SDN 2024 Annual Workshop Don Bosco

You are invited to an open space workshop - no hierarchy, and no fixed agenda (we create our own).

The Social Developers Network is an association of people interested in the challenges of our time, keen to share knowledge, experiences and concerns.

Be part of the effective small group experience that SDN offers - conviviality and mutual support guaranteed!

View from Don Bosco Retreat Centre

View from Don Bosco Retreat Centre

Don Bosco Retreat Centre (link is external)
In the Dandenong Ranges foothills Victoria.

The workshop provides a forum for big and small ideas, our stories and personal growth. Bring your contributions and share your concerns, from the personal to the political, the local to the global, and become part of this workshop’s dynamic agenda. Feel empowered to be a more effective catalyst for social change.


15-19 January 2024

Don Bosco Retreat Lysterfield Victoria
SDN acknowledges the traditional custodians of the country we meet on and pay respects to their elders past and present.

SDN Workshop Riverdell Sep 2023

Group photo at SDN Workshop SDN Workshop Riverdell Sep 2023

Group photo at SDN Workshop SDN Workshop Riverdell Sep 2023

Workshop Reflections

  • I appreciated the attention to detail throughout the prep stages and then in our gathered collaboration.
  • I have great memories from that workshop week! Thank you to all the organisers, and looking forward to attending another workshop one day!
  • Thank you for the opportunity you gave me via your presence to truly understand what it means to be with ‘kindred spirits’, and what shared humanity feels like!
  • It was my very first SDN workshop, so I was unsure how things would unfold. Hooray!! It turned out to be a truly memorable experience. I loved the opportunity to participate in the adventure of people presenting something, and that workshop participants were open-minded, authentic and kind.

A regional SDN workshop was held at the Riverdell Spiritual Centre north of Adelaide from 12/9 to 15/9. The facility was very suitable for an SDN workshop and staff were helpful, friendly, flexible, and generous. Nature abounds at Riverdell, surrounded by a rapidly-developing area. Their website is

A total of 14 people attended the workshop, with 62% coming from South Australia and a gender distribution of 57% men and 43% women. A fascinating variety of presentations was on offer, for example - Convivial conversations, Beautiful questions/trouble, Would I lie to you?, How to improve the world, and Shaking medicine.

A full list of all 15 sessions and analysis can be found in the SDN Workshop Review compiled by local host David ‘Sal’ Salomon on this website.

Stay tuned for the 2024 annual SDN workshop in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne from 15-19 January.

Harry Creamer
SDN Coordinator

Workshop Images

Group dinner photo at SDN Workshop SDN Workshop Riverdell Sep 2023

Group dinner photo at SDN Workshop SDN Workshop Riverdell Sep 2023

Morning tea photo at SDN Workshop SDN Workshop Riverdell Sep 2023

Morning tea at SDN Workshop SDN Workshop Riverdell Sep 2023

Night fire photo at SDN Workshop SDN Workshop Riverdell Sep 2023

Night fire at SDN Workshop SDN Workshop Riverdell Sep 2023

Session photo at SDN Workshop SDN Workshop Riverdell Sep 2023

Session at SDN Workshop SDN Workshop Riverdell Sep 2023

SDN Workshop Local Review

What began as a familiar talking circle, in my imagination modelled as a 2-dimensional circle with circumferential reference points, evolved into a dynamic 'noded matrix' on the surface of a torus. This morphing created infinitely more relationships between 'vertices', transcending traditional Euclidean concepts and resembled a living cell. The group transformed into a living organism, continuing in that way for the subsequent days.

-- David Salomon, Adelaide SDN

David Salomon's review of the 2023 Riverdell Workshop begins:

I am pleased to present a local review of the recent SDN workshop that took place at the Riverdell Spiritual Centre from 12th to 15th September. This review takes a personal look at the patterns of connection that form ‘families of ideas’ and ultimately, the paradoxes inherent within them, to assist participating practitioners in being more intentional going forward, ie nurture evolutionary development. I would expect everyone to have a somewhat different insight from doing this exercise.

The Social Developers’ Network Podcast

Social Developers’ Network Podcast Logo

We're excited to have you join our community, where individual progress and community development stand side by side.
Join the Social Developers' Network Podcast Community

The podcast where personal and social development converge in pursuit of a better world. We are a non-profit, free association of individuals committed to fostering positive change and growth.

