Whistleblowers can play a vital role in exposing illegal, unjust or unethical behaviour on the part of businesses, governments and individuals in positions of power. However, whistleblowing is seldom a black and white matter. Exposing secrets can be instrumental in achieving positive change; but at the same time, such disclosures may run the risk of endangering innocent lives. Affording whistleblowers protection whilst also providing natural justice to those accused of wrongdoing can be a difficult balance to maintain. While whistleblowing empowers those who are generally without power, it could also contribute to the creation of a culture of surveillance and reporting that undermines positive engagement between colleagues, employees and citizens.
As a complex, fundamentally polarizing concept, whistleblowing can take many forms, from hourly workers informing bosses about unsafe working conditions, to high-end employees at international corporations informing the public about health risks, to anonymous informants disclosing illegal practices at the highest levels of governments around the world.
In one of the earliest examples of whistleblowing, two American naval officers in 1777-78 accused the Commander in Chief of the Continental Navy of torturing British prisoners of war. The Continental Congress dismissed the Commander in Chief and covered the naval officers’ defense costs in a subsequent libel suit. The Continental Congress also enacted a law declaring it the duty of persons living or serving in the United States to inform Congress or another proper authority of misconduct, frauds, or misdemeanours committed by a person in the service of the states.
Fast forward to today, and Wikileaks is the largest whistleblowing operation in the modern era, made possible because of technological advances in knowledge-sharing. The disclosures on WikiLeaks have been enormous in terms of their reach and volume, and have prompted a worldwide cultural conversation about the relationship between national security and individual privacy. The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, is currently imprisoned, and the focus of differing views on the legality of extraditing him to the USA. WikiLeaks provided a platform for very many whistleblowers, such as Chelsea Manning who disclosed classified military documents and served seven years, commuted from 35 years, for espionage. Edward Snowden lives in exile, in Moscow, with the right to asylum, after also leaking classified documents to journalists about government security operations whilst working for the CIA. Such figures have become household names, partly because of the rise of internet platforms which make it impossible to keep the cases under wraps, and partly because they tap into our deepest desires, to be kept safe from threats and harm, and our deepest fears about the power of states and their capacity for operating global surveillance for their own ends.
All of this raises the question of how we got to the point where individuals who expose wrongdoing are themselves the recipients of punishment, and this has of late become even more pressing as events around the world expose the underside of global machinations. Revelations by whistleblowers lay bare the details of US President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, foreign interference in the United Kingdom’s referendum on leaving the European Union, corrupt dealings by Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia and countless other cases.
It is an appropriate time to reconsider the meaning and implications of whistleblowing. What conditions give rise to and sustain whistleblowing? What purposes does whistleblowing serve in a democratic society? What lessons are to be gained from case studies in terms of the possibilities of achieving change by working within a system, working outside a system, working alone or as part of a collective that may or may not be organised? How can societies harness the benefits of whistleblowing as a form of extreme civic engagement while preserving the values of justice and fairness, and protecting the rights of relevant parties? What are the rules of engagement for blowing the whistle on and dealing with whistleblowers?
From the conversations and dialogues which take place, our intention is to form a selective innovative interdisciplinary publication to engender further research and collaboration.
In recognition of the complex, inter-disciplinary nature of this topic, our unique, interdisciplinary conference provides a platform for participants from any relevant field, profession or practice to engage in dialogues on any aspect of whistleblowing including:
What To Send
The aim of this inclusive interdisciplinary conference and collaborative networking event is to bring people together and encourage creative conversations in the context of a variety of formats: papers, seminars, workshops, storytelling, performances, poster presentations, problem-solving sessions, case studies, panels, q&a’s, round-tables etc. Creative responses to the subject, such as poetry/prose, short film screenings/original drama, installations and alternative presentation styles that engage the audience and foster debate are particularly encouraged. Please feel free to put forward proposals that you think will get the message across, in whatever form.
