Over the last five years or so my work at the Family Action Centre has focused on working with communities. I’ve shaped my work so that communities have been a clear emphasis in my teaching, research and community involvement. The Family Action Centre, however, is going through some significant changes including establishing the discipline of family studies (and offering Australian’s first Master of Family Studies), and becoming more integrated into the mainstream structures of the University of Newcastle (where we are based).
Much of my work hasn’t really been strongly associated with families and it is time to change this. At one level it is a shame because we have just finished aligning all my work around working with communities. At the same time, this change of direction opens up exciting possibilities. For quite a while I have wanted to focus more on environmental sustainability and while there has been potential to do research around Transition Streets and Transition Newcastle, the link between the Family Action Centre and community engagement in environmental sustainability has been somewhat tenuous.
Exploring how parents attempt to raise children who are environmentally sustainable (and possibly how children influence their parents to be more sustainable) is directly relevant to family studies and would be quite consistent with our new direction.
I’m thus planning to start interviewing parents (both mothers and fathers) about how they try to live sustainably as a family and how they try to raise their children to be more environmentally sustainable. There are lots of other exciting possibilities. As well as one-on-one interviews, there is the possibility of focus groups or forums on parenting and sustainability, we could have a group of parents who meet every couple of months to share their experiences and to try new things, I could tap into blogs like Little Eco Footprints and Honeycomb Kids, and I’m sure there are other possibilities.
This change of focus will mean letting go of things I have been working towards, but at the same time, it opens up exciting possibilities. I will keep blogging about working with communities, but there will be a greater focus on families and parenting.
Watch this space!
If you liked this post you might want to follow my blog (top right-hand corner of the blog), and you might like to look at:
- Parenting for a better world
- What is Kids’ Vegies on the Verge?
- Being a father
- The paradox of inconsequence