Progressing the Practice of Community Engagement: Insights from our Collective

BY BECKY HIRST

During our first 100 days, Engage 2 Act has attracted almost 350 official sign ups to be part of our Collective. 

Given that Engage 2 Act is a relatively new movement in the community engagement space, we are particularly keen to find out from our Collective how they would like Engage 2 Act to support them in progressing high quality community engagement practice.

Therefore, as part of our official sign up process we ask “How can Engage 2 Act to support you?”

The responses so far have been overwhelmingly unanimous and provide us with some very clear direction for what’s needed in the sector. 

From analysing the input received to date, we know that if the Engage 2 Act Collective could speak as one person, that person would say –

I want to feel connected. I’d like to network with like-minded souls working in the community engagement sector. I want to have the opportunity for dialogue and debate about good practice, helping me to gain an understanding of what others are doing that in turn can influence my work. I’d like to be part of a community of practice to build my networks, receive moral support, and to keep my ideas and work of high quality.

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I want to learn. This includes learning new skills and knowledge from other practitioners both in my locality and around the world. It’s about knowledge sharing and comparing notes with others working in the field to help me develop my skills and confidence in community engagement..

I want to attend events. These events need to be informative, fun and focussed on peer-to-peer learning. I’d like them to be innovative both in the way they are run and their content.

I want innovation. I want to keep up to speed with innovations in community engagement, including beyond government sectors. I want an opportunity to explore new ideas, test, prototype and discuss ways to go beyond the traditional.

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I want to feel inspired. Whether it be new ideas, tools or strategies, I want Engage 2 Act to keep me up-to-date and help me to be a better practitioner. I want to make informed choices about my career direction. I want to read thought provoking articles and good examples of excellent community engagement. I want to know about everything happening in the sector from grass-roots local initiatives through to global trends.

I want evidence. I’d like to see research happening that can provide interesting literature, benchmarking and schools of thought on best practice community engagement. I’d like to receive latest updates on engagement practices and theory.

I want Engage 2 Act to lead us. I’d like the community engagement sector to have increased professionalism. I’d like to see the capacity of our sector developed to support collaborative work with local government, state government and community organisations. I want to feel like I’m not a lone voice.

I want information. I’d like to know about upcoming job vacancies and career opportunities. I’d like to know about training, skills development and professional development opportunities. I’d like information on collaboration opportunities.

But it’s also about how I can support Engage 2 Act? Let’s talk…

So what's our next step? Armed with this knowledge we are going to be hosting a series of events during the week commencing 10 July in Perth, Adelaide and Sydney to discuss some of the 'hows' in making this support become a reality. We want to hear further from members of our Collective as to how they'd like to see things progress, including how they can help things to progress!

And of course our (un)Conference on 13/14 September 2017 will be another great opportunity to do all of the above - connect, share, learn and be inspired!