CFP: The UK Intentional Communities Conference 2023

Hannah Drayson's picture

CFP: The UK Intentional Communities Conference 2023 

21st to 23rd July at Braziers Park, South Oxfordshire, UK.

Submit an application to our open call here.
Extended closing date 31st March 2023.

Call for contributions.
The 2022 UK Communities Conference brought together communitarians, academics, and laypeople to celebrate communal living and discuss its benefits and challenges, to seek insights into their ways of life and the chance to change it. This year, we move from the why to the how, and ask: what skills are needed to do community well? Communal living requires and fosters many skills—personal, relational, and organisational, alongside practical and land skills. These are often idiosyncratic, varying between people and communities. How do we share such skills? How are they retained in a community and transmitted over time? What can help us to do this better?


We invite contributors to the 2023 conference to explore the question of skill in the context of intentional community, demonstrate skills shaped by or for community, and share knowledge that can support community life. We hope to bring together a range of speakers and demonstrators from academic and community contexts to create a rich exchange, reflecting different interests and learning styles and allowing participants to engage in a variety of ways. We encourage academics who wish to increase the impact of their work on intentional community to submit papers and workshops that might invite discussion around thier work. As a guideline, we are inviting contributions on four themes:


  • Personal. Living in a group requires and encourages personal development at an individual level, including self-awareness, self-reliance, and the ability to relate to others. How does community life instil and shape such skills?
  • Organisational. Many communities are organised around principles of collaboration and non-hierarchical modes of working. How can we address the specific challenges these present in community?
  • Practical. Many communities emphasise self-sufficiency and sharing, and many own land or property needing specialised care. Is there something unique about how practical skills are recognised and shared in communities?
  • Ecological. Many communities have an ethos of sustainability. What skills, attitudes, and perspectives enable effective environmentalism and land stewardship in community?


We invite talks, skills demonstrations, round-table discussions, and workshops with an emphasis on the theme of skill in community. We also welcome communards to give short talks introducing the communities they live in, reflecting on their skilled practices. We would like this to be a collaborative event, and we encourage speakers to allow more time for discussion than in a typical conference format.


The conference will run from 21st to 23rd July at Braziers Park in South Oxfordshire. Contributors are eligible for free or discounted tickets, including meals and camping accommodation, and reasonable travel costs.


We acknowledge that the UK intentional communities scene often perpetuates various forms of marginalisation. We hope the conference can increase the accessibility of the UK intentional communities network, for example by diversifying the forms of learning available to us in a conference setting. We aspire to produce a conference programme that will encourage and support diversity, but we recognise that there is still much to be done.


Some questions to consider:


  • What skills are needed for a shared life and how does that life shape the skill we acquire?
  • How do communities invest in skills? What traditions of learning exist?
  • How do we manage the distribution of skills in community? How do communities name and recognise skills? What role does specialisation play?
  • What skills remain invisible or unacknowledged? What skills do communities need but rarely understand to be relevant?
  • How are community politics produced and shaped by the distribution of skills?
  • How can we move beyond the habit of seeing skills as individually owned and held?
  • How do different choices of accommodation shape the skills of the community?
  • How do we pass on skills? Is it possible to create institutional memory for skills? What traditions and rituals do we use to pass skills on?
  • What does it mean to identify someone as skilled? How does this shape our evaluations of potential cohabitees and collaborators?
  • What new skills are new generations identifying? (Skills of attitude?)
  • Can attitudes to relationships be considered skilled?
  • Where do the skills for community living already exist? How can we learn from these places, and why might we struggle to implement these skills outside community?
  • How do we ensure that our skills support collaboration and sharing rather than mainstream models of productivity? Are certain political problems associated with approaching community through skill?