What am I?

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:

  1. Teaching an undergraduate online course on community engagement.
  2. Developing a postgraduate online course on community engagement.
  3. Helping Dee run workshops around the country for the Defence Community Organisation on the strengths perspective and asset-based community development.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Evaluating SNUG (which runs Camps for the families of children with rare disorders from rural and regional NSW).
  7. Trying to finish off a research project exploring the experience of family and community workers in using strengths-based assessment.
  8. Co-supervising three honours students (two occupational therapy students and one speech pathology student) who are using data from the SNUG evaluation.
  9. Co-supervising a PhD student researching a community based mental health program run through family support.
  10. Finishing off a paper on the evaluation of a great project that used family day carers as mentors for families with young children.
  11. Helping with various short term consultancies, facilitation or projects.
  12. 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.

About Graeme Stuart

Lecturer (Family Action Centre, Newcastle Uni), blogger (Sustaining Community), Alternatives to Violence Project facilitator, environmentalist, father. Passionate about families, community development, peace, sustainability.
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