How do you know when you’ve found the perfect workshop venue? It’s usually when your students ask you to teach more workshops in that space! Now depending on what you teach you’re going to have different requirements for your students. Some of you may even use your own home as your workshop space, but you folks aren’t the people I’m talking to today.
Finding the right space for what you’re teaching is vital for your students to return and for your workshops to remain profitable. Since 2011, I have taught most of my live weekday workshops at the Center for Excellence in Raleigh, North Carolina, and it’s been a fabulous partnership with Dan Scala and Lois LeSavoy. The Center for Excellence offers tiered memberships depending on how many times a month you will use the space—this is a great arrangement, but there are other options out there besides dedicated workshop spaces—you can also teach at community centers or lifelong learning programs that will take a percentage of your participant fees or pay you a flat rate from your workshops.
I have also taught many recent weekend workshops at Page 158 Books in downtown Wake Forest. Page 158 Books is co-owned by a fun and enthusiastic couple, Sue and Dave Lucey, who give it their all to the community every day. They have a dedicated workshop space in their back room and I teach on Sundays, a day that their store is closed. Dave and Sue set the room up for me and also provide light refreshments for the students, plus we’re surrounding by books!
If You Teach Writing Workshops Here’s What a Great Workshop Space Looks Like
- The location has easy access from major highways and the parking lot is not on a high or low slope. Folks shouldn’t have to pay to park! If it’s possible to meet ADA requirements, the workshop space is on the lower floor or there’s an elevator nearby. At one of my workshops I once had a woman fall down the stairs and although she wasn’t too badly hurt, this incident made me think twice about upper level workshop spaces.
- There are plenty of tables and comfortable chairs and the room can comfortably hold 20 people. (I know you want big classes, right?) Holding a writing workshop using clipboards only is bad for your students’ necks.
- Good lighting is very important both inside the space in and in the parking lot for night classes. I love spaces that have large windows and natural light.
- There’s a whiteboard, easel and projector available.
- The space gives you access to a copier or printer when that extra person walks in.
- There’s a kitchen available with a water cooler and coffee maker.
- The space is clean, free of vermin and well-maintained.
I’ve been teaching live workshops for a decade and can attest to the importance all of these points above. Cost is also something you need to think about and a more expensive workshop space can be worth it if you give a lot of workshops.
What’s missing off of this list? If you teach workshops, please share some of your words of wisdom with us!