CIRD supports host communities before and after their workshops via informational conference calls and webinars that cover critical topics in community engagement, rural design, partnership development, and workshop planning.

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Hosting a Workshop

Workshop Format

The format for each CIRD workshop is tailored to meet the goals of the host community and to ensure full participation of community leaders and local citizens. 

CIRD workshops are typically two-and-a-half days, with the specific schedule and agenda to be determined by each host community in consultation with the CIRD program staff. It is common for a workshop to begin with a public program or engagement event that is open to the public, followed by educational and working sessions where the core community group engages with a resource team of local and national design professionals. 

Sample workshop sessions include:

  • Panel discussions by a resource team of design professionals 
  • Interactive community design activities
  • Applied strategy sessions for a core group of community members and leaders
  • Field trips and site visits 
  • Public presentations of ideas, designs, and solutions 

Workshop Planning & Development

If you are selected to host and produce a CIRD workshop, CIRD staff will send you a Coordinator’s Manual to guide you through the planning process and will be available to advise you on organizing the workshop. Workshop hosts are responsible for the majority of the logistical details, such as securing workshop location(s), food, marketing, and outreach. CIRD staff will work closely with selected communities to identify resource team members and to determine workshop format, sessions, and schedule.  

We recommend that applicants form a local planning committee with key constituents. CIRD staff will arrange a pre-workshop site visit to meet with the committee, explore the community, and help kick off workshop planning. CIRD staff will work with the committee to identify the diverse stakeholder groups in your community and develop strategies for engagement, but workshop hosts are responsible for engaging a full range of participants and building broad community support.

Additional planning and development resources are available here.  

Workshop Evaluation

Documenting and evaluating each workshop is critical to the CIRD program. Successful applicants will propose methods for documenting the workshop and communicating its outcomes in the community and beyond.  

CIRD staff will conduct an external evaluation of each workshop, however host communities are required to submit a final report to CIRD that includes an evaluation of the workshop’s success. Documentation and evaluation efforts may include recording the workshops through audio, video, or photography during the event; capturing results and outcomes from the workshops in written or multimedia format; gathering participant feedback; drafting an implementation plan; and tracking budget and expenditures. 

Workshop hosts may be asked to contribute periodically to the CIRD blog to help establish a peer network about rural design issues.