Views from the Inside

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Abstract

This book tells five stories of a three-year leadership capacity building program designed for residents of government housing estates in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs. It tells its stories through the voices of the project leader and four participants. While the project leader explains the workings of the project each of the participants tells how it fitted into their life-story. They talk of their childhood and growing up and sometimes precarious survival at the poor end of town. The four insider stories are set beside the program’s intentions as seen by government funding body and program managers, and the philosophical understanding that underpinned the program leader’s actions. In so doing the book explores the relationship between: one person’s theory; a community development program in practice; and real life experience. It does this not through a voice of authority commenting on people’s lived experience and attempting to relate this to the theory, but by showing what the program meant to the project leader and what it meant to each of the four participants. It tries to demonstrate, but not explain, how these disparate meanings connected, or otherwise, with the theory that the project leader believed she was applying; and how in the end all knowledge is personal, built up over a life time and stitched together with the threads of our relationships in whatever environment we happen to inhabit.