Wien, 09.07.2020, 19:34   DEUTSCH / ENGLISH

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< August >

The Leicester Conference

03.08.2019 - 16.08.2019

Veranstalter: The Tavistock Institute
Veranstaltungsort: University of Leicester
University Rd
LE1 7RH Leicester
Vereinigte Königreich
>> Webseite


Task Authority Organisation

There is now wide recognition that group and systems psychodynamics play a vital part in the success or failure of work projects and organisational change. Likewise, the understanding and management of feelings, tensions and other dynamics in group situations are essential to effective leadership and followership.

Timothy Gallwey, author of The Inner Game of Work says,

“You must declare yourself to be a learner during your working hours as well as a doer. After that, you must pay attention to the teacher – experience itself.”

The Leicester Conference is a 14-day experiential learning event. It is residential and provides space to reflect and contemplate on how you lead and follow in your organisation, your community, indeed, how you lead and follow in your life! The conference has taken place every year since 1957 and is the flagship of all the other Group Relations conferences and institutions around the world. It is only for those who are deeply invested in understanding their relationship to leadership and authority in complex, uncertain contexts. It is the home of learning by experience.

Learning for Leadership
The Leicester Conference involves discovering ourselves in new ways and relating to our context and its contents a-fresh. It opens up vistas from which we can navigate new directions through previously unseen pathways, and thereby arrive at a new realm of possibility and potential, where earlier we only saw thickets, dead ends and hopelessness. Participants at Group Relations conferences consistently report their learning to be “life changing”.  The learning is subtle and enduring long beyond its initial intensity during the conference itself.

Learning through Experience
As a learning modality, it is completely experiential, there are no lectures, presentations or powerpoint slides. What is provided at a Group Relations Conference is unique, in CPD terms. Unlike many other programmes where the learning outcomes are specified in advance, (the “what you will learn” and the “how you will learn it”), at the Leicester Conference, the learning emerges, and it is available to you in as much or as little as you are able to take from the opportunity. It is not a conference as we think of it, the Leicester Conference is a temporary Institution in which to study the exercise of authority.

The conference
As an organisation, it has a Director and a staff team who work collaboratively with the members on the dynamics of leading and following within the boundary of the conference main task. As the members encounter the staff – all of whom are appointed by the Director, we hypothesise that the thoughts, feelings and ideas about the staff: member relationships, as well as member: member relationships mirror the dynamics from our lives – and are driven by deep patterns related to childhood (or earlier) authority figures. The conference is a safe space where we can study those feelings, thoughts and assumptions; test them, and find new ways to work in, with or around them.

What does it involve? 
There are Small Groups, Large Groups, and an inter-group event as well as an event that seeks to study the role of the psychophysical in the context of authorisation.  In the second week, there is an institutional event about relationships between parts/wholes and managing differentials of power and influence. There are informal spaces for reflection, digestion and journaling. Plenaries and Review & Application groups provide the space to make sense of the conference experience, and to think about how learning in the conference may be translated into the roles we hold outside of the conference. Unlike our ceaseless world, there is a rhythm to the conference that in itself is a learning opportunity.

The Here and Now
Wilfred Bion is often quoted as encouraging analysts to work “without memory and desire”. The notion of working in the “here and now” provides opportunities to explore what it really means to be present to what is actually going on. So much of our waking life is spent drifting off into ideas of certainty, asserting that we really know what is going on, or into dreams of what we hope is really going on: sitting patiently between those two poles is, what is (or could be) really going on. Learning to be with what emerges is a wonderful learning opportunity that political, social and corporate leaders need now more than ever.

Becoming a Learner
Returning to Timothy Gallwey, and The Inner Game of Work – he says that, after we have declared ourselves as learners we become teachable.  After Leicester, we return to our organisations ready to listen in new ways,

“….. the customer will teach us how to sell, the subordinate will teach us how to manage, the followers will teach us how to lead, and every project will teach us how to optimise our work.”

As if he had taken part in a Leicester Conference Gallwey says,

“This seminar of experience has an open door policy. You can enter and exit when you choose. When you enter and pay attention as a student, the learning process begins.  You start from your present understanding and move at your own pace. But if you get so involved in the drama and the trauma of work that you forget you are a student, the seminar goes on without you. It waits patiently for your return, always granting the freedom to be conscious or unconscious, to pay attention or not. And the variety of courses to enrol in is nearly unlimited.”

However, there is only one Leicester Conference and it waits patiently for your attendance.

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