“When we join together in small groups, festivals and larger gatherings … we hold the code to more intelligent and loving life right here among us now.” – Barbara Marx Hubbard

On the edge of the township of Mullumbimby, in the north-eastern corner of the Australian state of New South Wales, there is a modest white house on a slightly larger than average block of land. If you were to walk down the bright orange path and open the front door, you would find that the front bedroom is in reality a festival production headquarters, the study is a film studio, the guest room belongs to the web portal team, and the living room is a boardroom and gathering place for project leaders, production teams and visiting guest speakers. This is the global production headquarters of UPLIFT.

UPLIFT is a four-day festival of transformation held annually in the nearby town and cultural centre of Byron Bay, Australia’s most easterly point, long revered by local Indigenous people as the “land of first light dreaming”. It brings together pioneers in science, spirituality, health, sustainability, creativity, youth and Indigenous wisdom to explore dynamic solutions to our planet’s greatest challenges and discover new pathways of working, living and creating together for the good of all.

In its three years of existence, this diverse collection of guests and presenters who gather for a week of ceremony and creative exploration prior to the UPLIFT festival has not only given birth to an extremely interactive live and virtual event (with keynote presentations, open forums, in-depth workshops, classes and creative expression sessions), but also given rise to a wide variety of unique collaborations, partnerships and ongoing initiatives. These include projects to treat water in India, empower inner-city youth, support peace and reconciliation in the Middle East, and bring unity to Indigenous cultures around the world.

In the words of Bharat Mitra, the founder of the company Organic India and UPLIFT, the purpose of the festival is “co-creating oneness in action in the world”, such that not only is UPLIFT a great convergence of consciousness, but it also serves as an annual celebration of the initiatives that have come to fruition since the last festival.

What makes UPLIFT unique for many people is a sense of unity in diversity. For presenters, many of whom are already acknowledged as pioneers in their own field, UPLIFT offers an opportunity to collaborate with like-minded visionaries from other walks of life and to weave their unique thread into a larger tapestry. For festival participants, who come from around Australia (or tune in live via www.upliftconnect.com), UPLIFT is an invitation to immerse themselves in self-discovery and the creation of a new collective story. This year celebrates the return of several festival favourites – including cellular biologist Bruce Lipton, spiritual evolutionary Barbara Marx Hubbard, medical clown Patch Adams and peace activist Satish Kumar – and welcomes a wave of newcomers: sacred economist Charles Eisenstein, film-maker Jamie Catto, leadership consultant Tim ‘Mac’ Macartney, peace activist Scarlett Lewis, and many more.

UPLIFT is an acronym for Universal Peace and Love In a Festival of Transformation, and since its inception the founders and organisers have developed a very inclusive interpretation of ‘festival’ – such that any authentic expression of the underlying intention of sarvodaya (Sanskrit for ‘UPLIFTment for all’) is recognised as a form of the festival taking shape in the world. In this way, UPLIFT has the possibility of happening every day all around us, and all those who feel called to the mission of generating more peace, love and new possibility for the planet are already playing a vital part in the global community of UPLIFT. In the words of Bharat Mitra, “Each one of us has our own unique gifts, purpose and role to play in this magnificent existence … and it is only when we all come together that this new era can manifest. We truly can create oneness in action in the world.”

The UPLIFT festival takes place from 11 to 14 December 2014. www.upliftfestival.com

Chip Richards is Creative Director for the UPLIFTconnect.com media channel and an MC/Presenter at the main UPLIFT festival.