2 Minona St, Hawthorn, 3124 borders@borderlands.org.au (03) 9819 3239


Borderlands staff and members come from a diverse range of backgrounds and disciplines, uniting in the work to promote the importance of community bases development and learning.

Dr Jacques Boulet
Founder of Borderlands, Board member, consultant and facilitator.

Originally from Flemish-Belgium, early inspiration by working and living with Congolese communities and later, in Germany, working with disadvantaged communities, including the Romani. These experiences shaped lifelong university teaching in social work, social research and community development in Germany, USA and Australia and an abiding interest in the importance of in-depth learning understood as ‘processes of mutually beneficial relating’. Former Senior Lecturer at Melbourne University and Assoc. Prof. RMIT Social Work and ongoing involvement in curriculum development in Hong Kong. PhD dissertation (Ann Arbor, Michigan US) about structure/agency theoretical and strategic underpinning for community development.  Ongoing networks with European, Indian and Chinese university research centres. Head of School of the oases Graduate School, offering degrees in Integrative and Transformative Studies, as an antidote to the commercialisation and reductionism now inherent across education programs in Australia and elsewhere.

Lesley Shuttleworth
Board member Associate Consultant, facilitator, Program Support

Early learning about community living in a rural part of South Africa as a child – from the Xhosa and Zulu people and from living in a small farming community. Moved to Australia in early 1990 and worked in neighbourhood houses for more than 20 years where she learned as much as she practised.

Lesley is interested in wholeness and in the words of Freya Mathews ‘re-inhabiting reality.’  She is deeply committed to community underpinned by values which embrace diversity, social justice and facilitate us in leading sustaining and sustainable lives.

She has an abiding love of storytelling nurtured in her early life and which she believes is an important component of making sense of our living and in allowing us to see others in appreciative ways.  She uses this as a way of allowing us to see where we have come from, to imagine futures and to work in the present. Perhaps most importantly sharing our stories allows us into each others living; allows us  to gain insights and to  understand a little more about each other. Story enables us to relate empathetically.

Having witnessed the fear and stress experienced in workplaces by so many people she is interested in finding new ways of working together which create the conditions for people and their work to flourish and in which we value what each has to offer – particularly their diverse perspectives and ways of being.

Lesley completed the OASES Graduate School Master of Sustainability and Social Change in 2014.

Reza Homan
Accountant and Treasurer


John McKenzie 





Martha Ruth Hills
I have been the librarian for the Borderlands library for about ten years. Before that I ran the office for Permaculture Melbourne, a group that rented space from Borderlands. In my worklife, I have a degree in librarianship and my last job was in catalogue quality control for CSIRO. My passion, however, is about sustainability and how we can move toward a positive future environmentally, socially, and ethically. Helping make the Borderlands library available to more people is part of my sustainability work.

Dr Jim Ife
A teacher in social work schools in Australia from 1974 until 2002, when he became head of the Centre for Human Rights Education at Curtin University, where he stayed until he retired in 2006. His main areas of interest have been community development and human rights, and he has written several books in these fields. He now lives in Queensland and maintains his links with Borderlands,he remains involved in various community activities, and does sessional teaching at several universities.


Dr Yoland Wadsworth
I convene the Action Research Issues Association, an incorporated community-based group that has been providing public interest resources on social research and evaluation for social change and service improvement since 1986.  It has – along with its publishing program (Action Research Press) and virtual Action Research Centre (website) – found a home and registered office at Borderlands since leaving Ross House in 2002. I along with several other ARIA members have also been personal members of Borderlands since its inception more than fifteen years ago.
I hope soon to offer a unit of integral action research in the oases program entitled ‘Inquiring for Life: Research for (more truly) living systems’, as well as an occasional one-day mastery class workshop-consultancy package ‘Action research in complex living human/service systems’.

Dr Olga Bursian Board Member
Early experience of living across cultures shaped interest in diverse paradigms for living and knowing. Social work qualifications, Masters thesis about youth & employment. My PhD explored the agency of migrant women and the role of the welfare state in facilitating self-determination. My work included direct service, social policy and research, management, community development and cross cultural training. Currently lecturer at Monash University Gippsland campus, in social policy and regional community development. Research interests include multiculturalism, comparative welfare states, social policy; nexus between labour markets and families/young people; post-colonial theory; feminist and decolonising research methods; critical social work & advocacy.

In Memorium

Ken Fernandes

A vibrant member of the Borderlands community passed away a few years ago, his legacy is strong and he is sadly missed.  Ken was a social activist and community development practitioner. With others he founded many groups, institutions and local and regional programmes. He worked closely with communities in several countries, including Australia, Cambodia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Philippines, Malaysia, East Timor and Fiji and spent his last thirty years reflecting and learning with low income communities and developing processes that improve living conditions. He has worked as a consultant to UN agencies and was on the UN experts panel that drafted Guidelines for Development Based Displacement in 1997. He has authored several books, reports, articles on community processes, housing rights and urban issues. He lectured at Victoria University in the international community development stream.

M.Sc Economics research thesis: Women in the survival economy,

Diploma in the Protection of Human Rights, from Abo Akademi, Finland