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tCA news - november 2006

where have we been?

Some of you may have noticed that the Change Agency has seemed a little quiet lately – we have been doing some consolidating to relocate and update this mail list and move our website to a content management system. Check it out now.

For some of you this might be the first time you have received the update in a while or at all. The Change Agency is a small, not-for-profit initiative. We rely on folks like you to get the word out about the resources on our website and the work that we do in the world... please send this to some friends and let them know about the Change Agency. We love feedback, so if you have ideas about how we can improve what we do or have resources to share, please let us know.

These last couple of months our participatory facilitation skills were put to the test when we worked with a group of 76 (!) union educators and organisers keen to critically analyse and implement strategic questioning – a powerful approach to questioning pioneered by Fran Peavey. We have also been wrapping up a twelve-month campaign strategy program with Amnesty International Australia. We’ve been to Perth to work with the Community and Public Sector Union, regional NSW to contribute to the Anvil Hill Climate Action Camp, the Great Ocean Road to work with Friends of the Earth’s Nanotechnology collective and got to know the Queensland branch of Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR) – power to you folks.

assessing advocacy: how do we know we're making a difference?

Our last update included a plug for an excellent summary document available on our articles and papers page. The full version of this paper has now been uploaded. This is a great paper – developing the implementing a framework to evaluate a complex campaign.

Assessing Advocacy (60k PDF) - Whelan, Justin (2006). Extracts from ‘Work Justice’, a case study of the campaign by Uniting Justice to influence Industrial Relations legislation in Australia.

Justin Whelan has followed up this paper with a list of excellent online resources for folk keen to develop tools to evaluate their campaign impact. Of these, the most amazing was the Innovation Network's 'Advocacy Evaluation Project' resource centre, which presents literally dozens of practical tools and accounts of their application. Check them out:

Innovation Network's 'Advocacy Evaluation Project'

Another excellent site on the same theme are the Advocacy Institute's: Telling Your Story – A Guide to Preparing Advocacy Case Studies. This is great reading for anyone considering writing about a campaign they’ve been involved with. The project team present ten pitfalls to avoid (eg. ‘Don't let publication of your study be an unpleasant surprise to any of your important allies’). As always, we are keen to post your campaign case studies online, so send them over.

Advocacy Institute's Telling your story guide to case studies

new case study

A recent addition to our case study collection is Rebecca Gray’s analysis of the anti-whaling campaign in Australia during the 1970s. Her account of this historic campaign includes interviews with the protagonists of the time.

Anti-whaling campaign in Australia (164k PDF)

web savvy? volunteer with us

We are currently looking for a volunteer to work with us to moderate and improve the website. With the new back end, it doesn’t matter where you are in the world and you only need basic computer literacy and be keen to support activist education. if you are interested in helping out...

email Sam La Rocca

activist education in academia – under the gun

Subscribers to the Change Agency’s monthly news will have heard us previously speak (highly) of Steve Chase’s approach to activist education in the US. Steve is convenor of an awesome 2 year masters program at Antioch New England. His five-part framework for activist education has been an inspiration to many of us in Australia as a great way to conceptualise and plan capacity building work with community advocates. The latest news from Steve is that his course has attracted the attention of right wing apparatchiks – though not for the first time. The latest assault comes from Malcolm Kline, whose Campus Report keeps an eye out for just this sort of target. Any curriculum that Kline’s ‘Accuracy in Academia’ project perceives as liberal, progressive, populist, green, feminist, or multiculturalist cops a serve. In recent semesters, students enrolled in the Masters program in the Antioche community advocacy and organising program have been mobilised around toxics campaigning, with results. A full discussion of their community activism and the backlash is available on Steve’s ‘Well trained activist’ blog.

Antioch New England environmental advocacy course

Malcolm Kline's Campus Report

Steve Chase's blogspot: a well trained activist

In Australia, the community advocacy program at the Victoria University has enjoyed its fair share of attention from ideologues including Andrew Bolt but powers on. We’ve just heard in the last fortnight that the Environmental Advocacy postgrad elective at Griffith University, founded in 2003 by Change Agency co-director James Whelan, has been axed in recent curriculum decisions. The course had been run four times, with almost one hundred students either enrolling or auditing free of cost. Enrolments had risen steadily and students’ evaluations highlighted the course’s real-world relevance. Readers who share our sense of disappointment may care to convey their comments to the head of the Australian School of Environmental Studies.

email Jane Hughes

lakoff on framing

Many of you will be familiar with Lakoff's ‘Don’t Think of an Elephant’, which has been billed as the essential guide for progressives. The idea of framing has been welcomed by Australian social movements as a useful tool to strengthen our communication strategies. People interested in further reading about the thinking behind the book, and an exploration of the power of framing might like to check out:


+ upcoming activist learning around the country +

click here to visit the tCA activist learning calendar - and let us know about activist education and training events happening in your region so we can tell others

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