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 is an activist educator committed to building powerful social movements that bring about social and environmental justice. James has worked with small and large civil society organisations including Greenpeace, Amnesty International and the Wilderness Society on campaigns to protect forests, promote clean air and uphold human rights. He has also been a researcher, research manager and lecturer at several Australian universities, publishing widely on popular education and social movements, participatory democracy and environmental politics. He has spoken at national and international conferences.
James’ community and academic passions blend in his work as director of the Change Agency, a not-for-profit which provides education, training, facilitation and action research support for social change groups in 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 up 1000. He lives in Newcastle in the Worimi nation.
Email James or phone 0431 150 928
James Whelan (2002) PhD thesis, Griffith University
Kate Smolski (co-director, Community Organising Fellowship)
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.
Fee Mozeley (Community Organising Fellowship coordinator)
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.
Sam La Rocca (Associate and cofounder)
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: Sam La Rocca (2004) Honours thesis, Australian School of Environmental Studies, Griffith University, Brisbane
Email Sam La Rocca
Sam La Rocca (2004) Honours thesis, Australian School of Environmental Studies, Griffith University, Brisbane
Jason MacLeod (Associate)
Jason is a community organiser, educator, and researcher who has been working with local communities and social and environmental justice movements in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region since 1991. The context of this work varies, from conflict settings, to international and local NGOs, to local government, to community-based organisations, neighbourhoods and villages, although most of his work is with grassroots communities and ordinary people working for social change. He teaches civil resistance at the University of Queensland, coordinates Pasifika, a social movement capacity building program in nondemocracies, and is a training associate with the Change Agency, Australia’s leading activist education outfit. Jason is married with kids, wrestles with his Quaker faith, lives in a cohousing settlement, and currently has aspirations to raise chickens. Whenever possible he enjoys a long walk in wilderness country or to ride a perfect pitching wave. He lives on Jaggera land in Brisbane.
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.
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 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.
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.