About me

 

Photo of Graeme Stuart

I am a passionate about helping create a just, inclusive, and nonviolent world where individuals and families are cherished and supported, and communities are vibrant and resilient. In the society I want to help create, we will live sustainably having recognised we need to live in harmony with the Earth’s environment, and there will no longer be such an unfair distribution of the world’s wealth and resources.

Even though I sometimes feel an overwhelming sense of despair when I look at what needs to change, I still believe change is possible and that it is vital we do what we can to contribute to a better world. This blog is one small way I can contribute to creating change.

In the blog I mainly discuss strengths-based approaches to working with families and communities, but also touch on environmental issues, share an occasional song or write about other things that interest me. The main audience I have in my mind as I write are practitioner and university, college or vocational education students. This means that I usually:

  • ensure my statements are backed up by evidence (defined very broadly)
  • acknowledge my sources through referencing
  • come from a strong value base but still try to remain fairly objective
  • try to write in a clear, easy-to-understand style.

Although I am in a period of transition, I write as a lecturer (based at the Family Action Centre [FAC] at the University of Newcastle), a practitioner, and father (my partner and I have two wonderful daughters aged 20 and 17).

As I said I am in a period of transition. The first transition is that, due to lack of funds at the University, this year I am only employed 15 hours a week and in October my work at the University will finish. This will be a major change because I have worked at the FAC since 2003: first as a community worker with the Caravan Project (supporting permanent residents of caravan parks) before moving into a more academic role in 2008. As an academic, my focus has been on strengths-based approaches to working with families and communities through teaching, practice-based research, and projects or consultancies supporting family and community services.

The second transition is that for 20 years, a very important part of my identify has been as a father but, as my daughters rapidly approach adulthood, this role is changing (as it always has). In a few years when they have left home and living even more independent lives, it would be strange to suggest that I write as a father.

At the University, I am working on two projects this year:

  1. Name.Narrate.Navigate, a project working with young people who use violence in their families and relationships
  2. A project with NOVA for Women and Children to create a model of assertive outreach with women in the Hunter.

In addition to my University work I will be working voluntarily with the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) facilitating workshops on nonviolence and conflict resolution, working on a couple of books about AVP and co-convening an international AVP research subcommittee. I have been a facilitator with AVP since the mid-1990s (although I took 15 years off while my daughters were small) and am very passionate about this work.

I will also continue as the secretary of Transition Newcastle (a local environment group) and the secretary of the Parent and Citizen Association at my daughter’s school (and volunteer in the canteen).

I started working with communities in 1983 (through peace and social change movements) and families 10 years later, and have continued to do so ever since in both paid and voluntary capacities. Some of my roles include supporting homeless youth; community development; facilitating workshops on a range of topics in prison, schools and the community; volunteering with peace and environment groups; teaching at TAFE and University; and supporting community organisations with planning and evaluation.

Even though I left school before starting my final year of high school, I later returned with a real love for learning. My formal qualifications include:

  • Bachelor of Music (but unfortunately I really wasn’t a very good musician) from the University of Melbourne
  • Bachelor of Social Science (Welfare Studies) from the University of Newcastle
  • Master of Letters (Peace Studies) from the University of New England
  • PhD (with a dissertation titled “Nonviolence and youth work practice in Australia) from the University of Newcastle.

At the same time, I recognise there are many different types of intelligence and that formal education is very different to wisdom (and even common sense).

If you want to find out a bit more about me you could look at:

I recognise the strength, resilience and knowledge of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as custodians of my Country, and I acknowledge and pay respect to the Awabakal people on whose land I live, work and learn.

The Sustaining Community blog does not necessarily represent the views of the Family Action Centre, the University of Newcastle, nor the Alternatives to Violence Project.

Graeme Stuart
January 2021

FAC logo      UoN logo

26 Responses to About me

  1. Ailsa says:

    Would love to hear your thoughts in how those communities (online and in community) of people diagnosed with mental “illness” can use ABCD to ensure their UNCRPD human rights are upheld in Australia.

    Like

  2. angela pyne says:

    Hi I would like to know what course you would suggest I study as the Graduate Certificate is no longer available. I have a background in Early Childhood teaching but really have a passion to build my skills in community development. ABCD any suggestions ??

    Like

  3. Anonymous says:

    Who is the author of this ? And when it is published ?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Michelle says:

    Nothing wrong with being a dreamer and an idealist :)

    Liked by 4 people

  5. thirionfourie says:

    The first sentence of your About me, is ideal as a VISION statement (if written in the present tense) for all organisations involved in community work.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Mark Brooker says:

    Hi Graeme
    I’m publisher of ‘Lambton Local’ which I’m guessing you would have received in your letter box in recent months. Would like to do a story on the yarn bombing of Lambton Park bridge (hopefully) in my December edition. Please let me know if the kid knitters would like to get their message out to the wider Lambton community. Also would like to speak with you about perhaps contributing to ‘Lambton Local’ on a regular basis. Thanks Mark.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. ywwp says:

    I am happy and impressed, Will see if i can add link to your blog in any of my posts. regards

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wendy Haslam says:

    Graeme Hi

    The Transition Network is putting on a roadshow for the North West of England and we are inviting anyone who is in any way, working towards a sustainable future for their community, to join us for the event in Lancaster this July 12th and 13th. We would love to meet you.

