Community engagement projects

Community Engagement Grant Scheme Projects

Current Projects

Autism Friendly Communities – investigating the ingredients

  • Project lead | Dr Sim Lau
  • UOW partners | Dr Pippa Burns
  • Community partners | Corrimal Chamber of Commerce, ASPECT South Coast School, Autism Spectrum Australia

Autism is a life-long condition that impacts the social, communication and sensory abilities of 1:63 Australian school children. This project worked with business owners and individuals with autism to develop and audit tool in order to enable business owners to create more accessible environments for members of the Wollongong Community.


Refinement of the Life Happens Resource for high risk target groups

  • Project lead | Associate Professor Kate Senior
  • UOW partners | Laura Grozdanovski
  • Community partners | Illawarra Women’s Health Centre

Life Happens is a game used to explore young people’s understanding of sexual health, sexual risk and decisions regarding their relationships. This project modified the game to address issues of relationships and domestic violence in two high risk groups: young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and women with an intellectual disability.


Supporting refugee farming initiatives: from Mildura to Mingoola and Meroo Meadow

  • Project lead | Dr Natascha Klocker
  • UOW partners | Dr Olivia Dun
  • Community partners | Great Lakes Agency for Peace and Development International, Sunraysia Local Food Future/Food Next Door, University of Newcastle, Gary and Diana Schiller, private land owners

This project aimed to broaden opportunities for refugees outside of major cities through capitalising on a successful pilot refugee farming initiative in Mildura. By extending the project to Meroo Meadow and Mingoola, this project demonstrated the farming knowledge and skills of former refugees. The project improved former refugees’ well-being, sense of belonging and broader community connections.


Project ADVOCATE (Awareness of Domestic Violence On Campus At Tertiary Education)

  • Project lead | Dr Michelle Eady
  • UOW partners | Ms Kelly Lewer, Dr Rebekkah Middleton, Mr Kenton Bell, Dr Alison Rutherford, Dr Sharon Crozier-De Rosa
  • Community partners | Domestic Violence New South Wales, Women’s Health New South Wales

Project ADVOCATE will create an online professional development opportunity for university academic staff to enable better understandings of and support for university students who have experienced domestic violence. Upon completion of the professional development, university staff are provided with a certificate, digital badge, and an ‘ADVOCATE’ sticker for their office door to indicate their participation.


Recent Projects

Creating a mentoring network to support parent advocacy for children with additional needs

  • Project lead | Dr Amanda Webster, School of Education
  • UOW partners | Dr Amy Conley Wright, Dr Jane Warren
  • Community partners | Noah’s Shoalhaven, Autism Education Services

Parents of children with additional needs often have to advocate for their children to ensure that they receive the best and most appropriate care and education. In order to support parents, this project will develop and implement a program to establish a community network of parent advocacy mentors.

Breaking bread, breaking barriers

  • Project lead | A/Prof Karen Charlton, School of Medicine
  • UOW partner | A/Prof Karen Walton
  • Community partners | ALL Sustainable Futures Inc., Albion Park Rail Public School, Nowra East Public School, Nowra East Public School, Jerrinja Local Aboriginal Land Council

It is estimated that 1 in 7 children in New South Wales go to school without breakfast, making concentration and academic success difficult. This project aims to rescue food destined for landfill from supermarkets, and use to it redress disadvantage in schools and support student education.

Retrieving lost community stories: linking regional archival photo collections using advanced visual technologies

  • Project lead | A/Prof Lei Wang, School of Computing and Information Technology
  • UOW partners | Dr Lupin Zhou, Ms Clare McKenzie, Mrs Kerry Ross, Dr Glenn Mitchell
  • Community partners | Illawarra Historical Society, Wollongong City Council

This project aims to support the way that the community connects with local history by innovating community access to digital archival photo material. This project will link local photo collections through new technology in order to preserve local history.

Volunteer legal support for refugees in the Illawarra

  • Project lead | Dr Niamh Kinchin, School of Law
  • UOW partner | Prof Nan Seuffert
  • Community partners | Wollongong City Council, Illawarra Multicultural Services

This project aims to address the legal support needs of refugees within the Illawarra region through a structured volunteer program. This will include training for volunteers, local lawyers and UOW law students to assist refugee families with legal and administrative support.

Developing online resources and videos to support community based multi-sensory room

  • Project lead | Dr Sim Lau, School of Computing and Information Technology
  • UOW partners | Dr Rose Dixon, Dr Pippa Burns, Dr Andrea Garner, Ms Allison Cameron
  • Community partner | CareWays Community Inc.

Multi-sensory rooms offer controlled environments to promote intellectual activity or encourage relaxation and can be modified to benefit those with disabilities or dementia. Online resources are accessible to community organisations and families who are considering developing a multi-sensory room.

History of Wollongong in 101 Objects

  • Project lead | Dr Glenn Mitchell
  • UOW partners | Dr Henry Lee and Josie Stuart
  • Community partners | Illawarra Historical Society

This project has created new historical interpretations of Wollongong, improved access to existing materials and created new resources. History of Wollongong in 101 Objects provides an online public history of the city that enhance community engagement in Wollongong’s history.

