Personal details

Adjunct Associate Professor Peter Westoby
Adjunct Associate Professor
Faculty of Health,
School - Public Health and Social Work
IHBI Membership
Institute of Health Biomedical Innovation (IHBI),
IHBI Health Projects,
IHBI Public Health and Social Work - HDHS
Discipline *
Public Health and Health Services
+61 7 3138 4663
View location details (QUT staff and student access only)
Identifiers and profiles
ORCID iD Twitter

Doctor of Philosophy (University of Queensland)

Professional memberships
and associations


* Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008


Peter Westoby is an Associate Professor in Social Science & Community Development at the School of Public Health & Social Work, Queensland University of Technology (QUT); a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Development Support, University of Free State, South Africa; and a Director with Community Praxis Cooperative.

He teaches and researches on community and social development theory and practice, dialogue studies and forced migration studies.

Associate Professor Westoby has worked in youth, community and organisation development for 30 years, within South Africa, Uganda, Vanuatu, PNG, the Philippines and Australia. He has published more than ten books, and 40+ professional journal articles, his most well known being monographs such as Dialogical Community Development (2013) (Routledge); Soul, Community and Social Change (2016) (Ashgate/Routledge), and The Sociality of Refugee Healing (2009) (Common Ground).

Associate Professor Westoby has also edited several volumes including, with Shevellar, Learning and Mobilising for Community Development (2012) (Ashgate).  He has four forthcoming books, Westoby, P. & Botes, L. (2019) Does Community Development Work? – South African Perspectives (Cape Town: University of Cape Town Press); Kelly, A. & Westoby, P. (2018 ) Participatory Development Practice, Using Traditional and Contemporary Frameworks (Rugby, UK: Practical Action Press); Shevellar, L. & Westoby, P. (Eds) (2018) The Routledge Handbook of Community Development Research, Routledge; and Banks, S. & Westoby, P. (2019). Ethics, equity and community development (Bristol, UK: Policy Press).

Associate Professor Westoby loves bush walking, swimming, hanging out in independent book shops, drinking good quality coffee, and home-making.

Perspective: Associate Professor Westoby brings to his work a perspective informed by reflective social practice, story, and theory. He has a love of both critical theory as a way of reflecting on the forces that shape the world and our work, and also phenomenological inquiry, ensuring embodied consciousness is foregrounded in practice and research. Moving from the empirical (what ‘is’ happening), to the critical (what ‘should be’ happening) to the constructivist (what ‘could be’ happening), Associate Professor Westoby enjoys fostering circles of dialogue amongst and between practitioners, scholars and policy-makers.

This information has been contributed by Adjunct Associate Professor Peter Westoby.


Courses – over the past 15 years Dr Westoby has taught as range of courses within the community development sphere, including: youth work practice; community development method/analysis; community economic development; and, learning and mobilising community development.

This information has been contributed by Adjunct Associate Professor Peter Westoby.


Research Foci

  • Community development theory and practice (in multiple fields – e.g. youth, refugee, social economy-cooperatives, disaster response, mental health; and locations – e.g. South Africa, Uganda, Vanuatu, Australia)
  • Community-based education and social mobilisation (methodologies and models: e.g. experiential, elicitive, and emancipatory education approaches)
  • Dialogue theory and reflective social practice (hermeneutical and phenomenological work in relation to community and social practice)
  • Forced migration studies (refugee, asylum seekers, development-induced displacement)
  • Energy, poverty and community development

Overall, I bring phenomenological, constructivist and critical approaches to my research.


  • Westoby, P. (2016) ‘Towards participation: with analysis, politics and hospitality’, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences Summer School (Research Institute for Societal Innovation), Netherlands, June 6th 2016.
  • Westoby, P. (2015) Keynote address at James Cook University Annual Social Justice Lectures (at Townsville and Cairns Campuses), titled ‘Missing and marginal voices: working across differences and for justice’, presented on 17th and 18th August 2015.
  • Westoby, P. (2015) ‘Soul, soulful, ensouling and soul-force, within community development and social change’, at Innovate Symposium, Brisbane, Feb 19th 2015.
  • Westoby, P. (2013). ‘Challenges and Issues for Community Development – A South African and Ugandan Perspective’, at Annual Irish Community Development Conference, Maynooth, Ireland, November 14th, 2013.
  • Westoby, P. (2013). Keynote expert input – ‘On dialogue and development’, Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, Johannesburg, RSA, 26th August 2013.
  • Westoby, P. (2012). ‘In conversation with Steinbeck – Community Development and Dialogue’ at Innovation Symposium, Volunteering Queensland, Brisbane, September 2012.
  • Westoby, P. & Shevellar, L. (2011). ‘Walking the talk: reflections on community development education and pedagogy’ at Community Development Educators Conference, Maynooth University, Ireland, 15th November 2011.
  • Westoby, P. (2011). ‘Challenges and Issues for Community Development – Global, Australian and South African Perspectives’ at Annual Irish Community Development Conference, Maynooth, Ireland, November 16th, 2011

