Thursday November 11
9.15am - 11.45am

Jane Stratton leads Think+DO Tank Foundation, a not-for-profit based in Sydney, Australia that shifts the systems that reinforce poverty through the arts. Think+DO Tank Foundation works in less advantaged communities, enabling community members to help themselves and to address complex collective challenges. Think+Do Tank Foundation lead with one simple question: “What would make life here better, easier or more affordable?”

Join Jane and her colleague Afaf Al-Shammari to interrogate practical strategies for community engagement and for ongoing dialogue with the communities you serve. Following on from her keynote address that argued for librarians to see themselves as community-makers, community-enablers and community-strengtheners, this workshop will offer some practical know-how (including what did not work), and offer a space for knowledge exchange between us all.


Pre-workshop: registration will ask you to articulate your engagement challenges and wins.


Understanding the opportunities and blockages

  • Reflecting the challenges and wins participants have brought with them
  • Adding our own challenges and wins

Sharing what we do

  • Our objective: to create the conditions for a durable, ongoing collective dialogue
  • Our purpose: to ensure our programmes, spaces and offers are as relevant and effective as possible and adaptable to the changing needs of the communities we serve
  • What do we do: outlining our methodology and processes

Adapting to your context

  • What value would be generated if the conversation could be improved between your library and community?
  • What does this make you think you could do differently or more of?
  • How can you do this work?
  • What support/information do you need to do this?
  • How can you support one another in a community of practice - demonstrate the value of the NZ Government's investment to ensure more of it in the future?
Circle_Jane Stratton

Jane Stratton is the creator of the highly successful social enterprise LOST IN BOOKS, a multilingual kids’ bookshop, creative community hub and safer space for women and children in Fairfield, South Western Sydney.

Jane works to elevate the voices of low-income and excluded community members to inform and to model systems reform. She enables multi-disciplinary collaborative projects, enterprises and enquiries in low-income communities in response to the question: “What would make life here easier, better or more affordable?”

Jane has an accomplished background in commercial and public interest law; human rights and social policy. She has worked for leading rights-based organisations including Human Rights Watch, UNHCR, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, Public Interest Advocacy Centre and the Australian Human Rights Commission. Jane was the Acting Head, Pro Bono and then the inaugural Head, Corporate Social Responsibility at Gilbert+Tobin Lawyers.

Jane’s intelligent and empathetic approach has fostered her reputation as a courageous leader at the forefront of collaborative work with communities, inspiring those within them and beyond them to broaden the horizon of what is possible.

Afaf Al-Shammari_circle

Afaf Al-Shammari
is the Lead Community Connector at Think+DO Tank Foundation. She has been a local resident of South Western Sydney for more than a decade. She was born in Kuwait and came to Australia with her family almost 20 years ago. Since arriving in Australia, she has attained English and graduated from Western Sydney University as a provisional psychologist. She is now training to be registered and is committed to working with migrant and refugee communities in Australia to make their transition into Australian life more manageable. Afaf joins the Think+DO Tank Foundation team to promote participation in their programming amongst newly-arrived and Arabic-speaking communities. Afaf also represents the foundation at inter-agency and community events. She coordinates volunteers, and leads community programming.