Ask Illawarra Shoalhaven: Collects community knowledge

  • Project lead | A/Prof Louella McCarthy, School of Medicine
  • UOW partners | Dr Michael Jones, Dr Mark Freeman
  • Community partners | North Kiama Neighbourhood Centre, Local Community Services Association, Australian Social Investment Trust/Department of Family and Community, Participation and Inclusion/Department of Family and Community, CareWays Community

“Ask” trains and supports volunteers from across the region to engage with the community in conversations about their aspirations for their communities. This knowledge is collected and used by local communities to support further in-depth conversations and local action on issues of concern to the communities. Read the full story at Illawarra Mercury: Residents asked to share their view.

Mogo and Mudji (Dhurga for friends)

  • Project lead | Ms Jaimey Facchin, Campus Manager Batemans Bay
  • UOW partners | Ms Anne Snowball, Mrs Michelle Rush
  • Community partners | Mogo Primary School

Mogo and Mudji (Dhurga for friends) provides a better understanding of local Indigenous culture by engaging in educational activities with local primary schools. Pride in culture plays a vital role in shaping people’s ambitions and choices. This project utilises educational field trips and resources to highlight the importance of valuing the cultural skills and knowledge of Indigenous people.

Budbili Mudjingaal (Possum rug friends)

  • Project lead | Mrs Michelle Rush, Woolyungah Indigenous Centre
  • UOW partner | A/Prof Bronwyn Carlson
  • Community partners | Warradjah Aboriginal Programs, Ross Consultancy, Killalea State Park

Budbili Mudjingaal project encourages staff and students to bond as they create a possum skin rug based on research of cloaks made by Dharawal people. Creating this rug not only creates a bond between community, students and staff but it also fosters a supportive and healthy work environment which will enhance work standards.

Walbanja possum cloak educational resource package

  • Project lead | Ms Jaimey Facchin, Campus Manager Bateman’s Bay
  • UOW partners | Ms Kerryn Hopkins, Ms Lesli Kirwan, Prof Amanda Lawson, Ms Anne Snowball
  • Community partners | Walbanja Guungara Baraan Group, Doolagarl Dreaming Consultancy

The Walbanja Possum Cloak represented a significant step in the revitalisation of local Aboriginal cultural heritage, and the UOW Batemans Bay campus was honoured to host the cloak by the Walbanja Custodians. Educational resources that accompanied the cloak supported the knowledge sharing and educational awareness of local Aboriginal cultural heritage throughout the wider community. This project has paved the way for future community interactions which will benefit all partners. View the full story of the Walbanja possum cloak at the UOW newsroom: Ancient traditions find pride.

Bringing languages back to the community

  • Project lead | Dr Anu Bissoonauth-Bedford, School of Humanities and Social Inquiry
  • Community partners | Keira High School, Kiama High School, The Illawarra Grammar School, Smiths Hill High School

The Bringing languages back to the community project has returned languages to the community by sending University students as language ambassadors to mentor local high school students. The program promoted language sharing and helped further strengthen community links between secondary and tertiary educational institutions.

Please Read To Me-literacy support project for Indigenous children

  • Project lead | Dr Martina Sanderson-Smith, School of Biological Sciences
  • UOW partners | Dr Pippa Burns, Mrs Michelle Rush, Dr Joanne Buckskin, Ms Kate Roggeveen
  • Community partner | Illawarra South Coast Children's Book Council of Australia

The Please Read to Me-literacy support for Indigenous children project, targeting Indigenous children in the early childhood and primary age bracket, raised awareness of the importance of encouraging and promoting the joys of reading with children. The project was undertaken in consultation with aboriginal services and organisations and key contacts within aboriginal communities. The project complemented literacy programs in pre-schools, schools and child care centres and community centres.

Research-led framework and on-line toolkit for developing inclusive community music

  • Project lead | Dr Lotte Latukefu, School of Arts, English and Media
  • Community partners | Wollongong Conservatorium, Wollongong City Council, Illawarra Folk Club

This project documented best practice in community music making and developed a user friendly online tool kit to help individuals or councils plan to develop a comprehensive community music program. This tool kit gave an overview of the methods involved and offered guidance on how to undertake each stage.

InCuisine - an inclusive dining experience

  • Project lead | Mr Shawn Burns, School of the Arts, English and Media
  • UOW partners |Ms Jo Stirling, A/Prof Karen Walton, Dr Lyn Phillipson
  • Community partners | Shoalhaven Business Chamber, IRT, FOCAS Shoalhaven, Centre for Health and Community Engagement

InCuisine has created the foundation to create an inclusive dining culture in the Shoalhaven. It has given profile to the voices of those with disabilities, created a report on their (perceived) barriers to eat in local restaurants and communicated with restaurants in the area in order to create more inclusive dining experiences. Read the full story at South Coast Register: Eating out another challenge for disabled.

Last reviewed: 19 September, 2018