The SCENE – Social Change Education Network and Exchange

Get with the SCENE!

The SCENE is a not-for-profit community building project initiated by long-time friends and colleagues, Sue Howard and Maria Delaney. We started this because we so often heard other social justice advocates in education and community service arenas talk about their feelings of disconnect and isolation, and their desire for more interaction, sharing and support.  The SCENE participants are involved in some way with activism, research, policy and practice, on the wide yet interrelated range of issues in social justice and violence prevention. They include former and current government officials, teachers and principals, consultants, activists, community service workers and educators, students and researchers, parents and carers, and diverse interested professionals and business owners.

The SCENE’s monthly informal gathering provides a unique opportunity for connection, inspiration and synergy. It’s a party with purpose, where you can socialise and meet old friends and new, and hear short talks from leading change-makers – followed by a group discussion. We allow plenty of time for socialising, supper and a drink or three. If you work in the area you can bring your business cards, info-sheets and event flyers etc for the promotions corner. Discussion groups and professional learning opportunities are in the pipeline for 2017.

We warmly welcome you to join us and please do invite your friends and colleagues! Connect on our Facebook group and contact us to join the list for notification of events. Email Maria and Sue:

Next SCENE Gathering

December 1st: Conversation with Ginene Humphrey – Ginene Humphrey holds a Masters Honors (1st Class) in Fine Art (Film) and is now in the final stages completing a Doctorate via the Griffith University Film School. As part of her doctorate, she is about to release her ‘brave’ and ‘gritty’ full-length feature documentary film called ‘DANDELIONS’ to show the truth about what it is really like for adult survivors of child abuse, neglect and abandonment, aiming to trigger serious discussion into the long-term realities faced by often ‘silenced’ survivors, its effect upon families – and thus society as a whole. A screening of the documentary trailer will be followed by a Q & A session. Click here to download the invitation: The SCENE with Ginene Humphrey 1st December

Coming up…

Date to be announced: Join #FEAS – Feminist Educators Against Sexism – #FEAS connects to the history of feminist activism, sharing its intentions, collective approach and heart with the consciousness-raising activities of second- and third-wave feminism. #FEAS uses a ‘Guerilla Methodology’ like the feminist artists known as the Guerilla Girls which is activated through humour, irreverence and facts to explore. The 2015 Australian census data establishes that women make up 56.7% of the staff in Australian universities, yet there is a dearth of women in university management and the professoriate. Men outnumber women by a ratio of 1 to 3 in these positions. Women in academia face several key inhibitors to achievement within their careers including a ‘boys club’ culture, and a form of academic masculinity where men dominate discussion by framing statements as questions, and call female colleagues and peers ‘ladies’ or ‘girls’. Read more about #FEAS here

Date to be announced: Conversation with Jessica Walker and Mojgan Shamsalipoor – At 17, Mojgan Shamsalipoor made the dangerous journey across the sea from Iran to Australia seeking asylum. After 3 years investigation and appeals, her case was rejected and she was taken into Immigration Detention as she was about to begin Year 12. Her entire school community took action to protest her appalling treatment. Mojgan’s visa expires in December and the Department of Immigration have given her a “strong message” that she is “expected to make plans to return to Iran”.  Jessica Walker is Deputy Principal at Yeronga SHS where students come from over 60 countries and over half are from refugee or asylum-seeking backgrounds. When Mojgan was forcibly transferred to Darwin, Jessica initiated the “#FreeMojgan Movement” and has been passionately advocating for her right to live free in Australia ever since.

Previous SCENE speakers

Dr Sharn Rocco – Sharn has extensive experience as a meditation and mindfulness practitioner, teacher, researcher and teacher educator. She brings skills and understandings accrued from years of designing curriculum and teaching and facilitating learning for large and small groups in education, health, corporate and community settings. Her expertise is grounded in more than a decade of daily mindfulness and meditation practice supported by frequent retreats and teachings received from renowned meditation masters in Australia, France and the USA.  Find out more about Sharn at

Koda-Jo Berry – Koda-Jo has been involved in disabilities support for over thirty-years – supporting people with physical, intellectual, sensory and mental health issues, and currently works as a co-ordinator in a mental health team. She is President of Inner Northern Community Housing (INCH) which serves people who require support to manage barriers such as domestic violence, substance abuse and mental health issues. She is also the President of Hope Remains Inc. which is an organisation that advocates against sexual abuse, particularly trafficking children from Nepal to India.

