BELGIRATE VIII — a new climate for Group Relations

BELGIRATE VIII — a new climate for Group Relations

Emergence, traditions & innovation. An international meeting for Group Relations Conferences practitioners


Thursday 24 — Sunday 27 October 2024


Olhão, Portugal


The attendance fee is £1,700 for individual participants staying in a single room and £1,300 each for two participants sharing a twin room. 

We offer a £200 Early Bird discount for applications received before 01 June 2024.

Applications made after 1 June 2024 and up to 31 July 2024 will receive a £150 discount.

A deposit of £500 is required on registration. Balance payments due by 1 August 2024.


Since the first Leicester conference, which was pioneered by staff of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations in 1957, Group Relations conferences have been understood as educational events which are based on learning through experience. Strategic and structural dynamics of organisations are studied and explored from a psychoanalytic-systemic perspective. The knowledge is acquired and then applied by working through the conscious and unconscious dynamics of leadership and management in groups, organisations and systems. The Leicester Conference has become the fundamental model for similar conferences held in many countries around the world. It has been adapted and modified over the years to be useful as a laboratory of reflection in various local contexts including the social, cultural, religious, spiritual, geographical and theoretical. 

Purpose of the Belgirate meetings 

Since 2003, the Belgirate meetings have become a meta-study hub where practitioners of Group Relations come together to share, explore, and reflect upon the theory, practice, discourse and values of the Group Relations field and the changes that have taken place over time.

The focus of Belgirate VIII will be on context, i.e. on the relationship between our physical place we inhabit or co-create, and the psychic, inner or spiritual space we are part of.

Primary task of this meeting

To explore the ecosystem called Group Relations Conferences and reflect upon our lived experience of that ecosystem in relation to our different spaces and contexts.


This meeting is intended for people who have held administrative, consultative and/or directorial roles in Group Relations conferences. Places are limited, so early registration is advised. Please see Administrative Information below for information on reduced fees for early registration.

Management and administration team

Coreene Archer MA Principal Consultant; Director of the Coaching course; The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, London, UK. 

Janice Wagner, LICSW, Private Practice, Psychotherapy, Consultation and Clinical Supervision,  Boston, MA. Fellow of the A.K. Rice Institute, a past-president and member of the Center for the Study of Groups and Social Systems, and a Co-Creator of Group Relations International. Vice-Chair of the Reparations Committee of the A.K. Rice Institute. Experienced Group Relations conference consultant in the US, Europe and China. 

Rachel Kelly BA, MSTAT Principal, Trustee, Group Relations consultant, The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations; Practitioner and member of the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique, London, UK.

Leah Ashton-Hurst (she/her/hers) Operations Manager & People Coordinator, The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, London, UK.

Moshe Bergstein Training analyst at the Israel Psychoanalytic Society, member of OFEK, Ramat-Hasharon, Isarel.

Gordon Strauss MD Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, University of Louisville; Fellow and former Board member, A K Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems; past President, Midwest Group Relations Center, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

Ellen Short PhD Counseling Psychologist in private practice; Retired Associate Professor of Counseling and School Psychology, Long Island University, Brooklyn; Fellow and former Board member, A K Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems; member, New York Center for the Study of Groups, Organizations and Social Systems, USA. Unfortunately, Ellen Short passed suddenly in May 2024. Her rich contributions to the Belgirate MAT team will be recognised during the Belgirate VIII meeting

Meeting events

Opening plenary: this opening session will include an introduction to the meeting and an opportunity to share experiences of crossing the boundary into this space as practitioners in the Group Relations field.

Introductions in very small groups: following the Opening Plenary, participants will have an opportunity to become better acquainted with some of their colleagues in very small group settings.

Keynote lectures: There will be three keynote lectures focusing on the themes of the meeting. Each lecture will be followed by buzz groups and a general discussion with the presenter.

  • The unconscious at work through our (dis)embodied selves in online Group Relations Conferences  Michelle S May D Litt et Phil (University of South Africa)
    Professor, Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology (IOP) at the University of South Africa (UNISA), Clinical psychologist; Co-ordinates the research focus areas Systems psychodynamics and Socio–Analytic Methods (IOP, UNISA).
  • Humanism, Democracy, and the Development of GR in Taiwan
    Ming-Hui Daniel Hsu PhD
    Director, Dayin Counseling Services in Taipei, Taiwan; Founder and Chair of Group Relations Taiwan.
  • Building democracy in post-communist society: Learning to authorise from below and take responsibility from within
    Jolita Buzaitytė-Kašalynienė PhD
    Associate professor of Sociology and Social Work Institute, Vilnius University, co-founder and President, Lithuanian Group Relations Society. Member of Lithuanian Sociologists Society and Lithuanian Scouting Association. Representative, Vydūnas Youth Foundation (Chicago).

Morning reflections, dreams and associations:  The second, third and fourth days will open in this session where participants will be invited to share overnight thoughts and dreams to enhance the process of sense-making of the wider field within which we practice the business of Group Relations conferences. The sessions will be convened by two participants.

Exploratory event:  Participants are invited to engage with the meeting themes in different ways to those that have been used thus far, in order that the space for Group Relations — ‘in the place in which we live’ is viscerally experienced and embodied and the meaning of our discourse is extracted afresh. The event will open and close in plenary.

Review groups in plenary:  This session will precede and prepare for the final meeting plenary discussion. 

Closing plenary:  This session will review the meeting as a whole, in order to further the sense-making and understanding of ‘the space we live in’ as Group Relations practitioners, as the meeting draws to a close.

Parallel presentations:  These presentations, listed below, will comprise three to four parallel presentations in each of three sessions. The presentations will be chaired by participants. 

Parallel Presentations I

Traditions and Innovation in Conference design, the past in the present.Lilian AJ Hupkens
All that glitters (or F*** the GRC): the use of a creative space in a mandated GRC.Lydia Hartland-Rowe
Using Q Methodology to study belief, and attitudes learning from Group Relations Conference in China.Xumei Wang, Seth Harkins, Guo Liu, Wenjie Wang, Lan Wang, Jingchen Chao, Zheqi Xin
Improvisation and innovation meeting tradition in a hybrid GRC: when best-laid plans go awry and the learning that happens anyway.Brigid Nossal, Cath McKinney, Matías Sanfuentes, Sally Mussared, Helen McKelvie, Thomas Mitchell, and Seth Thomassen

Parallel Presentations II

An innovative approach to member engagement, learning and retention: the developmental life of a post-conference review and application / role analysis seminar seriesGordon Strauss, Seth Harkins, Kathleen Cain, John Robertson, Jeanne Woon, Nadia Greenspan, Neil Neidhardt
Critical race theory and Group RelationsEvangeline Sarda
Organizational, communal — binocular vision on social institutions and its implication in Group RelationsGilad Ovadia
Unveiling the wolf in sheep’s clothing: 'climate warming' in Group Relations — overlooking the political elements of social defencesDaphna Bahat

Parallel Presentations III

The COVID-19 climate and the emergence of not authorizingJoe Wise, Tingli Zhou, Hicham Jabrane, Nadia Greenspan, Robert Hsiung
Hidden energy in teamsPearl Tran
Expanding the frame: embedding Group Relations pedagogy into diversity, equity, and inclusion work with corporate leadersMateo Cruz, Yaro Fong Olivares, Katie Lampley
Focus on the person in a multi-day programMarcel de Groen, Silke van Beekum

Parallel Presentations IV

Building resilience in a community approach in the context of collective traumaTal Alon, Gilad Ovadia, Stavit Pariente Shirazi, Elita Zur
Group Relations under fireYermi Harel Hagit Shachar-Paraira, Yael Sharoni, Iris Segal, Sivanie Shiran, Miri Tsadok
Influence of the turbulent times on the female identity in group relations traditions. How to grasp innovations from the changeIrina Ponomarchuk, Tatyana Ezhova

Meeting schedule

Thursday 24
12:00 — 13:55Lunch
14:00 — 15:00Opening plenary
15:00 — 15:15Break
15:15 — 16:15Introductions in Very Small Groups
16:15 — 16:45Coffee / tea break
16:45 — 18:15Keynote Lecture
19:00 — 20:30Dinner and free evening
Friday 25
08:45 — 09:25Morning reflections, dreams and associations
09:30 — 11:00Keynote lecture
11:00 — 11:30Coffee / tea break
11:30 — 13:00Parallel Presentations I
13:00 — 14:30Lunch
14:30 — 16:00Parallel Presentations II
16:00 — 16:30Coffee / tea break
16:30 — 19:00Exploratory event
19:00 — 20:30Dinner
20:30 — 21:30Exploratory event (continued)
Saturday 26
08:45 — 09:25Morning reflections, dreams and associations
09:30 — 11:00Keynote lecture
11:00 — 11:30Coffee / tea break
11:30 — 13:00Parallel Presentations III
13:00 — 16:00Lunch, free time
15:30 — 16:00Coffee / tea break
16:00 — 17:15Exploratory event (continued)
17:15 — 17:30Break
17:30 — 19:00Exploratory event plenary
19:00 — 20:30Dinner
20:30 —Belgirate VII Book launch / celebration and party
Sunday 27
08:45 — 09:25Morning reflections, dreams and associations
09:30 — 11:00Parallel Presentations IV
11:00 — 11:15Coffee / tea break
11:15 — 11:45Review groups in plenary
11:45 — 12:00Break
12:00 — 13:00Closing plenary
13:00 — Lunch, departure

Administrative information

Dates and times:  the meeting will begin at 14:00 (UTC) on Thursday, 24 October 2024 and ends at 13:00 (UTC -1 hour) on Sunday, 27 October 2024.  Lunch is available afterwards — please indicate if you would like to have this lunch.

Venue:  Real Marina Hotel & Spa, approximately 10 minutes in a taxi from Faro airport. The meeting is residential.

Working language: the working language of the meeting is English.

In-person fees

Fees for in person attendance. Early Bird applications received before 12pm (BST) on 1 June 2024 will get a £200 discount for meeting attendees only.

UPDATE: Applications made after 1 June 2024 and up to 31 July 2024 will receive a £150 discount.

  • Single occupancy £1,700 Full board
  • Shared occupancy £1,300
    A twin room with another meeting participant, full board. Fee per person, each person must register separately.
  • Shared occupancy (non-meeting)
    A double room with a non-meeting person. Fee for the non-meeting person.
    £480 (Bed and breakfast for 3 nights)
    + £100 (Half board supplement, no drinks included)
    + £200 (Full board supplement, no drinks included)

A registration fee of £500 must accompany the registration form (for in person meeting attendance only). The balance must be paid by Monday, 1 August 2024.

Cancellation fees

  • For withdrawals up to 31 July 2024, a £150 admin fee applies, the remaining £350 of the registration deposit (and any other monies paid) will be refunded.
  • 25% of the total fee for withdrawals up to 1 — 31 August 2024.
  • 50% of the total fee for withdrawals from 1 — 30 September 2024.
  • 100% of the total fee for withdrawals after 1 October 2024.

For further information or if you have any questions, please contact Leah Ashton-Hurst or Rachel Kelly, Administrators.

Meeting sponsors

The A K Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems is a non-profit educational institute in the United States committed to enhancing peoples’ understanding of the complex dynamics that influence their ability to work, manage and lead in today’s continually changing organisations.  The Institute’s goal is to support the development of more effective, productive organisations while enhancing the individual’s skills as leader, manager and/or team member.  Founded in 1970, AKRI now sponsors Group Relations conferences, a biennial meeting (the AKRI Dialogues) and training workshops.  It also publishes books and occasional papers in the Group Relations field, available in print and through the AKRI website.


OFEK, Organization, Person, Group — The Israeli Association for the Study of Group and Organizational Processes(Public Benefit Non-Profit Company) was founded in 1985 and has 90 members. Its primary aim is to help promote learning and change in individuals, groups, organizations and society through the study, development, and application of psychoanalytic and open systems theories regarding groups and organisations. OFEK’s activities include annual international Group Relations conferences, Hebrew-speaking conferences, theme conferences, bespoke conferences for particular organisations, scientific meetings, professional development courses, (TouchOFEK), and additional activities for members and the wider public.  OFEK also co-sponsors a Program in Organizational Consultation and Development: A Psychoanalytic-Systemic Approach (POCD). 


The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations was formally founded in the UK in 1947, although its work started before the War. It is dedicated to the study of Human Relations for the purpose of bettering working life and conditions for all living systems. The TIHR operates on the interface between the conscious and the unconscious, the systemic, the interpersonal and the individual, in a tapestry of methods spanning social science research methods; Fine and Performing Arts; psychophysical methods and psychoanalytic / other psychotherapeutic theories. 

We work nationally and internationally to promote a learning culture through developing capacity to think through actions, to change and understand both change dynamics and the resistance to it and to put new insights into practice. Our Group Relations Programme (GRP) is the leading experiential learning method in the world as is our flagship GRC: Task Authority Organisation, The TAO of Tavistock Institute, known as the Leicester Conference. Our GRP staff lead and publish on Group Relations theory and practice internationally. 

The Awakening Organisation (TAO)
The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations | 63 Gee Street, London, EC1V 3RS
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