Originally trained as an educator, I have extensive teaching and training experience in architecture, planning, landscape architecture, social work, social research methods, social policy and planning and communication.
I conduct training seminars for professional planners, landscape architects, architects, urban designers, developers and employees of state and local governments on a wide variety of subjects.
I use a wide variety of models for workshop design and management, depending on the particular needs of the client or proponent and the community she is working with.
Some of the workshop models include the Stakeholder Workshop (also known as the Search Conference), the SpeakOut, the Participatory Design Workshop, Vote with Your Hands and a process generally used with children, called A Week with a Camera.
The SpeakOut: an alternative to the standard public workshop
I co-designed the SpeakOut (with Andrea Cook of Red Road Consulting, Melbourne) to make public workshops more relaxed and accessible, especially in low-income and culturally diverse communities.
We have continued to experiment and refine the model and have conducted over 20 SpeakOuts. The model is being used by others in Australia and overseas, especially by Wiwik Bunjamin-Mau in Honolulu.
SpeakOut training and workshops have been conducted in many countries and the model has taken off in Canada and the United States.
I have worked in Honolulu and on the Big Island of Hawai`i with Empower O`ahu and the Hawai`i Alliance for Community-Based Economic Development to develop the SpeakOut for community development applications in Hawai`i.
The SpeakOut is the subject of an exciting new book from Earthscan, London:
SpeakOut: The Step-by-step Guide to SpeakOuts and Community Workshops by Wendy Sarkissian and Wiwik Bunjamin-Mau (with Kelvin Walsh, Andrea Cook and Steph Vajda). It was published in 2009.
Training with Care
Training workshop facilitators: truly sophisticated training
Transcribing and analysis of workshop material are always handled with great care.
I am passionate about ensuring that community members’ perspectives are passed on to clients without editing or interference with their views.