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learning network

Building Healing Communities Symposium (2020)

Click here to download the Action Plan and Toolkit

You can view the sessions from our 2020 Building Healing Communities Symposium here:


Speaker bios:

Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson is a Jiman (central west Queensland) and Bundjalung (northern New South Wales) woman, with Anglo-Celtic and German heritage. Her academic contributions to the understanding of trauma related issues stemming from the violence of colonisation and the healing/recovery of Indigenous peoples from such trauma has won her the Carrick Neville Bonner Award in 2006 and the Fritz Redlick Memorial Award for Human Rights and Mental Health from the Harvard University program for refugee trauma. Her book ‘Trauma Trails – Recreating Songlines: The transgenerational effects of trauma in Indigenous Australia’, provides context to the life stories of people who have been moved from their country in a process that has created trauma trails, and the changes that can occur in the lives of people as they make connection with each other and share their stories of healing. On the 26 January, 2019 Judy received a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her services to the Indigenous community, to education and to mental health.

Geraldine Harris is a consultant at 'Equitable Childhoods' place-based leadership & social innovation and PhD candidate at Griffith University. She consults in leadership and change management; collective action and social pedagogy; complex systems management; and early childhood and family support. She has previously worked in the UK Sure Start initiative and has managed the Logan Communities for Children site in Brisbane. She is currently completing a doctoral thesis on developing place-based leadership and social innovation.

Associate Professor Elspeth McInnes AM of UniSA Education Futures has expertise in child protection education and trauma-informed responses to children and families, and is currently researching the effectiveness of integrated early childhood services. Her other research interests include social policy and social inequality; families and separation; gender and violence; child abuse and child protection; and women in small business. She is a past president of the National Council of Single Mothers and Their Children and convenor of Solomums Australia for family equity.

Associate Professor Victoria Whitington (PhD 2000) is Dean of Programs in Education Futures at the University of South Australia. Her teaching and research areas include critical perspectives on children's development, children’s wellbeing in the early years, early brain development, and contextually based, dialogic, democratic and rights based approaches to early childhood education. Victoria also worked for thirteen years as a classroom teacher with children from 5-12 years. She has been Chair of the Lady Gowrie Child Centre since 2000, and is a deputy member of the Teachers Registration Board.

Dr Lesley-Anne Ey lectures in Child Development, Educational Psychology and Child Protection in the Bachelor and Master of Teaching program at the University of South Australia. Before undertaking her PhD, she taught in pre-schools and primary schools across a variety of government and independent sectors. Her PhD research focused on young children's engagement with contemporary music media and their gender role and self-identity development. Her research revolves around the impacts of media on children's healthy development, bullying, children's problematic sexual behaviours, and child protection issues with the aim to support teachers and inform curriculum.

Robert Taylor is a Ngarrindjeri man who has had extensive community involvement including work as an Aboriginal Education Worker, a Personal Helpers and Mentors Program Officer and an Aboriginal Dads Family Support Worker. He currently links with a range of organisations supporting Aboriginal families and enjoys connecting with people through a diverse range of musical genres.

Dr Ted Evans is Coordinator of North-West Adelaide Communities for Children. He has previously worked as a Senior Policy Officer and Regional Coordinator with the SA Government Department for Communities and Social Inclusion and is a casual academic at Flinders University College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Craig Bradbrook MPA has previously worked with Save the Children and has had more than 15 years’ experience working in multidisciplinary collaborations and establishing evaluation frameworks recently managing the North-West Adelaide Communities for Children site. He authored a chapter on Theoretical Foundations for CI Applications in Using Collective Impact to Bring Community Change and is currently Chief Executive at Playgroups South Australia.

Karl Brettig is the former Manager of Salisbury Communities for Children. Together with a collaboration of child and family support stakeholders he convenes the Children Communities Connections Learning Network which brings together practitioners, policy makers and researchers to resource integrated and holistic support for children and their families at risk of vulnerability. In 2011 with he co-edited Building Integrated Connections for Children their Families and Communities. He edited/authored the first edition of Building Stronger Communities with Children and Families in 2015. The updated second edition recently published in 2020 includes new chapters on leadership, collaborative governance and evaluation.

Gunay Aghayeva is a PhD candidate at the University of South Australia who explores Afghan refugee children's literacy experiences. Currently, she is working at a primary school providing literacy and numeracy support to the newly-arrived children.

James Lenigas was the General Manager of Education and Wellbeing at Schools Ministry Group in South Australia. Previously a wellbeing practitioner and he now develops and coordinates the Wellbeing Classroom approach in schools together with the SMG team.

Alexandra Segura is passionate about community development. As Community Hubs Support Coordinator for South Australia over the last year, she engaged with nine schools in Northern Adelaide LGAs to develop welcoming places for migrant and refugee families to connect, share, and learn. For seven years she worked for the Action by Churches Together (ACT) Alliance in sustainable development, humanitarian response and advocacy around inclusive communities. As a senior diplomat for Costa Rica, Alexandra spent several years in Geneva making representations on human rights, refugees, migration, sustainable development, and international environment issues.

Jane Swansson is the Manager of Salisbury Communities for Children team engaging Community Partners developing workplans and managing data collection and evaluation. She is the lead author of 'Family Centre Evaluation - Past. Present & Future Learnings in the book 'Building Stronger Communities with Children and Families (2nd Edition)

Elise Parker works with the Logan Communities For Children team. Their work includes developing a family place approach to working with 'hard to reach' families and developmental evaluation. She has co-presented on 'The benefits associated with soft entry approaches in clinical work'.

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