Cumberland Conferences are the backbone of our annual programme, which empowers people, through dialogue and debate, to tackle the causes and effects of social division.
Our roundtable, residential conferences bring together people of all ages, backgrounds and perspectives, to engage in open and candid conversations in an inclusive environment.
We aim to break down silo thinking and to serve as an incubator for fresh thinking on how to promote progress towards more peaceful, open and inclusive societies.
Recent Cumberland Conferences have covered topics ranging from extremism, hate crime, modern slavery and violence against women, to the impacts of 'difficult histories' on identities and belonging, the changing world of work, race and identity in Britain today, and ethnic inequalities at work.
Challenging silo thinking
Participants at Cumberland Conferences include students and academics, parliamentarians and policymakers, community leaders and practitioners, faith leaders, professionals, third sector representatives, heads of organisations, business leaders, journalists, parliamentarians, and more.
First and foremost, our programmes are designed to facilitate the free exchange of views, constructive dialogue and debate, and creative thinking. We always include young people's voices in our conversations, to encourage intergenerational exchange and mutual learning, and to help nurture the change-makers and leaders of the future.
Our speaker-delegates engage with one another through presentations, round-table discussions, question-and-answer sessions, breakout sessions, and other group activities, as well as over meals and in the evenings.
We provide comfortable, overnight accommodation and meals, and full conference attendance is supported by our charitable funds. We also offer a limited number of bursaries for travel expenses, to and from Cumberland Lodge, to help students with limited financial means or representatives of not-for-profit organsations to attend.
Open exchange of views
Some sessions within our conferences are held under the Chatham House Rule, to help facilitate open and honest debate and discussion. Participants are free to use the information they gather, but the identities and affiliations of the speakers or participants will not be revealed outside of the room.
Wherever possible, though, we share discussions and learning from our conferences with the wider public, through blogs, recordings, videos, transcripts or copies of presentations, on our Reports & Publications webpages and via our social media channels.
Some of our conference programmes also incorporate a free, public lecture with audience questions, to involve our local community more closely in our work.