Date and time: Thursday 2nd September 2021 12.30pm - 1.30pm AEST
Topic: Practitioner learnings in creating a culturally safe evaluation and research space
Presenters: Doyen Radcliffe, Donna-Maree Stephens and Sharon Babyack, Community First Development
Venue:  Via Zoom. Details will be emailed to registrants just prior to the start time
Register online by: noon on Tuesday 31st August

This is a special event organised by AES members from Community First Development. These free events provide an opportunity for you to meet with AES members and others in the evaluation community and to share and learn from the experiences of fellow evaluators.

Event overview

Community First Development is a First Nations’ community development and research organisation. We recently completed an Action Research Project in partnership with 11 strong First Nations’ communities. Our recently released Final Report reflects the collective voice and experiences of the many hundreds of First Nations’ communities we have worked with over the past 20 years.

In this seminar, the three presenters will discuss Community First Development’s “fail forward” approach to undertaking research and evaluation with First Nations communities. Building on the Final Report, they will share their learnings around where things didn’t go as planned, and how they then adapted by taking on board feedback from communities and staff. Some of the key findings, as well as the practices in the research, provide insights into creating a culturally safe space in evaluation and research.

This seminar offers valuable insights into practical approaches when working with First Nations’ communities and will discuss:

  • Some of the pitfalls of a written approach to data collection.
  • Creation of a ‘Seed to Tree’ scale that was then adapted for multiple monitoring and evaluation contexts.
  • The power of yarning and the limitations of a semi-structured interview approach.
  • A practical approach to co-authoring with communities.
  • Where to from here?

Presenters' background

Doyen Radcliffe is a Yamatji Naaguja man and is Community First Development’s Regional Manager – Western Region. He has been instrumental in the design of Community First Development theories of change, M,E&L frameworks and participatory approaches and tools. Doyen is also a Board member of the Australian Evaluation Society.

Donna-Maree Stephens is an Iwaidja woman of the Muran clan, northwest Arnhemland with 26 years’ experience in education and research in the Northern Territory; focused on community engagement, educational and workforce outcomes for First Nations’ people. Donna is Community First Development’s inaugural First Nations’ Fellow for Research and Evaluation. She is currently SEWB Workforce Development and Support Unit Coordinator at the Aboriginal Medical Service Alliance of the NT (AMSANT).

Sharon Babyack is Community First Development’s General Manager Impact and Strategy. Sharon brings close to 20 years’ experience working for government, and not-for-profit organisations. She provides strategic direction and leadership on monitoring, evaluation and research for Community First Development. She has played a strong leadership role in the development and roll-out of Community First Development’s M,E&L approach and database. 

Seminar start times

  • Victoria, NSW, ACT, QLD, TAS: 12.30pm
  • SA, NT: 12.00pm
  • Perth: 10.30am
  • New Zealand: 2.30pm 

For other time zones please go to

Please ensure you have access to your email address just prior to the start time to access Zoom details. Please also check your email address is correct on your registration form before submitting. Thanks.


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