Media release: ‘From the Edge’ World Community Development Conference to be held in Darwin in June 2023.

Darwin will host the 2023 World Community Development Conference that brings together hundreds of community development professionals from across the globe.

The 2023 World Community Development Conference ‘From the Edge’ is expected to attract 500-600 community development workers from over 20 countries to Australia. This annual event hosted by the International Association for Community Development (IACD) provides a unique opportunity for practitioners, participants, academics, policy makers, funders, and other stakeholders to share perspectives on current contexts and challenges for community work.

The conference will offer high-profile keynote presentations, panel debates and dozens of workshops, plus field visits to community development projects in the region. In 2023, the Conference themes of “Community, Connection, Culture” will focus on the Indigenous practices of working with communities, the enablement of local participation, the importance of places and intersections of theory and practice in community development work.

Anna Clarke, the Chair of IACD Board of Trustees, says ‘The World Community Development Conferences are a major feature of our global calendar. As communities around the world continue to experience serious challenges, the Darwin conference is an opportunity for us to reassert the value of well established and respected practices alongside the insights gained from new thinking and emerging approaches. This is particularly timely for IACD. 2023 is our 70th year and now more than ever, as a discipline we need to combine our collective focus, energies and skills into working with communities for a socially just world.’

Organised by the International Association for Community Development (IACD), in 2023 the conference will be delivered in partnership with local host – the Australian Community Workers Association.

‘We are delighted that the 2023 World Community Development Conference ‘From the Edge’ is coming to Australia,’ says Michelle Dunscombe, Regional Trustee for Oceania at IACD. ‘Community development workers have a unique way of tackling social issues and finding solutions through collaboration and shared wisdom. We are looking forward to showcasing our First Nations culture and community development projects across Australia and hearing from communities around the globe as we learn from each other’.

Tourism Australia Managing Director Phillipa Harrison said Tourism Australia is excited to be supporting the World Community Development Conference 2023 through the Business Events Bid Fund Program.

“We congratulate the Northern Territory on another successful bid to host a conference which has the potential to deliver significant benefits,” Ms Harrison said.

“Attracting events, like the World Community Development Conference, is helping to generate global attention for Australia’s world-class business events offering whilst also delivering short and long terms benefits to our tourism industry and economy more broadly.”

‘We are most grateful for support from Tourism Australia and the Northern Territory Government’ said Ms Dunscombe and ‘are seeking sponsorship from additional organisations to allow us to keep costs low and provide a range of scholarships for local and international delegates.”

The previous in-person World Community Development Conference in Dundee, Scotland in 2019 attracted over 500 participants, while IACDs first every fully virtual global conference, held in 2021 was attended by 270 participants Conference organisers are looking forward to welcoming international community development workers who would want to connect face-to-face with their peers from across the globe, exchange the collective knowledge of the sector and its evolution influenced by the global pandemic.

The conference will be held from June 20-22, 2023, at the Darwin Convention Centre. Information regarding program, accommodation, site visits and travel will be available on the conference website

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