A subconscious and timely journey meant that our work to catalogue the Tavistock Institute’s archive ended up coinciding with the significant milestone of 70 years since the Institute’s formation.

We decided to make the archive central to the celebrations. The primary task of the festival was twofold:

  • To explore the stories of the Tavistock Institute, its forefathers and mothers and sister organisations, as well as;
  • To provide opportunities for contemporary conversations around the continued relevance and innovation of its unique approach to societal challenges today.

The festival explored these in the Tavistock spirit and tradition including inviting contributions from all over the world in the creation of a dynamic and open space.

The overriding theme for the festival was ‘Reimaging Human Relations in our Time’ and each day took on an exploratory sub-theme and an-easy-to-identify tag. The festival took place over over four days.

TuesdayLetters from the new social ecology or NOW. This theme was about the world we live in. It was about research that informs emerging and evolving inter-disciplinary practice. Festival contributions under this theme looked into boundaries, culture; environment; knowledge; ecology and the relationship amongst them.

Wednesday Evolving practice in our informed society or HERE. This theme was about how we practise in the ‘Now’. Under this theme you will find explorations and new approaches to working in an uncertain world; our changing relations with data; what it means to evaluate in a complex world; the new cases of socio technical practice.

ThursdayIn the Shadow and Light of the Archive or THERE. This theme took a historical lens to reflect on the meaning of the Tavistock Institute’s work including the ways in which our archive contributes to organisational development practice; moving from the seminal work as shadows towards standing on the shoulders of giants.

FridayTransacting with the Future or THEN. This theme was about ongoing practice; what we give forward and who we will be working with. Here we imagined we will stepping out of the past; envisaging the future; new organisational forms and work design.

We offered a wide range of activities in exploration of the festival’s theme and sub-themes delivered across a multitude of disciplines. Included in the programme were workshops, panel discussions, performances, talks, artworks, exhibitions, films and a four day Group Relations conference.
Now that the festival is over the Arch-Live will be become a resource for the festival and Tavistock Institute community. This is where we will post recordings and other material associated with each activity. We invite you to enjoy and engage in its multitude of resources.

Juliet Scott, Festival Creative Director
Dr Eliat Aram, CEO, TIHR  

Founded in 1947 The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations is a not-for-profit research, consultancy and educational organisation engaged in applying contemporary social science to questions and conundrums being asked all around the world today.
Reimaging Human Relations has been made possible through a rich and rewarding intellectual partnership with the Wellcome Library and Canterbury Christ Church University. In addition we have the generous sponsorship of our publishing partners SAGE; Wedlake Bell partners and contributors to the Dynamics at Board Level programme and TIHR lawyers, and a legacy donation from Group Relations in the Netherlands.


The collaboration with Canterbury Christ Church University and the Tavistock Institute Archive Project fits very well with the ethos of community and high quality education, research, and business engagement that inform the activities of the Business School. Two principles, among others, are at the core of our work: the principle of experiential learning and the principle of practical development and application of knowledge. When we started to contribute to the Archive Project it was clear to us that we were contributing to make available the roots of a tradition committed to the social application of social science. An opportunity that will meet the needs of scholars, researchers, students and professionals interested in increasing the awareness of organisational processes and at the same time making a significant contribution in the contexts they operate.


The Wellcome Library is providing both a permanent home for the Tavistock Institute archive, and a point of access for researchers. It is one of the world’s major resources for the study of medical history, offering a growing collection of material relating to contemporary medicine and biomedical science in society. The library is free and open to anyone interested in the history of health and medicine.


Sara Miller McCune founded SAGE Publishing in 1965 to support the dissemination of usable knowledge and educate a global community. SAGE publishes more than 1,000 journals and over 800 new books each year, spanning a wide range of subject areas. Our growing selection of library products includes archives, data, case studies and video. SAGE remains majority owned by our founder and after her lifetime will become owned by a charitable trust that secures the company’s continued independence. Principal offices are located in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC and Melbourne. www.sagepublishing.com


Wedlake Bell LLP is a Top 100 law firm with 59 partners supported by over 175 lawyers and support staff. We provide a full range of legal services to UK and international corporate clients, public institutions and entrepreneurs across all sectors.


Founded by Margaret Bury, East 15 grew from the work of Joan Littlewood’s famed Theatre Workshop, which broke new ground, re-interpreting the classics for a modern age, commissioning new plays from socially committed writers, and creating an ensemble capable of inventing new work. East 15 is now one of a leading group of UK conservatoires and is a member of the Federation of Drama Schools. We are now one of the largest specialist theatre schools in the UK, based in Loughton and Southend in Essex, with a distinguished international teaching staff and over 770 students.