Program Themes

This year our themes are arranged around the guiding principle that cultivating trust and building critical connections are powerful organising principles. Trust opens the way for Compassion to show up and flourish.

Connection and belonging

We never know how our small activities will affect others through the invisible fabric of our connectedness. In this exquisitely connected world, it’s never a question of ‘critical mass.’ It’s always about critical connections.

Grace Lee Boggs

Mycelium is the vast and intelligent underground network of the mushroom. This super network connects all living plants to one another, carrying nutrients and information from one tree to the next. Compassion across communities works in much the same way.

There’s no going back to the pre-pandemic days of 2019. Across the world writers, thinkers and artists are naming this place we are in as a great turning point; a place of no return; a transition. Our health systems have been revealed as moribund. Our workforce are tired and overwhelmed. Ambulances ramp and patients queue. Now is no time for nostalgia.

Creating our future

There’s no magical return. We’re not all going to return to an unblemished time in history, and if we know that…what do we have to do? Who needs to have a conversation with whom? Who needs to heal what relationship? Who needs to ask for what permission? Who needs to offer something back?

Prentiss Hemphill

 For the last few years we have been living off the fumes of hope. Right now we want to reignite the power of hope, not as some lofty idea for the faint hearted but as the working of our collective radical imagination. 

What is the compassionate and bold work we need to do to make the future. Some days we feel immobilised by the magnitude of change required. We can barely see past the mutations of Covid-19.  It’s easy to find comfort in a story that “when this is over we will…”

What if we have arrived? What if this is the place where we start to build something new.

Building social justice

If the goal was to increase the love, rather than winning or dominating a constant opponent, I think we could actually imagine liberation from constant oppression. We would suddenly be seeing everything we do, everyone we meet, not through the tactical eyes of war, but through eyes of love. We would see that there’s no such thing as a blank canvas, an empty land or a new idea – but everywhere there is complex, ancient, fertile ground full of potential.

adrienne maree brown

What if social justice is loving awareness in action? What if embodiment is really a way that we might begin to understand ourselves and our place in the great scheme of things in a deeper and more enlivening way.  

Non binary communities are offering the world glistening examples of what it means to embody new possibilities. BIPOC communities are also leading the way at this moment. This year’s conference is your invitation to listen and contribute with a deeper generosity.  

What are we ready to compost and what will rise up from the fertile decay of old structures and forms of power? 

Leading in chaotic times

If we beat the system at its own game, we’ve lost. It is no longer time to rush through the contested world blinded by fury and anger – however worthwhile these are. Now, we think, is the time to ‘retreat’ into the real work of reclamation, to re-member again our humanity through the intimacy of our relationships. The time is very urgent – we must slow down.

Bayo Akomolafe

Leading with compassion is not easy work. It takes a deep and creative commitment to being in the present moment; showing up with love and courage; a focus on collective action and a culture of belonging. In consideration of this theme we have invited speakers that have decades of experience working with large corporations and small communities. You will be challenged to re-think how we can lead each other in creative, sustainable and renewable ways.

Meet our speakers

We have exampled these speakers on behalf of the program themes.

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