ABCDE Guides

Depending on your package, each Learning Site has access to ABCDE Guides.  Below is a list of available Guides.  Each bring a unique skill set to the team.
Peter Kenyon
Bank of Ideas
Phone: (08) 9482 3638 / 0447 255 070


Peter Kenyon is a social capitalist and community enthusiast. Over the last four decades he has worked with more than 2000 communities throughout Australia and overseas seeking to facilitate fresh and creative ways that stimulate community and local economic renewal. He is motivated by the desire to create healthy, caring, inclusive, connected, sustainable and enterprising communities and local economies.

Peter has had a background as a youth worker, teacher, youth education officer, tertiary lecturer and senior public servant. His employment experiences have included Director of Employment in Western Australia, Manager of the Community Employment Development Unit in New Zealand and Coordinator of the Natal Kwazulu Job Creation and Enterprise Strategy in South Africa.

Peter is convinced that one cannot develop communities from the top down or from the outside in. It requires communities to build from the inside out, and for their members to invest themselves, ideas, assets and resources in the process. Peter created the Bank of I.D.E.A.S. (Initiatives for the Development of Enterprising Action and Strategies) to promote such a paradigm shift and assist with the necessary facilitation, ideas and skills.

Peter's consulting work has resulted in assignments in 59 countries and all states of Australia. From 2004, Peter has spent part of each year working in a range of Middle East and/or North African countries assisting with the development of national youth policies and strategies.

Peter has authored 16 publications within the fields of community and economic development, youth policy development and youth enterprise, including the following diverse set of titles –

  •  Creating Better Educational and Employment Opportunities for Rural Young People
  •  Youth Enterprise Matters: Involving Young People in their Economic Futures
  •  Survival and Revival in Rural Australia
  • Taking the Lead: a Community Resource Kit for Local Economic Development
  • The Small Town Renewal Kit
  • Youth Policy Formulation Manual
  • Good Enough Never Is – The Stories of 20 Exceptional and Inspirational Businesses in Rural Australia
  • Building the Future Through Enterprise – Stories of Successful Indigenous Enterprises and Entrepreneurs.

Since 2010, Peter’s professional involvement illustrates his diverse interests in community, youth and economic development including –

  • Unit coordinator at Marcus Oldham Institute for undergraduate and post graduate course in Rural Entrepreneurship.
  • National Coordinator of the ABCDE Community Builders learning Sites Initiative across Australia.
  • Chairperson of the International Council on National Youth Policy.
  • Chairperson of the ‘All We Need is Right Here’ Initiative in Kalamunda, Western Australia.
  • Co Convener of the annual National ‘Power to the People’ Conference and National Small Town Renewal Conference.
  • Master Consultant/Trainer for the Business Expansion and Retention (BEAR) Program in Australia, New Zealand and SouthAfrica.
  • Faculty Member of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute based at Northwestern University, Chicago.
  • Project Director for the C.R.E.A.T.E Initiative (Creating Rural Entrepreneurial Attitudes through Education) and State Coordinator for R U MAD? (Are You Making a Difference?) Program.
  • Keynote Presenter at 100+ conferences in Australia, USA, Canada, Africa, UK and New Zealand.

In 2001, Peter was awarded a Centenary Medal for services to rural Australia, and in 2017 was designated the West Australian Senior Person of the Year in recognition of his role as a social entrepreneur.

Justin FrancisJustin Francis
MTCP, MA (Dev. Stud), B Eco, MICOMOS
Phone: (613) 9482 3638 / 0447 255 070


My Passion

My passion is encouraging individuals and communities to better understand and appreciate their natural and cultural heritage and use this as a stepping-stone to more informed and meaningful community development.
My work combines my qualifications and over 30 years experience in Heritage Conservation, Community Development,  Planning and Cultural Tourism. I am currently undertaking innovative and rewarding development projects with local councils and individual communities.  My aim is to increase the community’s awareness, understanding and pride in their sites of heritage significance and assist in their protection, interpretation, and sustainable use. I believe this also increases a communities commitment to their culture advancing their opportunities to benefit from it.

