A three-day workshop was conducted from May 17-19 2011, with a focus on community engagement and resilience in the emergency management context. The workshop, funded by the Attorney General’s Department under the auspices of the National Security Capability Development Division, was conducted at the Australian Emergency Management Institute at Mt Macedon, Victoria.
The drivers of the event included the following:
Participants were engaged in a number of rich conversations using Socratic Circles.
Over sixty people representing government, non-government, private enterprise and community members, attended the workshop. The goal was to interrogate issues of resilience building and community engagement at all points of the disaster management cycle, and to learn from best practice in community engagement in other sectors.
Participants were presented with two ‘big questions’ at the outset, and they were asked to present their responses on day 3.
The workshop structure attempted to model good practice in community-led engagement by requiring the smaller break out groups to be self-determining. These groups mimicked the complexities of communication and leadership in the context of community engagement in a disaster; groups had to work through issues of power and personality in the same way that a disaster-affected community might.
A number of organisations provided visual display materials based on community engagement, strategies and events.
Participants were also asked to be a part of a series of ‘rich conversations’ which encouraged exploration of the issues of resilience and community engagement through listening and dialogue.
Sixteen of the participants were tasked with presenting sessions on specific issues, from which a number of papers and articles have been drawn:
The first paper from the workshop, in the session led by Alison Cottrell appears in this edition. Others will be published in future editions of AJEM or as occasional papers, recognisable by the origami logo.