Other written work (non-academically peer reviewed)

  • Westoby, P. (2017)’A community development response to “sham” right wing populism’, in Re-imagining social work: – see
  • Westoby, P. (2017) ‘Creating us: Community work with soul’, in Practice Insights, International Association of Community Development, Issue 7, p20-21.
  • Westoby, P. (2017) Book review of Politics, Power and Community Development, by Meade, Shaw & Banks, Policy Press, Bristol, for Community Development Journal (by invitation). Volume 52, Issue 4, 1 October 2017, pp.734-736.
  • Lyons, K. & Westoby, P. (2016) ‘Forest plantation by Green Resources in Kachung, Uganda’, in Environmental Justice Atlas –
  • Westoby, P. & Lyons, K. (2016) ‘Reflections on Friends of the Earth Uganda “Sustainability School” Advocacy Initiative’, Chain Reaction. Australian Friends of the Earth, Issue…. 2016.
  • Lyons, K. & Westoby, P. (2016) ‘Green Resources Hedging around Growing International Calls for Radical Reform of Its Plantation Forestry Practices’, at (as of 24.3.16).
  • Lyons, K. & Westoby, P. (2016) ‘The Other Side of Green: Sweden Freezes Payments in Carbon Trade Deal Following Exposé on Global Company that has Cheated Local Communities and the Environment’, in For a Better World (publication of the Fair World Project), Issue 12, Spring, 2016, p.15-16.
  • Lyons, K. & Westoby, P. (2015) ‘How climate change efforts by developed countries are hurting Africa’s rural poor’ in The Conversation September 17th, 2015.
  • Lyons, K. & Westoby, P. (2015) ‘The Darker Side of Green:’ in Chain Reaction. Australian Friends of the Earth, Issue #123, April 2015.
  • Westoby, P. (2015). ‘Reflections on 1st order and 2nd order social change work’ in 4th Barefoot Collective Guide: Exploring the Real Work of Social Change. The 4th Barefoot Guide Writer’s Collective ( p. 111.
  • Shevellar, L., Connor, M. & Westoby, P. (2014) ‘The role of community development in building resilience in response to disasters: The Queensland experience’. Practice Insights: Issue 3 Winter 2014. International Association of Community Development, p.3-5.
  • Lyons, K. Richards, C. & Westoby, P. (2014). Carbon Violence: The Real Cost of Forestry-Based Carbon Markets, The Oakland Institute, Oakland, California.
  • Lyons, K. & Westoby, P. (2013) ‘Carbon markets and the failed promise of new green gold: plantation forestry in Uganda’ in Chain Reaction. Australian Friends of the Earth, Issue #119, Nov. 2013, p20-23.
  • Westoby, P. (2013). ‘Community engagement and dialogue practice: In conversation with the wisdom of some thinkers’ in Empowering Communities Through Dialogue. Nelson Mandela Centre for Memory, p.30-31. 15.
  • Antrobus, E., Cheshire, L., Connor, M., George, N., Madsen, W. Ramirez, S., Shevellar, L., Walters, P., Westoby, P. & Wickes, R. (2013). ‘Identifying and Evaluating Factors Influencing Community Resilience in a Crisis’. The Queensland Centre for Social Science Innovation.
  • Shevellar, L., Conner, M. & Westoby, P. (2013). Getting back on your feet: community development and natural disaster. CD Unit, School of Social Work/Human Services, The University of Queensland.
  • Shevellar, L., Conner, M. & Westoby, P. (2013). The role of community development in building resilience in response to disasters: The Queensland experience. IACD Practice Insights.
  • Westoby, P. (2010). Diversity, Respect and Peace Resource Kit 1 & 2 – Peace-Building among young people. Community Praxis Cooperative.
  • Westoby, P. (2008). A study of innovative community-based responses to intra and inter-cultural youth conflict and violence. Churchill Fellowship Trust.
  • Westoby, P. & Walker, P. (2004). A dialogue in healing – in conversation with refugees settling within Australia, for Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture & Trauma (QPASTT) and Queensland Health.
  • Westoby, P. (1998). Choose a Future – Better Life Education Curriculum for Boys, Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA) – 52 lesson plans for school or NGO based curriculum (field tested in five countries)
  • Westoby, P. (1997). ‘A Soulful Approach to Community Development: How to Invoke Depth and Meaning Into Our Vocation and Our Communities’, in Avocado Series Issue 2. OLIVE (Organisation Development and Training).
  • Westoby, P. (1996). ‘A Comparison of Youth Work and Organisation Development Work in Inner-city Brisbane (Australia) and Semi-rural KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa)’, in Avocado Series Issue 5. OLIVE (Organisation Development and Training).
  • Westoby, P. (1994). Waiting in Line – a Mutual Journey: Refugee Support Through Volunteer Eyes. Brisbane: Queensland Churches Together – Refugee & Migrant Services Committee.

