The Advancing Community Cohesion Conference is an annual event that works to address the challenges relating to social cohesion in diverse communities whilst exploring methods through which they can be effectively addressed. This has seen a coming together of over 250 thought leaders, influencers, decision-makers and practitioners from all over the world for two years in a row. The event facilitates discussions relating to diverse communities, including: migrants, CALD communities, ethnic and religious minorities, the indigenous community, people living with a disability, and the LGBTIQ community.
Meredith Stuebe, our Community Engagement Manager, attended the conference, to learn about different strategies for social cohesion that are being rolled out, researched and run in Australia and globally.
The most exciting part of the day for me was definitely the plenary sessions, where the conference transformed into a space for discussion and idea sharing.”Meredith Stuebe, Community Engagement Manager
Meredith recalls being struck by the breadth of incredible research, programs and events taking place that seek to understand and expand social cohesion. She continued to say that it was great to be in a space that explored complex themes of social cohesion, identity and inclusion with consideration, respect and a thorough evidence base.
As well as this, Meredith found it encouraging that some of the key learnings from the conference are already deeply incorporated into the work of the Western Sydney MRC, particularly in the co-design of programs and working to a client centered, strength-based approach. She strives to ensure that this approach is nurtured and expanded within her own team as they work with the community.
Speaking more broadly, the research on cohesion that was presented by Professor Ted Cantle was enlightening for Meredith and will go towards informing her approach to community engagement, keeping in mind the complexity of identity politics and the pervasively negative impact of segregation and inequality.