  • Ask people what they liked about the workshop and what they would suggest for improvement (very short questionnaire will do)
  • Clean up the room
  • Optional: Send extra information around within one week after the workshop (extra reading, book tips, websites, etc) and a "thank you" note