CIVIC LITERACY
CIVIC LITERACY
COMMON GROUND
COMMON GROUND
PUBLIC LEARNING
PUBLIC LEARNING
SUPPORTED DECISIONS
SUPPORTED DECISIONS

The Dept of Words & Deeds, led by Jane Farrow, does engagement, policy and strategy work for the public sector and institutions.

As a journalist, broadcaster, non-profit leader, facilitator and City Hall staffer, Jane is a veteran convener who has been leading constructive community collaborations for decades. Her approach to public engagement emphasizes creative collaboration and broad participation in transparent processes that heighten mutual understanding while identifying common ground and supported recommendations.

She has consulted on projects of local and regional significance for a range of institutions, municipalities and provincial ministries.

Our Approach

Bespoke Process Design, Dedicated Staff

Each engagement process we design is uniquely tailored to the objectives, budgets and desired outcomes of the project. Consultation strategies are flexible, utilizing multiple modes of outreach and delivery including public open houses, focus groups, participatory workshops and WalkShops, long-form interviewing and participant observation, online surveys and intercept surveys. The Dept of Words & Deeds takes on each project with care and dedication, establishing and maintaining clear lines of communication and responsibility from start to finish.

Compact, Nimble, Responsive

We are a small firm that adapts quickly to the scope and scale of each project. The Dept of Words & Deeds only takes on projects we can focus on and deliver with integrity. We also understand that circumstances change, the context of consultations are dynamic, project scope can evolve as processes unfold and communities weigh in. Being nimble and agile allows us to adapt our approach, deliverables, timelines and reports to suit clients and community when the need arises.

Fresh, Inclusive, Creative

Dept of Words & Deeds principal Jane Farrow has a long history of finding new ways for citizens to get involved and be included in their neighbourhoods. As the first Executive Director of Jane’s Walk, she inspired hundreds of people to lead participatory walking tours of their neighbourhoods, as a way to knit communities together and learn about cities. She has a strong record of bringing together youth, seniors, newcomers, LGBTQ2 and people facing multiple barriers to deliberate and design projects and research reports together.

Immersive Engagement – WalkShops

The Dept of Words & Deeds brings a critical advantage with extensive experience facilitating WalkShops, an immersive, participatory method of gathering input and expertise on community and policy issues. They’re essentially a co-designed community site walk exploring local concerns and design solutions together with a wide array of interested parties – residents, business owners, social service providers, planners, designers and elected officials. WalkShops deepen engagement by pro-actively tapping into the breadth and depth of knowledge people bring to important planning and policy concerns.

Strategic Communications

All projects need ‘narratives’ that can be understood by residents, City staff and other stakeholders. A project narrative can be established in collaboration with the client team clearly stating the ‘ask and task’ of the project. This narrative is consistently applied to all communications and consultation materials, including backgrounders, invitations, agendas and reports. Jane’s varied and diverse experience as a community advocate, Toronto City Hall staffer, broadcaster and engagement specialist positions her uniquely to formulate pragmatic approaches to finding common themes and shedding light on shared perspectives.

Clients & Partners

Clients, partners & collaborators include:

City of Toronto (Planning, PFR, Economic Development), Province of Ontario, (Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport), CMHC, United Church of Canada, Artscape, Why Not Theatre, Park People, Akin Studios, Housing Action Lab – Evergreen Brickworks, Brookfield Institute, Not Far From The Tree, Homes First, Toronto Arts Council, Riverdale Farm, City of Mississauga, Urban Strategies, PMA Landscape Architects, NBLC, Public Work Inc, HDR, Planning Partnership, Sidewalk Toronto, York University, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, MASS LBP and Swerhun Facilitation.