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NSW GSRN: We the People: Ensuring People are Heard through Research, Engagement and Co-design

6th Jun 17


This event brings together community engagement practitioners, co-designers, clients and researchers from both the corporate and government sectors for a series of thought-provoking presentations and a Q&A session.

Co-design and community engagement: how do these approaches fit in with research and why are the concepts increasingly important for our clients (corporates and government)? We will discuss the spectrum of community participation (and what that means) and how clients, and even regulators, are using them to ensure the community has a true voice in developing policies, products, services and programs.

Learning objectives/outcomes

We plan to explore the following topics:

  • Definitions of engagement and co-design for a research audience to clarify what they are used for.
  • The challenges and benefits of working with these approaches and how we bring them together to provide insights that are practical and useable.
  • How commercial clients are using co-creation.
  • The skills of co-creation consultants versus engagement practitioners versus researchers – where are they similar or different?
  • A client-side view of how engagement has worked and where it has not

Speakers will be:

  • Margaret Harvie; Director, PlanCom
  • Merryn Spencer; Research and Consultation Coordinator; City of Parramatta
  • Joyce van Dijk; Strategic Consultant, Direction First

Audience members will be encouraged to share their own experiences and views as part of this thought-provoking discussion and in the Q&A session to follow.

Our speakers:

Margaret Harvie - Director, PlanCom

Margaret has had a professional career for over 20 years in community engagement, impact assessment and the management of communications to engage the public. She is a trainer for the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) and is a current member of the IAP2 Board, Australasia. She is a recognised leader in the practice of engaging communities and manages government projects with levels of community controversy. She is asked to plan, document and implement community engagement strategies and peer review the work of others in this practice.

Merryn Spencer - Research and Consultation Coordinator, City of Parramatta

Merryn Spencer is a thought leader in the development of people and communities. Her background spans over 12 years in cultural development, local government and regional development. Her areas of focus lie in how market research can grow stronger communities, and how government organisations incorporate community feedback, improve systems and respond quickly to issues – both internally and externally. She’s a vital contributor to cultural development and community engagement as a project leader and as a representative of communities, both Regional NSW and now Sydney at the City of Parramatta. Merryn has held a variety of positions including; elected representative Councillor, advisor, volunteer and broker.

Joyce van Dijk - Strategic Consultant, Direction First

Joyce was born and raised in Holland, where she started her career in marketing & communications after completing her first study in the same field. Always asking ‘why is that?’, ‘how come…?’ and ’what if….’ she quickly realised her true passion was in research (to the relief of some of her colleagues). She launched her research career after completing a MSc in economic psychology with distinction. Joyce always aims to combine the knowledge, capabilities and power of the consumer with the knowhow of organisations. She feels co-creation is the only way to generate truly relevant and actionable insights. Joyce started working for Direction First at the start of 2015, bringing in broad experience with Consumer Consulting Boards and other qualitative methods.


Start Time:
6:00 PM

The Occidental Hotel, 43 York St, Sydney NSW 2000

Non-member Price:
AU $ 55 (Inc. GST)

Your Price:
AU $ 55.00 (Inc. GST)

Registrations Open:
9th May 17 12:00 AM

Registrations Close:
8th Jun 17 11:59 PM


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