Increasingly students and practitioners in human services are asked or seek to include community engagement, participation and capacity building in their work with groups. In this book expert authors Amanda Howard and Margot Rawsthorne provide guidance on the theory and practice of working with communities, from preliminary planning and scoping before direct work with the community begins, through to evaluation. They explore key issues including developing an understanding of community life, facilitating and supporting community action, understanding and acting on structural inequity, managing negotiation and conflict, and building productive networks. They draw extensively on their own work with communities and research to create a dialogue with the reader on the interaction of task and process in everyday community practice.
Written in a friendly and accessible style and featuring the voices of community workers throughout, this is a vital guide for anyone seeking to encourage positive change in an important field of practice.
'This is a splendid addition to the community work literature, offering wise and judicious guidance for those engaged knee-deep in community practice â€¦ it acknowledges that the increasing emphasis on individualised service options has too often led to the neglect of understanding the benefits of collective action within diverse and dynamic communities.' - Dr Winsome Roberts, Honorary Senior Fellow, Department of Social Work, University of Melbourne
Table of Contents
Foreword: Anti-oppressive community development
Chapter 1 Introduction
Some thoughts for the beginning
Individual and collective ideas in practice
Ideas and concepts
What is in the book and how was it assembled?
How to use the book
Chapter 2 Moving beyond 'anything goes'
What does everyday practice add to professional practice?
Critical thinking as everyday community practice
Getting runs on the board-doing something
Systems knowledge and navigation
Letting things go . . . holding your breath
Chapter 3 Listening, loitering and learning
Listening for . . .
Listening to . . .
Chapter 4 Being visible and invisible
Bringing people together across difference
Chapter 5 Putting projects/work on the ground
Taking care of the internals
Taking care of the externals
Chapter 6 What change are we trying to achieve?
Modelling democratic practices
Education, particularly in relation to political systems
Skills development, particularly project management
Chapter 7 Risk-taking and safety
Risk and innovation
Risk is decision-making
Mobilising community capacities and risk =
Making sense of risk in everyday community practice
A proviso: the role of trust and confidence
Chapter 8 Networking, partnerships and collaboration
Understand your own collaborative skill set
Cultivate a collaborative professional peer network
Support development of networks among residents and groups
Chapter 9 Taking stock, endings and renewal
What might reflection look and feel like?
Reflective conversations are planned
Taking care of ourselves
Taking stock in other ways
Chapter 10 Research on whether we make a difference and research to make a difference
Are we making a difference?
Connecting with research
Community-based research and politics
Measuring what, for whom and why
Understanding changing measurement narratives
Reflecting on evidence and evidence-based practice
Research alliances and networks
Collaborative research projects
Collaborative research on collaboration
Picking a research strategy and method
Outsider and insider research
How will we resource the research?
Chapter 11 Why does everyday community practice matter?
Chapter 12 Exemplar projects
People experiencing mental distress and their carers
The Past & Present: A town's story
Community inclusion playgroups
The lawnmower bank: an example from Tracie
A final word
Amanda Howard is Associate Professor and Program Director, Bachelor of Social Work at the University of Sydney. Margot Rawsthorne is Associate Professor at the University of Sydney and lead researcher at the Glebe Community Development Project. Amanda and Margot both teach, research and publish on community development.