Skip to main content

Our History

The Action Learning Action Research and Process Management Association Inc. was formerly registered in 1991 following an inaugural Research Symposium in Brisbane in 1989 and a first World Congress, also in Brisbane, in 1990.

The first local network was Brisbane ALARA in Queensland, and this remains a highly active powerhouse. It has generated numerous activities and fund-raisers. It is associated with Bob Dick's AR-listservice and AR website. Other networks have existed in Victoria, Singapore and South Africa.

The organisation established itself as the world's earliest international action learning / action research professional association to mount World Congresses for this field, bringing together theorists and practitioners with novices, innovators and managers. Renamed Action Learning, Action Research Association Inc. in 2007, the Association has held ten World Congresses in Australian and International settings, and twenty-four Australasian conferences, as well as many other local workshops and seminars for members and their networks. (See the lists of Conferences and World Congresses for more information.)

Late in 2018, the organisation became a Company Limited by Guarantee, Action Learning, Action Research Association Ltd, and in 2020 registered the business name ALAR Association, registered under Australian Commonwealth legislation. The Association is colloquially known as ALARA.

Our members have produced 24 volumes of the Association's Journal (generally with two issues per volume) and other publications, established a part-time professional administration, and an on-line presence at

In 2007, ALARA consulted members to develop a strategic vision for the Association, providing a more secure and proactive position in the field of action research.

Core functions were affirmed - the journal, the conferences, the World Congresses - and new areas of activity targeted - building Australian Indigenous practitioner capacity, actively responding to climate change and taking environmental responsibility in how and what we do, and building membership so that the presence of AR and AL is significantly increased across profession, learning, community and political discourses alike.

In 2010, the Management Committee revisited and revised the Strategic Plan (through to 2014). In 2014, the Management Committee invited financial members to join them in preparing the 2015-2020 Strategic Directions (Plan), which focuses on developing alliances with similar organisations and like-minded individuals. This approach has enabled the Association to build on the methods it has used to conduct so many successful events in partnership with others to expand the services it provides and increase the networking of AL / AR practitioners around the world.

The Association's Board consulted with members in the development of a new strategic plan for 2020-2023, in which the Board will focus on key aspects of ALAR Association's services - publications, information and preparing for events.