Kitchen Table sustainability

An Interview with Australian Community Engagement Practitioner Wendy Sarkissian

A PublicForum Book Talk - Monday, 8 December 2009, 18:00 Eastern/23:00 GMT (60 minutes)
Rescheduled from 3 December.
In Australasia, this event will take place on the morning of 9 December 2009

Free. A Circle Club members-only event.*

Wendy Sarkissian, Ph.D., is co-author1 of Kitchen Table Sustainability: Practical Recipes for Community Engagement with Sustainability.

Published by Earthscan (2008), this timely book opens the door so that the theory and practice of sustainability can enter into the experience of the "everyday" and be released from the exclusive provinces of experts: planners, bureaucrats, scientists, intergovernmental panels, roundtables, cabinet tables and board tables. As the book explains, top-down approaches close the door to ordinary people, who, sitting at their kitchen tables, feel unable to have the informed conversations about sustaining our futures that every household needs to have. It proposes a model for participatory community engagement, education and development and provides both conceptual and practical tools for those working for and with communities who want to build a knowledgeable and truly sustainable society. Wendy's blog and extracts from the book are available at

Join us for an insightful exploration of practical approaches for transforming community engagement with sustainability.

Wendy's other new books include: SpeakOut: the Step-by-Step Guide to SpeakOuts and Community Workshops (Earthscan, 2009) ( and Creative Community Planning: Transformative Engagement Methods for Working at the Edge (Earthscan, January 2010).

About Dr. Wendy Sarkissian

Dr. Wendy Sarkissian is passionate about our future—the future of work, of housing, of communities and of citizen participation. She is committed to finding spirited ways to nurture and support an engaged citizenry. Her successful career as consultant and academic in Australia and overseas has provided firsthand knowledge of many contexts, from developers' boardrooms to low-income housing estates.

She holds a Masters of Arts in literature, a Master of Town Planning and a Ph.D. in environmental ethics. Building a career as a social planning consultant when there was no such discipline, she has pioneered innovative planning and development approaches in an astonishing variety of contexts. This work has earned her forty professional awards. She has worked with senior managers and advisors to government departments and private enterprise, primarily in the urban, community, housing and development sectors.

Widely regarded as a leader in her profession and acclaimed as a humorous and thought-provoking speaker, Dr. Sarkissian is a Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia and the award-winning author of nine books on housing and community engagement.

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1With Steph Vajda and Yollana Shore, Nancy Hofer and Cathy Wilkinson