Jai Allison: Keeping our rural futures resilient.

Jai is a reformed engineer, now busy as a community development practitioner and researcher. Jai’s currently building on his experience working with communities recovering from and making the most of tough times, such as the Blue Mountains bushfire recovery.

Saturday workshop 1: Keeping our rural futures resilient.
This workshop explores how we think change happens. Using some fun and games that bring the Theories of Change approach to life, we will unravel the implicit ways that we; as people, communities and organisations, think about, react to and create change. From changing out point of view to changing government policy and public perception, we’ll find some of the patterns and principles behind what makes change possible. We’ll explore how change fits alongside consistency and traditions, what it means to be resilient in the face of change. Using the latest research into resilience, together we’ll explore what the principles behind resilience mean in our lives and rural communities. You should walk away from this session with a good sense of how you see change, why it’s important for working with others and what strategies can help you be resilient in your life and work. This workshop if beginner level and open to anyone who’s keen to have a go.

Sunday workshop 2: Building community resilience.
This session will be adaptable to what works for who shows up. There’s scope to pick up were the first workshop left off and take a deeper dive into the principles of resilience and unpack how they’re being applied in rural communities. Or if participants are new to the concept of resilience, the session will take a broader look at how resilience can be useful as a way of thinking, a way to step back and strategise how your project or ambitions fit within the bigger picture of what’s happening in your town or community. You’ll practice how to turn your ideas into a resilience vision and back cast scenarios to get there. Then we’ll apply facilitation tools to share these strategies with others. By the end of this session you should have a good outline of what your next big goal is and how to get there using resilience approaches. This workshop is beginner level and open to anyone who wants to try it.

Jai has been working across Asia and Australia and is now part of a University of Newcastle research team who are exploring what makes communities resilient in the face of prevailing challenges and uncertainty.
Jai’s work has led him to realise that if you focus on the strengths and possibilities founded in common values and aspirations, then people can take part in co-constructing shared futures. Jai shares practical experiences and the science behind how local communities, are making themselves their landscapes and economies more resilient to change in the hope that it can contribute to keeping our rural regions thriving.