    Details here
    http://www.transitionnetwork.org/events/2014-07-12/northern-transition-conference

    Could you please pass these details around your network lists.

    Wendy Haslam
    Transition City Lancaster

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sonya Yell says:

    Hi Graeme,
    You are not alone. It is inspiring to see so many people trying to find more sustainable ways. Your blog is fantastic. I have just subscribed and I look forward to it greatly.

    I encourage you to check out my solution. http://www.RoadStalls.com.au. It is a new directory of local produce stalls. From backyard gardens, community gardens to farmers. I would greatly appreciate any support you can provide in growing my newly launched community.

    Kind Regards
    Sonya Yell

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hi Graeme,

    I invite you to check out Hume Environmental Champions on FB (which is how your blog came to my attention, one of the members posted it) or our web page

    http://www.hume.vic.gov.au/Waste_Environment/Environment/Get_Involved/Enviro_Champions_Program

    Cheerio,
    Caroline

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Caroline Romeo says:

    what a fantastic website with loads of fantastic information for a community development / engagement worker who works horizontally and vertically!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Karlie Cole says:

    Wondering what your copyright is on your articles – creative commons or ??? Or another way to say it – is I’d be interested in re-publishing some of your articles. I am working on building sustainable communities in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Our paths seem amazingly parallel and we are working with ABCD and Transition Towns et al. Our site is at http://www.sustainingcommunity.org – it’s in a bit of its own transition as we gearing up for community engagement to gotv to grow green jobs and economic equity for our upcoming city elections as well as shifting it to bring together environmental commissions, businesses, congregations, neighborhood groups to work on hands-on projects and collaborate on ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Karlie
      Thanks for your comment – I’ll look forward to having a look at your website. It certainly sounds like we have a lot in common!

      Thanks for your question too. I have updated my blog to show that yes it is licensed under a Creative Commons License. So feel free to use it for non-commercial purposes and with some attribution.

      I’m glad you found it interesting.
      Regards
      Graeme

      Liked by 1 person

  13. SMarquit says:

    Hello,

    My name is Sam Marquit, I am an independent ‘green’ contractor and co-author of Fair Marquit Value I am wondering if you’re interested in featuring me on your blog because I would love a chance to speak with your readers about the idea of environmentally responsible tourism as it’s applied in modern day travel and stay.

    If you think this topic, or any other for that matter, would be of interest to your readers, please let me know and I can begin drafting up something that I believe will mesh with your blog very well.

    I look forward to hearing back from you; hopefully we can work together on spreading the word on important topics like this as they relate to environmental awareness!

    I look forward to hearing from you,

    Sam

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I was delighted to read this excellent blog. Happy to provide a guest post if you wish. Have linked to you at my website: http://www.sarkissian.com.au/what-is-community-engagement/
    Kind regards, Wendy Sarkissian
    wendy@sarkissian.com.au

    Liked by 1 person

  15. what a wonderful way to continue your educating tot he masses and also helping change the way people see about the world itself. I absolutely love your blog, having been on it for an hour now. I am a motivational speaker and speak to people about doing something with the things they are most passionate towards. If we all took our passions and invested some time into them, we would all being bettering the world and our world would be a better place – with the happiness alone! Keep up the great blogging and teaching!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Karin Hensen says:

    Hi,
    I thought because of your interest in sustainability and community that you may be interested in a tour of Intentional Communities, where people live and daily put many of these principles into practice, that should be taking place during the NSW Easter school holidays (8th – 21st of April).

    Please see http://www.gfb.cc/tour.html for details of the tour (copy & paste into web browser). The tour has also been publicised in the latest OWNER BUILDER magazine in an article titled ‘RURAL LANDSHARING CO-OPERATIVES’ and this week on abc open .

    I’m involved in helping organising this tour of Rural Land Sharing Co-operatives, together with Paul & Anne from the Goolawah community, to learn more about fnctioning IC’s and the possibilities of setting one up on the Mid North Coast. At the moment I am finalising a more definite itinerary of communities that we can visit and camp at.

    During the tour we will meet with members at a variety of communities who would give us a short tour and information about the community, its history, structure, philosophy etc. As a group of 20-30 people we would help out with an interesting gardening, building, environmental project etc allowing an exchange skills. Hopefully the tour will get enough interested people to go ahead.

    It would be great if you could publish/pass on the link to the IC tour on your website or mailing list so that others who may also be interested in joining an Intentional community get the opportunity to see for themselves how communities are organised.

    Cheers Karin

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Tom says:

    Since you are interested in how to approach “wicked problems”, you might like to know about this recent publication:
    “Wicked Problems – Social Messes: Decision support Modelling with Morphological Analysis”. Springer, 2011.

    You can see a description at Springer here:
    http://www.springer.com/business+%26+management/technology+management/book/978-3-642-19652-2

    Regards,
    Tom R.

    Liked by 1 person

I'd love to hear what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.