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Heather Brookes

Heather Brookes


  • Bachelor of Social Science (psychology) (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment
  • Licentiate Teacher's Diploma of Music


Growing up in Tasmania, Heather initially pursued a variety of interests particularly relating to music and horses. Heather then spent some time in NSW including studying in Sydney. Upon returning to Tasmania, Heather began a career in as a registered psychologist in NW Tasmania. Areas of professional interest have included community project development, project and program evaluation, individual and family therapy, organisational psychology, music therapy, and computer literacy. A highlight of this time was participating in the Prime Ministerial Taskforce into Youth Homelessness on the Evaluation Committee. More recently, Heather as been involved as a Director of a company running a motel and some consultancy while maintaining a number of community interests including Event Director of the 2005 Tom Quilty Gold Cup in Tasmania, committee member of Meander Valley Online Inc and the Meander Valley Creativity and Learning Group, and board member of the Online Access Centre Association of Tasmania Incorporated. Concurrent to studying her PhD, Heather is working as a Research Fellow with the CRH.

Research background

In addition to a degree with a strong research focus and an Honours Thesis in Stress in the Downsized Environment, since 1993, Heather has worked in both paid and voluntary capacities in the community sector in Tasmania, involved as a registered psychologist in service delivery, as well as the development, implementation and management of community projects and services. This has included researching to identify needs, appropriate service delivery approaches, and evaluation of services utilising both qualitative and quantitative methods. Heather is currently working as a Research Fellow with Rural Community Engagement.

Current study

Rural Community Development: discourses, processes and their impact upon community members
Australia has many rural areas where community development impacts on the economic, physical and psychological well-being of the community members. The processes influencing community development can affect the services and life experiences across entire communities. For example, the development of Tasmania Together has set goals and indicators which are informing the planning, development and implementation of services by all levels of government and other community groups in Tasmania.

The purpose of the research is to understand the processes and discourses influencing community development in rural areas, and how these processes affect the understanding and experience of community members involved in, or in receipt of, the particular development. If these influences and processes can be understood then it may be possible to use this learning to impact future community development in rural areas.

The first stage of the research will involve a literature review to reach a working definition of rural community development, analyse the themes and/or discourses apparent within the literature, and identify current understanding of the processes and their impact.

The second stage will entail case studies of rural community development projects, exploring the processes involved in these projects utilising interviews and observation, with possibly some quantitative data draw from surveys or other inventories. For example, a Municipal Council is currently involving it's communities in the development of a 10 year strategic plan, and setting up groups to develop, implement and oversee the outcomes of these processes. This process is only just beginning, with the group established to implement a "creative and learning community" setting the model for the following groups. It is anticipated that the processes can be "mapped" and the impact of them upon community experiences identified.

The third stage would be a critical analysis of the data gathered, both from the case studies and the literature review, to generate theory about the processes of rural community development to inform work in these areas in the future.


1997 Anglicare Australia Conference, Sydney. "Crossing the Berlin Wall: Early Intervention into Youth Homelessness."


Registered Psychologists with The Tasmanian Psychologist Registration Board