Asset-Based Community Development Festival: It’s time to celebrate

Dear Friends,

As many of you will be aware, in 1995 John McKnight and Jody Kretzmann convened an extended circle of friends to help them establish the Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) Institute at Northwestern University in Illinois. The work of John McKnight and Jody Kretzmann spans over forty years, the establishment of the ABCD Institute builds on that work and their research.June8 blog_21

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In 2015, to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Institute, ABCD Europe -ably assisted by MyLife CIC and its partners from the ABCD Institute, Coady International Institute, ABCD in Action (North America), ABCD Asia Pacific, and Bank of I.D.E.A.S- will be hosting a five-day gathering on 15-19 June 2015, which we’re calling ‘The ABCD Festival’ -you can download the conference programme here.

It will gather together people from across the world that have, fostered place-based, citizen-led, and asset-based social movements. We will gather in the village of Ribby Hall, in Preston in England, where we will create our own community/ village.

This is an opportunity to celebrate our efforts to ensure local action continues to proliferate and flourish.

June8 blog_06We will be dedicating the Festival to Judith Snow, who hours before she passed, was planning her trip to Europe to be with us for the ABCD Festival and many other speaking engagements.

I know she was hugely excited to be crossing the ‘pond’ to be with us, so we will be creating the space to raise a parting glass and to celebrate our friend, mentor and a phenomenal woman.

Our speakers include:

  • John McKnight and Prof. Jody Kretzmann whom will help us review the lessons that have emerged across the last few decades and read the tea-leaves on what might lay out ahead.
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John McKnight and Prof. Jody Kretzmann

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Deb Wisniewski and Dee Brooks

  • John Ashton (President of the Faculty of Public Health) will remind us that our community assets determine our health, and not the clinical machinery of the medical world or the pills of Big Pharma.

John Ashton

  • Martin Galvin (University of Limerick) will share his research on how systems displace the agency of local residents, and invite us to see that learning is a community function not the sole responsibility of a school.
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Martin Galvin

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Alison Mathie and Gord Cunningham

  • Tom Dewar, long standing faculty member of the ABCD Institute, will be taking us through the concept of the Gapper and introducing us to some folks who take on that role.

Tom Dewar

  • We will also hear about some ground-breaking research in South Africa where 25 ABCD pilots have been evaluated. Shaun Samuels and Hanna Nell will be presenting their findings.
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Shaun Samuels and Hanna Nell

  • Dan Duncan, ABCD Faculty Member, will be facilitating end of day discussions on day 1 and 2.
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Dan Duncan

  • Colleen Cameron will be sharing some innovative approaches to Health through the lens of ABCD.
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Colleen Cameron

  • Additionally we will hear about some pioneering work in Canada that looks at health through the ABCD lens.
  • I am also looking forward to contributing a reflection of the essence of the Asset-Based Community Development approach: creating a culture of community.
  • Richard Perry, from the Coady International Institute, will be conducting audio interviews throughout the conference and providing social media updates.

Richard Perry

Of course the speakers are just one component of the festival, we will also have topic tents, which will be themed to allow people follow particular lines of inquiry to learn more, or share more about a particular aspect of Asset-Based Community Development. I will also be launching my new short book Asset-Based Community Development: Looking Back to Look Forward- In conversation with John McKnight about the heritage of ABCD and its place in the world today.

Aside from the conference programme, true to the title ‘festival’, we have a lot of fun and mischief planned. From local entertainment, to ‘come dine with me’ evenings, and all to the backdrop of the beautiful Ribby Hall: what’s not to get excited about?

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Ribby Hall

If you haven’t already booked a place to be with us for all or part of this Festival (June 15-19), then please do so, spaces are still available, and we’d love to have you join us (remember there are scholarships available). For those of you who have booked, I can’t wait for us to be together! Onwards!

Warm Regards,

Cormac Russell

Co-director ABCD Europe (Convener)

ABCD Festival, Ribby Hall, Dates: 15th – 19th June 2015.

Useful links:

 – ABCD Festival website

 – Ribby Hall

 – How to get to Ribby Hall

 – ABCD Festival pogramme

 – Topic Tents

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