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 and co-founder)
James is an activist educator committed to building powerful social movements and the challenging work of striving for social and environmental justice. James has worked with small and large civil society organisations on campaigns to protect forests, reduce toxic pollution 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.
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, on the land of the Awabakal and Worimi people.
Email James or phone 0431 150 928
James Whelan (2002) PhD thesis, Griffith University
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.
Taya Seidler (Associate)
Taya is a passionate educator and facilitator supporting activists, communities and businesses to effect positive evolutionary change in the world. She is particularly interested in the skills and processes that allow individuals and groups to unify in order to work effectively and sustainably to influence systemic change. Her company, Process Power, helps groups to learn the art and science of strategic relating and acting, connecting the essential inner and interpersonal work needed to catalyse collective strategic action. Specialising in leadership and team development, Taya has over 14 years experience designing and facilitating learning programs for diverse groups. She believes in and practises the science of possibility and in spite of the current reality we face she is optimistic about the future. Contact Taya.
Sam La Rocca (Associate and co-founder)
Sam co-founded the Change Agency. He’s now the Deputy Director at the Sunrise Project where he continues to invest in the movement as strategist and facilitator. Sam’s been an activist for more than two decades working as grassroots environmental justice campaigner, political organiser, and activist educator across the country and around the world.
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
Kate Smolski (Community Organising Fellowship co-founder)
Kate is an environmental advocate with fourteen 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 CEO at the Nature Conservation Council. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Biology from the University of Rhode Island.