Lesley and Tammy Williams – Lesley Williams, a respected Murri elder, is best known for instigating the domestic and international Justice for Aboriginal Workers campaign. In 2002, this campaign resulted in the Queensland Government delivering an historic reparation package. Tammy Williams is a Murri woman and was admitted as a barrister in 2002. She has been a member of the National Human Rights Consultative Committee and in 2003 was named the Queensland Womens Lawyers Association Emergent Lawyer of the Year. Lesley’s book, co-written with daughter Tammy – Not Just Black and White: a conversation between a mother and a daughter, was awarded the 2016 Queensland Premier’s Award for a Work of State Significance.  Flyer – Not Just Black and White

Ron Williams – Ron is managing director of Secular Public Education  Since 2005, Ron has been actively attempting to protect the human rights and legal rights of public school children and their parents as they relate to the administration of religious instruction and federally funded religious chaplaincy arrangements. In 2012 and 2014 Ron successfully challenged the National School Chaplaincy Program across two High Court Cases.

Maria Delaney – Maria shared reflections on her recent PhD research on feminist agency with/in the education bureaucracy, as well as more than three decades of experience in practice, teacher education, policy work, and activism, including as respectful relationships education consultant and evaluator for the national violence prevention organisation, Our Watch, and advisory group executive for the Australian Women Against Violence Alliance.

Stewart Riddle – Stewart is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood at the University of Southern Queensland. His research interests include social justice and equity in education, music-based research practices and research methodologies. Stewart also writes for The Conversation, edits the English Teachers Association of Queensland journal, Words’Worth, and plays bass in a band called Drawn from Bees.

Betty Taylor  Betty has worked across the domestic violence sector for the past 28 years. She was the founding Manager of the Gold Coast Domestic Violence Prevention Centre, chaired the Queensland Domestic Violence Council for 2 terms and has been an active member of the Domestic Violence Death Review Action Groups since its formation in 2004. Betty has been awarded a Centenary Medal for violence prevention work a Churchill Fellowship to further study Collaborative Responses to Domestic Violence. For the past ten years, Betty has delivered domestic violence training to various organisations across Queensland.

Dr Nora Amath  Nora has a PhD in Sociology of Religion and Community Development. She is Statewide Coordinator and Program Supervisor with the Islamic Women’s Association of Queensland (IWAQ) and an Adjunct Research Fellow at Griffith University. Nora has strong connections to the community across a number of areas, including youth, women and multi-faith groups, and is a member of the Queensland Multicultural Advisory Council. Her explicitly feminist work includes gender equity and violence prevention programs in schools.

Adele Rice AM – Adele has made significant contributions to secondary education, and to the migrant and refugee community, particularly through the provision of specialist learning programs and settlement services. After retiring as the Founding Principal of Milpera SHS, Adele is serving as the Chair of FHEAL (Friends of HEAL), a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to providing healing for traumatised refugee young people through the expressive arts using Music and Art Therapies.

Senator Claire Moore  the Australian Government Shadow Minister for Women, Communities, and Carers,  Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate, and Vice-Chair of the Parliamentary Group on Population and Development

Chris Henderson – the ‘Courage Catalyst’ for women making a positive difference in the world, especially in the areas of social justice, peace and the environment

Bonney Corbin – Education Coordinator True Relationships and Reproductive Health – State Manager for the Safe Schools Coalition in Queensland 

Trudi Peters – Manager Domestic and Family Violence, Student Protection, Queensland Department of Education and Training

Some feedback from participants

Maria, you and Sue have truly set an inviting, vibrant SCENE for intelligent exchange of knowledge and expertise, sparking new purposeful connections and replacing cynicism with energy, passion and hope. (Jan Gillies, former Director, Social Justice Studies Directorate, Education Queensland)

I recently attended two SCENE gatherings and what a marvelous experience that was. This is a Friday night Professional Development event with a difference. You can anticipate delicious refreshments to celebrate the end of a busy week. In the company of educators passionate and committed to various social justice issues you will to hear about the latest in policy and practice to advance the agenda. As a global educator I came away from the SCENE with new colleagues and ideas to strengthen my work in supporting teachers to develop much needed global and local citizens. (Alisa Cleary, Coordinator Professional Learning Program, Global Learning Centre)

It was just fabulous – thank you for this great opportunity to make new connections, hear what is going on, share and support each other and come out feeling you are not alone and there is hope ? It’s a monthly dose of positive energy I think I might need. (Ayelet Rinon, teacher and parent)

Fantastic evening Maria!! Huge thanks to you and Sue for organising it – the mix of social justice advocates was so rich and inspiring – a terrific, powerful network which is only going to get bigger and stronger ….stand back Australia! (Dr Jane Hasler, health educator and activist)

Your event was awesome. You have some very highly skilled and qualified people in the room which is fantastic! You are a powerhouse, making this happen. I need to talk to you about how I can be more helpful to you and the group. I can feel the passion! It’s contagious! (Jane Sleight-Leach, women’s DV recovery programs)

I enjoyed it and I really value having a space where people of many backgrounds, experiences and fields can come together to honestly discuss current social issues with passion and respect for differing opinions. So much knowledge and experience in the room! (Emily Cooper, DV support worker and Communications and Human Services student)

Contact us

Please don’t hesitate to make an inquiry or to recommend information, resources and connections.


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