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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Doing Business Together: institutional partnering of a group relations conference

In this presentation, I explore the significance and importance of the institutional systems associated with the business of group relations conferences. I am interested in the institutional systems for sponsoring conferences and the conference as a container for studying institutional relations. My argument is that both systems are integral to the business of studying group relations in an experiential conference, but that it is not common to bring them visibly together in the context of the conference system. It seems important to open up the business of what we are studying when we run a group relations conference. The working hypothesis I explore is: that all institutional relations associated with a conference need to be available for study throughout the lifecycle of the conference. These relations are between multiple sponsoring organisations and the institutional system established to contain the conference, the institutional system and the conference organisation, and furthermore, the relations activated in the institutional event of the conference. Studying the network of institutional relations is a necessary part of 'doing the business' of group relations conferences. I explore this hypothesis in the context of a conference established under a partnership agreement between two sponsoring organisations, what I have referred to in the title of my paper as a joint venture conference.'