My blog has been going for over seven years so I’ve started updating some of my older posts. Today I’ve updated a post I originally wrote in 2014 about bottom-up community development. It starts with a quote I love from Melinda Jurd, one of my students in an online elective about community engagement:
You cannot waltz into a community and fix the world…. no matter how well you can dance
You can read the full post at https://sustainingcommunity.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/bottom-up/
This year is shaping up to be an interesting year. The following are some of the major projects I’m involved in.
Best practice and trends in family counselling and mediation services in NSW: A collaborative case study of Uniting
I’m the project manager (with Tamara Blakemore from Social Work as the Chief Investigator) on this major research project exploring three primary research questions:
- What does the existing evidence base identify as principles for best practice in terms of family counselling and mediation services?
- How do Uniting’s family counselling and mediation services achieve positive outcomes for their clients?
- How can family counselling and mediation services measure the impact/outcomes of their services?
The research focuses on Uniting family and counselling and mediation services in Central Sydney, Nowra, Wollongong, Campbelltown, Fairfield, Penrith, Parramatta, Gosford and Newcastle and includes a number of stages: Continue reading
In strengths-based and asset-based approaches to family and community work we focus on strengths, aspirations and potential rather than problems, needs and deficits by, amongst other things:
- Consciously looking for the strengths and potential of the people, families and communities we work with
- Adopting a positive, optimistic outlook (focusing on the “half-full part of the glass”)
- Avoiding the role of the “expert”
This does NOT mean looking at the world through rose-coloured glasses and ignoring problems, needs and deficits.
In a recent Alternatives to Violence Project workshop, which had a large focus on parenting, at the end of the first (of two) days, one of the fathers said:
This workshop is making me realise I’m a better father than some people say I am!
At face value this seems to be a great outcome. But even though we want to increase parents’ confidence, there is a potential dark side to this statement. What if he was an abusive parent and there were significant grounds for being concerned about his parenting? What if it was allowing him to deny the need for change? There are real risks involved in accepting this statement without question and not exploring it further. Continue reading
I’ve recently been thinking about the difference between community development and community work, and the importance of being clear about which is appropriate for a given context. These are fairly initial thoughts so I’d welcome any feedback or comments.
In thinking about family work, social work and other human service fields, it can be useful to think of a number of broad fields of practice including:
- Casework and case management
- Group work
- Community work
- Social policy and administration
- Social action
Each of these fields of practice have different approaches, emphasise different practice skills, and have different priorities. Each of them are important and have their role. Like the other fields of practice, community work covers a very broad area and can include community engagement, health promotion, community organising, community housing, community education, and community development—to name a few.
One of the defining characteristics of community work is that the focus is on the collective rather than the individual [1, 2]. The emphasis is on strategies that make a difference at a community level and that help build the capacity of communities to address specific issues or to build community capacity and wellbeing. Continue reading
It’s my first day back at Uni today and I’m speaking to some new course coordinators. There some notes about what I cover at https://sustainingcommunity.wordpress.com/2017/01/19/course-coordination/
It’s fairly specific to the University of Newcastle, but it might be helpful to others as well.
This is a complete list of the posts I published in 2017 with the number of views they received in 2017. I thought I would share it as some of you might be interested in seeing the number of views I receive for individual posts. As you can see, there are quite a few posts that don’t receive many views—while it is nice that people read the blog, I don’t just blog to receive views.
I try not to concentrate on posts that will generate lots of views and I also don’t want to play the game of visiting other people’s blogs and commenting just to drive people to the blog. Continue reading
Total monthly blog views (2011-2017)
Last year I started regular transparency reports to share some stats on my blog in case anyone is interested. Even though I don’t generate any income from the blog, I think it is worth sharing how the blog is going and what types of posts are of most interest.
When I started blogging I had little idea how my blog compared to others and even now I don’t really know. While blogging isn’t all about how many views are received, it is still important.
I have a free WordPress blog (with the “no ads” upgrade) which works well for me, so the following are based on the stats available through WordPress. Continue reading