Connection, Creativity, Community: Finding Hope in a Climate of Crisis

16 – 17 Nov 2020


Online ,
Streamed live (AEDT)

May you live in interesting times. It wasn’t meant to be a blessing.

But interesting times is what we’ve got.

The planet was in crisis even before COVID-19 came along. Now we’re in an even bigger mess. The streets are empty, save for joggers and essential workers holding their breath as they pass. Things that we thought impossible a month ago – borders closed; workplaces shut; planes grounded; school online; mortgages and rents suspended; entire industries collapsing; homeless people being welcomed into fancy hotels; and on and on – are now suddenly done. The budget surplus we yearned for is now revealed as an absurdity. For those of us still in lockdown, the concept of ‘Monday’ is an absurdity! We’ve seen the worst of people (sometimes) and the best (often), and we still have a long way to go.

There is hope. It comes in the form of a vaccine, but also community. The arts goes online. Neighbours connect (and share loo roll). Families discover Skype and Zoom (not the same, but not too bad, considering). In the streets and online we witness countless acts of kindness. Teachers and nurses and childcare workers and social workers and shelf-stackers and those who knock on doors to ask "are you OK?" are revealed as the heroes they always were. We suddenly know – really know – what matters.

As the pandemic grinds on, everything feels uncertain. Except the power of community.

This is not a time for despair. If we’re going to get through this intact, we need community workers to be laser focused on the task ahead. You’re needed. You’re valued. You deserve to carve these two days out of your diary to connect with your peers, celebrate your successes, and draw strength for what lies ahead.

Log on to Communities in Control 2020 and find out how to identify a path through the confusion. We can promise you it’ll be interesting. In a good way.

A note on COVID-19

We look forward to welcoming you online at the first ever virtual Communities in Control conference.

In the meanwhile, remember that Communities in Control is more than a conference - it's a movement. While Australia deals with COVID-19, our communities still need each of us to be effective, helpful and compassionate. To join relevant conversations, share resources and support your fellow change-makers, why not join Our Community's free Not-for-Profit Happy Hour Facebook group? We'd love to see you online.

Exhibiting at the Virtual Communities in Control

A limited number of virtual exhibitor spaces are available at Communities in Control, perfect for organisations providing services and products that add value to Australia's not-for-profit sector. Sound like your organisation?

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Event Schedule

09:15am – 09:30am

Welcome and opening / Acknowledgment of Country

09:30am – 09:45am

A musical performance

Music, for Katie, is a lifelong lesson, a generous act of giving, and a means to change the world. Let Katie change ours.

09:45am – 10:45am

The Power of Respect: Replacing alert and alarmed with informed and engaged

The world is a scary place. Or so our media would have us believe. Who controls the narrative we see on our television screens, or read online or in the paper? Why does it feel everything is going wrong? Governing for a population of alert and alarmed voters is vastly different to governing for a population of informed and engaged citizens. What needs to change in the system to ensure we are all informed on government policy, and engaged in the decision-making processes?

10:45am – 11:00am

Morning Break

11:00am – 11:40am

Climate and Communities: Adapting to the new normal

We all know that climate change is damaging our natural environment, but what impact is it having on our communities? A future defined by climate change will bring new issues and obstacles that the community sector will need to face and overcome. We have to. There is no Planet B.

11:40am – 12:00pm

We Could Have Avoided This: Why inaction is no longer an option

In March 2018, Jo Dodds’ life was changed forever as devastating bushfires ripped through Tathra, her home town. Since then, the bushfires have only become worse, destroying localities all across the country. Still, our political leaders won’t act. They tell us that now is not the time to talk about climate change. But why, when the forests are burning, and people are sifting through the ashes of their homes, can we not talk about this? Inaction will get us nowhere. We must act.

12:00pm – 12:40pm

Breaking Badly: How I worried myself sick

Working in the community sector can often be emotionally draining. How do community workers balance their life with the long hours and stresses of the job without breaking down? How do you keep it together when tackling some of society’s darkest issues? What is required to remain in control? Hear one woman’s story of rising and falling and rising again.

