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SOSC7133 - Community Cultural Development

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Goddard Building 8, Room 388

University Drive

Saint Lucia, QLD 4067

Australia

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This postgraduate course is an elective in the Masters of Development Practice and in the Graduate Certificate in Community Development. It is one of the six courses that together comprise the Community Development field within the School of Social Science and within the Development Practice suite of programs. The course is predicated on the principal of diversity and the importance of valuing and enlivening local community cultures as a critical aspect of belonging and identity. It begins, as a starting point, with the challenge of working developmentally in cultural spaces that are increasingly globalised and commodified. Cultural community development thus is positioned as an act of resistance against essentialism and universalism.

Just like community development itself, this course takes a hands-on practical approach to learning, which requires all of us to be both teachers and learners. This course is taught in workshop mode: a mixed approach to learning which includes phases of planning, action, reflection and theory. So rather than a full two hours of lectures, you will have mini-lectures interspersed with activity and discussion. There IS a structure, however it is not the conventional lecture-tutorial mode and students are not in a passive learning mode but take on the role of co-learners and facilitators. This can make for a dynamic classroom where everyone plays an active role - anyone interested in the course can expect to be a participant, not merely a spectator.

Dr Lynda Shevellar is influenced by over twenty-five years of experience and study in community development, the disability sector, education, and psychology. She has worked in government and the community sector and is currently a lecturer in Community Development, within the School of Social Science at the University of Queensland, Australia. Lynda has worked extensively with community groups and organisations providing training and development, program and service development, and evaluation. Her work focuses upon the dynamics of personal, organisational and social change, and this interest is supported by studies in a range of intersecting fields. Lynda holds a PhD in Community Development, a Master of Education (Training and Development), a Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology, a Bachelor of Arts and a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education. Her current research focuses upon the revitalisation of popular education.

Lynda is particularly influenced by the action teaching work of Scott Plous (2000, cited Azar, 2008) who argues that the learning experience should lead to not only a better understanding of the subject area but to a more just, compassionate and peaceful world. Plous suggests that teaching is not just about acting and reflecting – but about doing this in ways that promote humanity. Erich Fromm (1976) argues that we experience promotion of a mode of existence based on having rather than being. Such a mode prefers the possession of objects ‘I am the more I have’ and more significantly mistakes verbs for nouns. Having a degree or having the PowerPoint slides is confused with “being” a student. The danger for educators is that we prepare students for a life of consumption by obtaining a well-paid job: a mission of confirmation rather than transformation. This course deliberately seeks to interrupt this narrative and invites students to reflect not only on the content but upon themselves as cultural actors in the creation of culture and knowledge.

Anyone visiting this course can expect to see examples of action teaching, student-as-teacher exercises, workshop facilitation, and reflective discussion. Because workshops are 4 hours long, the course will also involve numerous guest lecturers and discussions with panels to keep the content interesting and to provide multiple perspectives. Visitors are welcome for an hour, a session or longer.

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Location

Goddard Building 8, Room 388

University Drive

Saint Lucia, QLD 4067

Australia

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