A Warm Welcome to IMEC International Meaning Events & Community!
IMEC is an inspiring and ever-growing collaboration of people from across the world, each with a unique background and personal story. We host a diverse range of events for everyone: from art and music, to conferences, festivals, support groups, workshops, political debates, and a range of publications.
We pride ourselves on our inclusivity, welcoming people of all sexualities, gender identities, ethnicities and faith backgrounds.
At IMEC events, we raise questions about society and ourselves that really matter. These safe and inspirational spaces enable people to authentically connect and support each other. We have fun and find motivation from underground artists, poets, comedians, and musicians. Because in our fast-paced and money-driven society, there is often little space for talking about topics that really matter, building authentic relationships, and enjoying underground art.
Our online and in-person events have been organised by independent groups of enthusiastic volunteers since 2015. We aim to keep the entrance and participation fees as low as possible to ensure that everyone can join our events; any profits will be used to support the other events. Performers and speakers usually also offer their inspiring contribution for free because all of us believe in the importance of organising meaningful events and building meaningful communities.
Transforming doing into being
We are different from other communities, conferences and event organisers because ...
... we do not only talk about how to create a meaningful society, we are a meaningful community.
... we do not only teach about the importance of authenticity, we are authentic.
... we do not only talk about meaning,we experience meaning together.
... we do not only do research on how individuals make sense of their world, we make sense together.
... we do not only cite research that shows the importance of creativity such as art and music in life, we are creative in life.
... we do not only believe that together we can reach beyond each of our own individual potential, we actually go further than we could ever have imagined.
... we do not only value of equality, we meet from person to person, without egos and titles.
... we do not only say that you are welcome, you are welcome!
IMEC has six pillars: conferences, social support groups, training & workshops, art and music events, publications and community. Each of these pillars is organised by an independent group of volunteers. Often, there will be a collaboration during events, where different groups organise different aspects of the event; for example, during the ‘Festival of Hope and Despair’ in Spring 2021, we will have a combination of conferences, social support groups and workshops, art and music events, political debates, and publications. Decision-making is done with a majority vote. Each group has a chair and secretary who plan meetings and the agenda for meetings. Continuity and coherence between the groups is facilitated by the central organisation of the IMEC Chair (currently: Joel Vos) and IMEC Secretary (Natalie Fraser). You can find the legal bits of IMEC here: IMEC legal bits
A Brief History of IMEC
IMEC began in the form of the International Meaning Conference, a bi-annual international conference in the UK for practitioners and researchers who are interested in exploring meaning in life and at helping people to live a meaningful life despite life’s challenges (www.meaning.org.uk).
These UK conferences started in response to the successful International Meaning Conferences in Canada which are organised by the International Network for Personal Meaning and chaired by Professor Paul Wong (www.meaning.ca).
The first conference was hosted by the University of Roehampton in 2017, and had 100 participants from all continents after only four months of promoting. The second conference was held at Birkbeck College in London and has 150 participants from all over the world. In response to the covid-19 pandemic, we decided to host our third conference in the summer of 2020 as a one day online event, where [x amount] of participants connected together from across the globe.
This coincided with the start-up of IMEC mentalhealth4all support groups which we ran every week to provide a safe space for people from all walks of life to share their struggles which may have been caused or enhanced by the onset of the pandemic.
The evaluations from each conference and support group were extremely positive, inspiring us to keeping the same overall format and with requests for continuing the connection between the conference. 96% of the participants said in an anonymous evaluation form that they would come again and 92% said that they would aspire to bring colleagues with them to a next conference.
Taking on board this feedback, the IMEC scientific committee begun to work towards transforming IMEC conferences into the IMEC community which exists today, adding a number of additional functions to the umbrella of IMEC such as workshops, political debates, support groups, publications, and music & arts events.
Safe space policy
With the term ‘safe space’, we refer to organising events which are publicly accessible to a broad audience, and particularly to individuals who do not feel accepted in other cultural and subcultural events, such as individuals with specific subcultural clothes and looks or individuals with mental health problems. All IMEC events are based on the following core values: inclusive (everyone is welcome), non-hierarchical (nobody is treated worse or better than others), confidentiality (any personal information shared during small events will be treated confidentially), respect (all communication is respectful), expression (individuals are stimulated to express when they feel that their boundaries are crossed by others), acceptance (individuals are stimulated to accept the perspectives of others when others tell them that they feel that they have inappropriately crossed their boundaries), sensitive (all communication will be sensitive to the specific audience) and enjoyment (all participants are stimulated to enjoy themselves during the events) (acronym: INCREASE).
Who is IMEC? You?!
Chair: Dr Joel Vos PhD MSc MA CPsychol FHEA, www.joelvos.com
Organiser: Natalie Fraser MSc, https://www.existentialofferings.com/
About the scientific committee
The scientific committee develops the scientific program, particularly by brainstorming about the theme, strands, and possible speakers to invite. They can be involved in the selection of submitted abstracts. They will help with promotion of the conference.
– Metanoia Institute & Meaning Online: Dr Joel Vos (chair) (www.joelvos.com)
– Rocky Mountain Humanistic Counseling and Psychological Association & University Professors Press: Professor Louis Hoffmann
– University of Wisonsin-Madison: Professor Carol Ryff
– University of Haifa: Dr Pninit Russo-Netzer
– Existential Offerings: Natalie Fraser
– Dr Holli-Ann Passmore
– Birkbeck University: Professor Jonathan Smith
– Kingston University, Dr Ron Roberts
– Kwantlen Polytechnic University: Dr Roger Tweed
– Buckinghamshire University: Dr Piers Worth
– Existential Analysis in the UK: Dr Aleksandra Kupavskaya
– Existential Analysis in the UK: Dr Anna Naumenko
– University of Toronto: Christian Schulz-Quach
Supporters & partners
A supporter or partner is willing to have their name associated with IMEC 2021, will help with promotion (e.g. amongst their own staff, students or network), and are welcome to participate in the scientific committee. They can have their logo shown in marketing material, get a hyperlink on the IMEC website, and can promote their own work or sell books/merchandise at the conference. Financial support would be very much appreciated.
Want to volunteer, support or become a partner?
Please contact us at [email protected]
The financial responsible company behind the IMEC conferences is Meaning Online Ltd, UK Companies House 11099635.
Please find our legal bits here: Legal Bits
Don't miss out on
A Meaningful Life!
Subscribe to our newsletter and get interviews, exercises & reflections directly delivered to your inbox. Be the first to know of exciting upcoming events.