Join The Masterclass


On the two days prior to the commencement of the Festival, a series of optional Masterclasses will be facilitated for interested participants. The cost of each Masterclass will be US$99, with a special rate for local Indian Nationals of INR 6,700.

Currently the following are being offered –

Please note: Participants can only attend ONE workshop per day.

Cormac Russell
“Asset-Based Community Development: from wrong to strong”

An introductory course to the philosophy and practice of Asset Based Community Development.
Facilitator: Peter Kenyon, Director, Bank of I.D.E.A.S., ABCD Institute Faculty Member

Date: Saturday 14 January, 2017

Time: 9.00am-4.30pm


This Masterclass is designed to bring together the ABCD Institute’s 30 years of community development research in the USA, with Nurture Development’s 20 years of international research and practical experience of community development and pioneering approaches in other strength based work such as Time Banking & Whole Person Recovery across the world.

By the end of this dynamic and interactive day, participants will have:

  • Learned about the history of ABCD & the development of the approach.
  • Gained knowledge about community building practice.
  • Improved their confidence to talk about examples of ABCD in action.
  • Identified actions that they could personally take to develop their community building practice.
  • Creating community health and wellbeing.


Peter Kenyon is a social capitalist and community enthusiast. Over the last two decades he has worked with over 1500 communities throughout Australia and overseas seeking to facilitate fresh and creative ways that stimulate community and economic renewal. He is motivated by the desire to create healthy, caring, inclusive, sustainable and enterprising communities and local economies. 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) in 1991 to promote such a paradigm shift and assist with the necessary facilitation, ideas and skills. Peter’s consulting work has resulted in assignments in 53 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.

Cormac Russell
“The Art of Creating Great Places and Communities”

Steps and tools to facilitate local residents in creating great places, towns, villages and communities.
Facilitator: Gilbert Rochecouste, Founder and Managing Director, Village Well

Date: Saturday 14 January, 2017

Time: 9.00am-4.30pm


Come and be inspired, skilled and enchanted by Gilbert Rochecouste, born on the exotic island of Mauritius. Recognised as one of the world’s greatest Placemakers and community builders, Gilbert has worked successfully with over 1000 communities and places around the world over the last 25 years.  Gilbert has played a key role in helping create Melbourne as the world’s most liveable city.

In this exciting one-day Masterclass you will learn:

  • What makes a great place successful.
  • Powerful transformative techniques to engage communities and stakeholders authentically.
  • How to build a dynamic and socially responsible business cluster.
  • Unique place activation ideas – from small wins to WOW factors.
  • 10 steps to deliver a great place, town, village and community.
  • How to create a compelling story and vision for a place and the steps to deliver it.
  • The art of place leadership and curation – both inner and outer skills.
  • Global best practice case studies and how they become successful, or not – from markets to small villages, main streets, cities, townships and community NGOs and groups.

You will dance, drum and sing your way through the day and will walk away inspired to take action in your communities. You will leave with confidence that you are part of a global movement in creating a more just and sustainable world.

Cormac Russell
“Engaging the Millennials in Community Building”

Capturing the power and energy of millennials through meaningful engagement.
Facilitator:  Rhys Williams

Date: Saturday 14 January, 2017

Time: 9.00am-4.30pm Facilitator: Rhys Williams, The Makers

Capturing the power and energy of millennials through meaningful engagement, this thought provoking Masterclass will tackle the big questions about cracking one of our biggest community building challenges; how do we tap into the power, energy and skills of our communities’ young people. Masterclass participants will take a look at the benefits of enabling young people to have a ‘seat at the table’, and explore some effective strategies to achieve this.

Rhys Williams
Rhys is the Founder and CEO of The Makers, an Australian social innovation charity. He was also named 2015 Young West Australian of the Year. Rhys was one of the youngest Australians elected to a local government Council, is the Chairman of a prominent Regional Performing Arts Centre, and is an ambassador to the One Young World Global Leaders Summit. An engaging speaker and community innovator, Rhys has a passion for building stronger communities through innovation and community engagement.


Cormac Russell
“Measuring Impact in ABCD”

How we can change what we do, and how we focus on assets, by what we measure.
Facilitator: Ron Dwyer-Voss, Director, Pacific Community Solutions

Date: Sunday 15 January, 2017

Time: 9.00am-4.30pm

Facilitator: Ron Dwyer-Voss


Measurement in the community development field is often elusive, if not forgotten.  As an action, measurement is often left until the end of the project, which diminishes its value and impact on our work and our communities.  Yet, as Peter Block points out, “The useful aspect of measurement is that it helps us make explicit our intentions and can be a strategy for learning.” This Masterclass will explore how to determine what we measure when doing ABCD work, how to measure it and how to use measurement as a strategy for learning, celebrating, communicating and empowering.

By the end of this dynamic and interactive day, participants will have:

    • Learned ways to determine what to measure, including participatory and community based methods for articulating a Theory of Change and Logic Model.
    • Explored ways to measure the types of impacts created by ABCD work.
    • Learned Participatory Evaluation techniques
    • Learned ways to use evaluation to enhance our ABCD work for –
      • strategy development and adjustment;
      • keeping our focus on assets
      • developing community leadership and ownership:
      • celebrtation; and
      • communication and articulation.

