Hybrid format 13th & 14th October 2023 in Rome & Bristol UK ‘in person’ & globally ‘online’. Online only 8 - 12 October 2023

Root & Branch

As the initiators of Spirit Unbounded, now joined by Companions worldwide, you will find more information about our event 'Human Rights in the Catholic Church' in Bristol and Rome hybrid ‘in person’/online event on 13 & 14 October and online, virtual only programme from 8 - 12 October, on our website, so sign up to the R&B newsletter to stay informed. Donations towards The Event can be made via the R&B website.



Our public launch of Spirit Unbounded will be at an inaugural event in Rome during the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. The event will be delivered 8-14 October 2023, and it is anticipated, annually thereafter, in an agreed global setting.


It will be delivered in a hybrid format having both a physical/’in person’ and online presence, the latter with global reach. The global virtual component will be operated by a professional IT team based in Bristol UK. 

By offering a professional fully managed virtual platform for hosting the event, we will encourage attendance and contribution from global participants in the knowledge that cost and environmental concerns need not be barriers to attendance. 

It is anticipated that there will be physical ‘in person’ events held concurrently in participating local/global locations.


Sr Joan Chittister

Sr Joan Chittister, OSB, is one of the most influential religious and social leaders of our time. For over 50 years she has passionately advocated on behalf of peace, human rights, women’s issues, and monastic and church renewal

Dr Mary McAleese

Dr Mary McAleese was two term President of Ireland from 1997 to 2011. The theme of her presidency was Building Bridges and working for peace and reconciliation. She is a leading critic of Catholic Church teaching on among other things, women, homosexuality, Church members’ human rights, children’s rights, corporal punishment, church governance and episcopal accountability. Broadcaster and academic lawyer, she has a licentiate and doctorate in Canon Law.


The Event ‘Human Rights in the Catholic Church’ will offer a platform to international speakers. We are actively seeking better representation from the Global South. Please get in touch

Voice our responses to the synod (reform agenda/dismissing the false arguments/theology - used as barriers to inclusion/sharing governance/ rethinking morality).

Showcase speakers committed to the Emerging Church looking to the future. Introducing Small Christian Communities and ‘Do It Yourself’ (DIY) groups. Publicly launch the Spirit Unbounded network, a Spirit-driven and beatitudinal movement where ALL are equal, grounded in the “sensus fidelium” – consent of the faithful.


Different flyers for the event can be downloaded below


What is the  ‘Human Rights in the Catholic Church’ Event?
It is a hybrid event, having both an online/digital and physical/’in person’ presence from the 8th – 14th Oct. 2023. The virtual/digital content will be streamed globally on YouTube and ‘Live’ into the physical venues in Bristol (UK) and Rome (Italy).

Is the Event a Conference?
No. Although there will be some content delivered in a lecture style format, much of the content will be delivered in visual (art/video/film) and auditory (music/poetry/stories) format. The ambience of the Event will resemble  more closely that of festival programme than of a conference.

Are Rome and Bristol the only ‘Physical’ /’in-person’ venues?
Yes, these are the only official ‘Physical/in-person’/live venues for the Event. But we encourage other ‘Physical’ settings. You may wish to consider identifying local venues where the full Event programme may be streamed. Venues such as community centres, school halls, village halls, or homes with invited guests etc… with good internet access, will make perfect spaces where small groups and gatherings may meet to watch, pray and discuss the programme as a group. We encourage feedback and engagement during the Q&A sessions from these groups to the ‘Live’ programme/speakers/contributors. Since selling individual tickets is the only way in which we can hope to recoup our costs from ticket sales, IF you are considering a group screening please get in touch for permission and to make a suitable donation (depending on your location/economics)
email and put Group Screening in the subject heading

How long will a contributor slot be?
This will depend on the focus of the topic and the format (Spoken/Visual/Audio/etc..), we encourage contributors to be flexible and nimble in their presentation format. The virtual/digital content will represent approximately 70% of the Event, the ‘Live’/’In-Person’ content 30%, therefore we are encouraging submissions (abstracts, in the case of spoken content) of both physical/live/in-person and digital content. We will develop a ‘long-list’ for these submissions from which a ‘shortlist’ will be selected.

Are there any guidelines re content?
Focus on a message based on equality, inclusion, post clerical world, modern theology etc.
Incorporate storytelling elements to captivate the audience. The content should be as diverse as possible. Submissions ranging in time from 10, 20, minutes to 1 – 2 hour digital content to 1 hr live presentations with 30 minute Q&A session. We are seeking the most diverse representation possible in terms of constituents/communities, themes and global representation of people marginalised and excluded by the Hierarchical Church. We are also seeking contributions and suggestions/ideas of what the Church of the future could be like, one without hierarchy, clericalism and in which Human Rights are central and fully embraced.

Location of presentations?
Bristol and Rome and Globally online.

Cost of travel?
The costs of the event will need to be covered by ticket sales and donations. All the team are volunteers. We are unable to pay speaker fees. All speakers, including our keynote speakers who are travelling to Rome, are volunteering their time and are responsible for their own travel and accommodation arrangements. We will be able to assist with information on a small number of establishments with preferential accommodation rates for Rome and Bristol for contributors.

Spoken/presenter content will be mainly in English and Spanish with subtitles. We would like to provide sign language coverage for the live events and are seeking volunteers

Mobility access
A lot of thought will go into ensuring that the Bristol venue is accessible. We are using the following guide and are liaising with the conference centre in Bristol to ensure that the venue is fully accessible. .