This past May we held a conference for academics and practitioners who were involved in leading organisations or communities, working to improve diversity, participation and inclusion, and who were writing about women and leadership. This was a chance for them to meet and connect with other women in a collaborative inquiry, with time for thinking, exploration, reflection, experimentation, warmth and laughter.
Such times call for radical thinking, resourceful practice and joined-up action. We held a space a little different to the traditional conference, in which we explored both theory and praxis, through the experiential and creative activities enabled in this regenerative, inspirational place.
We created a temporary community of inquiry and practice, from the diverse perspectives and experiences of the participants.
With contributions from UK and internationally, each themed session paired theoretical inquiry with a parallel exploration through the experiential.
We explored a wide variety of topics, including presence, power, impact and the relational, and work with the horses; diversity, wellbeing and resilience, and the wild edges of the farm where ecosystems regenerate; the idea and practice of traditional and non traditional work, in the woodland and baking together; new ideas for organising and collective action, through a deep awareness of and connection to place.
We also wanted to address the issues prompted by the conditions of our times; gender and identity; the politics of misogyny; safe spaces & challenging conversations; women and the archetypes of leadership; developing women’s leadership.
The structured sessions, experiential activities and conference papers were interspersed with creative, reflexive open space inquiry and collaborative sense making.
You can read more about the specific experiences and work of the conference attendees and facilitators here.
This gathering was hosted, led and facilitated by Sue Pritchard, Carole Elliott and Karen Ward.