At the end of the conference we will be exploring ways in which we can develop the discussions and dialogues in new and sustainable inclusive interdisciplinary directions, including research, workshops, publications, public interest days, associations, developing courses etc which will help us make sense of the topics discussed during the meeting. There is an intention, subject to the discussions which emerge during the course of the meeting, to form a selective innovative interdisciplinary publication to engender further research and collaboration.
300 word proposals, presentations, abstracts and other forms of contribution and participation should be submitted by Friday 10th January 2020. Other forms of participation should be discussed in advance with the Organising Chairs.
All submissions will be at least double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Team, The Development Team and the Advisory Board. In practice our procedures usually entail that by the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.
You will be notified of the panel’s decision by Friday 24th January 2020.
If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Friday 1st May 2020.
Abstracts and proposals may be in Word, RTF or Notepad formats with the following information and in this order:
a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in the programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) type of proposal e.g. paper presentation, workshop, panel, film, performance, etc, f) body of proposal, g) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: Whistlebowing Submission
Where To Send
Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to the Organising Chair and the Project Administrator:
Diana Medlicott: firstname.lastname@example.org
Len Capuli (Project Administrator): email@example.com
Details and Information
The cost for attending the conference is £295/€335. This includes:
~ conference registration fee
~ book of Abstracts
~ a discounted rate for any of the outputs emerging from the event
~ Sunday coffee/tea on arrival
~ Sunday morning coffee and biscuits
~ Sunday lunch
~ Sunday afternoon tea and biscuits
~ Sunday evening wine and drinks reception
~ drinks in the conference room
~ Monday morning coffee and biscuits
~ Monday lunch
~ Monday afternoon tea and biscuits
~ drinks in the conference room
Calendar of time-lines and deadlines
Friday 10th January 2020
Friday 24th January 2020
Friday 13th March 2020
Booking Form Submissions
by Friday 27th March 2020
Circulation of Draft Programme
Friday 24th April 2020
Final date for payment
Friday 17th April 2020
Circulation of Revised Programme
Full draft of presentation to be submitted
Friday 12th June 2020
Final programme to printing
The conference is being held at the 4* Falkensteiner Hotel, Bratislava, Slovakia
811 03 Bratislava, Slovakia
Tel: (+421) 2/592 361 00
We have reserved rooms for delegates at the conference hotel on favourable terms and conditions. On having a proposal accepted for presentation at the conference, and on the completion and submission of a booking form, a special booking form will be sent to you along with instructions on how to use it in order to access these terms.
Single Room - Single Occupancy €99 per night including breakfast and all taxes
Double Room - Double/Twin Person Occupancy €129 per night including breakfast and all taxes
Details will be sent to delegates on how to access these rates once receipt of the booking form has been confirmed.
Accommodation bookings are made directly with the hotel, not Progressive Connexions. All payments for accommodation are made directly to the hotel as well. A credit card will be required on booking.
You are free to find alternative accommodation. We are offering these arrangements as a convenience to folks who would like to be at the conference venue.
The conferences, meetings and events we organise are not single ‘one-off’ events. They are part of a continual stream of conversations, activities and projects which grow and evolve in different directions. At the conclusion of every meeting, the question needs to be considered: What happens next? After all, there is little personal, educational or professional benefit in gathering people together from around the world and sharing all sorts of fascinating conversations if nothing further is going to happen as a result!
The possible ranges of ‘outputs’ which can productively flow from our meetings is a dynamic response to the dialogues, issues and engagements that take place during the events themselves. And as our meetings are attended by folks who come from different backgrounds, contexts, professions and vocations, what people would like to see developed as a result of our time spent together will always be potentially diverse, fluid and appropriate to what took place.
One range of possible outputs involves publication as a way of continuing the work of a project. Where publishing is a possibility, it is directly referenced in the Call for Papers, Presentations and Participation. Other possible outputs may include, but are not limited to:
~ social media platforms such as Facebook pages and groups, blogs, wikis, Twitter, as vehicles for continuing dialogues, disseminating knowledge and information and bringing new people into the work of the project
~ reviews; reports; policy statements; position papers/statements; declarations of principles
~ proposals for meetings, workshops, courses, schools
~ collaboration gateways, platforms and media
~ personal and professional development opportunities: faculty development; mentoring programmes; cultural cruises; consultancies; summer schools; personal enrichment programmes
The range of outputs is dependent on how little or how much you would like to become involved. Don’t let the end of the meeting signal the end of your involvement with the project. Please get involved, bounce ideas around, think out loud – we’d love to hear about what you’d like to do and are always happy to talk about what is possible.
