The Social Developers' Network is a non-profit, free association of people with a commitment to personal and social development.

SDN Workshops

SDN workshop

The vital and central component of SDN membership is participation in recurrent workshops. Participants each discuss a wide range of self-chosen topics, covering everything from personal, through philosophical, professional, operational and practical issues.

The critical focus of all SDN workshops is the balance we arrive at between the personal, the group's 'family spirit', and the wider 'all-of-society' view. To assist us in this transition, the SDN has over many years established a cumulative and evolving culture of effective and supportive processes, reference guidelines (eg. the SDN Contract) and a core of experienced members - wherein lies the true wealth of our network. We create a culture of support and fairness, honesty and insight.

SDN workshops may challenge our views about ourselves and the world. This is because SDN is not just a feel-good experience - it strives to be real and relevant, on a personal and social level, for those engaging actively and sincerely in the issues of our times. Beyond this the SDN culture is at its core one of mutual appreciation and energizing group wholeness.

What's it about?

'... the whole value system and community relationships on which the social process was based, the family thing, the community thing, the core bit. When outsiders would ask Bannockburn people what it was about they said "oh, it's the spirit of the group" which they couldn't define. That was the generator of the trust, the mutuality, the constant intellectual ferment as well as the practical skills ferment.' - Ned Iceton

Social Development in Practice

Practical Application

Many citizens in Australia and elsewhere give generously of their time and energy to contribute to the wellbeing of the local community and the wider society. Some seek a group where ideas and plans can be discussed in an open way, and where constructive feedback and support can be provided. As social developers we seek ways to develop our own personal qualities, individual learning and fulfilment as well as ways to enhance the human quality of community life; all within the context of a healthy, living environment.


We aim to assist each other to achieve personal fulfilment, while seeking ways to contribute to society's well-being through constantly revising our values and methods. We seek to build an inclusive, caring world within a healthy natural environment, and see this as a way to ensure a future for all humanity.

From diverse backgrounds, cultures, occupations, and beliefs, we meet at the annual national workshop (usually in January) or regional ones, to contribute and share our knowledge and experiences, where we each renew and refresh the energy and purpose of our own life journey.

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SDN Membership

Network membership is open to all who are comfortable with our way of operating. There is no financial joining fee, and workshop are run on a non-profit basis with every effort made to keep costs to a minimum.

History of SDN

In 1975 two long-standing friends, John Russell from Melbourne and Ned Iceton from Armidale organized a first workshop with personal contacts who were interested in social change. From this, new people became involved, in more groups, and the concept of social development began to emerge. Ned began a newsletter to link people between workshops, began holding regional workshops and planned the first national one, held in 1980.

Our purpose is to be creative and action-oriented: we constantly seek explanations which emerge from action in the world. We are equally interested both in individual people and in the wider social and ecological systems on which our collective wellbeing depends.