Exploring leadership, authority and identity in times of shifting boundaries and spaces

Exploring leadership, authority and identity in times of shifting boundaries and spaces

The 13th Group Relations Conference in Lithuania will take place on 23rd — 27th August 2024, with Lithuanian Group Relations Society, Vilnius University and TIHR

Vilnius old town by by Vitalijs Barilo on Unsplash

For Lithuania, located on the external borders of Europe, with a history of foreign powers occupying the country, boundaries and the space they create are vital.

But boundaries we took for granted for a long time are not so self-evident anymore. Boundaries of the planet are challenged by growth of world population, production and consumption. Boundaries of countries are challenged by armed, violent conflicts. Boundaries of organisations are shifting to complex changes in their environment influenced by wars, economic stagnation, or even recession, and developments in AI.

At the same time people tend to maintain more solid, even rigid boundaries in social relations. We live in social bubbles (silos), often echoing each other and not engaging with others from other bubbles. This isolation leads to reproduction of the same or similar ideas, views and perspectives. There is a lack of spaces for meeting the other, and a lack of intermediate spaces for dialogue and learning about the other perspective.

In a situation of danger and insecurity, we yearn for an authority that protects and cares for us. Even in countries with a long tradition of democracy we observe the longing for a strong leader with a clear position who can make decisions that we imagine will save the country and its people. These powerful Us and Them dynamics and the serious recreation of past traumas are anxiety provoking.

Identity represents a tension (contradiction) between the individual and the collective. There is a wish to be independent and create ourselves. But at the same time it is not possible to develop identity without belonging to a group. The need to belong becomes a very strong influence on individual identity:

Who are we without belonging to a family, peer group, profession, community, nation? At the same time different identities might be projected onto us as individuals and tensions between group identities appear to be increasing, resulting in wars and other differences that develop into polarizations.

This conference offers a transitional space to feel, explore, try new things, make mistakes, and think in the context of “being under fire”. We invite you to join us in this deepening exploration of (your) leadership, authority and identity, and to explore your and our own boundaries of understanding, in order to find new spaces and ways to shape ourselves in the here and now of the world today.

Image: Vilnius Old Town, by Vitalijs Barilo on Unsplash

Subscribe to our newsletter

The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations | 63 Gee Street, London, EC1V 3RS
hello@tavinstitute.org | +44 20 7417 0407
Charity No.209706 | Design & build by Modern Activity