Workshops and Seminars

  • Westoby, P. (2018). Lecture – ‘The Eclipse of Life – the ice queen reigns: Responding with a phenomenological social practice’, Queensland Jungian Society.
  • Westoby, P. (2017). ‘CD’s response to “sham” right-wing nativist populism – contributions to a Thinkery’, a symposium with Professor Jim Ife and Emeritus Professor Susan Kenny, Victorian International Community Development Network, 13th November 2017.
  • Westoby, P. (2017 Seminar discussion: ‘Action research – Practice Experiments and Prototypes in Just Transitions’, both at Building a New Economy in Australia Conference, New Economy Alliance of Australia, September 1-3, Brisbane, 2017.
  • Westoby, P. (2017) Public Lecture in ‘Soul, Soil and Society’ series of the Sustainability Institute, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, March 8th, 2017.
  • Westoby, P. (2017) Paper Presentation on ‘Carbon-trading, oil extraction and “different” kinds of community development in Uganda’, at: a. New Zealand ACDA & IACD Conference, Feb 15-17th 2017; b. South Africa, Centre for Development Support, University of Free State, March 17th 2017. c. Sunshine Coast University, Sustainability Centre, May 2nd, 2017
  • Westoby, P. (2016) Seminar on ‘Carbon-trading, oil extraction and “different” kinds of community development in Uganda’ at: a)Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (Research Institute for Societal Innovation), Netherlands, 17th May, 2016 b)University of Glasgow (Community Development Program), Scotland, 24th May, 2016. c)Durham University (Centre for Social Justice and Community Action, in partnership with School of Applied Social Science and Policy, Professions and Community Research Group), England, 26th, May 2016.
  • Westoby, P. (2016) Seminar on ‘Reflective Social Practice and Phenomenology’, at Fonte Institute, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 28th February 2016.
  • Westoby, P. (2015) Workshop at Community Development Resource Association, Cape Town, South Africa, on ‘Dialogue and community development’, 20th, November 2015.
  • Westoby, P. (2015) Seminar at Murdoch University Community Development Program: ‘Soul, soul-force and “soul of the world”: community work with hospitality, holism and hostility’, 12th November 2015.
  • Westoby, P. (2015) Facilitation and input into Special Expert Advice session titled, ‘The process of Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) Innovation, exploring the interface between community development and cooperative development within South Africa – a challenge of theory, practice and policy (as well as a comparative analysis with other African countries), at a one week Academy of the ILO, Johannesburg, RSA, fully funded as a South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC) Scholarship, 27th-31st July 2015.
  • Westoby, P. (2015) Workshop facilitated at Pacifica Institute, California (as part of three-day intensive coordinated by Professor Mary Watkins), titled ‘Community development working across difference – theory and practice’ – on 16th June 2015.
  • Westoby, P. (2015) Annual Social Justice Public Lecture at Sunshine Coast University, ‘Missing Voices: Working Across Difference’ delivered on May 7th 2015.
  • Lyons, K. & Westoby, P. (2013) ‘Privatising Green Development in Uganda: Plantation Forestry and the Enclosure of Nature and Livelihoods’ at Financing of Forestry, Agriculture and Climate Adaptation, Multi-Disciplinary Workshop, 22 November 2013.
  • Westoby, P. (2013). Paper presented at workshop titled: ‘The Multiple Truths of Asylum in Australia: A Deconstructive Analysis of Non-Truths, Cracks and Silences’ for WITS University, Johannesburg, Centre for Migration Studies, June 5-7th, 2013, hosted by Professor Didier Fassim.
  • Westoby, P. (2013). Expert workshop titled: ‘In conversation with Steinbeck – Community Development and a Theory and Practice of Dialogue’ at; a. #1: All Hallows University, Dublin, October 10th, 2013, & b. #2: Durham University, Centre for Community Action & Social Justice, UK, October 24th; & c. #3: Amsterdam Centre for Applied Sciences, Netherlands, November 7th, 2013.
This information has been contributed by Adjunct Associate Professor Peter Westoby.