Gunning academic reviews benefits of micro-impact projects

Dr Michael de Percy leading a workshop on Trove at the Gunning library last year.
Dr Michael de Percy leading a workshop on Trove at the Gunning library last year.

An article published in the London School of Economics and Political Science blog has boasted the tangible benefits of academics and professionals engaging in rural villages. 

Author and Gunning resident Dr Michael de Percy, Senior Lecturer in Political Science, University of Canberra said his article, which explores the impact of ‘micro-impact’ – small scale projects and innovations – can contribute to the vitality of townships across the district.

The tree changer, who moved to Gunning in 2015, said his recent workshops on history, stoic philosophy and leadership were well received in comparison to larger cities.

“Micro-impacts enable us to capture informal ideas and approaches rather than directly funded by council,” Dr de Percy said.

He cited contributions from existing residents, such as the fine arts workshop by Margarita Georgiadis and its impact to residents involvement and tourism, and the Weather Underground app which has helped farmers spray weeds. 

“It is difficult to calculate but it is an emerging area,” he said. 

“There is a move towards community engagement from academia and to measure the impact of that engagement as an output. This idea of micro-impact is interesting to look into a bit further. 

“The collective do it, and it really does make a difference to the lifestyle of the village and provides a form of entertainment.” 

He divided his findings on the projects into three main lessons: that trial and error was key to innovating a project through the help of professionals that could transfer their skills, recognition and measurement of projects were beneficial and micro-impact strategies should be small and sustainable. 

“Micro impacts are similar to a pilot project, you relaise the benefits and reasonable significant than can extend further. You experiment in an informal space with the aim of bringing it in an formal space… in an ongoing service,” he said. 

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