Recent Publications

Neighbours, Friends and Families

Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women and Children
Neighbours, Friends and Families is a public education campaign to raise awareness of the signs of woman abuse so that those close to an at-risk woman or an abusive man can help.   - See more at:
Neighbours, Friends and Families is a public education campaign to raise awareness of the signs of woman abuse so that those close to an at-risk woman or an abusive man can help.   - See more at:
Neighbours, Friends and Families is a public education campaign to raise awareness of the signs of woman abuse so that those close to an at-risk woman or an abusive man can help.   - See more at:
Neighbours, Friends and  Families is a public education Campaign to raise awareness of the signs of woman abuse so that those close to an at-risk woman or an abusive man can help.

Amazing Neighbourhoods: Engagement and Sustainability Planning Guide

National Version
A fabulous guidebook from The Natual Step for anyone who is interested in working toward neighbourhood sustainability. A thorough step-by-step guide with an innovative toolkit for multi-stakeholder collaborations, The Natural Step outlines the process of change from creating a vision to implementing a sustainable neighbourhood plan.

Hope in the Shadows: Pivot Legal Society

Hope in Shadows is an innovative community engagement project that creates positive and meaningful interactions between residents from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside and people from other neighbourhoods in the Lower Mainland and beyond. Each year, winning photos from the Hope in Shadows photography contest are featured in a calendar that local residents can sell on the street through our vendor program. Hope in Shadows demonstrates that meaningful employment opportunities positively contribute to the well-being and dignity of people impacted by poverty and marginalization. For more information, please see their website: and

Laughing Allowed! — The Slapstick World of Neighbourhood Activism

A wonderful example of neighbourhood engagement : In the fall of 2014, Building Resilient Neighbourhoods’ Rob Wipond and Michelle Colussi teamed up with theatre director Will Weigler and a group of citizens from Victoria West and other neighbourhoods to create and perform the comedic theatrical show, “Laughing Allowed! The Slapstick World of Neighbourhood Activism.” The idea was to playfully explore what we do and don’t like about getting involved in our local communities, and to use physical comedy as a different way of beginning discussions about some of those issues. The creation process, show and post-show discussion provided lots of fun and lots of learnings — and we’re pleased to be able to provide videos of the event thanks to Red Willow Video Productions. Please feel welcome to embed or download and copy any of the videos to show anywhere you like to provoke any kind of discussions — or just to provoke some laughs! In the near future, we plan to release a small handbook for how to develop a similar kind of show in your own neighbourhood.

Themes from Conversations about “Neighbourhood”

Collected Reflections and Ideas from Neighbourhood Passionate People and Places across Aotearoa, NZ September 2014
The following publication was gracriously shared with us by Inspiring Communities in New Zealand:   In her 2013 Christmas message to the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth noted three key things that matter – family, friendship and good neighbourliness. Since our journey began in 2008, Inspiring Communities has noticed a growing groundswell and renewed interest in planning and action focused on connecting neighbours and strengthening neighbourhoods here in Aotearoa. This mirrors trends internationally too. The concept of neighbourhood focused action isn’t new, but in recent decades it has clearly taken a back seat. However global crises and natural disasters such as the Canterbury Earthquakes have triggered a ‘remembering’. They’ve reminded us how important it is to know those living around you, both in tough times and good. As a result, social capital is now coming back onto the public policy agenda, a (re)building of local connections being more proactively encouraged, and the benefits of communities who care being highlighted in new statistics. Inspiring Communities has been privileged to help document and
share many inspiring stories of locally-led change in many Kiwi
communities. We’ve noticed the strong sense of pride, empowerment, ownership and achievement that comes from working collaboratively to change things that ‘matter’ locally. As noted in Learning by Doing 2013: Inspiring Communities has identified supporting, celebrating and strengthening neighbourhood- led development as one of its strategic priority areas for 2014-16. We want to support and amplify the inspiring efforts and activities underway. To help inform and clarify the most useful roles and functions for Inspiring Communities, we talked to a range of people and places across the country to learn more about: understandings of neighbourhood;  what’s working well and why; what else would help strengthen and support those taking very locally-led action; and potential roles for Inspiring Communities in the neighbourhoods space. People generously shared their time, experiences and thoughtful insights. We were reminded again of the amazing network of New Zealanders who are eager to connect with, and be informed by NZ’s own story and emerging practice-based knowledge. As a result we have: Summarised key ideas and conversation themes into this ‘neighbourhood thinking’ resource. Developed an Inspiring Neighbourhoods Action Plan to guide our own effort, activity and investment in the neighbourhoods space – hopefully alongside many others! For more information, please read the attached.

