Group Relations Conferences at the Tavistock and Portman
Our iconic conference aims to increase your personal effectiveness in any organisational role. Development happens through experiential learning.
What is a Group Relations Conference?
A group relations conference is not a didactic conference but rather an experiential one. It offers members the chance to understand more about group processes and how they behave in a variety of group settings. This includes areas such as leadership, followership, authority, diversity, hierarchy and power structures, in a live way and how they impact on individual responses and group behaviour.
The conference is a world within a world and provides a structure in which a temporary organization is co-created by members and staff. This can then be studied by all members and staff of the conference; it is a place to experiment, to play, and to try and better understand the dynamics of organizational life. There will be opportunities to look differently, to listen with imagination, and to understand the impact when this isn’t possible. As with any organisation, this ‘temporary organisation’ will present the tensions of working in particular roles, in different levels of authority, and with differing assumptions about the task and about each others’ capacities to lead and to actively follow.
Participating in a group relations conference offers the potential for deep and transformational learning about both oneself and the dynamics of groups and organizations.
Upcoming conferences in 2021
Please see below for our upcoming conference:
Type: Conference Location: Tavistock or Online TBC Date: Full days September 6th - 9th
An Online Group Relations Conference Spring 2021: Exploring the complex realities of inter-agency working
Type: Conference Location: Zoom Date: 29th
March -1st April 2021
Type: Conference Location: Zoom Date: 29th March -1st April 2021
Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, we've had to postpone the events below. Please keep checking back for updates or follow us on social media.
We've also helped compile a set of reflections about how Group Relations thinking can assist people and systems to explore the COVID-19 pandemic. Download the GRC response to COVID-19 guide.
Back to the Future: Authority, vulnerability, continuity and change: A Group Relations Conference celebrating 100 years of Tavistock thinking
NB. This conference has been postponed. However, we are currently we're trying to collect views on how and when to reschedule it via this survey:...
On whose authority? - exploring leadership in contemporary organisation, Geneva group relations conference 2020
A Group Relations Conference in Geneva
We're living in a time of unprecedented uncertainty and fragmentation, conflict within organisations and the society we live in, and between nations; we're facing a lot of conflict. You could say we're constantly all of us living in 'group relations'.
So what's the difference between the way that we live and a group relations conference?
The task of a group relations conference is to give the whole membership the chance to notice, to understand and to reflect on what is going on between people and between groups within the whole conference. We form what's called a 'temporary organisation' for the duration of the conference. So it's not a conference in a traditional sense where you have papers and experts and speakers and an audience, it involves the whole group trying to understand some of the complicated and difficult things that go on in organisations, as well as some of the creative things that can happen.
Staff are there to manage the event, and also to consult. This involves observing the group, helping to notice the kinds of things that are taking place and putting forward some hypotheses about how these can be understood. It's a chance to have a relationship within an organisation, and have a chance to think about that. They get to have some strong feelings about that, as they are in group and organisational life; people get confused, competitive, excited about what they're doing.
The difference in this context is there is a chance to reflect on that and understand it. So there's an opportunity to really develop your leadership and try things out in a different way - think about what goes wrong in the organisations that you currently inhabit. Perhaps more importantly at the moment, especially in the public sector, the chance to really think about robust followership; how is it possible to both support and challenge when you're working in the middle of an organisation – 'leading from the middle'.
Our experience is that having an opportunity to learn about leading from the middle, and learning in the middle of a complex organisation, is something that a group relations conference really allows you to do.
Leadership? Energy? Empowerment? Creativity? Co-operative endeavour? Infighting? Destructive competition? Lethargy? Cynicism? How many of these...
This is an applied 3 day group relations conference exploring complexities in caring for the emotional and psychological well-being of adults,...
Courage to Connect: Navigating the Complexities of Organisational Life - a Group Relations Conference
We live and work in complex formal and informal organisational contexts. The liveliness, energy, interest and respect that we can bring to each...
Organizational life is more complex and difficult than ever. Globalisation, technology, and the rapid pace of environmental change sets us in a...
Join us in creating a three-day experiential learning institution, designed to explore ways in which groups, inter-groups and organisations...
On whose authority? - exploring leadership in contemporary organisations, Geneva group relations conference 2019
Type: Conference Location: Geneva Date: 17 to 19 May 2019
This is an applied four-day group relations conference exploring complexities in caring for the emotional and psychological well-being of adults,...
Conference Director: Lydia Hartland-Rowe
Conference Director: Ben Neal
How can you take up your professional role at work with a stronger sense of freedom and authority ? The conference is a three-day intensive...
Snippets of Group Relation's past and how it has shaped the iconic conference.