Five minutes with community project guru, Jo Ragen

Five minutes with community project guru, Jo Ragen

Guest speaker Jo Ragen will lead the upcoming Imagine workshops hosted by Uniting Ability Links. Not just an innovator and educator, Jo is passionate about community and has a unique talent for tiny sketches!

Tell us a bit about your work.

I work as a community development consultant and I’m a research affiliate and a PHD candidate at Sydney University. A lot of my work focuses on community, where I look into the participation of diverse populations and the development of all-inclusive communities.

All-inclusive communities included children, people with disabilities, Aboriginal communities, ageing communities … all sorts of communities!

What’s a fun fact about yourself?

I enjoy sketching. Most recently I started doing tiny sketches, as big as a postage-stamp size kind of drawings. I do all sorts of sketches but currently am focusing on landscapes.

Jo's tiny sketch book, each page is the size of a postage stamp.

Jo’s tiny sketchbook.

What are you most excited about for the imagine workshops?

I get excited about what projects people want to develop. I love to explore their ideas and see the projects as they take shape. I’m always fascinated by how fast ideas take shape in communities.

What will people get from your workshop?

I hope people can get the knowledge and experience to build and develop their own projects. All good projects start with one idea. I hope that people can see their ideas become a reality. I also hope the workshop itself will become a small community itself where people feel comfortable to share their ideas in a safe space. You can’t grow a community idea on your own.

What most interests you about community projects?

I love working with communities. It’s so important for our wellbeing, to be involved in something bigger than ourselves, somewhere we can belong.

The lovely thing about communities is that they’re always evolving and changing. It’s such a dynamic and diverse place. That’s what I love about it.

What is your best tip for someone who’s looking to take their idea or project into their community?

Keep things simple. People tend to do too much too quickly at the beginning. You need to give projects time to develop and be open to the resources and natural flow of things as the project/idea takes shape.

Find out more

You can join Jo in one of our upcoming workshops through our Ability Links Facebook page and see more of Jo’s art on her Instagram: @jragen

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