The Movement Learning Catalyst (MLC) is a movement building initiative created to address the key challenges movements in Europe face and their learning needs for more effective movement building, strategizing and learning required to achieve structural transformation.

MLC creates critical learning spaces for reflecting on and developing our movement practices and building the kind of relationships and thinking needed to build movement power for systemic change in an ever-changing world. It synthesizes insights from the experiences of the people, organizations and networks involved in MLC on transversal organizing, transnational and translocal organizing, movement strategy, and movement learning and popular education to create a critical learning space for reflecting on and developing our movement practices.


On this platform you will find high quality training resources, an action learning framework, as well as cross organisational and movement networking. We would like this space to provide structured action-reflection learning within movement building practices, by providing a well-crafted framework for ongoing action learning, mentorship, and peer-to-peer inquiry. On this site you will find:

  • Access to high quality learning and training on key themes and issues related to social movement learning, strategy, pedagogy and transnational activism and organizing.
  • Access to an in-depth guide to learning for system change, including pre-structured training guides, learning-activities, case studies and pedagogical contents for trainers and educators.
  • Cross-cutting research on social movement learning
  • A competence framework that presents an approach to how to organise transversal and transnational movement learning and
  • Reflective activities and tools to enhance capacity for the development of long-term strategic thinking, adaptable learning formats and action foresight that is capable of adaptation and responsiveness in the current interlocking systems of injustice
  • Knowledge and connections for creating new networks of relationships across organisations and movements able to reflect on histories, strengthen existing ones and seed new transversal and transnational initiatives.


The programme is aimed at activist and organisers based in Europe and beyond who:

  • Are embedded in organisations or networks that can benefit from thinking strategically about their place in wider social movement structures
  • Recognise the importance of developing our capabilities to organise transversally, across multiple forms of difference within and between our movements
  • Are conscious of the importance of translocal and transnational dimensions of organising today.
  • The programme is designed to strengthen our capacity to embed learning across our different movements practices, so we can continue to learn from experience, design creative and testable interventions, and build strategic approaches that can respond to the ever-changing conditions we struggle within.



G has been involved in social movement organising and education since the late 1980s. G is a highly regarded trainer and has designed numerous training programmes covering areas such as psychosocial resilience in activism, the ecology of social movements, and leaderful organising. As a founding member of the Ulex Project, G is known for highly innovative work blending pedagogical methodologies. This holistic approach to activist learning has inspired numerous training initiatives across Europe. G currently steers the strategic development of the Ulex Project and its social movement capacity building programme.

Maria Ilanos

As a facilitator, Maria has accompanied organisations for more than 8 years in their internal processes of change and adaptation specialising in: Agile and decentralised organizational structures Emergent and complex strategising. Project management from a Participatory Action Research Approach. Introducing learning into the DNA of an organisation. Developing the skills and attitudes for agile and collaborative leadership. Maria’s commitment and ambition to pursue social transformation has also taken form through the various social enterprises they have led in the last 8 years. They have co-founded La Bolina, The Eroles Project and Ulex Project South. Maria has worked with Higher Education institutions as a Guest Lecturer and facilitator at Schumacher College, Instituto Universitario de Desarrollo y Cooperacion and Facultad de Trabajo Social, Granada University (UGR).

Laurence Cox

I’m a Dubliner who started out in anti-war and anti-apartheid solidarity in the 1980s and spent time living in different movement worlds across Europe. Since then I’ve been involved in bringing together various kinds of movement alliances and conversations – e.g. through green parties back in the last century, the anti-capitalist “movement of movements”, environmental justice struggles, co-running a Masters for activists with Fergal, or recently with the Zapatista tour of Irish movements. I co-edit the free journal Interface that tries to help movements learn from each other’s struggles, and have written a lot for and about movements. Most of what I write is available free via

Fergal Finnegan

I am a dad and a Dubliner who first got involved in activism as a teenager. I have been involved in a wide variety of campaigns (anti-war, against police brutality, abortion rights etc.) and a range of activist initiatives (cultural events, anti-capitalist mobilisations, bookshop, squats etc.). Alongside that I have had a fairly varied working life and held down, and sometimes just about endured, lots of different types of jobs but discovered a passion for community adult education about 25 years ago. I now work in Maynooth university (in Ireland) as a lecturer where one of my main foci has been sustaining and developing radical adult education practice and research. My main areas of interest are educational inequality, transformative/ popular education and participatory research. I helped set up with other including  Laurence Cox, a friend and comrade who is also involved in this course, a Masters in Community Education Equality and Social Activism and the rich and fruitful experience we had with participants on that course has led us to MLC.