In our initial episodes, we have the privilege of sitting down with people who have played integral roles in the SDN. They are a diverse collection of professionals in NGOs, community organisations, public service and private practice. Through national and regional workshops, we come together to share knowledge our experiences, develop and refine our practices and recharge our energy.

We are making these podcasts available via this site. Click through to listen.

The first 5 episodes are with Joan McCarthy, Mark Spain, Lesley Shuttleworth, Noel Holmes, and Harry Creamer.

SDN Collaborative Group: Expressions of Interest

Expressions of Interest are invited for participation in the new SDN Collaborative Group. This will provide ideas and support for the SDN program and SDN Coordinator. We are aiming for between 5 and 7 people (including the Coordinator). It is envisioned that the Group will reflect a balance based on gender, ethnicity, and the city-country divide.

Members can decide how much time they spend, when they wish to end their work, etc. The Group will have an action-orientation - ideas backed by a commitment to action – with the potential for capacity-building for members of the Group. An essential criteria is previous attendance at an SDN workshop.

SDN Newsletter May 2023

Participants at the 2023 SDN Workshop

The Social Developers Network is entering a new phase. The challenge is how to broaden the appeal of SDN to attract a more diverse range of people, and how to grow the SDN offering while maintaining its core values.

The May 2023 Social Developers' Network Newsletter is attached for download.

SDN 2023 Annual Workshop Armidale

SDN 2022 Annual Workshop Bungendore

SDN is a network of like-minded people interested in the challenges of our time, and keen to share knowledge, experiences and concerns. 
SDN Workshops are about personal, social and community development, based on an open space approach - no fixed agenda, no experts, no hierarchy. Whoever comes is ‘meant to be there’!
Participants have the opportunity (no pressure) to present to the group about whatever they want, any issue of importance from global to local, personal to political – in a trusting and supportive atmosphere over four days of convivial in-depth conversations and stimulating discussion.
The workshops provide a forum for big and small ideas, our life stories and personal growth. It’s a chance to share thoughts on creating a good life, share concerns and problems, our journeys to interesting places, insights and personal stories, where we’re at in life right now. 
The exchanges made possible in this forum are invaluable and set us up better equipped for going forward.

What is Social Development?


Social Development is the Intersection between Community Development and Personal Development.

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.

The Social Developers' Network

SDN Logo

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

Social Developers meet at national and regional workshops, to contribute and share knowledge and experiences.

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.

What are SDN Workshops?

Image of arms forming a circle

SDN Workshops are real and relevant, on a personal and social level, for those engaging actively and sincerely in the issues of our times.

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.

Benefits of Involvement with SDN

SDN on Social Media

Social Media Messages

Facebook Page

SDN has a Facebook Page. Please like our page.

Facebook Group

SDN has a public group - Social Developers Online Connection. This group is for anyone who has attended an SDN Workshop in the past, and also for people who have an interest in Social Development. We welcome your engagement.

Social Development Inspiration

Links to websites and articles that may inspire your social development mind.
  • Ecoliteracy: Learning from living systems

    This wildlife bridge (ecoduct) provides a safe crossing path for wildlife amidst the danger of highways.

    We need to reintegrate our economic activities, the way we meet our needs and how we produce and share value, with the basic rules of ecology. Our design and technology need to be aligned with the way that life and living systems are structured and how they maintain their vital functions in support of individuals and the whole system.

  • Survival Of The Nicest? A Theory Of Our Origins Says Cooperation Not Competition Is Instinctive

    Cooperation Not Competition Is Instinctive

    'As worker-owned cooperatives continue to gain prominence around the world, we may ultimately witness the downfall of Carnegie’s “law of competition” and a return to the collaborative environments that the human species has long called home.'

  • Restorative Justice FAQ

    Restorative Justice

    Why Me provides a succinct outline of common questions and answers about Restorative Justice.

Role and Objects of the Social Developers’ Network (SDN)

The SDN is a non-profit unincorporated association whose primary task is the support and training for citizens engaged in constructive volunteer initiatives beneficial to the community. The SDN is a support platform only, and does itself not engage in any kind of active lobbying, projects, or public policy initiatives. The SDN does not hold any political agenda, and welcomes people from all political, racial, and social identities. The SDN is predominately a receptive space for those engaged in community initiatives to come together to discuss, reflect, learn and rejuvenate through a uniquely designed process of interaction. Read More