Our conference theme for 2024 is belonging without othering. That theme has touched every aspect of our conference program, from commissioned performances to custom exhibits, to mainstage conversations and breakout sessions.

From that overarching theme we have developed three “tracks” that weave through the conference program and help draw threads down from the overall theme. The purpose of these tracks is to serve as guideposts and relationship-building containers for those looking to follow a focused line of inquiry at O&B 24. We recognize there is no one way to experience a large conference or event. By identifying sessions organized through tracks, we hope to bring people in new and closer relationships with each other and strengthen areas of our work.

Please find below our three tracks.

Places of Belonging Track

The Places of Belonging track illuminates speakers, sessions, art, and experiences that shine light on the growing belonging movement, with an invitation to all participants to contribute to its advancement. A rich variety of ways of building places of belonging are happening in a myriad of ways all over the world. This track will highlight many of these efforts through mainstage talks, breakout sessions, and opportunities to connect and share at O&B 2024. Participants are encouraged to build connections through sharing more about their work together to intentionally expand the network of people across the globe committed to advancing belonging. Whether they are new to belonging or already well on their journey, all are invited and welcome to join on this track of fellowship, network building and learning.

Belonging Economies

Belonging means having the opportunity to co-create the structures, institutions, and norms that shape our lives to build a world based on inclusion, fairness, justice, and care for the Earth. This track explores three interrelated questions: What would economies built on belonging look like? If we are to build Belonging Economies, what about our economic systems—as well as our political, social, and cultural arrangements—might need to be re-envisioned and reorganized? What are the challenges to building Belonging Economies, and what efforts and successes can we look to for guidance? These questions are explored through mainstage conversations that elevate the role of repair in Belonging Economies, considering historical and ongoing injustice, and through breakout sessions that explore topics including public finance and community-governance and resilience.

A Greater Story of We: Bridging for A Shared Future

Humans are hardwired for stories. They help us make sense of the world, give our lives meaning, and shape how we perceive our identities. The “Greater Story of We” track recognizes the profound ways we create meaning with stories, as well as examines the stories and narratives that are currently circulating about our present, collective past, and our future. Stories can be told to limit our sense of the possible, mobilize our fears, and divide us into powerful, but illusory hierarchies of zero-sum competition and who belongs.

Bridging recognizes the inherent humanity of everyone, while not ceding essential values of dignity and care. This track elevates the role of narrative and the power that bridging plays on a fundamentally interdependent planet. Mainstage discussions starred in this track include how to recenter our social movement work to build a long bridge for democracy, exploring solidarity as a verb, how values such as deep listening and curiosity shape stories, and the role of collective memory in building a shared future based on belonging.

This track aims to illuminate that by embracing our dynamic, changing, and multifaceted identities, that make us better equipped to cultivate narratives that promote a world where all belong. When we bridge, we create not only a bigger we, but a different we. Rather than reinforcing the notion of an “other,” these conversations strive toward the collective we, offering pathways toward structures that serve everyone An antidote to the division on which authoritarianism thrives.