Participants must complete the online booking form by Friday 14th February 2020 at the latest.
After the deadline has expired, an invoice will be drawn up and sent to you; the invoice will contain all the necessary information for you to pay by bank transfer, cheque, Paypal or credit card.
The invoice must be settled by Friday 27th March 2020.
It is the responsibility of delegates to ensure that payment is made by this date. Failure to receive payment will result in your booking being cancelled.
There are a number of ways payment can be made.
Payment can be made by cheque, in GBP (£ sterling) only and must be drawn against a bank with headquarters in the United Kingdom. Cheques should be made payable to ‘Progressive Connexions’ and sent, with a copy of the booking form, to:
Dr Rob Fisher
149b Wroslyn Road
Oxfordshire. OX29 8HR
We regret we cannot and will not accept cheques made payable in currencies other than GBP Sterling.
Bank Transfer Payment may be made using bank transfer. There will be an option to pay in either GBP (£ Sterling) or Euro (€). Full details to enable a bank transfer are made available on your conference invoice. If paying by this method, you must agree to pay all charges at the sending and receiving banks.
You may request that an invoice be sent to you which you may forward to your institution. It is your responsibility to ensure that the invoice is paid before the payment deadline.
Your invoice will include a link to pay through a secure and encrypted online payment system. Please click the link to use this method.
Payment may also be made using credit card. We cannot accept American Express or Discovery as a form of payment.
Payment may also be made using Paypal. If paying by this method please send us the email account connected with your Paypal account and we will forward you a request for payment.
We strongly recommend that all delegates take out some form of travel or other insurance in relation to any and all travel arrangements or accommodation booked in regard to the conference. This should include cancellation insurance in the event of unforeseen or unexpected circumstances.
All fees are payable in advance. No delegate will be permitted entry to the conference if an invoice is still unpaid.
What’s so Special?
A fresh, friendly, dynamic format – at Progressive Connexions we are dedicated to breaking away from the stuffy, old-fashioned conference formats, where endless presentations are read aloud off PowerPoints. We work to bring you an interactive format, where exchange of experience and information is alternated with captivating workshops, engaging debates and round tables, time set aside for getting to know each other and for discussing common future projects and initiatives, all in a warm, relaxed, egalitarian atmosphere.
A chance to network with international professionals – the beauty of our interdisciplinary events is that they bring together professionals from all over the world and from various fields of activity, all joined together by a shared passion. Not only will the exchange of experience, knowledge and stories be extremely valuable in itself, but we seek to create lasting, ever-growing communities around our projects, which will become a valuable resource for those belonging to them.
A chance to be part of constructing change – There is only one thing we love as much as promoting knowledge: promoting real, lasting social change by encouraging our participants to take collective action, under whichever form is most suited to their needs and expertise (policy proposals, measuring instruments, research projects, educational materials, etc.) We will support all such actions in the aftermath of the event as well, providing a platform for further discussions, advice from the experts on our Project Advisory Team and various other tools and intellectual resources, as needed.
An opportunity to discuss things that matter to you – Our events are not only about discussing how things work in the respective field, but also about how people work in that field – what are the struggles, problems and solutions professionals have found in their line of work, what are the areas where better communication among specialists is needed and how the interdisciplinary approach can help bridge those gaps and help provide answers to questions from specific areas of activity.
An unforgettable experience – When participating in a Progressive Connexions event, there is a good chance you will make some long-time friends. Our group sizes are intimate, our venues are comfortable and relaxing and our event locations are suited to the history and culture of the event.
Progressive Connexions believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract or proposal for presentation.
Please note: Progressive Connexions is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence, nor can we offer discounts off published rates and fees.