The agenda for the day will include:

      • Introduction to Theory of Change and Logic Models exercises as tools.
      • Articulation of desired impact and determining indicators to measure progress toward that impact.
      • Introduction to methods for engaging residents and community stakeholders throughout the process, i.e. “participatory evaluation.”
      • Explanation of tools used for measurement (surveys, focus groups, observations, interviews, etc.)
      • Analysing, interpreting and communicating results.

Finally, we will use case studies of participant’s actual projects to develop action steps for application after the conference.

 Facilitator: Ron is the director of Pacific Community Solutions, co-founder of the ABCD in Action Online Community, and a faculty member of the ABCD Institute in Chicago.  He has been working in the fields of community development and community organizing for 30 years and loves his work.  He works primarily with NGOs and local governments, but equally enjoys facilitating national trainings in the USA because of the great diversity of people that come together to learn from each other.  He has been practicing ABCD since the early 1990s when Jody Kretzmann convinced him it was a more inclusive, effective and joyous approach to community building and organising than the Alinsky model he was using at the time. Ron is also passionate about measurement as a way of engaging residents, demonstrating impact, and prioritizing resources – what gets measured gets done.  Most important, Ron is a husband, father and grandfather and enjoys re-creating in the outdoors, especially if water is involved.  He is active in the Lutheran Church and a sincere, but inconsistent practitioner of meditation and yoga.

Cormac Russell
“Beyond the Basics”

Applying and facilitating ABCD and other strengths-focussed approaches utilising the many tools and methodologies available.
Facilitator: Dee Brooks, Agitator, Transformer and Chief Hugger, Jeder Institute
Co-Facilitators:  Michelle Dunscombe and Rituu B Nanda

Date: Sunday 15 January, 2017

Time: 9.00am-4.30pm


Come and learn how Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) is a powerful approach to community work that focuses on discovering and mobilising the resources already present in a community and discover a diverse range of complementary methodologies and practices that enhance ABCD. Explore how facilitating interactive workshops and group processes is good sense when bringing stakeholders together to create innovative solutions.

You will leave with practical tools & skills on how to:

  • Focus on assets rather than deficiencies
  • Develop an asset map
  • Discover proactive intersections between methodologies
  • Build effective partnerships
  • Increase confidence in hosting group processes
  • Discover how to form “good” questions
  • Explore group dynamics
  • Understand the difference between method, framework, model & approach.

 Learn ways to embed and sustain ABCD & participatory practices through co-design, innovation & collaboration. Move through dialogue to action & learning to address complex challenges by exploring a snapshot of the following methodologies & practices:

  • ABCD
  • Art of Hosting, including;
    • Circle Methodology
    • World Café
    • Open Space Technology
    • Divergent, Emergent & Convergent Thinking
    • Theory U
    • Appreciative Inquiry
  • Results Based Accountability
  • SOAR
  • Flow Game.

 Facilitation requires different skills to presenting and public speaking and a skillful facilitator draws on a variety of processes to promote discussion & reflection to encourage the exploration of a topic.

Facilitator: Dee Brooks; Agitator, Transformer and Chief Hugger of the Jeder Institute is a passionate and highly energetic community engagement and development trainer who has presented to thousands of people at hundreds of events and workshops. Dee’s background is in youth work, community research and community development and she is a firm believer in the power of tapping into the collective wisdom of a community to strengthen what’s already there. Dee provides Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) & Art of Hosting training & facilitation for a range of communities, organisations and government departments and is a founding co-creator of The Unconference, a Flow Game Host and a DRUMBEAT Facilitator. Dee is a founding member and Facilitator of the ABCD Asia Pacific Network, a Faculty Member of the ABCD Institute, Chicago, IL and a Steward of the international ABCD in Action Network.

Cormac Russell
“Life in the Past Lane”

Useful methodologies, tools and stories for using heritage as a tool for revitalising community and local economic life.
Facilitator: David Wilson, Director, Heritage Futures International

Date: Sunday 15 January, 2017

Time: 9.00am-4.30pm

Facilitator: David A. Wilson, Director, Heritage Futures International and Facilitator with ABCD Asia Pacific.


This pioneering Masterclass will demonstrate that in our world of unprecedented social, environmental, political and economic upheaval, communities utilising their heritage assets (natural, cultural, tangible, intangible and spiritual)  in local regeneration efforts  can help create stability and alleviate poverty, provide livelihood diversification and job generation resistant to global crises and foster security, pride, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Participants will learn:

  • Family is still the heart of culture and the primary place where most are called to cultivate and create.
  • Investment in cultural heritage protection leads to the development of social enterprise, micro-economies and job creation.
  • Local economies should genuinely serve communities, and politics, law, governance and values should be socially progressive and ethical.
  • Communities thrive when the legacy each generation receives from its ancestors is passed on to their young people.
  • Issues and challenges of developing rural creative industries, converting creative skills into cultural enterprise, and how to invest in culture to unleash local development.
  • The economic importance and career interest in the creative industries as a sector.
  • The vitality of a community can be measured by the diversity of its cultural and creative expressions.
  • How to get buy in from communities as they travel along the cultural transformation journey.

