Tag Archives: Working with communities

An introduction to strengths-based practice (a video lecture)

An introductory lecture on strengths-based practice I prepared for students in a course on engaging families and communities. In it I outline 8 principles of strengths-based practice. Continue reading

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Strengths-based measurement and collective impact

Data driven approaches like collective impact often prioritise shared measurement and collecting data, particularly quantitative measures, and do not consider the impact of what questions they ask, how they collect data, and who is responsible for interpreting the data. If … Continue reading

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A strengths-based approach to collective impact

Collective impact is an approach to addressing complex social problems. As discussed in the previous post (Collective impact and community engagement), community engagement needs to be at the heart of collective impact, but the (sometimes subtle) message underlying too many initiatives is that the community is part of the problem. When initiatives take a top-down approach and do not involve the community from the start, they are implying that the community has little of value to offer. Continue reading

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Collective impact and community engagement

Kania and Kramer 1 argue that collective impact involves “the commitment of a group of important actors from different sectors.” There can be a great deal of variation in how these “important actors” are defined and identified. Some collective impact initiatives are quite top down with a focus on government agencies and professional community services rather than adopting a more bottom up approach that starts with community members. Continue reading

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What is collective impact?

Collective impact is a multi-sector/multi-agency, collaborative leadership approach to large scale social change in communities that is usually place based (i.e., it is focused on a particular town, neighbourhood or community). Continue reading

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Power and strengths-based practice

Strengths-based practice fundamentally challenges traditional approaches to power relationships in working with individuals, families and communities. Rather than operating from a position of power-over, strengths-based practice requires us to critically reflect on the dynamics of power in our relationships and to focus on power-with and power-to, and to nurture power-within. Continue reading

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4 types of power: What are power over; power with; power to and power within?

When I first started as a youth worker in 1991, I was working in a medium-term accommodation unit for young people who were homeless. I really struggled with being in a position of authority having just graduated from a welfare … Continue reading

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Effective Engagement: building relationships with community and other stakeholders

In 2005 the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment released a three part resource on Effective Engagement: building relationships with community and other stakeholder. In 2015, it was re-released by the Department of Environment‚ Land‚ Water and Planning (which had … Continue reading

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Updated my introduction to asset-based community development

I’ve just completed a major update of my post What is asset-based community development (ABCD)?, in preparation for a major revision to a course I’ve been teaching for a while. I’ve expanded on the importance of it being a community-driven … Continue reading

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Smoking and community engagement

All campuses of the University of Newcastle (UoN), Australia, are now smoke free. I love working in a smoke free environment and don’t miss the days when smoking was much more common. When I was much younger, I had to … Continue reading

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