Women’s Lives: Authority, Complexity, Intersectionality - A Group Relations Conference

April 12th - 14th, 2019

Dear Prospective Member;

In the U.S., we are grappling with significant societal and critically salient issues of social justice and women's rights in multiple domains. These struggles are not new and have been happening since this country's founding. Indeed, women around the world have struggled with similar challenges. And yet, although often adversely impacted by patriarchal oppression and discrimination, women also have unearned privileges based upon skin color, social class, and other advantages and they are not immune to issues of internalized racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and other “isms.”

Women's Lives: Authority, Complexity, Intersectionality—A Group Relations Conference brings focus to the complex experience of women and those who seek to understand the realities of women's lives and gender dynamics in the organizations and social systems in which we live in the US (and beyond). The unique opportunity offered by this conference is to work with an all-woman staff who have different racial-cultural identities. Attendees will explore what arises when the entire staff of a temporary institution are women, while those who join as members of the conference represent diverse communities and reflect a range of gendered and social identities.

This nonresidential 3-day experiential group relations conference is based on the Tavistock tradition of group relations work. It will explore key issues impacting women's lives in diverse group and organizational contexts while exploring themes central to group relations — such as conscious and unconscious dynamics that affect group functioning, including boundary formation and management, authority relations, overt and covert tasks, formal and informal roles, group defense mechanisms, intergroup dynamics, organizational processes, and the effects of local and global contexts.

The leadership model of the conference consists of three directors and reflects an invitation to work with the intersectional nature of women's lives. This model also reflects the way many groups and organizations are structured today. Some may find this model familiar, others innovative, some collaborative, and others heretical. This model emerged from our collective work in organizing this conference and reflects our ambition to be open to working with the systemic complexity and intersectionality of women's lives as these dynamics emerge during the conference.

This event is open to anyone who is interested in joining. We encourage participants of all social identities to join us and to urge others to attend. We are excited to welcome you and we look forward to exploring with you. Women's Lives: Authority, Complexity, Intersectionality—A Group Relations Conference on April 12-14, 2019 at the University of San Diego, School of Leadership and Education.