I was recently discussing with Deb, my supervisor, what I should call myself. My role at the Family Action Centre, involves teaching, research, training and community programs. I’ve thought of myself as a community worker or youth worker for most of my working life, but really it isn’t what most of my work involves now. But I don’t think of myself as an academic (for a start it took me years to remember whether academic had a double “c” or not!) We finally decided that mostly I can just say I work in community research and education, without bothering about a job title. If I need one I for some reason I could use community researcher or community facilitator or lecturer depending on the context. I feel OK with that.
It made me think about what projects I’m involved in at the moment:
- Teaching an undergraduate online course on community engagement.
- Developing a postgraduate online course on community engagement.
- Helping Dee run workshops around the country for the Defence Community Organisation on the strengths perspective and asset-based community development.
- Helping Bourkie run a project running fathering workshops for with Aboriginal men in the Upper Hunter. We will train and mentor some locals to help run them.
- Finishing off a project that involved running workshops on ways that family, community and health workers can engage Aboriginal men more successfully and conducting focus groups to identify challenges and successful strategies.
- Evaluating SNUG (which runs Camps for the families of children with rare disorders from rural and regional NSW).
- Trying to finish off a research project exploring the experience of family and community workers in using strengths-based assessment.
- Co-supervising three honours students (two occupational therapy students and one speech pathology student) who are using data from the SNUG evaluation.
- Co-supervising a PhD student researching a community based mental health program run through family support.
- Finishing off a paper on the evaluation of a great project that used family day carers as mentors for families with young children.
- Helping with various short term consultancies, facilitation or projects.
- Generally playing a role in the Family Action Centre (e.g., planning, supervision of staff etc).
When I add my voluntary work at the school and Transition Newcastle, and being involved in family life, it is an interesting, varied life.