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Event Details

A poetic retreat held by Peter Westoby and Rachael Donovan to explore the world of delicate activism (see Kaplan & Davidoff, 2014, The Proteus Initiative) through connection with nature. The retreat is grounded in the question, 'Can a practice that foregrounds observation bring healing to the world?'  Premised on the problem of disconnection and alienation, the retreat will be a deep dive into seeing nature. 

In witnessing nature, we will then write about our observations and interpretations with poetic expression and reflection as a method of delicate activism.

Participants are invited to arrive on Friday evening for a shared dinner. From there we will sink into the practice of observation, poetic expression and shared reflection. Reflection will include the realms of intimacy with living phenomenon encountered on the 1-acre property of the Camellia Centre for Reflective Practice in Maleny, Queensland.  

There will be no requirement to share your poetic expression, but the invitation is to participate in the 3 steps of observation, poetic expression and individual/collective reflection.

The retreat includes :

  • gathering at 6pm for Friday night shared dinner, sitting around a fire with poetry 
  • re-gathering on Saturday 8am until 6pm, for three rounds of observation, poetic expression, and shared reflection. The Saturday will include shared morning and afternoon teas + lunch. 

Participants are responsible for their own accommodation on Friday evening. 

It's also worth being aware Friday afternoon traffic between Brisbane and Maleny can be rough, so plan carefully. With careful organising we can also arrange transport to and from Landsborough train station if this makes things possible. 

About your facilitators & hosts:

From the age of 20, Peter has been on a journey of social practice, deeply shaped by three powerful rivers. The first, a river of dialogue, has informed decades of community and social development practice. This river still flows strong. The second, the river of soul has taken Peter into the depths of personal and social worlds, inviting an understanding of the ritual and mythic elements of social change. The third river, of phenomenology is the flow that most informs this poetry and delicate activism river, one that is most alive to Peter now. 

Peter has been a writer or co-writer/editor of 14 books and over 50 professional journal articles on community development. He is currently working on his 15th book titled 'Understanding Phenomenological Reflective Practice in the Social and Ecological Fields: Three Rivers Flowing' (Routledge, forthcoming).

But more importantly, he loves reading, walking, sitting by a fire under the moon or stars, wandering daily in Mary Cairncross Park, exploring his bio-region, being with friends, sipping a coffee at dawn, and going to bed about 8.30pm (yes, he’s a lark, not an owl).

At this present moment he is:

  • Director/consultant at Community Praxis Co-op;
  • a P/T practitioner at Hummingbird House;
  • a Custodian of Camellia Centre for Reflective Practice;
  • as Associate of The Proteus Initiative, RSA; and
  • a Visiting Professor, University of the Free State, South Africa.

As an advocate and community practitioner, Rachael has worked with women, young people and communities for the last two decades. Through incorporating the traditions of meditation, yoga and circle work, she has facilitated women’s circles and retreats to support people to reconnect to nature, presence and their inner wisdom. She is a qualified yoga teacher and has explored the world of Buddhism and other eastern spiritual traditions throughout her life.

Her greatest joys are being immersed in nature and the embodiment of yoga, both of which she practices regularly. Although she has been fortunate to explore (and live) in many parts of the world, her most favourite place is Girraween National Park, or, place of flowers, in the granite belt region of Queensland.

Camellia Centre for Reflective Practice

Maleny QLD 4552, Australia

Organiser Information

Peter Westoby
Camellia Centre for Reflective Practice trading as Peter Westoby (sole trader)

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Refund Policy

Refunds up to 14 days before the event, Refunds available up to 14 days prior to event. After this time ticket transfer option available if required. In the event of rescheduling due to COVID 19 directives, refunds will be available or event will be rescheduled to a later time.