2017 Institute of Group Leaders' Conference -

Compassion - Communication - Connection - Capturing learning: Challenges in a Changing World


Thursday and Friday, 12-13 October 2017

Wesley Conference Centre - 220 Pitt St, Sydney

Save the date... this is an important conference to attend!


When under pressure, what do you do? Return to 1st principles…


Group experiences are a foundation that builds healthy communities. As a society, even though adult learning principles have existed for decades, they are often not fully lived. The next cornerstone for group work is to remain strong on its core foundations and capture the evidence that demonstrates its worth with increasing focus on:

  • Making a difference in disadvantaged communities
  • Supporting refugees
  • Engaging youth
  • Reducing divisiveness in the community
  • Building a greater sense of safety when people are afraid and vulnerable
  • Responding to and reducing domestic violence.
Group work enables people to name and normalise their lived experience. It breaks open the stagnant hardened shells of their present perspective, revealing ambiguity and opening up fresh ideas and options for exploration. Asking a question leads to a strategy for action that is a powerful contribution to resolving any problem. Asking questions and listening for the strategies and ideas embedded in people's own answers can be the greatest service a social change worker can provide.


This conference will live and promote the following 1st principles:

  1. Focus on how group leaders apply new and existing learning that allows people to build on what they already know. We can help group members to access it, amplify it, and apply it rather than reiterating information already known.
  2. Learning occurs between group members as much as from the content or the group leader. Group work provides many more opportunities than just efficiency for delivering content to more people.
  3. Does what we do make a difference? Evaluate the difference a group experience makes. Use a Program Logic Model to capture the essence of your program and its key outcomes and assumptions.
  4. Group workers develop their own resilience and capacity for leadership yet work in a reflective and empowering way so that the benefits of group work are ultimately for the participants.