Community engagement describes the processes by which organisations and individuals build ongoing relationships with the broader community.
Too often, community engagement is used as a reactive tool to seek opinion or address problems that exist as a consequence of poor planning processes.
Effective community engagement values the voice and ideas of diverse communities and encourages active participation in democracy, planning, policy development and decision making.
We have extensive expertise and experience in various modes of community engagement, such as:
- Peer research
- Community consultation
- Community partnership development
- Development & piloting of community-based projects and initiatives
- Organisational capacity building
Examples of our work in this area include:
Brisbane City Council
A youth peer research project that considered urban planning and design for the future of Brisbane.
The result was an insightful documentary of the lifestyles, thoughts, feelings and opinions of the young people of Brisbane about their city, now and for the future.
A Youth Peer Research Model involves training and skilling a group of young people to undertake the research amongst their peers.
The research team involved 9 young people who worked together to develop interview questions, receive training in audio-visual equipment, interview techniques, and research into neighbourhood planning.
They interviewed 50 young people from different parts of Brisbane about their experience of the city, what’s important to them, and their hopes for the future of Brisbane.
Whilst the Peer Research Team were originally working with four City models already determined by City Planners, the research process identified a fifth model (Option E).
Local Government Association of Queensland
A collection of digital stories made by young people from across Queensland about their experiences of cyclones, bushfires, severe storms and floods.
The development of Red Alert! involved creative arts and digital storytelling workshops at three Queensland locations (Gold Coast, Innisfail, Tara). During the creative workshops, more than 100 young people contributed content and guided the direction of Red Alert! – sharing their story, creating artwork, being interviewed, filming, taking photos and developing the themes, stories and digital collages.
Arts, Culture + Me consultation
Workshops and conversations were facilitated between November 2007 and January 2008 to inform the development of Arts Queensland’s Arts, Culture + Me – Children and Young People in the Arts Action Plan 2008-11.
Consultation was held with pre-school children, young people, emerging artists, elders, arts workers, parents and other stakeholders in 7 communities throughout Queensland around children and young people’s current participation, opportunities, barriers and dreams in arts and culture.
Queensland Rail research project
For a number of years Queensland Rail had been trying to address ‘at risk’ behaviours of young people at train stations and near railway lines. Previous campaigns had minimal impact and injuries and fatalities were continuing.
A detailed peer research, consultation and design process was developed to inform a rail safety campaign targeting young people.
A peer research working party was formed to participate in a five stage process that involved:
- information gathering and interviews at identified QR sites;
- questionnaires and feedback;
- brainstorming and market testing campaign concepts; and,
- direct involvement in the campaign design and development.
The final campaign and products were the result of this process.
Queensland Rail identified both the developmental process and the campaign as an unprecedented success and all five campaign concepts were eventually chosen and applied through a range of strategies.
Members of the peer research working party also acknowledged the partnership as a success and were recruited not only for their creative talent but also for their alignment with the target audience.
More than 200 people were consulted by the peer research working party.