Home - The Change Agency
activist education
research + projects
training resources
Subscribe eNews

who we are

The Change Agency Education and Training Institute is an independent social movement initiative based in Australia with some involvement in international projects.

James Whelan (Director)

James Whelan lives in Newcastle in the Worimi nation. He has worked extensively in the community sector and in research and adult education. As a community educator and activist, James has worked with several non-government and grassroots community and environment groups on campaigns for social and environmental justice. As a researcher, research manager and lecturer, James has been engaged by several Australian universities and has published widely on participatory democracy, environmental politics, popular education and social movements. He has spoken at national and international conferences. His community and academic worlds merge in his work as director of the Change Agency, a not-for-profit which provide education, training, facilitation and action research support for social change groups throughout Australia and the Pacific. James has facilitated campaign planning, decision-making and evaluation workshops and meetings with hundreds of social movement organisations in the Australia-Pacific region, working with groups of between 3 and 1000. He is a research fellow with the Centre for Policy Development.

contact James - james@thechangeagency.org or 0431 150 928
James' thesis 'Education and training for effective environmental advocacy' (2.4Mb pdf)
Details of James' publications 1995-2012
http://en.scientificcommons.org/james_martin_whelan - Details of and links to several of James' publications (Scientific Commons)

Kate Smolski (co-director, Community Organising Fellowship)

Kate Smolski
Kate Smolski is an environmental advocate with twelve years of experience in grassroots organising, campaign strategy, media relations, policy and lobbying. As a grassroots organiser and campaigner Kate has worked for several leading US environmental non-profits including Green Corps, the Sierra Club and Greenpeace. Through innovative campaigns and trainings she has worked with a range of groups to effectively advocate for action on climate change, clean energy and lands and wildlife protection. From Congressional panels to community halls her work has focused on effective advocacy, capacity building and the development of broad-based coalitions. Kate moved to Sydney in 2012 and is currently the Campaigns Director at the Nature Conservation Council. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Biology from the University of Rhode Island.

email kate

fee mozeley (Community Organising Fellowship coordinator)

fee mozeley
Fee Mozeley coordinates the Community Organising Fellowship program. Fee cut her teeth as an organiser by leading a community alliance during a protracted three-year campaign to protect urban fig trees in inner city Newcastle. In 2012, she joined the campaign to prevent approval of a fourth coal terminal for the city. Fee participated in the 2013 Community Organising training led by the Sierra Club and plays a central role in strengthening the community networks to resist the coal and gas boom in the Hunter, safeguarding a healthy future for her three awesome children.

email fee

Sam La Rocca (Associate and cofounder)

sam la rocca
Sam La Rocca, co-founder of the Change Agency, is an experienced activist educator, community organiser and researcher with passions for strategy and mobilisation. Sam got active in the early 1990s and has been involved with a range of grassroots organisations in Australia and overseas working on environmental justice issues and community development projects. He's organised on climate change, strategised with East African queers, worked in solidarity with West Papuan human rights defenders and facilitated alliances between Traditional Owners and environment groups. Sam is currently putting his skills to the test as Chief of Staff to Greens MP Adam Bandt.

Sam's thesis 'Making a difference: factors that influence participation in grassroots activism in Australia' (5.4M pdf)
contact Sam La Rocca

Taya Seidler (associate)

taya seidler
Taya Seidler is an experienced facilitator and educator specialising in the design, implementation and facilitation of professional development and change management programs. Her areas of expertise include leadership development, maximising team performance, and communication and collaboration to support capacity development and lasting behavioural change within individuals and organisational change processes. Taya’s passion is improving the collective capacity of groups to realize their full transformational potential through increasing communication skills and process awareness. She possesses an excellent understanding of adult learning principles and a heightened ability to design learning pathways that are participatory, meaningful and resonant. Taya’s background in the creative industries informs her understanding and application of experiential learning forms, and directly informs her engaging facilitation style.

Jason Macleod (Associate)

Jason Macleod has been involved in activism since the late 1980s, living that awkward tension between raising hell (nonviolently of course!) and trying to be a nice guy. Jason’s key learnings as an activist have grown out of nonviolent direct action, community development practice, accompanying those at the pointy end of global oppression, gaol, university and all points in between – mostly in the Free East Timor, global justice, Free West Papua, and peace and anti-militarist movements, both in Australia and overseas. Jason’s professional background is in community development, social work, training and popular education, conflict transformation, peace building, and strategic nonviolent action.

contact Jason Macleod - jason@thechangeagency.org

Pru Gell (Associate)

Pru Gell lives on Arrente people's country in Central Australia. Pru is a facilitator, educator and mediator who works alongside diverse communities in urban environments, remote Indigenous communities and South East Asia. Recent work has included facilitating forums where women from Jawoyn people’s country developed their women's centres vision and community education through theatre on social justice themes in Timor Loros'ae and Cambodia. Pru is particulary passionate about facilitating Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed processes for social change.

Contact Pru Gell - pru@thechangeagency.org

Lindsay Soutar (Associate)

Lindsay's passion for helping create social change was established during her 5 years in the Melong region, where she worked in research, teaching and capacity building roles relating to environment, governance and the impact of dams and development banks. Coming home to Australia in 2006, Lindsay helped set up a local climate group and has since been active in the Australian community climate movement, organising in her own community, facilitating workshops and skillshares and setting up a new national renewable energy campaign.

Tanya Newman (associate)

Tanya Newman (associate)
Tanya lives in Auckland, in Aotearoa New Zealand. She is an experienced activist educator who works alongside grassroots groups that are working for social and environmental justice, including unions, climate justice activists, welfare activists and anti-coal activists. The groups that Tanya works with have ranged in size from 10 to 1500 and includes facilitating spokescouncils and general assemblies. Tanya particularly enjoys strategy and coalition building work, facilitating participatory democratic decision making, and workshop design. She has trained with Training for Change in the USA and worked internationally.

Naomi Blackburn (Associate)

Naomi has been facilitating decision-making forums with community groups since her involvement in the inception of the Australian Student Environment Network in 2005. A passion for participatory democracy has seen her facilitating state and national meetings in the climate and student movements, as well as spokescouncils and decision-making plenaries at large events. A highlight has been facilitating at the Australian Climate Action summit in 2009 and 2010, where Naomi found it energising to have such a diversity of political viewpoints working to find common ground.