My Experience in Community Development through Heritage Conservation

I have worked with small rural and seaside communities primarily throughout Victoria assisting in local heritage studies, supporting the introduction of heritage controls and then helping them understand how they can work within these controls to protect interpret and develop their environment. I am currently facilitating the development of several Local Heritage Strategies, which bring together the community, heritage and tourism groups and council officers, to better understand their environment and develop techniques for its conservation and interpretation.

In the border township of Yarrawonga I have worked with the local community to encourage VicTrack to direct resources from their ‘Community Use of Vacant Railway Buildings’ fund towards the conservation and renovation of the town’s historic railway station for a range of community uses. Through the formation of ‘Yarrawonga Community Incorporated’, a lease was signed with VicTrack allowing the former station to provide space for a range of community activities including: a men’s shed, and local artists groups.   Recently as Coles commemorated the 120th anniversary of the landmark development its first retail premises, in St James in Victoria’s north, I assisted the local community and council in the refurbishment of their local community hall to act as a museum for the contribution GJ Coles and Co. had made to their town. This involved the halls refurbishment as a community library, a meeting and dance hall. In another community project I am presently contributing to the redesign of the Cobram Masonic Lodge to combine with community groups to expand its operations to provide a local cinema for the youth of the town.

Beyond Victoria I have worked with Bank of IDEAS, investigating indigenous community business groups to determine what made them successful and looking to spread those characteristics through to broader indigenous communities. I ran a series of community workshops designed to assist remote Western Australian communities to relate more effectively with their increasing numbers of tourists, so they could improve the success of their small commercial cultural and environmental tour operations.

Outside Australia I have worked and lived predominantly in the Pacific, especially Tonga, Timor Leste, Fiji and Papua New Guinea. In Fiji where I lived for 6 years, I worked with numerous local communities encouraging them to interpret and present their unique cultures to visiting tourists thereby finding valuable and sustainable employment. This initiated their early forays into ecotourism and cultural tourism. In PNG where I lived for a year, I worked with Conservation International bringing together local villagers and tourism businesses to work within the Milne Bay region. I worked with Kokoda Track villagers helping them understand the trekking community’s needs especially for accommodation and hot food. With remote villagers in the Sepik River region, working with WWF, I conducted workshops to assist them in utilising their resources, knowledge and skills in the development of their own cultural and ecotourism activities for visitors.  Most recently as part of a Bank of IDEAS team I spent time in the UAE’s remote Western Region, assisting local communities annunciate their aspirations and needs to the government as well as formulating a range local and regional initiatives to support them.

What I bring to my projects

Experience in assisting communities investigate protect, and conserve their natural and cultural heritage.
Empathy for local communities challenges in formulating and presenting their demands to government.
Techniques for sourcing financial support for community planning and heritage conservation initiatives.


Evie Van Der Niet
9/30 Strettle Street Thornbury,VIC 3071, Australia
Phone: 0478944670

About Evi

My passion is to see things grow and share. People, plants, dishes, stories & dreams!
My father was a minister and therefore we moved house every four years. I became fascinated by what it takes to ‘belong’ and feel at home. In my first job I supported people on their recovery journeys for a Salvation Army shelter. Recovery can be a rocky & lonely road. It’s hard to experience: “too little money, too few friends and too little meaning.” I was intrigued by the stories of courage & strength. One of the insights I gained from working with the people was that quality of life is about relationships and stories, not about fixing, needs & programs. I’ve learned to think in potential contributions and was inspired to encourage people to experience they can be shapers & makers of their own community.
With an old VW van, a BIG teapot and Soup pan in the back, I founded Evi’s pop up kitchen. The teapot and soup pan turned out to be of great value in mapping the assets of communities and create dialogue and change. With the practice of deep listening & whole hearted living as a basis I strongly belief that every contribution is valuable. When people feel seen, heard & valued this creates a sense of belonging. It allows people to contribute their gifts, to help build & strengthen the community and to sustain it. My mission is to work on a community that works for everyone and together we can DO it!
“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
(Nelson Mandela)


