MAKING shiFt HAPPEN - Home - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Welcome to MAKING shiFt HAPPEN!

We are thrilled that you are here! Use the buttons below or the navigation panel to the left to find your way through the site.

Information Lounge
Find out how this conference works
Conference themes
These underpin the conference
Meet the presenters
Main stage
Where the presenter webinars happen
Conversation Central
Where all the conversations happen
Create your own adventure
Fun resources and extras
Acknowledgement of Country

MAKING shiFt HAPPEN is hosted by USC Australia, whose campuses extend across Gubbi-Gubbi, Kabi-Kabi, Butchulla, Batjala, Turrbal, Jagera and Yuggera country. We extend our respects to elders past, present and emerging, and acknowledge that our livelihood is earned on land that was never ceded. We acknowledge the traditional custodians’ continuing care for the land, and their stories, knowledge, and learning that have been shared here for thousands of years.

Not sure where to begin?

Find out how this conference works

What is the purpose of this conference?

With this gathering together, we seek to offer and hold space for a different way of being in academia. We want to pay attention to women’s ways of knowing and being and give time to deep thinking about our academic experiences, workplaces and cultures. MAKING ShiFt HAPPEN is focused on female academics creating personal and professional alchemy in the academy. Our conference is a place for conversation, care, contribution, connection, collaboration, creativity, community and change.

What are we considering when we talk about shiFt?
  1. a new beginning
  2. to create, to transform, to transport, to delight
  3. to take care of oneself and others, to flourish, and engage in slow scholarship
  4. promoting ideas, sharing stories, finding connection, collaboration and friendship
  5. creating meaning together, supporting and celebrating each other, lifting each other up
  6. like [the pleasure of wearing] a loose-fitting garment — finding liberating and enabling ways to wear an academic life
  7. activating personal and professional alchemy, kindness, movement and change in the academy
What are you considering when you talk about shiFt?
Read about the shiFts conference attendees would like to make happen.
What is unique about this conference?

We see this conference as less of a conference and more of a gathering together, a kind of (un)conference that values connection and relationships – relationships with ideas, within, with others. It is underpinned by an ethics of caring and care. There is a structure and there is a program, but the purpose of the conference is the most important thing for us. Like Priya Parker we are exploring ‘gathering as a form of leadership’, and so this conference is about supporting gathering spaces, global spaces, spaces for women to talk about what matters, about what inspires and about what might be possible. It is a place to come together through conversation and across time zones, to create and generate new ideas, to be with each other in ways that are not normally possible in academe. Perhaps our lives might be changed by this gathering together? Perhaps we might meet versions of ourselves, or people completely unlike us? But, we gather together to create memories of a different way of being, to surrender to contemplative openings, to connect with caring communities, share stories of our lived lives, and reimagine academia.

The methodology of the conference is to provide opportunities to listen and share ideas in more informal ways than a traditional conference. We are actively engaged, bringing hearts-minds-bodies-souls to conversation, reflection and possibility. And in so doing we are resisting the relentless agendas of the academic machine that so often overwhelm.

Throughout the conference (and beyond) there are many ways for you to collect and consume ideas and content, and many ways to communicate with each other. We want you to engage in ways that are meaningful to you.

The academic life, and the start of this new year, urge us to step into the culture of busyness. But here our invitation is “take your time”. Here you can listen to ideas and play with ideas. You can give time to talking to someone you haven’t met before, and meander joyfully amongst inspirational ideas, stories, resources and people. Here you can give time to meaning-making through connection and conversation.

How is conversation and connection facilitated?

We have four guiding Conference Themes. Each theme occurs in an 8-hour block. During each 8-hour block we have multiple Zoom rooms to facilitate dialogue of various kinds. Find out more in the Information Lounge. At the Main Stage there are presentations to listen to (real time and/or recorded). At Conversation Central you can experience guided conversations via Curated Conversations, share and celebrate your projects in the Pop-up Podium, and enjoy informal conversations around the Campfire. We have a Social Hub with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to support conversations outside of the conference website and into the future. For those of you who want to forge your own path you can Create Your Own Adventure as you explore additional conference resources (Book Pantry, Inspiration Gallery, Community Connections).

The conference site will be available long-term. It will stay open so you can return and re-engage with the recordings and the Create Your Own Adventure resources. So, there is no rush. Take your time. Repeat after us “there is no rush”.

So, again, Welcome!

Conference team
Ali Black
Dr Ali Black
Conference concept and Co-chair

We dedicate this conference and its purpose to our dear colleague and friend Rosemary Horn. Rosemary passed away on 23 January, 2019. She brought care and love to her work and to our lives. She is greatly loved and missed.

We would like to acknowledge that this event reflects the contributions of many people and many ideas gathered and nurtured over time through many conversations.

if you have any feedback about MAKING shiFt HAPPEN, please email us at