Workshop Registration

Registrations for the SDN 2023 Annual Workshop Armidale are now closed.

SDN acknowledges the traditional custodians of the country we meet on and pay respects to their elders past and present.


If you are registered already Go here to pay the balance of your workshop fee.

You will be asked to login with your SDN website account


SDN 2023 Annual Workshop Armidale

Mark Spain at Silver Wattle - About SDN

A Video For Our Time

During the SDN 2022 workshop in May, film-maker David ‘Sal’ Salomon interviewed leadership development designer and facilitator Mark Spain about his experience of the workshop and SDN in general.


While just one window into SDN, the interview has been described by Michael Maher in glowing terms:

It is a fantastic video and Mark has expressed all the micro-macro sentiments that arise through SDN workshops in an articulate and personal way. The professional approach David has produced is refreshing – precisely the style that is much needed to communicate the value SDN offers. The whole thing is very exciting.

For his part, Mark says the video needs to be positioned in a range of diverse stories that frame an SDN workshop as a unique experience, fine-tuned over many years. The video and others should be used as a way of framing an SDN workshop to a new audience looking for fresh perspectives to the challenges Australia faces. Our messaging and stories need to be compelling to new people and a new generation of social developers.


SDN Newsletter August 2022

Harry's Hangouts

The SDN belongs to you – without you there is no SDN.

Wishing you all a happy spring – in the air and in your step!

The August 2022 Social Developers' Network Newsletter is attached for download.

SDN 2022 Annual Workshop Bungendore

2021 Annual Workshop

The annual SDN Workshop was held 23-28 April in Armidale. The venue was in the beautiful Hannas Arcade, Beardy Street.

SDN Annual Workshop 2021 Armidale

Participants photo in the Hannas Arcade Armidale

All 12 participants in front of the famous stain-glass window at Hanna’s Arcade in Armidale.  From left – Michael, Carl, Karla, Harry, Elspeth, Barbara, Joan, Dave and Carol.  Front row – Helen, Kate and Tom.

Workshop Reflections

Fourteen presentations, 12 participants, an urban setting, and a band providing entertainment.

Some comments:

  • “Everyone contributed evenly and respectfully”.
  • “Real conversations with real people”.
  • “A level of honesty and disclosing that makes for potential new relationships”.
  • “It’s different from anything else I’ve done – would like a thematic workshop”.
  • “Stimulating content with old and new friends”.
  • “Please share links, I’m keen to get stimulating information”.

Workshop Report

Annual SDN workshops are usually held in January, however due to the pandemic this one was postponed to April.  Michael Maher, our local host, made special arrangements, with the result that this workshop was unusual.  All catering was provided (not self-catering as is normal), out-of-towners were accommodated at the Country Comfort Motel, and we met in a room at Hanna’s Arcade in the heart of Armidale – not like the more rustic surrounds in which we usually hold SDN workshops.

The workshop program was developed on the first full day and topics ranged from karma and death to relationships and philosophy.  We visited Pilliga in one presentation and in another we contemplated humanity’s phase shift.  The concept is from the futurist Daniel Schmachtenberger

Our dinners were at local restaurants – Vietnamese, Nepalese, Thai and Indian, outings were to Gara Gorge and Saumarez Homestead, and a music concert was held one evening, featuring four of us.  This workshop was truly unbeatable value.  They seem to be getting better and better.  Just don’t miss the next one!

Workshop Follow Up

Photo of 5 SDN-ers soon after the April SDN workshop

Soon after the April SDN workshop, a few SDNers got together. The photo shows Joan McCarthy, Harry Creamer, Dave Smith and Jane Purkiss, with Carol Baker in the front row. We met for afternoon tea at Carol and Dave’s home in Port Macquarie.

Workshop Images

And the band played…. SDN evening concert.  From left – Dave, Carol, Michael and Harry.

And the band played…. SDN evening concert.  From left – Dave, Carol, Michael and Harry.

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.

SDN Newsletter February 2021

Lynne Hosking - poem about the Pilliga

The SDN belongs to you – without you there is no SDN. And email newsletters are now back in vogue according to a recent episode of ABC RN’s Download This Show, so what are we waiting for?!

The February 2021 Social Developers' Network Newsletter is attached for download.

SDN Newsletter April 2020

Participants at the 2020 SDN workshop near Melbourne

The April 2020 Social Developers' Network Newsletter is attached for download.

This issue includes - Invitations to share our ideas, and to join an SDN Zoom meeting; and quite a few articles. All in all a Bumper Issue.

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.

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