June 2021

CFI News & Events June 2021

“If you think you’re too small to be effective then you’ve never been in bed with a mosquito.” Working on changing systems and trying to address the root causes of complex challenges can often make us feel small, particularly when faced with large systems and trying to influence the institutions that hold power. We can sometimes feel like our efforts may not amount to much. In Deep Collaboration we apply a power lens to our work in the Australian context of First Nations and other multicultural Australians to help people identify the different types of power they have and begin to use it to make changes in the way that First Nations and multicultural Australians collaborate. 

When we think about the NAIDOC theme for this year we can also feel limited in our capacity to join in healing the land. Furthermore, the sudden impact of the latest COVID-19 restrictions and lock-downs has derailed NAIDOC week plans and perhaps dampened spirits. However, the same lessons regarding using power apply for us to take up some personal action for NAIDOC week. While we may not be able to gather, or join in community events to celebrate. We can all take some local and personal action to honour the spirit of Healing the Land.

The land holds stories from many generations. Do you know what the earliest stories of first contact were for the land that you are living on? Do you know the stories from your ancestors and their birthplace? Are you aware of the organisations that are working towards increasing cultural knowledge of the land where you live? Have you thought about how you might be able to support them? 

The land holds culture and language. Have you ever stopped to notice the birdlife in your area or the insects? Do you know the names of all the plants that grow in your area? Is there a stream that runs near your place? What dreaming stories exist that connect to the land around you?

The land holds sustaining life for ongoing generations. Have you noticed how things have changed on the land where you are living? What was it like 2 or 3 generations ago? What do you think it will look like in another 2 or 3 generations? How can you be part of making some positive impact on the way the land around is going to change?

We can all take action through small steps to see the impacts, learn, understand, listen, ask questions, challenge, see how we are impacted or impact others, and use what power and resources we have to influence change. Healing the relationship with First Nations and other Australians is an adaptive complex challenge which requires us to keep learning and working systemically to move beyond to a more equitable and inclusive Australia. CFI acknowledges every day we have the opportunity in our conversations, collaborations and ways of working.

If you are looking for further support or learning with your initiative, please contact us for an exploratory chat. Email us at enquiries@collaborationforimpact.com or visit our Contact Us page.

All the best,

Kerry Graham, Liz Skelton and CFI Network

Naido heal


ChangeFest 2021… another step on the journey

A big thank you to everyone who attended ChangeFestNT21. The national gathering in Palmerston opened with an inspiring Welcome to Country from Aunty June Mills, Uncle Tony Lee and Lynette Fejo with the Larrakia Nation dancers and closed with the passing of the message stick from Aunty June to Susan Long, a Palawa woman from George Town, Tasmania.

Changemakers from community, government, philanthropy and the service sector shared reflections, insights and dialogue on what it takes to lead change in place with community at the heart. CFI Network was able to come together for the first time in almost two years to actively support the program with capacity building and movement making support, participating in plenaries, creating spaces for dialogue, facilitating breakout sessions and generally lending a hand. It was inspiring to see new team members in active service as participants gathered to share place-based community led work, explore what it means to enact the principles, sentiment and aspiration of the ‘Uluru Statement from the heart’ into our systems and practices – local government, collective impact, juvenile justice, money matters, unsustainable futures and the ChangeFest statement. The work and thinking of Deep Collaboration was introduced to everyone, with online sessions enabling participation to those that couldn’t travel due to travel restrictions. Enormous effort went into hosting ChangeFestNT21 in Darwin in the shadow of Covid19 disruptions. We acknowledge and thank the key role Changefest Directors Pippa Bailey and Romana Paulson played in making it happen, along with the commitment and hard work of many in the community in Palmerston.

The ChangeFest team, other conveners and local hosts are still gathering their thoughts and reflections. If you were able to attend and haven’t shared your ideas with us please go to the survey here.

You might want to check out the ChangeFest website to see more reflections as they are being gathered.

Reflections on ChangeFest

Sharing An invitation to deepen place-based approaches, by Ellise Barkley, Principal Consultant at ClearHorizon

A Deep Collaboration perspective on ChangeFest, by Mark Yettica-Paulson, Deep Collaboration Practice Lead


Image: The CFI team at ChangeFest


EOFY Systems Change Learning Program Opportunities

Last month we launched CFI’s inaugural System Change Learning Program for 2021-2022. We are offering fantastic opportunities to buy packages of learning for the year ahead as part of CFI’s Systems Change Learning Program for 2021- 22. 

Advanced Facilitation Skills for Collaboration and Change

Event facilitation banner

2 August – 13 September 2021
9.30am – 12.30pm AEST x 4 sessions
Online workshop series
$900 + GST
Find out more and register here 


Deep Collaboration Intensive – Practice and Awareness for Facilitating Collaboration with First Nations and other Australians


8 September – 25 November 2021
9am – 5pm AEST x 6 days
Online workshop series
$3,200 + GST
Find out more and register here 


Practice Pack Part 1: The Art and Practice of Adaptive Leadership 

Practice page 1

16 – 30 September 2021
2pm – 5pm AEST x 3 sessions
Online workshop series
$800 + GST
Find out more and register here 


What has CFI been up to?

  • We’re excited to begin a two-year partnership with the  Victorian DJPR Strengthening Pathways for Economic Participation initiative. We’ll be bringing our expertise in systems thinking and collaborative change to support up to 7 communities in Victoria that are creating locally-led approaches to inclusive employment by strengthening local jobs and skills ecosystems. 
  • We are continuing to work with the innovative Multicultural NSW GROW team to provide capacity building and evaluation support to their place-based work in Mildura, Riverina and Western Sydney.
  • We held workshops with collaborations in Bendigo and Shepparton on Systems Thinking in Action and Collective Impact.
  • We’re back in Logan, Queensland this month to work with Logan Together as they map and reflect on their progress toward community-led systems change.
  • Our work with Byron Shire Council continues as we support the backbone to design and convene a collaborative response to End Rough Sleeping in the region.
  • Coaching backbone team leaders across the country, including Western Sydney, central Australia, NSW, WA and Victoria.
  • We are continuing to support The Hive in Mt Druitt to design their measurement, evaluation and learning framework to help their collaborative work for children in Mt Druitt.
  • We are working with our partners in the NT Department of Education to convene leaders across the early childhood sector for the annual Service Integration Forum.

Want to know more?

If you are looking for further support or learning with your systems change initiative, please contact us for an exploratory conversation about what support we can offer you.

To keep up-to-date on CFI’s programs, visit our News page, find free resources at Platform C or explore Deep Collaboration to learn more about working across race and power.

To hear about future events, follow us on social media – Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @collabforimpact @_PlatformC


All the best with your work of change!

Back to all