Community Mental Health Practitioner           October 2015 – present

Mind Australia, Group Support Program, Sprout Community garden, part of a Day to Day Living Program supporting people with mental health background.
Project: Yarning with Murnong Dave. Dave is an educator in Traditional Aboriginal Culture and an expert craftsman in traditional aboriginal crafts. Murnong is the local language word for the Yam- daisy which was an important staple food of the Aboriginal people of South- East Australia.
We learn from the local Wurundjeri people and the importance of “yarning” during a 6 week program about real listening, humour, humilty and relationships as core to look forward!
“God blessed us with two ears and one mouth…Listen twice as much as we speak. Listening is learning, talking is teaching.”(Nyoongar Elder, Looking Forward Project, 2013) Community Artist at ‘Laughing Waters’ Artist in Residency Program September 2015 – December 2015 Together with visual artist David Adams we founded Little Lightning Stories. In our projects stories & art are powerful engines for turning strangers into neighbours. We work with available assets within communities by using art to build community and enhance our sense of ownership in the places where we live, work, and grow. We want to explore what it means to belong somewhere and discover what it takes to gain a meaningful role in your own community.
For the Nillumbik Shire Art Council, Eltham we created a story harvesting community project
the pleasant people postcard project. Exhibited in Montsalvat (Eltham).

Pleasant People Postcard Project:

The Rainbow Harp: a co creation with Mind Australia creating totems/ bush spirits.

Project: Bread & butter Video of the video installation on site Art & About festival 2013, Sydney
Newspaper with collected stories (photos & texst) Art & About festival 2013, Sydney Commissioned by Sydney City Council Print run: 3000 ,

Freelance Community builder, WE ARE HERE March 2013- August 2015
An innovative movement with marginalised people and their alleys to find ways of belonging and contributing to their own community. So less fixers & professionals and more FUN people!Based on the principles and practices of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute (ABCD) and Keyring Support Circles. Founded by NSGK, the Dutch foundation for disabled children.

Happy Heseveld Community Art project: A film co created with young people on their recovery journey. They mapped their neigbourhood on dance skills. Commissioned by NSGK Nijmegen 2014

Freelance Community Builder, Pameijer, Rotterdam December 2006 – January 2013
I was responsible for developing and implementing inclusive policies in communities and organisations from the bottom-up. Together with peer specialists I’ve implemented the practice of quarter making. Quarter making expresses the conviction that a society is stronger and more fascinating when it makes room for meaningful differences instead of emphasizing equality and uniformity. We worked with participatory theatre to breakdown the stigma and barriers associated with disability and ‘being different.’ Together we create more welcoming places for everybody!

Freelance Community Specialist September 2010 – May 2011
Creative Management: The maintenance of public space is traditionally seen as a cost. For Creatief Beheer (Creative Management) these green spaces form the places of opportunity in the city: a healthy city has healthy outdoor space. The practice is orientated towards the development of green spaces which stimulate interaction in the neighbourhood. My role was to stimulate and invite neighbours to contribute in their own way. Together we learn from nature & get inspired!


Bachelor of Social Work         September 2003
Higher Professional Education (HBO) Bachelor of Social Work, University of Social Sciences in Breda, the Netherlands.

Certificates, Workplace for Participatory Drama    September 2008 – September 2010
The art of leading a theatre workshop; Moral dilemma discussion method; Forum theatre and image theatre; Master class Psychological Forum Theatre by Hector Aristizabal (

Certificate, Person Centered planning with MAPS & Paths   April 2013

What I bring to my work
Deep listening.
o JOY, when people (re)discover their contributions and feel seen heard and valued!
o Excitement, to explore and awake the hidden storytellers within communities and find (hidden) assets
o HOPE for change!
o Enthusiasm and eagerness to work hard and work together on stronger and more welcoming communities.




