Looking forward to 2016

2016The last post looked back at my blog in 2015, so it’s time to look forward to 2016 – not just in terms of blogging but also other aspects of my work.

My position (4 days/week) at the Family Action Centre (FAC) is secure until the end of the year. As always it should be an interesting, challenging year. Some of the things I will focus on include:

  1. Re-designing the undergraduate and postgraduate courses I teach on community engagement. I’m doing a major restructure and changing most of the assessments – I’ll talk about some of the changes in a future post.
  2. Supporting nine services in regional NSW funded through the Federal Children and Parenting Support program, and the FAC community programs team, to implement evidence-based programs and practice
  3. Coordinating another visit by a delegation of academics from Indonesian State Islamic Universities to learn about community engagement at the FAC and the rest of the University
  4. Increasing my publications.

Some of the research I’m involved in (or in the process of writing up) includes strengths-based approaches to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, engaging Aboriginal fathers and the experience of Uni students in a program supporting students from non-traditional backgrounds (e.g., people from marginalised communities, single mothers, early school leavers) in Open Foundation (an one-year program providing an alternative pathway into the University).

Outside of work I’m becoming involved again as a volunteer facilitator with the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) which runs workshops on nonviolence and conflict resolution. I was very active for eight years (facilitating almost 80 workshops) but stopped when Jasmine was born because I no longer had as much free time! In taking up AVP workshops I’m going to have less time for Transition Newcastle. It is a hard choice but I feel I can have more of an impact through AVP (and it is more consistent with my skills and work). I’ll probably concentrate on looking after Transition Newcastle’s webpage and supporting Cathy with the Upcycling workshops. I’m also hoping to do more in our vegie garden and continue to explore how we can reduce our environmental impact.

Alexa joins Jasmine at High School so I will only have to be involved in one school again (through the Parent and Citizen Association and the canteen). Spending time with the family is always an important priority as being a father is a role I take very seriously.

We’re really excited that one of my colleagues (and her family) from the FAC is moving into our street and, as she is very community and environmentally minded, it will be interesting to see what possibilities open up! We already have a great street and I’m sure they will fit right in and add a new dimension.

I don’t think I’ll be making all that many changes to the blog. I’m going to try to post at least two or three times a week, partly by sharing more of the wonderful online resources on working with families and communities and promoting sustainability. Of course I’ll continue to write original material as well.

The final significant event for the year is that Cathy and I will celebrate our 30th anniversary – and we’re still going strong!

If you liked this post please follow my blog (top right-hand corner of the blog), and you might like to look at:

  1. A few reflections after 10 years of primary school
  2. Teaching community engagement to students from 29 disciplines
  3. Principles of nonviolence
  4. 12 principles of a problem solving approach to conflict resolution
  5. My background in peace and environment groups
  6. Blogging as an academic

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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