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It is always sad to hear of the passing of a member in the Action Learning / Action Research community. The person's passing, however, also gives those in that community the time to reflect on the contributions made by their departed colleague.

Action Learning, Action Research Association (ALAR Association) wishes to pay tribute to the following who were important contributors to the Action Learning / Action Research community and ALAR Association.



Jeannette Kavanagh

ALARA members may recall a former hard-working member of ALARA (who helped organise events and workshops such as at the 2009 Melbourne ALARA conference and contribute to the 2010 World Congress, and served on the ALARA Management Committee) as well as being a member of the Action Research Issues Association (ARIA) -- Jeannette Kavanagh.

Sadly Jeannette died on 23 May 2024 at 75 years.

Jeannette Kavanagh was born in Dublin, Ireland and emigrated to Melbourne Australia where she lived and worked, and had a focus over many years in the western suburbs (apart from a time in Utopia - that particular Utopia being the one in the Northern Territory that is a remote Aboriginal community with a worldwide reputation as the home of many great Aboriginal artists.)

She taught at every level in the education system, and worked as a ministerial adviser to two Ministers of Education. Jeannette's final gig in formal education was as deputy director at Box Hill Institute of Technical and Further Education where I met her when she was promoting participatory forms of research.

After escaping from the constraints of bureaucratic positions, Jeannette then enjoyed the freedom and challenge of running her own consultancy, Dr Jeannette Kavanagh and Daughter.

Her consultancy specialised in bully-proofing workplaces, schools and businesses -- and built on her long-standing love of adult education learning processes and her wide-ranging interests in inclusivity, especially of students of non-English speaking, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds; people with disabilities, girls and women, and flowing from that, also in boy's education.

She had an acute 'feel' and confidence for how to communicate in direct, entertaining and enlightening ways with teachers and young people in classrooms.

In all this work she was also always keen to translate one-off Professional Education teaching and short courses into 'built in' structures within Education Departments and schools cultures for permanence. She also worked with the Researchers in Schools Network.

A change of State government did not quench her interest in resourcing publicly-funded schools to continue to improve using collaborative AR, and I was fortunate to be drawn into working with her in 2011-2012, teaching action research (using the living systems inquiry framework from my 2010 book which she loved) to Victorian independent schools.

Then, having vowed she'd never study again, Jeannette undertook postgraduate training at the Centre of Effective Therapy with Dr Rob McNeilly, and began a successful practice part-time as a psychotherapist and counsellor.

I was terribly saddened but honoured to attend Jeannette's funeral representing ARIA and ALARA.

Yoland Wadsworth
ARIA co-convenor
& ALARA life member

Reference: accessed 30/05/2024.