Campaign School was created as a cornerstone of our Hacking Reality series after Idil Burale, a charter member of the Academy of the Impossible, expressed a desire for a program that could enhance her ambitions to run for office in her riding of Etobicoke North.
With a next election not guaranteed to happen until the municipal vote in October 2014 , focusing on such a goal might have once seemed premature — yet social media has transformed the narrative. This new direct pipeline to any politician worth heeding means that campaigning can no longer be limited to the five weeks before voters cast their ballots. Now, it is a permanent state of mind for anyone who wants to hang on to their claims to serve the public.
So far, the most popular Sunday afternoon sessions of Campaign School have featured guests, including MPs Andrew Cash, Carolyn Bennett and Peggy Nash, city councillors Shelley Carroll and Adam Vaughan, plus a talk with Brian Mulroney's press secretary Bill Fox. The next visitor in this series on Sunday (May 6) will be Paul Ainslie, who has emerged as an intriguing personality in the current Rob Ford administration at Toronto City Hall, both as chair of the management committee and prolific presence on Twitter.
These guests are just one component of the program, though. We have started to nurture projects in conjunction with active members. A weekly podcast focused on newsworthy campaigns, hosted by Seb FoxAllen, has started production. Practical adventures in public speaking, event coordination and social media are also being nurtured. Per the philosophy of the Academy of the Impossible, any compatible task that someone wants to take on will be considered, with the benefit of collaborating with colleagues.
Moreover, the concept of Campaign School extends beyond the goal of getting elected. Participation behind the scenes, or in support of specific causes, are also part of the agenda. Allan Gregg, who has played a notable part in Canadian political history — without ever having his own name on a ballot — will share some insights from his side of the system on Thursday, May 17 at 7 p.m.
Keep watch for more related events to come, whether they are open to all spectators, or aimed at members who want to step up their involvement. For more information on Campaign School, or any Hacking Reality event, get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.