12:40pm – 01:30pm

Lunch Break

01:30pm – 02:20pm

Building a Community: Bringing social infrastructure into the conversation

When we hear the word ‘infrastructure’ most of us automatically think of roads, railways and bridges. But we all know that it takes much more than that to build a community. As a society, we need to shift the conversation to ensure that social infrastructure is brought into the mix. If we fail, what chance do we have at building stronger communities within Australia?

02:20pm – 02:50pm

Afternoon Break

02:50pm – 03:40pm

Understanding the Social Progress Index: Using data to measure our progress

The Social Progress Index is used to measure how well the environmental and social needs of citizens are being met. Currently, Australia ranks 12th in the world. That’s great, but what exactly does it mean? How do you measure social progress? What are we learning from the results?

03:40pm – 04:30pm

The Perks of Being a Pirate: From tragedy to triumph

It’s one thing to survive a life-threatening illness, it’s another to thrive thereafter, mesmerizing audiences around the world as a keynote speaker, DJ and quadruple amputee like it’s nobody’s business. Tom Nash has done all of it. This presentation will equip you with an understanding of how to overcome life’s obstacles, and motivate you to do so.

04:30pm – 06:00pm

Virtual Drinks and Networking

09:30am – 10:20am

Inequality in Our Communities: Why are so many missing out?

We hear a lot about the rising divides in economic opportunities and wealth in Australia: between country and city, young and old and the top 1% and ‘everyone else’. What do we know about rising inequality in our communities and what can we do about it?

10:20am – 10:45am

Morning Break

10:45am – 11:30am

The Iron Law of Business-as-usual: What is it and can we escape it?

In Australia, policy agendas come, tip everything upside down, and then they go, swept away by the next fad. New Zealand has garnered world attention for its ‘Wellbeing Budget’ but Australia had a wellbeing framework a decade ago. It was quietly scrapped a few years ago and no-one noticed the difference. It looks like New Zealand is heading down a similar path. What can we do to overcome this churn-and-burn cycle of policy building? How do we escape the path of business-as-usual?

11:30am – 12:20pm

Finding Power in the Exchange: Negotiating great outcomes for all

At the heart of any successful negotiation is the ability to seamlessly facilitate a successful exchange. That exchange may be financial, a service exchange, an information exchange or a simple handshake. Whatever it may be, those who are able to build trust and harness intentional influence in that exchange are the leaders empowered to create positive outcomes for every stakeholder. It is in the moments ‘in between’ the exchange where we must learn to translate, transform and direct. In tough times, learn how to succeed.

12:20pm – 01:00pm

Lunch Break

01:00pm – 01:50pm

Poster Boy: Using art as advocacy to reshape community opinions

A great picture paints a thousand words, but how many words are needed to reshape the opinions of a community? Art is a vital part of any movement, and there is no denying that Peter Drew’s works have sparked conversation throughout Australia. Big things happen when art meets advocacy.

01:50pm – 02:10pm

Afternoon Break

02:10pm – 03:00pm

This is Where We Live: Using people-centred data to remake cities & towns

Cities and towns should be built for the communities that will inhabit them. There is a trove of data on the demographics of any given town, but do we spend enough time consulting this data, and the people the data represents, to give us a better understanding of what the community needs? It’s time to put people back at the centre of our urban environments.

03:00pm – 04:00pm

The 2020 Joan Kirner Social Justice Oration

After a surprise election victory in May 2019, Scott Morrison thanked the ‘quiet Australians’ for sticking by his side. Since then, it appears that our government is hell-bent on making the entire population quiet. Journalists are being pressured by the Australian Federal Police to cooperate or feel the force. There’s been talk of outlawing group boycotts. Children finding their political voice are being told to go back to school. When New South Wales and Queensland were on fire we were told that now is not the time to talk. But the community sector won’t be quiet Australians. We will continue to talk, and our voice will be heard.

04:00pm – 06:15pm


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