Community Connections in Shuswap

Charles Holmes presenting workshop on March 23, 2015
We can now confirm that Charles Holmes will be returning to the Shuswap on March 23, 2015 to facilitate a one-day seminar/workshop intended to “refresh and recharge” the alumni from last year’s symposium and community members more recently attracted by the idea of building community through small group conversations. Participants will be assisted in recognizing what gifts they have and are willing to commit to the implementation and extension of the community conversation process of inclusion and change. Shuswap Settlement is working along with other  local agents for social change including: Plan:BE Society (proponent of the Triple Bottom Line), Together Shuswap (proponent for inclusion of First Nations and collaborative governance), along with proponents for food security, environmental protection, trail development and maintenance, community social planning and others to weave individual initiatives into a coherent larger vision for the community, including local municipal government. Such an outcome can only succeed if there is sincere respect for each other amongst all participants. Funding for the March event is funded, in part, by EmbraceBC (The Thompson Okanagan Respect Network) and the kind generosity of Charles Holmes.

Final Newsletter

1000 Conversations Campaign
To read the newsletter click HERE

1000 Conversations Final Newsletter

 Almost two years ago Tamarack launched its 1,000 Conversations Campaign to explore people’s experiences of community across Canada.  This journey has introduced us to many incredible people who shared beautiful stories of communities coming together in times of need and opportunity.  These stories, and the insights they have generated, have been shared as blogs on and through these quarterly newsletters.  As Tamarack wraps up the 1000 Conversations Campaign as a stand-alone project, we are documenting the project and its findings in a Report that will be available soon.  Into the future Tamarack will be continuing to explore and deepen our understanding of community and will also continue to partner with local communities to host Community Conversations as part of Deepening Community, a movement focused on building a shared understanding of the unique role of community as a driver for social change.  The learnings gleaned from the 1,000 Conversations Campaign will inform and shape this work. Learn more at:  This final newsletter of the 1,000 Conversations Campaign reviews the 200+ conversations that have been held and documented in order to identify and profile actions that help to build and foster a deeper sense of community. In this Issue… ·    Insights for Deepening Community o  Self-Awareness and Self-Care o  The Need and Value of Storytelling o  Habits and Rituals That Weave Us Together o  Opportunities to Shift Culture ·     1,000 Conversations Wrap-Up: Where to From Here? ·    Campaign Animator Closing Reflections  

The Philanthropist Vol 26 No 1 Summer 2014

Special Issue on Collective Impact
I have just completed an assignment as Guest Editor of a special issue of The Philanthropist focussing on Collective Impact.  These ten articles, primarily from a Canadian perspective but also including an update from Australia and a Q&A with John Kania and Faye Hanleybrown from FSG, explore many aspects and challenges of applying the collective impact framework to significant social and environmental issues.  In several cases, the authors provide a restrospective analysis of initiatives that began long before the term "Collective Impact" was coined by Kania and Kramer in 2011, but still have an uncanny simularity to the approach and provide us with further insights into the conditions and pre-conditions for success. 

FCSS: Weaving Alberta's Social Fabric

An exploration of Alberta's FCSS program through the lens of the World Bank's five dimensions of social capital.
In November 2013 I completed my MA Interdisciplinary Studies through Royal Roads University.  As a final project, I completed a video documentary entitled, FCSS: Weaving Alberta's Social Fabric.  Check it out on YouTube at  This companion document provides the research behind the video as well as a transcript.