View Event

The Leicester conference 2017: Task Authority Organisation

Absence in Presence: IN & OUT @ Work

Saturday 5th August 2017 - Friday 18th August 2017

College Court, University of Leicester, UK

The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations

Primary Task
Role of Staff
Info & Fees
Web Sites


Dear Prospective Member

Task, Authority and Organisation (TAO) evokes the ancient Way of Taoism, life itself, unnameable, paradoxical and only known by how we live it.

In this Conference we will explore the possibilities for us, members and staff, to find, make and take our roles in new ways, in order to play our part in building a sustainable future for our organisations, families, communities and societies.

The Conference continues the tradition of learning by experience, a low-tech method, where members for 14 days explore inter-personal, inter-group and whole-system relations. No text books, no models or theories to “rote- earn”, but experiencing in real time the nitty gritty of leading and following in an organisation. Where an MBA could be described as paddling in a pond, the Leicester Conference is about swimming in the ocean.

I hope to see you in Leicester, as together we experience the TAO of Tavistock and fall in love with work again.

Leslie Brissett,
Director, Leicester Conference 2017

top of document

Conference Aims and Primary Task

To study the exercise of authority in the taking up of roles through the interpersonal, inter-group and institutional relations that develop within the conference as an organisation in its context.

top of document


Group Relations conferences are educational events which are based on learning through experience – the design for these has been developed by pioneers from the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR) for over 60 years.

We believe that strategic and structural dynamics of organisations can be studied and understood and the knowledge acquired and applied by working through the conscious and unconscious dynamics of leadership and management in organisations. We believe that our conference promotes the integration of intellectual capacity and emotional intelligence so producing leaders who have creative visionary potential, enabling them to work more effectively at helping their employees and themselves to adapt to and take on future roles.

Alumni of the Leicester Conference have said

“ In our two weeks of intense proximity, I saw patterns of interactions playing out that echoed with what I have seen happen over weeks and months in the working world.”
Andrew Jones, Executive Coach, Accadence, Singapore

“ For me, [the conference] surfaced some very profound identity-related issues that impact the way that I engage my work roles... As a ‘professional educator’ I will mull over the role and treatment of ‘fun’ in learning for the rest of my life.”
Dr Leighton Jay, Human Services Consultant, Sotica, Australia

“ I found the conference a very powerful experience that has affected me both at home and at work. At work it has led me to being much more aware and vigilant in picking up on things I do and what is happening around me and of my role in groups.“
Dr Angela Devon, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, NHS, UK

“ I am living in the impact of the Leicester conference on daily basis, yet it has immersed into me, and become more subtle and deeper part of me, to such a degree... I joined a CEO program in Shanghai with CEIBs business school as the coach/facilitator there...”
Qi Zhang, Owner, Bridge & Enrich, The Netherlands

top of document


This conference is for leaders, managers, educators, researchers, consultants, clergy, activists, clinicians, administrators, decision-makers, entrepreneurs, service providers, professional and technical workers, academics.

From the worlds of business, government and local authorities, the arts, consultancy, law, media, emergency services, armed forces, education, finance, politics, NGOs; health services and social care, justice, religious orders, lobby groups, agenda-based activisms, associations, trade unions and environmental organisations.

Any change agent who wishes to better understand how their organisation functions, how they can deepen their understanding of what makes effective and sustainable change and how a local initiative impacts and is impacted by the broader context.

Participants come from all sectors, levels, career stages and backgrounds and from all over the world - up to 2/3 of participants are non-UK based.

top of document

Role of Staff

Staff are informed by their own experiences of the events and work to the primary task of the event and the conference overall. They will offer working hypotheses based on their understanding of what is happening. Conference staff are not observers of the process but are actively involved in it.

They will be examining, interpreting, reflecting and making sense of their own as well as of members’ experiences, including those which are hidden and sometimes unconscious. Conference staff will be as explicit as possible about their task and roles throughout the conference. The ways in which they take up their roles are always open to examination. They work together as collective management to hold and maintain the boundaries of the conference institution.

top of document

























Leslie Brissett  JP, PhD
Company Secretary, The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR ); UK


Conference Administrator:
Rachel Kelly  BA, MSTAT
Prof. Development Coordinator, TIHR ; Teacher, The Alexander Technique; UK


Consultant staff will be drawn from the following:











top of document

Info and Fees

A and B sub-conferences: £4,400
Training Group:
The fee includes all accommodation and meals

£500 discount before March 2017 ie £3,900
£300 discount before May 2017

are available for joint applicants from the same organisation:
£250 each for 2 people
£400 each for 3+ people

BURSARIES: Partial bursaries to help you on your way, for those unable to obtain sponsorship from their organisation, are available on request - please ask for details

DATES: 5 - 18 August 2017

CLOSING DATE for applications: 24 July 2017

PLACE: College Court, University of Leicester

MID-CONFERENCE BREAK: from 4.45pm on Thursday, 10 August to 10.30am on Saturday, 12 August

top of document


For a brochure, more information about Group Relations or if you'd like an application form, please contact:

Rachel Kelly
Pre-conference Administrator

T: +44 7904 549 989

Applications: All applications for the reservation of a place at the conference should be accompanied by the booking fee of £600. Acceptance to the conference is not automatic and places are limited.

For online application and deposit payment see below.

top of document

Web Sites

The Tavistock Institute:
The Leicester conference:
What is a Group Relations conference?:
Application form: http://
College Court:

top of document