NWS Group Residency Program
Community building through repetition
Time Frame: Iteratively over 2 years
My Role: Service Designer + Program Manager
Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
To build a consistent community, event hosts need consistent space. Affordable space in NYC is hard to find, let alone with any consistency. We wondered: How might New Women Space support repeat event hosts through a group residency program?
Granted dedicated space for budding community groups to host in person gatherings with the assurance of fixed space each month and access to New Women Space resources.
Our initial group of residents were led by organizers that we already knew and trusted. To pilot the program, we wanted to showcase groups that delivered high quality content and that exemplified a solid range of causes and identities.
We began the program on a 4 month cycle with 10 groups. Each cycle would kick off with an orientation meeting and mixer for group residents where they could plan out their chosen event dates and learn how to self-host at the space.
After two rounds of group residents, we realized group residents needed more than 4 months to build their offering and following and decided to expand the duration to 12 months.
We learned from our conversations and surveys from residents that they wanted more help from NWS staff in the form of trainings. We responded to their feedback by delivering a workshop on event marketing and one on facilitation and de-escalation.
Results and Reflections
Sharing calendar space was always a big question: do you encourage repetition by reserving space for repeat hosts or do you encourage variety and accessibility by ensuring that all groups had equal access?
In the end, we found our group residency program to be a compromise. We limited the number of groups to 10 to ensure that enough calendar space was open to new hosts.
It’s no surprise that we formed closer relationships with the group residents — proving that some aspect of our hypothesis was correct. More repetition = more familiarity = more trust and deeper connections.
We heard from our group residents that not having to scramble for space each month and being able to welcome their respective communities into the same familiar place each gathering was instrumental to the growth of their reach and personal bandwidths as event hosting side hustlers.