Shared Reading NSW, CEO
Christopher Smith is a passionate advocate for shared reading and its ability to change people’s lives. Many years ago, he began researching the efficacy of bibliotheraphy and the healing potential of literature in London. This interest eventually lead him to be trained as a facilitator by The Reader Organisation in Liverpool, UK, where he saw first-hand the power of the simple act of people coming together to read aloud.
In his shared reading practice he has seen people transformed from passive, shy, disempowered and isolated individuals into active, engaged, confident and articulate members of a community. Through shared reading, he has witnessed doors open for migrants and people struggling with literacy, seen hope emerge amongst people living with mental health issues and watched as powerful memories come flooding back for the frail aged.
It is these experiences and the desire to bring the power of shared reading to as many communities as possible across Australia that drives him.
Treasurer and Finance Manger
Mirco has been working in public accounting practices for more than five years. He brings to Shared Reading NSW the financial expertise necessary to ensure compliance with the ongoing reporting requirements of the Australian Taxation Office, the NSW Fair Trading and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. An avid reader himself, Mirco favours professional development books and, of course, books relating to finance, though he is starting to dip his toe into the world of fiction.
Dr Susan Humphries PhD
Communication Specialist and Board Member
Reading has been a big part of Susan Humphries’ life, and she still has some of her favourite books from childhood on her bookshelf. Ultimately, Susan’s love of reading saw her get a PhD in English and to work as a book reviewer on ABC Radio National. For Susan, reading matters because it offers a way into others’ lives. “Stories give you unique access to another’s thoughts and feelings,” she says. It’s for this reason she became a founding member of the Shared Reading Board. “The opportunity to help create spaces where people can share stories with others was impossible to resist.” Aside from being a lifelong reader, Susan has worked for many years in communications in the government and non-government sectors.
Dr Andrew Ingram
Chair of the Board
Andrew has been engaged in a range of roles in tertiary and commercial education over the past 20 years, including: research fellow and lecturer in the field of linguistics at several Australian universities; private linguistic and education consultant to different tertiary organisations and government agencies. Andrew’s PhD is in linguistics from Sydney University. He also holds formal qualifications in Training and Assessment. Andrew is an avid reader and believes that reading is essential for self-improvement. He believes that shared reading can offer people from different walks of life opportunities for self-improvement.
Secretary of the Board
Jemima is a trained counsellor and a senior manager in the Inner West division of NSW Health. She is a creative thinker and natural leader. Jemima is passionate about mental health recovery, which she believes happens when people are connected and engaged with their community. She sees shared reading as playing a crucial role in the development of community for people living with mental health challenges. Jemima is also a visual artist, poet and musician. She believes in the power of art to move and inspire people.
Working in Risk Management for community services, Anne brings to Shared Reading NSW expertise in organisational best practice. She has also worked extensively with volunteers and brings a wealth of knowledge regarding volunteer management.
Dr Michael J. Millington PhD
Michael J. Millington, PhD is Course Director for the Rehabilitation Counselling Discipline at the University of Sydney and an Associate of both the Centre for Disability Research and Policy and the WHO Collaborating Centre at the Faculty of Health Sciences. He holds a doctorate in Rehabilitation Psychology from the University of Wisconsin. He is responsible for over 60 publications concerning various aspects of inclusive community development. Michael’s current research focuses on integrating community-based inclusive development principles into the practice, management, and pedagogy of rehabilitation, care and support. He considers shared reading an effective example of community-based-inclusive-development
Elizabeth has long had a keen interest in community engagement and environmental education. She has extensive experience managing sustainability projects that focus on community involvement, consultation and education, and which produce environmental as well as social benefit. Since 2002, she has worked for various conservation organisations in Australia, the UK and Asia and currently works for local government as a sustainability advisor. Elizabeth’s hope is for Shared Reading NSW to be a household name as one of the peak bodies connecting communities and reducing social isolation. She wants to ensure that people of from all parts of our society have the opportunity to enjoy reading the way she has been able to.
Learning & Development Manager
Alex Carbonetti works with Shared Reading NSW’s facilitators. Alex was convinced of the power and benefits of shared reading after taking part in shared reading group with Christopher Smith. With 30 years experience in adult education, Alex has joined the team to help create learning and development opportunities for shared reading facilitators and the public in general. Driven by a strong sense of social justice and a desire to see communities that include all citizens regardless of their life circumstances or abilities, Alex sees shared reading as a powerful vehicle to reduce social isolation, deepen the quality of relationships and create a sense of belonging that contributes to wellbeing.
She talks about what shared reading has meant to her in the article: A Reading Resurrection.
Susan from Break Through People Solutions uses shared reading to connect with her clients. When she first came across a shared reading group, she thought it might be something valuable she could use in her own work to assist her clients. Working as an employment consultant assisting people with disabilities or mental health issues to re-enter the workforce, Susan faces many challenges in getting her clients to open up so that she can assist them. Working with us, Susan and her colleagues received training to help them run their own shared reading groups with their clients. The results have been remarkable and it is incredible to hear Susan’s story of the changes she saw in her clients in a matter of weeks.
Read Susan’s story: How shared reading broke down barriers for my clients
WHO WE WORK WITH
We work in partnership with many forward-thinking groups and organisations looking to help people of all ages and backgrounds to make positive changes in their lives.
One of the strengths of our model is its versatility. It can work equally well in aged care facilities or in schools, in hospitals or in the workplace. In fact, anywhere there is a group of people.
Partner with us
We partner with organisations in two main ways: