Australasian Action Learning Action Research Conference 2020

Launceston 8-11 November 2020

Discovering the Future Together: Action Learning and Action Research at Work

BALT is partnering with the Action Learning Action Research Association to host the 2020 Australasian Action Learning Action Research Conference, via Zoom from Launceston’s innovation hub at historic Macquarie House.

This conference will be invaluable to those in the education, tourism and business sectors seeking innovative solutions to emerging wicked problems.

Keynote speakers

Christine Abbott
Centre for Action Learning Facilitation

Intertwingling: the role of action learning in collaborating with others

Collaboration between organisations and within organisations isn’t a new idea. Every organisation connects with its staff and customers, suppliers, partners, and the community. However, relationships are generally transactional; selling to customers or buying from suppliers, negotiating with partners, and supporting community projects. More than ever, we need spaces and ways that encourage us to interrelate at a deeper level. We need to go beyond transactional relationships, beyond striving just to do things well. We need to do things better – better together – for us, our organisations, our communities and our planet.

About Christine

Christine Abbott is a co-Founder of the UK Centre for Action Learning Facilitation and co-author of Facilitating Action Learning: A Practitioner’s Guide. Based in East Yorkshire Christine is an experienced action learning facilitator and developer with a background as an HR Director in the NHS and in Social Care. In 2003 she established The Centre for Health Improvement and Leadership at University of Lincoln. Over the following 5 years she designed and delivered a range of bespoke leadership and organisation development programmes to a wide variety of public and private organisations. These programmes incorporated taught modules, action learning and coaching and mentoring. Christine currently teaches with the Open University Business School MBA programme.


Clyde Mansell
Aboriginal Elders Council of Tasmania

Walk with an Elder: Looking to the past to discover the future of learning

Key themes in both organisational and workforce development centre on resilience, adaptability to change and knowledge management

First Nations people in Australia are the oldest continuing civilisation in the world. They have managed our complex ecological systems for the benefit of their families and communities, including their descendants, for millennia. They have prevailed through catastrophic climate change during the last ice age and the ongoing effects of forced colonisation in the modern age. Inherent in their success is the continuous creation of new knowledge, through experimentation and challenge-based learning, and the careful management of existing knowledge, passed down from the Elders through storytelling, songlines, ceremony, artefacts and visual art.

Take a walk with Tasmanian Aboriginal Elder, Clyde Mansell, and immerse yourself in learning in the breathtaking wilderness of Wukalina (Mt William National Park). Listen to the collective wisdom and experience of the ancestors, shared across millennia. Hear about the approaches Elders use to engage learners and encourage the discovery of new knowledge (and the rediscovery of existing knowledge), through exploration and experimentation. 

This session brings together ancient wisdom and cutting edge technology, using interactive 360 degree video for a unique experience of the beautiful Tasmanian wilderness. View in Virtual Reality mode, or navigate to choose your point of view in 2D.

About Clyde

Clyde Mansell is an esteemed Tasmanian Aboriginal Elder and 1990 NAIDOC Aboriginal of the Year, and is the current Chair of the Aboriginal Elders Council of Tasmania.

Clyde continues to be a leading spokesperson for land return, undertaking a strong community advocacy role and acting as a prominent voice for social justice change for his people.

Conference program

Discovering the Future Together: Action Learning and Action Research at Work.

The changes we are all experiencing due to the coronavirus pandemic is bringing systemic issues to light. Wicked problems and opportunities are emerging. Keeping our communities safe is paramount but how will we address the economic fallout and rebuild our businesses and workplaces after the crisis abates?

Action learning and action research are applied in many forms across many contexts. This conference will showcase examples of action-based approaches to community and organisational development, collaboration, and lifelong learning, as a vehicle for rapid systemic change.

The Conference will have three sessions each day, with Sunday starting later (two sessions for this day). Within each session there will be paper presentations, workshops, symposiums and other activities. Between sessions, participants are encouraged to network and reflect on the sessions. Participants can also meet for a chat over a coffee/tea in available breakout rooms.

View the full program here


  • Breaking down silos with action learning and action research
  • Reinvention and lifelong learning through action and reflection
  • Action and reflection as a catalyst for organisational development
  • Action learning and action research in community development


Presenter list

Doctoral Workshop
Sponsored by AIB

The Application of ALAR to Facilitate the Adult Learning Experiences of Indonesian International Students in an Australian University
Amina Omarova & Barry Esley (Australia)

Massive Online Action Learning Event
hosted by Business Action Learning Tasmania (Australia)

Walk with an Elder: Looking to the past to discover the future of learning 
Keynote presentation Clyde Mansell, Aboriginal Elders Council of Australia (Australia)

Action-oriented Research: A Route to Relevance for the Social Sciences?
Melissa Hawkins, Northumbria University (UK)

Five Action Learning Strategies that Southwest Airline’s Uses for Leadership Development That You Can Implement for Your Programs
Bonnie Endicott, Southwest Airlines (USA)

Flying the Plane while Building it: Transitioning to Online during COVID-19
Assoc. Prof Chivonne Algeo, Monash University (Australia)

Developing and Improving Data Literacy among Online faculty through Professional Learning Communities: An Action Research Study
Yedida Bessemer (USA)

Impact Incontinence: Can the Ambulance be at the Top of the Cliff?
Celeita Williams, Victoria University (New Zealand)

Action Research as a Meta-methodology: Facilitating Actionable Knowledge
Shankar Sankaran, University of Technology Sydney (Australia)

Agile Action Learning – How Criticality can Enhance Scrum and the Agile Movement
Bernhard Hauser, University for Applied Management (Germany)

Symposium – Action learning and the Circular Economy
Genevieve Cother, Business Action Learning Tasmania (Australia) and Monika Koncz-Mackenzie, Ellen MacArthur Foundation (UK)

Intertwingling: The role of action learning in collaborating with others
Keynote presentation Christine Abbott, Centre for Action Learning Facilitation (UK)

Lifelong Learning through Participatory Action Research
Rafael Capó Garcia, University of British Columbia (Puerto Rico)

Online Relational Learning: Exploring the Potential of Literary Métissage in Building Online Life-long Learning Communities
Afrouz Mobayen and Judith McBride, George Brown College (Canada)

Action learning: challenges that impact on employability skills
Silvia Olivares and Miriam Turrubiates (Mexico)

Looking for the ‘Ah Ha’ Moments in Action Research Understanding
Diana Austin, Lesley Ferkins, Trish Morrison & Celeita Williams, Victoria University (New Zealand)

How can Engagement with the Community Enhance an Existing Undergraduate Nursing Programme to Support the Provision of Quality Care for People who Identify as Gender Diverse?
Trish Morrison & Diana Austin, Victoria University (New Zealand)

Delivering Innovation through Facilitated Action Learning in a Heavy Industrial Environment – An Account of Practice
Bill Woodworth, Bell Bay Aluminium (Australia)

10 Years of Business Action Learning Tasmania
Mark Gerard, Bell Bay Aluminium (Australia)

The Relevance of Action Learning to the World’s Current Existential Crises
Bob Dick (Australia)

Training of Practitioners of Participatory Action Research for a More Sustainable World – Approach, Perspectives and Praxis
Marc P. Lammerink, FMD Consultants (Portugal)

Symposium – Making College Accessible for Rural Students: A Participatory Action Research Project
Rebecca Allen, Alex Nakonechnyi, Brook Batch and Jacqueline Roberts, Mount St Joseph University (USA)

A New Way Forward to Build our Futures; Developing Innovative Collaborative Delivery Models in Construction to Enhance Project Outcomes
John Morrison, Frontline Coach and Stephen Hanman, Mira  (Australia)

Integrating Action Learning and Mindfulness to Develop Productive and Mentally Healthy Workplaces
Ron Passfield, Merit Solutions (Australia)

Developing 21st Century Skills through Action Learning
Bob Cother, The Action Learning Institute (Australia)

Soft Systems Methodology – A Great Technique for Complex Problem Solving with Groups
John Molineux, Deakin University (Australia)

Action Learning and Action Research in a Post-COVID-19 World
Closing Panel


Action learning and the Circular Economy

Action learning is promoted by recognised thought leaders in circular economy theory, as a method for developing the circular economy. Action and reflection are considered a “vital process” for developing the conditions needed to transition to a circular economy.

This symposium will focus on applied collaborative learning, across a range of business and regional contexts, to achieve sustainability goals and develop the circular economy.

Following the presentations, the presenters will be joined by participants in the BREP program to form discussion panel.

Increasing resource efficiency provides business benefits and sustainability outcomes.

Action learning and the transition to a Circular Economy
Monika Koncz-Mackenzie, Learning Innovation Manager
Ellen Macarthur Foundation

Monika will provide an overview of the EMF and their work developing a network of Strategic Partners, including Danone, Philips, IKEA and Unilever. Monika will share her views on why action learning supports the organisation’s ambition to help businesses transition to a circular economy and how EMF has introduced action learning through its development programs and the Action Learning Toolkit.


Developing the Circular Economy in Tasmania – The Business Resource Efficiency Program
Genevieve Cother, BREP facilitator, Business Action Learning Tasmania

Genevieve will revisit three case studies from the Business Resource Efficiency Program, an action learning program designed and delivered for Business Action Learning Tasmania (BALT) in partnership with the Tasmanian government. The presentation will include a brief account of practice, with short videos of the outcomes of implementation, on-site at Bridestowe Lavender Estate, Drysdale North Training Restaurant and Jinglers Creek Vineyard.


Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsor