From July 18-21, 2019, the Camphill Research Symposium, an annual event cosponsored by the Camphill Academy and the Camphill Foundation in North America, partnered with the International Communal Studies Association to host their triennial conference in the Camphill communities in Upstate New York. Over 150 people attended the event, with a diverse range of papers, workshops, and panel presentations. The theme of the conference was “Diversity and Inclusion in Intentional Communities,” and participants explored this theme through academic papers, artistic workshops, discussions, and panel presentations. The 5th annual Camphill Research Symposium was interwoven with the International Communal Studies Association, featuring a number of speakers invited from a wide range of disciplines: from disability policy and advocacy, theology, philosophy, education, and law. A number of panel presentations gave Camphill community members the opportunity to share how their experience in intentional communities intersects with these fields, allowing academics as well as practitioners a look inside the diversity of the Camphill impulse today.
The event was an opportunity for Camphill communities to forge relationships with colleagues beyond the anthroposophical and disability communities, highlighting the range of intentional community building movements and impulses which exist in the world today. Placing the work of inclusive social development within this wider perspective—and likewise sharing our work with those who have no connection to anthroposophical initiatives or the disability community—opened up spaces for conversation and collaboration which previously had not existed. What can we learn from one another, and how can we become more inclusive and diverse in our own thinking and practices? At the same time, our discussions also acknowledged that the aim is not necessarily to become everything to everyone, but rather to recognize our own identities and the identities of others, understand our limitations and grow sensitive to opportunities for collaboration and mutual support. The conference thus offered us opportunities to wrestle with questions and practices of diversity and inclusion both within and between our various organizations.
(Elisabeth Sanders, Camphill Academy, September 4, 2019)
A selection of proceedings from the conference can be found here.
Abstracts from the conference can be found here.