Author Biographies :: Cormac Russell

Cormac Russell

Cormac Russell is Managing Director of Nurture Development, Director of ABCD Europe and a faculty member of the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) Institute at Northwestern University, Chicago. He has trained communities, agencies, NGOs and governments in ABCD and other strengths-based approaches in Kenya, Rwanda, Southern Sudan, South Africa, the UK, Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Canada and Australia. In January 2011 Cormac was appointed to the Expert Reference Group on Community Organising and Communities First, by Nick Hurd MP, Minister for Civil Society in the UK which he served on for the term of the Group.

Examples of recent work include:

  • Leading all national sporting organizations in Canada, in conjunction with the Canadian Council for Ethics in Sport, to adopt a shared vision as to how sport can become an asset for community building. This is effecting significant changes in the structures of major sporting organizations but also at a local community level in terms of community empowerment and citizen driven development.

  • Advising I&Dea in the UK on the development of an asset based approach to health and on addressing health inequalities in low income communities as well as how an assets approach can improve community health and well-being.

  • Partnering with Youth Work Ireland on a national program involving hundreds of youth practitioners and thousands of young citizens to develop a strong culture of youth led initiatives.

  • Working in partnership with the University of Limerick and Atlantic Philanthropies in Ireland to infuse an ABCD approach across the entire city of Limerick. Part of this process involved organizing an entire neighborhood to address issues of loneliness, fear and intimidation and to support citizen driven development. The long-term vision is of a city that puts citizens and communities in the driving seat, through processes of neighborhood organizing and bottom up planning and where services are organized in the way in which community is organized. 

Articles by this Author…

How Community Animators Work Around the World

Posted on July 30, 2017 in Posts

Transcription of John and Peter's July 25th conversation with Cormac Russell on his work with communities, agencies, NGOs and governments using ABCD and other strengths-based approaches in Kenya, Rwanda, Southern Sudan, South Africa, the UK, Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Canada and Australia.… read more »

Our 13 Staging Posts in Learning and Developmpent

Posted on July 15, 2017 in Posts

What the community animators at UK-based consulting and research organization Nurture Development have learned in the 21 years since its founding.… read more »

Cormac Russell on Change That Starts with Communities

Posted on February 10, 2017 in Posts

Environmental activist and writer Rob Hopkins talks with Nurture Development's Cormac Russell on community development and what happens when people come together and behave effectively in a way that’s about right relationships with each other and the place that they're in.… read more »

Sustainable Community Development: From What's Wrong to What's Strong

Posted on June 8, 2016 in Posts

How can we help people to live a good life? Instead of trying to right what's wrong within a community, Cormac argues in this video of his TEDxExeter talk that we need to start with what's strong. We need to help people discover what gifts they have and to use those gifts to enrich those around them.… read more »

12 Thoughts on Inclusive Community Building for 2016

Posted on January 18, 2016 in Posts

Reflections for the year ahead on community building the ABCD way… read more »

Looking Back to Look Forward: The Intellectual Heritage of Asset-Based Community Development

Posted on July 14, 2015 in Posts

In June 2015 ABCD Europe marked the 20th anniversary of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute by bringing together people from around the world who have fostered place-based, citizen-led, and asset-based social movements.That week Festival Convenor and ABCD Europe Co-Director Cormac Russell also launched his new book in which he and John McKnight explore ABCD's intellectual heritage over the last forty years.… read more »

One-Room School and Reclaiming Economic Sovereignty

Posted on February 9, 2015 in Posts

What does a one-room schoolhouse in Michigan have to do with Greece, Europe, Democracy and the now floundering economic globalization experiment?… read more »

Community Building and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Posted on July 1, 2014 in Posts

How Ivan Illich's classic "Deschooling Society," Robert Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" and a group called Bikers Against Child Abuse inspire community building.… read more »

Guiding Participation and Inclusion

Posted on October 7, 2013 in Stories

The central challenge for participation, and inclusion more generally, is how can we promote citizen-led innovation that stays local, but over time proliferates? La Leche League is a wonderful example of what we can do to support people to share their healthfulness with each other.… read more »