Our history

Founded in 2011, APAC’s flagship gathering for online community professionals is now the longest running conference for community professionals in the world.

Swarm brings together local builders, thinkers, managers and makers with top international talent for learning, collaboration, inspiration and outcomes. It is unique in its connecting of practitioners with researchers and policy-makers, and has earned its reputation as a premiere experience for those doing the work of community.

Swarm grew out of the Australian Community Manager Roundtables, founded in 2009 by Venessa Paech.  Alison Michalk and Venessa ran a series of roundtables in various cities before deciding to roll them into one epic event.

In its 9th year in 2020, Swarm went virtual. Though we missed offline gatherings (and that delicious catering), gathering online was successful during the pandemic for the Swarm community. We were able to lower costs (and therefore prices), and Swarm was more accessible, inclusive and environmentally sustainable. We welcome a larger international cohort of attendees and can have more global speakers.

Based on feedback from the Swarm community in 2023 we returned  to the University of Sydney for an in-person event that was also streamed (for those unable to attend in person).

In 2024, we’ll return to Melbourne for another hybrid in-person and streamed event hosted at Melbourne Zoo on Thursday 12 September, 2024.

Some of our previous sessions...

Our speakers

Swarm Conference 2023 proudly featured some of the best in international and local community talent.