Since 2000 the Global Partnership has been convening annual conferences (“Gatherings”) in Burlington, Vermont. Each October approximately 35 to 45 participants from around the globe gather for three days of spirited dialogue, reflection, connection and laughter. Formally titled, “Transforming Social Work Practice, Education & Inquiry”, the Gatherings focus on expressions of “postmodern,” particularly social constructionist, ideas and their potential application to issues germane to social work. Our venue is a conference center located along the shores of Lake Champlain that also provides participants with economical lodging and meals.
Unlike traditional academic conferences, we have tried to make the Gatherings expressions of the ideas we explore. Thus, the Gatherings are participatory, interactive and relational, with dialogue, rather than presentations, as the primary mode of learning. The centrality of dialogue also enables us to engage in a range of activities ranging from outdoor excursions to the sharing of artistic expression.
Much of our “programmed” dialogue centers around broad topics that are chosen by participants from a menu of topics developed each year by a program committee of past participants. In an effort to continue some of these conversations beyond the Gatherings we have created a discussion board with two of the discussion topics. We invite you to participate by adding your own thoughts.
The Gatherings are open to scholars (including doctoral students), practitioners, and educators with a background and interest in the transformative potential of social constructionist and other “postmodern” perspectives for social work and related fields. As a small, dialogically-based gathering we seek a heterogeneous group of participants representative of our organization’s aims.