Irene Opper
M: 0413 706 233
Melbourne, Australia


  • Bachelor of Arts Monash Uni
  • Master of Social Welfare and Planning Queensland Uni

Further qualifications and professional development

  • Trainer (Cert4 T A A)
  • Mediator
  • Leadership
  • Change Management
  • Cross Cultural Communication

With 25 years experience as a catalyst for positive change, Irene has developed a deep bag of skills, which she draws from as a consultant. Irene’s work has spanned generations, cultures, states and continents. Her skills include community strengthening, all types of management (nonprofit service, project, change, volunteer), organisational development, systems advocacy, training, research, mediation, coaching, counselling and casework.

Irene loved the sense of community she experienced living in the small town of Mt Nebo, Queensland and wishes to make that possible for everyone. She puts this into action by leading the Street by Street Project, helping people to turn streets into communities across Australia. She is the instigator of her local neighbours group, which sees heartwarming instances of people helping one another. Irene has been active in a local employment and trading system (LETS) and a community choir (singing in at least 20 languages).

My Passion

Irene brings to her work a passion for strengths-based community building and an ability to encourage and enable people to do and achieve far more than they ever thought possible.  She sees her role as facilitator, enabler, skill developer and encourager of collaboration and out of the box thinking.

Community Building Highlights

  • Manages the national community building project Street by Street; development of tools, website, kits, templates; encouraging and enabling people to start and run neighbour groups; coordination of the project team and fostering of the network of neighbour groups. Currently on the ground in 4 States.
  • Created a thriving Community Centre; increasing volunteers from 2 to 90 to generate and carry out a quarterly program of activities and community strengthening projects.
        • Helping Hands – skill sharing register; linked people in need of assistance with volunteers willing to help.
        • Friends and Families Group; invited people to informally ‘adopt’ family members to create extended family type relationships.
  • Catalyst for the development of Locals for a Better Community, Narre Warren South, aiming to turn new estates into communities. Results included:
        • A team of 10 residents organised a Family Fun Day, attended by hundreds of locals.
        • The environment group planted over 3000 trees with Council support.
        • Babysitting club members developed supportive friendships that saw them through good times and bad (births, divorces, illness).
        • Service providers increased collaboration.
        • Community members gained skills through training (communication skills, event management).  They described the project outcomes as generating community spirit and providing opportunities for people to meet and feel part of their community.
  • Nominated for the 2002 National Awards for Local Government; for Turning New Estates into Effective Communities - City of Casey Community Strengthening Project
  • Designed and led an innovative Consultation Process; identified community needs through a volunteer team model reaching over 1400 residents. Identified needs used by Council as a basis for grant allocation.
  • Community development with African women and children; Led a camp at Phillip Island for 50 African refugee women and children, coordinating volunteers and facilitating workshops on topics of their choice – settlement needs, parenting and goal setting.

Career Snapshot

    • Principal Consultant; Oppertunity Consulting
    • National Project Manager; The Street by Street Project, Centre for Civil Society
    • Manager; African Communities Foundation Australia
    • Pacific Regional Change Lead; Oxfam
    • Principal Project Officer (Refugee Health); Queensland Health
    • Multicultural Advocate; Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland
    • Quality Improvement Project Manager; Multicultural Development Association
Carolyn Vincent

Carolyn comes from a strong community background in India. She got married and came to Australia in 1988 and together with her husband built their  very successful family business for 22 years in Brisbane. In 2009 her marriage broke down and she subsequently  realised that she had inadvertantly let herself get quite isolated over her many years in business. And as a result of which she did not have the support she needed to face the upcoming challenges.

As she reflected on her childhood she realised that her growing up  in community had shaped her views of life in more ways than one. She realised what a gift her growing up in community had been. She went on a journey of reconnecting with people to build herself a support network. From 2010 to 2013  she joined several groups and hosted gatherings in her own home  with the aim of meeting new people as well as connecting others . One of the gatherings she hosted was a Mothers daughters and grand mothers gathering which she ran monthly. It was fun gathering of women of 3 different generations coming together around fun themes to get to know each other and organically form a support network for each other. Each one contributing via their unique skills.

From 2010 to 2016 She has been an active member of St Mary’s In Exile, a Catholic Community in South Brisbane, initiating and hosting several community events to build a more connected community.

In 2013, as she continued to explore her own  need for authentic connection she had a wild vision ... what if I  could create a neighbourhood like the one I  grew up in,  in Bombay,  India. Practically everyone knew everyone at least by face and many had stronger connections.  People felt safe supported and connected. We never had to hire baby sitters or put our parents into old age homes. We never heard of  depression, lonliness, suicide, etc etc There was always someone you could talk to. “I felt like I had multiple parents and grandparents . My dad was in the army and always stationed outside of Bombay. My mum had to work long hours to make ends meet. I was mostly raised by other community elders. I did not really feel like I missed out. “It takes a village to raise a child”   is what I experienced first hand”

One day she ventured out and went doorknocking around her neighbourhood of Wooloongabba having simple conversations with residents to see if there was an intersection with what she visioned for her neighbourhood. She had an alarming 98% success rate and many wine glasses , cups of tea and dinners later,  together with a few other residents an initial meeting was held. 52 residents turned up and shared what they each wanted for their neighbourhood.

The project was called the Go Gabba Go community building project and was aired on channel 9 TV for neighbour day in 2014. Many pop up groups were born in the neighbourhood as a result of the project.  The project is still going.

In 2016 carolyn moved to a new suburb of Moorooka and in March she initiated “The All aboard Moorooka”  community building project. “ So far we have organised 2 community picnics with approx 150- 200 people attending. We involve  local businesses  by building relationships with them and getting them to sponsor our events. “

Carolyn is passionate about building community and her aim is  to have every neighbourhood in Australia connected. Carolyn is a speaker and a coach. She has 4 beautiful children and lives in Brisbane.







Rhys Williams

Rhys Williams is the 2015 West Australian of the Year and the CEO of The Makers, a social innovation charity finding new ways to tackle big challenges in regional WA.

Rhys was one of the youngest Australians to serve a term as a local government councillor, when he was elected to the City of Mandurah Council in 2009.

He is an ambassador to the One Young World Global Leaders Summit, and is Chairman of the award winning Mandurah Performing Arts Centre and John Tonkin College, a secondary school based in the Peel Region.

Rhys is a board member of Regional Development Australia Peel, and has previously served two terms as a Board Director of the Peel Development Commission.

Rhys has worked internationally on a number of community and economic development initiatives, including as a consultant on the development of a culture and innovation strategy for a regional area of the United Arab Emirates.

Rhys is studying Economics at Curtin University, and is passionate about fostering leadership pipelines in regional areas.

 ZiziZizi Charida is the Founder and Director of Community Minds (CM) Incorporated, a not-for profit organisation that works with community groups and organisations and across sectors, in developing programs that enhance, develop and build communities.

CM is also establishing its own programs that will foster community engagement and promote citizen-driven communities. Some of these programs include; Community Minded Kids, Community Minded Leaders and Community Minded Businesses.

Zizi has extensive experience in the education, community development and corporate sectors. She has worked on a broad range of community projects ranging from children, youth, and parental engagement programs and capacity building projects in areas with a high percentage of CALD communities, including emerging and refugee communities.

Over 18 years experience in implementing community programs, events, and workshops and training, which has included cultural competency training and Arabic cultural awareness training across sectors. Zizi has worked across sectors and with a diverse range of community organisations on developing projects and social enterprises that engage culturally diverse communities, as well as provide opportunities for cross-cultural learning and engagement.

One of Zizi’s career highlights includes the development and expansion of TASTE Food Tours, a successful social enterprise of The Benevolent Society. Tours were run in the most diverse communities of Sydney, training up and mentoring locals to become food guides. Zizi also ensured that tours and events were designed to allow anyone to access and engage in cultural and religious ceremonies and observances. One such example is Feasting after Fasting, held during Ramadan, which attracted positive mainstream media attention.

Zizi’s passion lies in building communities through engaging diverse groups and stakeholders and in facilitating connections, collaborations and conversations between individuals, groups and organisations.

Zizi is known for offering innovative, out of the box solutions and ideas to community challenges, rather than just easily adopt traditional methods of building community capacity and connections.


MichelleAbout Michelle

Michelle Dunscombe from MAD Consulting is an enthusiastic community development practitioner, facilitator and trainer. She is passionate about strengthening regional and rural communities, developing community leadership capacity, building community resilience and supporting community members to take action.

Michelle is a Fairley Fellow, a co-facilitator of the ABCD Asia Pacific Network, a member of the International Association for Community Development (IACD) and the Institute of Community Directors Australia with a wealth of experience working with communities and community organisations.

Community Building Experience

Michelle has provided community building consultancy, training and workshops to a diverse range of organisations and communities, as follows:

  • Youth services
  • Community Disaster/Emergency management groups
  • Women’s groups
  • Early Education Centre’s
  • Volunteer organisations
  • Neighbourhood and Community Houses
  • Sporting groups
  • Landcare groups
  • Community Leadership programs
  • Community action groups and associations

Current and Recent Projects

  • Conversations for Change – Primary Care Connect, Shepparton
  • Healesville Connections – Disability Community Asset Mapping
  • Women in Emergency Services, Enforcement & Defence Leadership
  • Whittlesea Community Emergency Plan
  • 1,000 Conversations – Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project
  • Start where you live | Community Conversations – Manchester, UK
  • ABCD Workshop Facilitation, Victoria


  • Advanced Diploma of Community Leadership and Development
  • Diploma in Community Development
  • Diploma in Business Administration
  • Certificate IV in Governance for Community Boards


  • JEDER Institute Associate Member
  • International Assoc. for Community Development
  • ABCD Asia Pacific Facilitator

What I bring to my work

Michelle combines participatory leadership practices to support asset based community-led development initiatives including facilitation of community and kitchen table conversations.

Michelle has extensive experience working with bushfire affected communities, since 2009 she has held roles with Murrindindi Shire Council, the Victoria Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority and the Kinglake Ranges Foundation.
Michelle’s experience, passion and dedication to community projects has made her an integral part of supporting regional and rural communities.

MOHOW, based in Melbourne Australia, has a simple mission – helping communities and all levels of government to more effectively engage with young women and men, and include them in the big picture.

A core philosophy in all MOHOW activities is youth participation - involving young people deeply in the making of their future. MOHOW provides advice and facilitation that helps bring governments, communities and young people together.

Michael “Mo” O’Meara, is the founder of MOHOW. Mo has been instrumental in a number of national Australian initiatives including the National Youth Roundtable, 2020 Youth Summit and the Australian Youth Forum, as well as helping facilitate national youth strategies in a diversity of countries including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives and most recently Kuwait and UAE. Mo is a member of the Commonwealth Youth Consultation Panel and has been the Australian Government's preferred lead facilitator for high profile youth participation initiatives for the past decade. Some examples include

  • National Youth Roundtable re-design and facilitation 2005 - 2008
  • National research contributing to the formulation of the Australian Youth Forum 2008
  • Australian Youth Forum events including national launch 2008-13
  • Design and facilitation of the 2020 Youth Summit 2009
  • Australian Apprenticeships Review - Youth Consultations around the country in 2011
  • Australian Youth Agriculture Think Tank 2012
  • Australian Youth Forum Future Directions Strategy 2013
  • Australian Immigration Youth Services practitioner training 2014
  • Generation success - appointed by Woolworths and the Australian Government to facilitate engagement of peer leaders to design a unique employment program 2014.

However, Mo’s best moments are working alongside young people and at the community level.

