Photo: HB2 in Antarctica by Oli Sansom.
What is the Convergence?
The Convergence is made up of all Homeward Bound alumnae, a constantly evolving and growing network of women with a STEMM background from across the world.
We share the collective experience of the Homeward Bound program and many of our values overlap.
The name is also a reference to the Convergence of the oceans (see image); a boundary zone of the world’s oceans that separates the waters surrounding Antarctica into Antarctic and sub-antarctic regions.
At the Convergence, there are significant changes in the flora and fauna where many species and conditions are unique to the Antarctic region.
The idea is that this is similar to the transition that each Homeward Bound participant goes through during the program, leading them into a unique space in their leadership journey which is rich in individual and collective experiences.
As everyone comes together as the Convergence, we continue to practice learnings, collaborate, and to dig deeper into our leadership journeys and support each other in initiatives and friendships formed through experiencing the Homeward Bound program.
How can I become a member of the Convergence?
As soon as you graduate from the main program you are part of the Convergence – it’s automatic.
We also have a Steering Committee which is an independent body created and maintained by committed cross-cohort volunteers from Homeward Bound alumnae.
The Convergence Steering Committee facilitates cross-cohort connections of the Convergence, and works with Homeward Bound Projects as a bridge between them and the alumnae group of the broader Convergence.
There are regular calls for alumnae to join the Committee if they wish to be a part of it, and the TCSC always involves new alumnae from each graduating cohort.
What are the guidelines for behaviour and interaction in the Convergence?
As each cohort passes through the Homeward Bound program, they come up with a set of group norms and rules to guide respectful behaviour.
Following the 2020 Unconference, a group of alumnae from all cohorts reviewed these rules and developed The Convergence Engagement Norms, which are a set of six principles which guide all interactions amongst members of the Convergence.
These engagement norms are: trust & accountability; empowerment & growth; no judgement; inclusive; respect; kindness & generosity.
What sort of projects can I get involved in?
In November 2020, a team of alumni across HB1, 2 and 3 organised the first Homeward Bound virtual Unconference.
There were many different sessions covering topics from the Homeward Bound program, and many other initiatives over the course of two days and across many different time zones.
Currently HB alumnae from HB5 and HB4 are running the HB Inter-cohort Networking Programme, an evolution of the previous HB Mentoring Program.
This is a structured networking program which collates Convergence members into groups of similar time zones and interests that consist of 8-12 people.
These groups meet every 4-6 weeks at a time of their choosing (virtually for the most part) and are able to select provided topics as prompts or catch up and get to know each other in whatever way that feels is most useful for them.
The networking program culminates with the Unconference. The next Unconference is due to be held in February, 2023.
(Photo shows seven members of HB4 and one member of HB5 who co-wrote the The plastic pandemic: COVID-19 has accelerated plastic pollution, but there is a cure discussion paper.)
Alongside these two initiatives, there are a host of projects and programs which alumnae are involved with.
Some of these are small groups, some are discipline-specific, and some are broad and global and open to anyone: the possibilities are endless!
Some examples of these include:
- Writing a paper for a scientific publication such as this discussion paper by HB4 and HB5 sisters in Science of the Total Environment which suggested solutions for decreasing plastic pollution as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- A scientific review paper by alumnae from HB1, 2 and 4 on blue carbon; the carbon captured and stored by marine and coastal ecosystems and species and which offers potential as a “nature-based solution” to climate change. The review looked at blue carbon solutions and suggested policies in the Frontiers in Marine Science journal article.
- The Begin Again documentary by Anna Cabre from HB4 had an Australian debut at the Spanish Film Festival in Melbourne in April, 2022 and in Sydney in May. The climate physicist and oceanographer created the documentary using handheld footage taken on the Homeward Bound expedition to Antarctica.
- There is also a podcast of stories from women in STEMM hosted by Rachel Villani from HB5. These are available at Storytellers of STEMM.
- Another podcast, Discomfort Zone, has been recorded in recent years and involves some of the HB5 women.
Check out more highlights of Convergence projects on the Homeward Bound website.