Call for contributions, 2023

Submissions for the 2023 conference have now closed. Explore the 2023 programme here.

The UK Communities Conference 2023: Skills for Community Life
21–23 July 2023, Braziers Park, Ipsden, OX10 6AN
Call for contributions.

The 2022 UK Communities Conference brought together people from many UK intentional communities to celebrate communal living and discuss its benefits and challenges. The conference gave an overview of the UK communities scene, creating a space for communitarians, academics, and laypeople to seek insights into their way of life and the chance to change it.

This year, we move from the why to the how, and ask: what skills are needed to do community well? Communal living requires and fosters many skills—personal, relational, and organisational, alongside practical and land skills. These are often idiosyncratic, varying between people and communities. How do we share such skills? How are they retained in a community and transmitted over time? What can help us to do this better?

We invite contributors to the 2023 conference to explore the question of skill in the context of community, demonstrate skills shaped by or for community, and share knowledge that can support community life. We hope to bring together a range of speakers and demonstrators to create a rich exchange, reflecting different interests and learning styles and allowing participants to engage in a variety of ways. As a guideline, we are inviting contributions on four themes:

  • Personal. Living in a group requires and encourages personal development at an individual level, including self-awareness, self-reliance, and the ability to relate to others. How does community life instil and shape such skills?
  • Organisational. Many communities are organised around principles of collaboration and non-hierarchical modes of working. How can we address the specific challenges these present in community?
  • Practical. Many communities emphasise self-sufficiency and sharing, and many own land or property needing specialised care. Is there something unique about how practical skills are recognised and shared in communities?
  • Ecological. Many communities have an ethos of sustainability. What skills, attitudes, and perspectives enable effective environmentalism and land stewardship in community?

We invite talks, skills demonstrations, round-table discussions, and workshops, with an emphasis on the theme of skill in community. We also welcome communards to give short talks introducing the communities they live in, reflecting on their skilled practices. Some conference sessions will be pre-planned; others will emerge from a facilitated exchange between participants. We would like this to be a collaborative event, and we encourage speakers to allow more time for discussion than in a typical conference format.

The conference will run from 21st to 23rd July at Braziers Park in South Oxfordshire. Contributors are eligible for free or discounted tickets, including meals and camping accommodation, and reasonable travel costs.