  • Youth engagement strategies for over 50 local governments and communities across Australia. From Halls Creek WA to Wyong Shire in NSW and most recently Moyne Shire Victoria and Circular Head Council Tasmania.
  • Design and facilitation of community planning events that are positive, engaging and inclusive of young people.
  • Youth Forums that result in practical outcomes such as the Dowerin Tin Dog; Hawkesdale Funky Dunny; Boonah 3-day house build and the Geraldton Universities Centre.
  • Champion of Australian youth enterprise since the early 1990's as founder of Burnt Toast Cafe and advisor to numerous youth enterprise start-ups. Author of YCREATE Business – a hands on guide to youth enterprise.

More information can be found at

Sarah Poole
9 Hanslope Avenue, Alphington, Victoria. 3078.
0407 813 776
Facebook: Thriving Places.


Sarah at a Glance

Trained as an artist, Sarah has worked for both local government and her own businesses, for over 25 years. She has worked within arts and culture, community engagement, place making and economic development. Sarah sings in the Prana Mob Choir with Sue Johnson and is in two ukulele groups.

Community Building Experience

Community Arts

Sarah discovered community arts in the early 90’s. With community members she became involved in the design, development and implementation of a range of murals, installations, temporary public art works and inclusive program ideas for festivals.

In 1992, after meeting the local community arts officer from the City of Northcote, Sarah was offered her job for three months and loved the role.

Appointed Community Arts Officer at the City of Fitzroy in 1993 (now Yarra) Sarah became involved in a range of high profile and cutting edge events and festivals with Melbourne Fringe, Midsumma Festival and the Hispanic Fiesta.  She was also responsible for the successful commissioning of public artworks for Brunswick Street. In those days the Arts Office was situated on Brunswick Street, and the fervour, energy and creativity which filled Sarah’s heart and soul on that street, continues to drive her.

Public Art Commissions – Community engagement model

In the mid 90’s, Sarah worked with the City of Darebin to trial and establish a community engagement model, where community members participate in the entire commissioning process of public artworks, from start to finish. Sarah later took this model to the City of Whittlesea and expanded the theory behind it in Whittlesea’s Cultural Collection Strategy.

Sarah has successfully applied this model to nearly 20 public art projects across the cities of Darebin and Whittlesea. One of her most recent projects was the installation of the Stolen Generations Marker for the City of Darebin, in 2015. Sarah invited local ‘Stolen Generations’ to participate in the commissioning of the artwork from conception to installation. The resulting artwork is a strong visual statement outside Preston Town Hall, designed by Aboriginal artist Robyne Latham, and is a mark of pride for Darebin’s Stolen Generations and Aboriginal Elders.

A zest to re-purpose vacant commercial properties

From 2012 until August 2015, Sarah developed the Active Spaces in Darebin Program with the Economic Development Unit at the City of Darebin. The Program aims to increase the number of sustainable creative businesses across Darebin, and reduce the number of vacant shops. After three years the Program achieved a long list of impressive statistics, winning a Mainstreet Australia Award in 2014 and an LG Pro Award in 2015. This Program is continuing to achieve success.

Thriving Places

Sarah’s new business, Thriving Places, is bringing all her skills together to work with community, local governments and traders’ associations to help revive their streets, shopping centres and small towns, so that they thrive again.


popUpshops Australia - A published on-line forum for sharing exciting news and popular views around the global phenomenon of pop up sales and temporary installations.

Mainstreet Australia. Vision: To promote the importance of main streets and support the businesses, associations, organisations and professions who sustain them at the heart of our local communities.



Diploma of Art and Design (Graphic Design) Swinburne University. 1976.

Diploma of Art and Design, Victoria College, Prahran Campus (painting & drawing). 1982.

Diploma of Education, Hawthorn Teachers College. 1983.

Post Graduate in Arts Management & Leadership, Melbourne University (V.C.A.) 1999.

 What I bring to my work

Truckloads of enthusiasm, inspiring stories, information about successful businesses.

Extensive experience with pop ups, particularly in the creative sector.

Respect for all human beings, easily recognising each person’s unique talents and offerings.

A zest to re-purpose all vacant commercial properties, everywhere!