Australia’s Largest Social Change Conference is Back Just When We Need it Most
10 April 2017 at 11:48 am
Over 1,500 of Australia’s top community leaders are expected to converge on Melbourne Town Hall in June for Progress 2017, which event organisers are hoping will spark a new sense of courage and collaboration across the civil society sector.
International speakers this year will include the global CEO of Oxfam Winnie Byanyima; the author of Networked Change Jason Mogus; and The Guardian UK’s columnist Owen Jones.
“Australian non-profits are facing huge challenges, from fundraising models and keeping up with the latest technology to finding their voice in a crowded media landscape,” executive director of Progress 2017 convener Australian Progress Nick Moraitis said.
“It’s time for us to come together to share experiences and best practices.
“The Progress conference, held biennially, is larger and bolder than many catering to the charity sector. The focus in previous years has been firmly on advocacy around big picture issues. In 2015, for example, digital rights whistleblower Edward Snowden spoke at the event by video. The focus on systemic change will be back in 2017.
“We deliberately want Progress to be provocative, to push the boundaries of what people are thinking and our organisation’s comfort zones. There is no use holding or attending an event if you don’t go away inspired with new ideas.”
The radically shifting technology and media environment is another theme at the top of the Progress 2017 agenda, with international speakers such as Bernie Sanders’ digital fundraising manager Michael Whitney (who raised hundreds of millions of dollars online for the Senator’s Presidential bid) and Nick Allardice global vice president at dominant online petition platform Change.org. US based messaging and re-framing expert Anat Shenker Osorio will be back by popular demand for the third time.
Alongside numerous international experts, hundreds of Australia’s civil society leaders will speak at and co-chair the event. Kelly O’Shanassy, CEO of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS, and John Falzon, CEO of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, are among the Progress 2017 Co-Chairs.
“With Trump, and Brexit, and the rise of Pauline Hanson, we also think it’s time for the community sector at large to discuss how we promote multiculturalism, including strengthening the diversity-focus within our own staff and partnerships. We’ll be examining the latest research and hearing from key community leaders tackling racism. We’ll also be looking at how civil society can partner more effectively with and support Indigenous Australians,” Moraitis said.
To help ensure a more diverse audience at the conference itself, Progress is offering free or discounted scholarship places for unwaged activists, Indigenous Australians, people with lived experience seeking asylum, and people living with a disability.
Engaging young change-makers is also a priority at Progress 2017, with organisers offering a Youth Program designed to support the next generation of community leaders.
Running Progress 2017 is a big undertaking for Australian Progress, a not for profit established in 2012 by an array of civil society partners. Taking place across the 10 rooms at the Town Hall, the nearby Athenaeum Theatre and the Collins St Baptist Church, it will rely on the contribution of sponsors like Principal Partner Bank Australia, and nearly 200 volunteers.
Tickets for Progress 2017 are now on sale and rise in price on 20 April. Pro Bono Australia is a partner in the event.
Find out more and register at www.progress2017.org.au.