22 - 24 February 2021

Let's build a better way back together

It’s time to break new ground. As old systems buckle and collapse under the strain of the entirely novel challenges we have faced, spaces of opportunity open to remake and rebuild better together.

The social divides, wealth inequities, uncertain climate futures, and continued colonial impacts that our communities faced prior to the pandemic have been amplified and accelerated. We find ourselves in unimagined and tumultuous terrain that we have had little time to map as we continue to respond to immediate needs.

We are at a juncture. It is critical now, more than ever, that we mobilise our collective efforts to establish the foundations for more cohesive communities, more effective social service systems, more collaborative and joined-up service design and delivery.

The WACOSS Finding Ground: Building a better way back together conference will be one of the first major opportunities for the community service sector to take stock since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. We need to meet, and early 2021 is both timely and imperative to affirm pathways out of response and into recovery.

Like the Nyoongar concept of djenna bidi, journeying together, we need to build and walk forward in unity, here on Nyoongar Boodja where we are gathering, and elsewhere, to realise a future that is genuinely inclusive, sustainable, and grounded in equity.

The WACOSS conference will be the place and space to plot and plan with our peers about how we might do things differently together to make a real difference. A chance to explore not what we want, because we are clear about this, but how we are going to collectively and effectively take action to get there.

The focus will be forward, recognising what we have learnt from this crisis, those COVID adaptations that have revealed better ways. These innovative changes and agile responses will be our footing while we consider how these lessons can inform future service design and social policy.

This conference will provide us with the opportunity to seize these emerging and urgent openings, and find ground from which we build back more resilient and connected communities.

Read the full conference theme here

Artist credit – Millie Penny

Read more about the conference logo here

Who’s Speaking?

Hilary Cottam OBE

Hilary Cottam OBE

Author of Radical Help

Hilary is an internationally acclaimed social entrepreneur working with communities and governments around the world to design collaborative, affordable solutions (...)

Thomas Mayor

Thomas Mayor

Author of Finding the Heart of the Nation

Thomas Mayor is a Torres Strait Islander who was born and raised on Larrakia Land in Darwin. He was a (...)

Lizzie O'Shea

Lizzie O’Shea

Author of Future Histories

Lizzie O’Shea is a lawyer, writer, and broadcaster. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Guardian, and Sydney (...)

Conference Location


46-54 Marine Terrace & Essex St, Fremantle


Esplanade Hotel Fremantle


08 6381 5300