Harbinger Consultants

Culture + Complexity + Change

2012 | Our Year in Review


The summer days and suburban streets are ablaze with brilliant red poinsiana blooms in the lead up to Christmas.

Harbinger Consultants has experienced a challenging and rewarding year in 2012, working to realise sustainable and creative opportunities for communities, organisations, places and regions through planning, visioning, engagement and teaching. Here are some of the highlights of a year packed with ideas and momentum.


  • We started the year with public art masterplanning and curatorial projects underway at North Lakes and Fitzgibbon Chase (last year featured workshops with local schools, pictured above), research and fieldwork for several Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessments for Connect for Effect, feasibility study for Blackall-Tambo Regional Council, and content and editorial with Aboriginal Business Magazine


  • Peer reviewed the Green Star Communities Rating Tool developed by the Green Buildings Council of Australia
  • Workshop on Financial Inclusion for Social Enterprises presented by Forresters Community Finance and The Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies


  • Visit to the Torres Strait to undertake preliminary work on the development of a community cultural plan for Erub Island, commissioned by the Torres Strait Regional Authority
  • Review of the anthology, From Social Butterfly to Engaged Citizen, edited by Marcus Foth, Laura Forlano, Christine Satchell and Martin Gibbs, for Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and Engagement (published in October)
  • Dialogue, Deliberation and Public Participation Masterclass at the University of Technology Sydney and University of Sydney
  • One of John’s photographs was selected for exhibition and competition in the 2012 Josephine Ulrick and Win Shubert Photography Award, Gold Coast City Gallery
  • Participation in a social design roundtable with Dr Ingrid Burkett of the Centre for Social Impact
  • Commenced tutoring in QUT’s School of Design


  • Public art project funded by Brisbane City Council and Queensland Rail. This project will see an artwork by Brisbane-based artist Mandy Ridley installed at the Ernest Street tunnel, under the railway near Southbank
  • Essay about Placing published in Semi-detached: Writing, Representation and Criticism in Architecture, edited by Dr Naomi Stead (pictured above)


  • A goal setting workshop with a regional development agency, which was reviewing its regional and strategic planning
  • Linda attended the Regional Development Australia National Forum in her capacity as Deputy Chair of RDA Brisbane
  • John contributed the foreword to artist Russell Anderson’s monograph surveying his work over a 20 year period


  • Public artworks were installed at the Fitzgibbon Community Centre for the Urban Land Development Authority
  • Visit to the Torres Strait to work on community and stakeholder consultation for the development of a community cultural plan for Erub Island, commissioned by the Torres Strait Regional Authority. John pictured above with the renowned Seaman Dan.
  • Interview for iforme/informe, a new cultural publishing venture


  • Grant from the Australia Council’s Visual Arts Board to undertake a year-long cultural writing project exploring contemporary public art as an interdisciplinary practice and process. The project is called Fieldworking.
  • UQ Winter School on Digital Equality
  • Research and fieldwork trip to the Hunter Valley and Sydney for two Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessments


  • Second semester tutoring in QUT’s School of Design
  • Commenced stakeholder engagement for a national project about Indigenous Led Enterprise developed by the Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research, based at QUT.


  • Commencement of Long Time, No See?, a generative art project developed by artist Keith Armstrong with an interdisciplinary team of artists, scientists, curators, programmers and designers, and funded by the Australia Council’s Broadband Arts Initiative.
  • Field research and consultation for the Tambo Visitor Experience Study for Blackall-Tambo Regional Council. Linda pictured above facilitating a community workshop.
  • Visioning/Strategic Planning workshop for the Tambo Multipurpose Centre.


  • Delivery of World Health Organisation’s Healthy Cities Leadership Course held in Brisbane with Dr Evelyne de Leeuw
  • Harbinger Consultants’ Outsider Art collection grows with new acquisitions from the Art from the Margins exhibition
  • Completion of two modules of the International Association of Public Participation accredited training


  • Opening speech at Art Talks exhibition of Creative Conversations at State Library of Queensland. John pictured above.
  • Participation in the Community Planning Team for the BCC Active Aspley project due to commence in 2013
  • Chaired a session at QUThinking 2012 where postgraduate architecture and urban planning students presented their research
  • John joined the Art from the Margins Steering Committee and the Board of Kurbingui Sporting Association Inc., a competitive boxing and community oriented fitness club in the Brisbane North Region based at Bracken Ridge


  • Research and academic papers published at Academia.edu, a social network for researchers, including a strategic planning case study of Kelvin Grove Urban Village
  • Facilitation of Long Time, No See? team meeting to develop collaborative process, core concepts and project planning. Project team pictured above.
  • Article about Changescaping publised by CURB Magazine, University of Alberta

Looking Ahead

  • Our work on Long Time, No See?, Fieldworking, QUT’s Indigenous Led Enterprise Project, Ernest Street tunnels public art, North Lakes public art and other projects is ongoing.
  • We will be heading to MONA/FOMA in Hobart in mid-January!

Thanks so much for your support for and interest in our work this year. Please be in touch if you would like to discuss how we can work with you to realise your ideas, needs or projects. Contact John at jmjarmstrong@hotmail.com.



  Leesa Watego wrote @

Wow! What a crazy busy year. Congratulations on all the great work. Have a restful Christmas, ready for another amazing year in 2013.

  lcarroli wrote @

Thanks Leesa. I’m sure you’ve been at your human dynamo best this year … Was lovely to run into Vernon yesterday at Chermside. Hope you guys and the family also have a cracker of a Christmas and new year!!

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