About the 8th World Congress

Appreciating our Diverse Pasts, Comprehending our Complex Presents, Prefiguring our Possible Futures

Like so many initiatives and approaches which emerged during the sixties and seventies, Participatory Action Research (PAR), Action Research (AR) and Action Learning (AL) have come of age. As the previous seven ALARPM/ALARA Congresses are testimonies to, several generations of practitioners have added their hearts, hands and minds to earlier traditions. Their work has been differentiated into ‘applied fields’, journals and second and third editions of ‘handbooks’ have been published. The underlying philosophy and ‘ways of ‘knowing’, methodologies and methods have become ‘standard’ fare in reference lists, workshops and course syllabi, leadership manuals, organisational protocols. These are all signs of a mature and meanwhile global discourse. As several of the initiators of the PAR, AR and AL ‘traditions’ are now reaching their ‘third age’, now is an auspicious time to critically but appreciatively assess our present practices and understandings and to dream possible futures. Indeed, as exemplified by the many ‘words’ filling the front page of this program and the ‘streams’ of praxis we are using to assist in orchestrating our conversations, the proliferation of PAR, AR and AL across many institutional, professional and programmatic fields requires us to reflect on our commonalities, our foundational principles whilst fully staying in touch with the diversity of our praxis. Finally, we have chosen four ‘Themes’ to guide our conversations across times and streams and to help us maintain a degree of coherence.

Partners and Sponsors

ALARA is a strategic network of people interested or involved in using action learning or action research to generate collaborative learning, research and action to transform workplaces, schools, colleges, universities, communities, voluntary organisations, governments and businesses.

ALARA’s vision is that action learning and action research will be widely used and publicly shared by individuals and groups creating local and global change for the achievement of a more equitable, just, joyful, productive, peaceful and sustainable society.

ALARA would like to thank the following partners and sponsors of the 8th ALARA World Congress.

Partner: Borderlands Cooperative (www.borderlands.org.au)
Independent network for holistic community activism, sustainability and action research.

Partner: Oases Graduate School (www.oases.edu.au)
Accredited Masters Program supports and facilitates personal, organisational and social transformation and focuses its efforts on personal, social and ecological sustainability.

Sponsor: The Participation, Power and Social Change Team at the Institute of Development Studies (www.ids.ac.uk)
A leading global organisation for research, teaching and communications on international development; aiming to challenge convention and to generate fresh ideas that foster new approaches to development policy and practice.

Sponsor: Deakin University, Melbourne (www.deakin.edu.au)
Deakin combines a traditional focus on excellent teaching and research with a desire to seek new ways of developing and delivering courses.

Sponsor: AusAID (www.ausaid.gov.au)
AusAID is the Australian Government agency responsible for managing Australia's overseas aid program, whose objective is to assist developing countries reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development, in line with Australia's national interest.