The inaugural group of “ChangeFest Optimists” were a team of disruptors from Logan Together, Collaboration for Impact, Griffith University and Opportunity Child. These organisations banded together to deliver a national conversation on place-base collective impact. Our goal? Empowering more people to help deliver large scale social change – and having fun while doing so!
Our team consisted of those at the forefront of social change, approaching this from a range of standpoints: academic, service delivery, backbone support and more.
ChangeFest 2018 was designed as a chance to take part in the national conversation about place-based social change, with decision makers, philanthropists, and community organisations.
ChangeFest 2018 had so many powerful themes. It demonstrated the depth and breadth of place-based work in Australia and drove home why it is our best hope for lasting positive change across our communities. This was always the intention of ChangeFest.
However – the most profound moments of ChangeFest were unplanned and came from tension, discomfort and tough conversations.
While community voice was always central to the philosophy behind ChangeFest, the voice of First Nations people was not adequately reflected in the planning, programming and policy work being worked up during the event. Logan’s First Nations community felt excluded from much of the lead-up, particularly in the preparation of a Policy Paper which was planned to be presented to government representatives.
The best intentions of ChangeFest organisers fell short: this was a true learning moment.
When the discomfort of First Nations leaders was clear, what followed was the wonderful, sometimes difficult and very moving coming together of Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives in the form of the 2018 ChangeFest Statement. A group of people worked through the night – and this honest, powerful collaboration led to the writing of the Statement. It also led to a catalytic shift in thinking and a firm, unanimous commitment among the hundreds of change-makers present to put First Nations First.
ChangeFest 2018 was a celebration of community leadership and an example of how a real, practical and powerful partnership can be built between local people and the institutions that serve them.
It is the view of many that this watershed moment has set the foundation for a unified social development approach relevant to all Australian communities.
The impact of ChangeFest 2018 can still be felt around Logan. It led to the formation of Warril Yari-Go, a powerful and respected leadership group or Aboriginal Elders and leaders from across the Logan community that helps set the agenda for the Logan Together movement.