Marina Tota

Marina (she/her) is an educator, movement organizer, activist, creative campaigner and researcher currently serving as the Executive Director of the European Community Organizing Network (ECON), a network of progressive groups and organisations organizing communities for social and environmental justice. She has been working with social movements, civil society organisations, and international organisations supporting them to develop their capacity and power to lead systemic change and strengthen their impact for over a decade. Originally from Italy, she worked internationally on political education trainings, movement building, organizing campaigns, creative activism and participatory action research with movements, groups and organisations in Africa, Asia and Central America and Europe. She holds two master’s degrees in Psychology and Education completed while studying in Italy, the UK, Denmark, Spain, and the US.

Steve Hughes

Organizer and educator with over 25 years of movement experience. From the US, living in Europe. Creating the ties that bind for international power building.

Niccolò Milanese

Niccolò Milanese is a poet and one of the founding directors of European Alternatives. He fosters the development of the organisation, its staff and the ecosystem around European Alternatives and is the focal point for the ‘learn’ stream of our work.

He is currently a visiting Fellow at EUI School of Transnational Governance in Florence, and a fellow of BI-Europe in Venice. In addition to longstanding work on transnationalism and political imaginaries, his current interests are in the planetary politics of desire, democratic education and fluid identities. His latest book is ‘Illiberal Democracies in Europe: An Authoritarian response to the crisis of liberalism’ available freely here.

He was previously a Europe’s Futures Fellow at IWM, Vienna, a visiting fellow at PUC Rio-De Janeiro and a visiting fellow at UNAM Mexico. He has been involved in founding numerous civil society initiatives and magazines in Europe and across the Mediterranean. He was educated in Cambridge, Siena and Paris.

Jana Ahlers

Jana is a facilitator, activist and organiser dedicated to creating transformative learning spaces and building capacity to collaboratively strategise for system change. Organising in different networks (mostly around climate & social justice) across the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, the UK, and Germany, she is an adventurer of coalition building and practitioner of transnational activism.

Previously coordinating the People’s Summit at COP26, she now work with European Alternatives and the School of Transnational Organising mostly on the intersection of migrant-climate-class justice with the necessary pinch of anti-facist politics. In forests and on concrete – keeping it up with the grassroots; Berlin based.

Lou Hemmerman

Lou’s background in academia and sociological research supports her ongoing passion for documenting and communicating Ulex’s extensive body of work around burnout and trauma in the activist field. As a trainer and designer for the Resourcing Resilience, Working with Trauma training, Lou is currently training in somatic methods of working with trauma, tension, stress and overwhelm which she applies to her research work and embodiment practice.

In addition, Lou is currently the Ulex coordinator of an international project developing resources and training material for the newly emerging field of migrant solidarity resilience work.

Partners & Funders

Ulex Project

The Ulex Project is a leading European activist education organisation. Working as a collective and operating through a solidarity economy, they take an holistic approach to movement building that integrates personal, organisational and social movement transformation. They work with an extensive network across the region, who they support with capacity building through accompaniment and training that foster deep reflection and transformative learning.

European Community Organizing Network

ECON is a network of progressive groups and organisations across Europe engaged in community organizing towards social and environmental justice. We enable members and partners to strengthen organizing capacity, coordinate international solidarity, and support the sustainability of the community organizing sector.

European Alternatives

European Alternatives works to promote democracy, equality and culture beyond the nation-state and imagine, demand and enact alternatives for a viable future. We articulate a radical, long-term vision of politics, society and culture beyond the nation-state, experiment with forms of action for transformative change, and build the capacity, mutual-awareness and connection of activists and organisations.

National University of Ireland, Maynooth

The Maynooth University partners are embedded in traditions of radical adult education and social movement research in the departments of Adult and Community Education and Sociology respectively. With shared backgrounds in Irish movement organising, they were part of the team that ran the five-year Master’s in Community Education, Equality and Social Activism.


Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union

The development of this guide was funded by the Erasmus+ KA2 adult education program as part of the project “IETTAC – Innovations in Education for Transnational and Transversal Active Citizenship”. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of the project partners and cannot be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union. The European Union cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information this document contains.