Definitions of community engagement – updated

(Created with Wordle)

(Created with Wordle)

Yesterday I updated a post on Definitions of community engagement from 2011. I’ve added some more recent definitions, updated some of the material to reflect what I’ve learnt over the last six years, removed some unimportant material which came from resources no longer available on the web, and fixed up broken links.

You can read it at

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What is the Spectrum of Public Participation?

Spectrum of Public Participation

Spectrum of Public Participation
(c) International Association for Public Participation

The Spectrum of Public Participation was developed by the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) to help clarify the role of the public (or community) in planning and decision-making, and how much influence the community has over planning or decision-making processes. It identifies five levels of public participation (or community engagement).

The further to the right on the Spectrum, the more influence the community has over decisions, and each level can be appropriate depending on the context. It is important to recognise they are levels; not steps. Continue reading

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Jasmine on the Tiny House Project (from The Owner Builder magazine)

The latest edition of the Owner Builder magazine has an article about the Tiny House Project written by Jasmine.

Here’s the text of Jasmine’s article (but see the article for the photos and layout).

When I was little, I remember watching my parents (mainly Mum) renovating our house and wanting to help, and being excited watching it all come together. I never imagined that I would be building my own house, albeit a tiny one, in the not too distant future.

Larni and I met early in 2016 at a denim upcycling workshop and soon after decided we would like to build a tiny house together. She wanted to move out of home into her backyard, I wanted the challenge of a much larger project than I had worked on before in woodwork, and we were both keen to learn new skills in design and construction. An important consideration for us was to build the house sustainably, both environmentally and cost wise, by making it (as much as possible) out of waste materials. We are both in year 10 and have gained basic practical skills in woodwork and metalwork at school, but had no idea the time and effort a tiny house would require. Continue reading

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Jasmine and Larni’s tiny house on national TV

Jasmine and Larni's tiny house (with Adam)

Larni, Jasmine and Adam

Last week, the National TV show, Better Homes and Gardens,  featured Jasmine and Larni’s tiny house.

You can see the segment here.

The frame of the tiny house

The frame of the tiny house

Planning for the tiny house started in June 2016 when Cathy suggested that Jasmine and Larni might like to build a tiny house out of recycled and waste materials as part of Transition Newcastle’s Fair Share Festival. In the TV show we would have focused more on challenging consumption and waste, but were essentially happy with how Better Homes and Gardens presented it.

Fair Share Festival

Jasmine working on the tiny house

While the focus was on Jasmine and Larni (and Adam from  Better Homes and Gardens) it did acknowledge that many people helped the girls. In particular, Ian (a builder), Cathy (Jasmine’s mother), Cayde (an artisan welder) and Micheal (the son of a woman involved in Transition Newcastle) put in many hours towards the project. Continue reading

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10 tasks of “good enough” parents

(Photo: widephish)

(Photo: widephish)

When we had our first child, I genuinely worried I would leave her on a train or forget her while out shopping. I’m glad to say that she is now 16 and my fears never came to pass. (Although I did forget I had to pick her up once.)

While I do put real effort into being a father, I’m far from a perfect parent. Fortunately, that’s OK.

In 1960, Donald Winnicott spoke about good enough parenting. It is unhelpful and unrealistic to expect parents to be perfect. Children need parents who are loving, attentive and good enough: they don’t need perfection. Children don’t need super mums and dads in order to thrive – as is demonstrated by the many kids who flourish with quite ordinary parents.

Through interviews with 54 practitioners, Kellett and Apps (2009) found broad agreement about the four main components of good enough parenting: Continue reading

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The increasing number of articles published on community engagement

(Photo: jarmoluk)

(Photo: jarmoluk)

The current renaissance of community engagement has led to an ever increasing body of literature discussing the theory and practice of community engagement.

The rapid growth in interest in community engagement can be demonstrated by the increasing numbers of publications discussing community engagement. I recently did a search of the ProQuest journal database (a large, multidiscipline database that indexes a wide range of sources including journals, reports, theses, and newspapers) to see the extent of the increase in publications.

The search for “community engagement” in any field resulted in a total of 144,291 articles since the year 2000. (There were another 510 articles in the last three decades of the 1900s.) In 2000 there were only 261 articles published but this had grown to 24, 952 by 2015. In the 10 years between 2000 and 2009 there were 2,2291 articles and 122,000 in the following seven years. Continue reading

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Survival day

If we are to truly celebrate being Australians, we desperately need to change the date. January 26, the day the British flag was first raised in what is now known as Sydney Cove, is not a day a celebration for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

As this video demonstrates, celebrating the start of the invasion or conquest (which is an accurate way to describe it), is quite insensitive. Continue reading

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Journals publishing on community engagement

(Photo: Geralt)

(Photo: Geralt)

What journals publish articles on community engagement? To find out I did a search in two large databases (Proquest and EBSCO) for any articles in scholarly journals that had “community engagement” in their title, to identify which Journals had the most articles. I was surprised by the results.

In Proquest there were 742 results and in EBSCO 1198 results: a total of 1940. Both databases draw on a range of smaller databases so sometimes they identify the same article more than once and some journals are indexed in both databases, resulting in many duplicates. Once duplicates were removed there were 993 unique articles.

These 993 articles were in 652 different journals. Most of these journals, 510 of them, published only one article. The journals which had at least 5 articles were: Continue reading

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The rich get richer – the gap is widening

(Photo: Sarah Joy)

(Photo: Sarah Joy)

What type of world do we want to live in? Do we really want to live in a world where the eight richest people in the world (all men) own the same wealth as the poorest half of the world?

A recent report from Oxfam has found this is the world we have allowed to be created. The richest eight people in the world in 2016 shared an estimated net wealth of $426 billion – the same as the net wealth of the poorest half (p. 10). And the gap between the richest and poorest keeps getting bigger. In 2010 the wealthiest 388 people had the same wealth as the poorest half, in 2014 it was 80 and in 2015 it was 62. Continue reading

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Some hints re course coordination for new lecturers

HLSC2241 online teachingI’ve been asked to speak to new lecturers at the Uni about the role of a course coordinator. (Note: the University of Newcastle uses course to refer to individual subjects and program to refer to the collection of courses that make up a degree) and thought I’d share some thoughts here.

According to the Uni, the responsibilities of a course coordinator include: Continue reading

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