Workshop Registration for the 2020 Annual Workshop

Registration is Now Open

SDN is a network of like-minded people interested in the challenges of our time, and keen to share knowledge, experiences and concerns. 
The main SDN event is the annual workshop in January. This workshop is 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 (max 18) 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 workshop provides 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 another year.

The 2020 Social Developers' Network Workshop

Flyer for SDN Workshop January 2020

If you are interested in promoting social change, community development, co-operation strategies, or personal growth, consider attending

The 2020 Social Developers' Network Workshop.

17 to 22 January, 2020

Uncovering and honing skills and strategies for being an effective catalyst for social change.

If you can think globally, act locally and be personal, become part of this workshop's dynamic agenda.

Don Bosco Retreat Centre

Lysterfield, Dandenong Ranges Foothills, Vic.

Registrations are Now Open

Ask Your Questions via Our Enquiries Form

“You can’t be an optimal part of social development unless you’re working on yourself.” -- Ned Iceton

SDN Newsletter November 2019

Tina Lathouras, Tony Kelly, Kath McLachlan and Harry Creamer

The November 2019 Social Developers' Network Newsletter is attached for download.

This issue includes - An invitation to Join us in January for the 2020 annual workshop; SDN represented at the Queensland Community Development (CD‐QLD) Conference; What is Community Development?; SDN in Canberra; David Purnell’s Hiroshima Day address; Harry’s blog; and a request to let us know about good venues.

Social Development Inspiration

Links to websites and articles that may inspire your social development mind.
  • Why does ritual matter for social change?

    Why does ritual matter for social change?

    In consciously attempting to re-enchant the world we can strengthen social bonds as well as our connection to the earth.

    "When you make a conscious decision to do a ritual activity it provides a way to not just make meaning but help to shape a story in a very heightened way,”

  • Podcast: The Power of Storytelling

    Podcast: The Power of Storytelling

    Reclaim Social talked to Jude Habib, Founder and Director of Sounddelivery, to find out more about her inspiring work and how we can all improve our storytelling skills. Sounddelivery is all about empowering people to tell their stories. As a social enterprise, they are working with people and communities with living experience helping them to share their stories and insights. Jude has also trained thousands of individuals and organisations in storytelling, helping to raise awareness and inspire action on issues including mental health, domestic violence, homelessness, the care system, poverty and life in prison.

  • David Ellermann’s Helping Theory

    David Ellermann

    From the Nurture Development Blog article, "David Ellermann’s Helping Theory"

    'David Ellerman writing for the World Bank asks: “How can an outside party (“helper”) assist those attempting to undertake autonomous activities (the “doers”) without overriding or undercutting their autonomy?” He contends that if “development is seen basically as autonomous self-development, then there is a subtle paradox in the whole notion of development assistance: How can an outside party (“helper”) assist those undertaking autonomous activities (the “doers”) without overriding or undercutting their autonomy? This conundrum is the challenge facing a theory of autonomy-compatible development assistance – that is, helping theory”.'

SDN Annual Workshop, Thredbo, 11 to 16 January 2019

A participant's experience of the November 2018 Adelaide Regional Workshop

Group photo at the 2018 SDN Adelaide Workshop

As previously, it was a meeting of elders for the most part, people who have contributed to community life and activism over many years. This in itself is amazing to be part of – that long history of commitment and action, and the wisdom and knowledge, understanding and perspective that come with time, were much in evidence. The format of the sessions was the same as last time – each person presenting on their own topic for a 90 minute slot – the topics were very varied and the sense of support and attention fantastic to experience.

It was a wonderful experience to be part of and I am grateful to have the opportunity to be there. I will continue to reflect on all that took place, and the connections that I made with amazing people.

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.

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