CounterAct provides training, capacity building and resources to environmental and social justice campaigners across Australia.

Our people

Nicola Paris is the Founder and Coordinator of CounterAct.  She has extensive experience working on a range of campaigns over fifteen years, and has been facilitating within a diversity of groups for many years.  Having worked across the full spectrum of progressive social change – from sailing with Sea Shepherd on Antarctic campaigns, to working as an adviser to a Senator she has a developed a perspective informed by hands on experience, on the tools we can use to create effective social change.

We collaborate with a range of other volunteers. Interested in volunteering for CounterAct? Get in touch.

You can check out more information about Nicola on her linked in profile here though here are some nice words from some nice folks:

“Nicola Paris is a facilitator of extraordinary skill and commitment. Her attention to processes and people demonstrates both sensitivity and practicality, bringing individuals together in group processes to the greater enrichment of both. I feel privileged to have worked with her in some challenging and historic community actions, and recommend her work with the highest praise.”  ~ George Woods, NSW Coordinator, Lock the Gate Alliance
“I have been working with Nicola Paris for the past year now. Working with 350.org Australia we have engaged Nicola to undertake a range of training programs. Each time I have been always extremely impressed with her work. Nicola is professional and reliable, producing high quality training sessions that are instructive and entertaining. Nicola has experience across a range of areas, and interacts extremely well with community members  from across the spectrum. I know that we will certainly be engaging in her services in the future.” ~ Simon Copland, 350.org Australia

“Nicola is a fantastic trainer who engages a group deeply in the learning process around change-making. Highly recommended.” ~ Anna Rose, Author, Environmentalist, Earth Hour Manager, WWF Australia

“Nicola was instrumental in supporting, training and educating a group of young activists who came together to organise a large conference in Perth in 2007. Without her support, I’m not sure we would have succeeded. Since then I have worked with Nicola on a number of different campaigns – her facilitation skills are excellent, as are her workshop designs and ability to provide training to novices and experts alike.”Lian Sinclair, Union organiser

“Nicola is a passionate, knowledgeable and creative trainer and facilitator, creating a comfortable learning environment allows her to instill her vast knowledge and valuable skills to those whom she teaches. Nicola truly engages in your campaign and by doing so helps those involved come up with a plan of their own that is well informed and strategically smart. I will continue to employ Nicola for future training” ~ Jaxon Barnes, The Wilderness Society

“Nicola’s approach to direct action training, safer spaces, facilitation and conflict resolution is one in which she treats all participants with the utmost respect and manages group dynamics and the competing needs of participants with skill. Nicola is approachable, caring and utilises her considerable sense of humour to encourage participants and to lighten the atmosphere when it’s most needed or called for.

I have witnessed Nicola facilitating a ‘General Assembly’ at Occupy Melbourne (of the global ‘Occupy’ movement) where she successfully managed upwards of 1000 participants, and I have also seen her use her impressive facilitation skills in groups with as few as 3 participants to manage outcomes driven conversations where emotions and stress is high. In both of these examples Nicola has enabled everyone involved to feel empowered and valued in the process whilst also achieving their shared goals.”~ Erin Buckley, Federation of Community Legal Centres

Facilitation, Occupy Melbourne Photo: Nick Carson

“Nicola Paris is living proof that just because you’re a fantastic activist doesn’t mean you can’t be fabulous.  I can think of few people I’d rather co-facilitate with or get arrested with.  Switched on, intelligent, amazing practitioner and thoroughly hilarious*. The only question is, why haven’t you booked her yet?” ~ Jarrod McKenna, Pastor, & Adviser – Youth, Faith & Activism, World Vision

“Nicola has been an invaluable campaigner, organiser and facilitator in various environmental and social justice campaigns for over a decade – including working on campaigns with internationally recognised marine wildlife conservation organisation The Sea Shepherd. One of Nicola’s greatest contributions is her ability to facilitate large groups of people and skill share across various areas of campaigning including organising, legal support, communications and mobilisation.” ~ Natalie Lowrey, International Mining & Environmental Justice campaigner

Nicola Paris has been tirelessly supporting our grass roots rural campaign here in Gippsland and in Western Victoria for the past 18 months. She has travelled across the state to guide and educate often conservative rural communities that are preparing for direct action and potential blockades for the first time in their lives. Her ability to connect with a diverse range of people and put them at ease about the potential road ahead for them in defending their communities is amazing. She is approachable, well liked and accepted within these rural settings. Her most valuable contribution is her ability to empower these communities.

For me, I would have been lost without her involvement in preparing the Seaspray community for an impeding blockade earlier this year, her knowledge, experience and understanding is invaluable to our campaign and I couldn’t think of a better person to be guiding us all through this sometimes challenging but exceptional time here in Victoria as we continue our battle against coal and unconventional gas developments. ~ Ursula Alquier, Lock the Gate Victorian Coordinator

“Nicola has advanced facilitation, campaigning, activist training and social movement support skills developed from years of experience in diverse groups and projects working towards environmental and social justice. It has always been a pleasure and learning experience to work with Nicola and to observe her skills in action.” ~ Wenny Theresia, Environmental Justice Activist

CounterAct works collaboratively with other trainers and a range of organisations including Friends of the Earth,  and Plan to Win.

 

*please note – hilarity not guaranteed