Our Team

The NNN founders are practitioner-academics from the University of Newcastle.

NNN is supported by a network of associates who have partnered with us to provide expertise and extend the reach of the program.

As a collective, we bring experience working across differing fields of professional practice but are united in our passion for practice that is authentic, grounded, trauma informed and culturally safe.


Team Member Bios & Background

TAMARA BLAKEMOREChief Investigator, NNN Facilitator, NNN-PP Mentor/Trainer, Research Team
Doctor of Philosophy, Bachelor of Social Work (Hons), Bachelor of Arts (Psychology)

Tamara is a social work practitioner, researcher and educator at the University of Newcastle and the Chief Investigator of NNN. Her framework for practice is focused on contexts and connections and how experience of these prompt, facilitate and constrain wellbeing.

Tamara’s PhD explored the occurrence and outcomes of child sexual abuse in a prospective longitudinal study of women and children. She was instrumental in the design and policy uptake of evidence from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children and was a long-time collaborator with the Australian Centre for Child Protection (UniSA) with whom she worked to produce research for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Tamara was a member of the federal government expert panel for families and children and has worked across Australia to support evidence-based practice and outcomes measurement in complex community contexts. A senior Social Work lecturer in the School of Humanities, Creative Industries and Social Sciences at UON, Tamara remains actively involved in clinical practice in health, mental health and justice settings.

Tamara is an advocate for holistic, connection-based responses to social issues experienced by children, young people, their families and communities.

LOUISE RAKProject Manager, NNN Facilitator, NNN-PP Mentor/Trainer, Research Team, PhD Candidate
Master of Business Administration, Master of Counselling, Postgraduate Diploma Psychology, Bachelor of Social Science (Sociology)

Louise Rak has worked in social services in areas of youth homelessness, OOHC, mental health, disability services, youth justice and early intervention across the Hunter and Central Coast regions in NSW for over 15 years. Louise has been with NNN since it began and has been central in all aspects of the program. As part of NNN, Louise has nearly completed her work for a Doctor of Philosophy which aims to better understand the narratives of young women who use violence in their interpersonal relationships. Louise is also the Board Chairperson for Nova for Women and Children, an organisation that supports women and children impacted by violence and homelessness.

Louise regularly contributes to policy analysis in areas of homelessness and domestic violence, bringing a wealth of cross sector experience to her work.

GRAEME STUARTNNN Facilitator, NNN-PP Mentor/Trainer, Research Team
Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Letters (Peace Studies), Bachelor of Social Science (Welfare Studies), Bachelor of Music

Graeme joined the NNN team in late 2018. With almost 40 years’ experience in family and community work, he has worked in a variety of roles including 18 years as a community worker and lecturer at the Family Action Centre, University of Newcastle.
As well as his work with NNN he is active in the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) as a facilitator and a convenor of the AVP International research team, the treasurer of Transition Newcastle, the person behind the Sustaining Community blog, and a proud father.

Graeme is passionate about strengths-based approaches to engaging families and communities and violence prevention.

Elsie is a Yagel/Bundjalung woman who grew up in Maclean and Yamba, far north east coast, NSW, who is currently living on Awabakal Country.

Elsie has spent over 22 dedicated years employed in areas of welfare, health, family support and Youth Justice.
Elsie’s is particularly passionate about supporting and advocating for the needs of disadvantaged Aboriginal Families, Women and Children.

Elsie is an acknowledged Awabakal Elder and professional artist and is the co-founder and Director of Justiz Community Social Justice Agency.

FELICITY COCUZZOLINNN Facilitator, NNN-PP Mentor/Trainer
Felicity is a proud descendant of the Wiradjuri Nation, and is an artist/practitioner for healing and empowerment.

Felicity is passionate about mobilising the arts for healing and wellbeing, and supporting strengths-based initiatives that promote empowerment, self-determination and lifelong learning.
Felicity has a diverse professional experience across government and non-government roles, including expressive arts and play, children’s services, child and family centred services, community and project development and contract management.

Felicity is passionate about mobilising the arts for healing and wellbeing.

CHRIS KROGHResearch Team
Doctor of Philosophy, Bachelor of Applied Science (Social Ecology), Bachelor of Social Work, Bachelor of Social Science (Honours)

Prior to working in university, Chris’ professional roles included counselling (for young people and their families), child protection and out-of-home care casework, youth sector development, NSW government policy rollout (specifically, Keep them Safe child protection reforms) and program evaluation.

Chris’ PhD research investigated the effects of documents from the NSW Children’s Court. The research used document analysis and interviews to respond to the question “what do child protection court documents do to the people closely involved with them?”
It found that documents often provoke anger and frustration from the person being written about and also that professionals try to lessen the damaging effects where possible.

Chris’ PhD research investigated the effects of documents the NSW Children’s Court.

Doctor of Philosophy, Bachelor of Law, Bachelor of Arts

Shaun is the Director of University of Newcastle Legal Centre (UNLC) and Program Convenor of the Practical Legal Training Program at the University of Newcastle.
He provides clinical supervision to law students at the UNLC and teaches into the Law School’s Practice Program, Bachelor of Laws and Juris Doctor degrees.

Shaun has acted in multiple high profile public interest cases at the UNLC and has been involved in the UNLC flagship clinic ‘Law on the Beach’ at Newcastle Beach since its inception in 2004.