 Life in the Past Lane – Participants Insights:

Participants will gain fresh insight and understanding of how to make greater use of their community’s existing base of culture and heritage assets to encourage –

  • reinforcement of local identity, which provides an important element of community stability;
  • young people to have a vital role in the development of a community because they are the new leaders and cultural practitioners of tomorrow;
  • improved preservation and management of heritage places and collections;
  • increased opportunities to value add to existing heritage resources, and enhance understanding of the cultural heritage of areas;
  • cultural industry development based on local creativity and artistic skills offering livelihood diversification and employment generation resistant to global economic crisis;
  • retention and development of specialist trades/skills;
  • development of training in cultural heritage skills and practices;
  • cultural site protection to act as potent symbols of a united past that cross ethnic, tribal, linguistic, or cultural lines, the importance of which can be seen and used as a common denominator to (re)unify people & promote reconciliation in a post-conflict environment;
  • awareness that historic places and sites make powerful contributions to local identity, reminding us of ancestral achievements while engendering pride;
  • positive intergenerational relationships through heritage and cultural development; and
  • a resurgence of interest in history to give community a sense of identity & destiny.

Facilitator: New Zealander David Wilson is a social entrepreneur dedicated to inspiring and enabling the precariat and communities to discover new pathways to genuine livelihood diversification and economic renewal through leveraging the catalytic power of arts, culture and heritage assets. David works at a senior level with municipal, provincial and federal governments, private investors, and non-government organisations, and for thirty years has helped lead and advance the understanding globally that cultural expression is fundamental to a vibrant and healthy society, and identifying with a particular culture fosters belonging, security, pride and patriotism while helping shape the social, physical, environmental and economic character of communities.  With Scottish ancestry dating back to early 1700, he operates with the unwavering belief in the innate capacity of all people to contribute meaningfully to community and economic prosperity while emphasising that creativity will forever be the spark that ignites communities and brings individuals, culture and politics together. He is a pragmatic visionary who operates with zeal and courage, rejects stale, lazy, and traditional thinking, and has a persistent determination that allows him to break away from constraints imposed by ideology or conventional practices. He enjoys new invention and a different approach, and has a healthy impatience where he cannot sit back and wait for change to happen, but enjoys being a change driver.

Cormac Russell
“The Literary Advocate and Agitator: Community Building through Creative Writing”

Participants will have the opportunity to try out a range of conversation-building creative writing techniques
Facilitator: Russell Deal, Metaphor’s Ink

Date: Sunday 15 January, 2017

Time: 9.00am-4.30pm

Facilitator: Russell Deal, Metaphor’s Ink

This highly interactive workshop is designed for community building activists, subversives and introverts – and anyone who loves to write and to use creative writing as a mechanism for social change and community building. Participants will explores a range of unusual and engaging ways to use creative writing to build conversations and connections within both local and on-line communities.

As a tool for community building creative writing in its many guises is often under-recognised and under-valued. While email and social media have quickly become ubiquitous have we adequately celebrated their potential to connect people and strengthen relationships within a community? Many people like to write and may prefer to express themselves in written forms rather than verbally. Within the community building worlds however it is often the orally articulate voices that are privileged.

Participants will have the opportunity to try out a range of conversation-building creative writing techniques as: Micro Stories, 6-Word Stories, ‘Dear You’ Letters, Stretch Listing, Cinquains, Dialogue, Poster and T-shirt Design, Message in a Bottle, Memoir, Designing a Picture Book, Going Minimalist, Collective Writing, Creating a Conversation-building card set.

This workshop assumes that everyone has a story and is a story teller, that everyone can write or be assisted to write their stories and that everyone who writes is a published author. However experience of writing professionally is not required! All interactive activities can readily be incorporated into community based creative writing groups and the workshop will conclude with a number of examples of how community builders have used such groups to reveal untapped strengths.

Facilitator: Russell Deal is a social worker and welfare educator who for the past 25 years has worked as a publisher of conversation-building materials that are now used by community builders and human services practitioners throughout the world. Russell is the Founder and formerly the Director of Innovative Resources the publishing arm of St Luke’s Anglicare in Bendigo, Central Victoria, Australia. While at the helm of Innovative Resources he designed, wrote and/or published over 60 original conversation-building tools including the much loved ‘Strength Cards’ and ‘The Bears’.

Russell now runs his own freelance consultancy titled Metaphors Ink because he has been called a ‘master of metaphors’ because of his pioneering role in using visual metaphors to provide a different way of giving people a voice particularly those excluded by dominant social structures and processes. Russell has also facilitated over 600 highly interactive ‘seriously optimistic’ workshops around all states and territories in Australia and in numerous other countries. His workshops are known for their humour and originality. In 2014 Russell was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his contribution to social work education and the community and The Bank of Ideas Global Community Builder Giraffe Award (‘for sticking out your neck and making a difference’).



Download a PDF of the Masterclasses Information