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Imagining Peace: Reflections of a Seasoned Peacenik

Sometimes playful but always passionate, Imagining Peace offers a glimpse into the private world of a quirky systems reformer. The great-granddaughter of a social activist, Dawn Joyce invites us along as she challenges peace and justice issues at the personal, community and global level. We are introduced to a network of reformers who offer creative alternatives to a world in crisis.

Dawn has worked as an environmentalist and as a teacher of students with emotional and relationship difficulties. Through working ‘smarter, not harder’, she finds nourishment and satisfaction in a simple and abundant life.

Dawn is a freelance writer and editor. This is her first book.

ISBN 97819215231830 (PB, 76pp);
152mm x 229mm
AUD $25 USD $18 NZD $27 GBP £12 EUR €14
ISBN 97819215231847 (eBook) AUD $13 USD $9 NZD $15 GBP £6 EUR €7


Dawn Joyce’s reflections give pause for thought: how do we respond to our colonial history and to militarism, rampant around the world? Dawn shows us a life that values effective nonviolence. Clearly a determined and creative spirit, she supports others’ struggles with compassion and insight. It is a privilege to have shared just a tiny bit of this inspiring story.
– Jo Vallentine, fellow Quaker peace activist

An original “Quaker Granny for Peace”, Dawn Joyce tells us how she has faced personal challenges and vulnerabilities in sage reflections on her inner life, family, work and activism. Her central message is about how to take care of self in the service of others and how never to give up in the eternal challenge of building a peaceful and harmonious world.
– Professor Kevin Clements, National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago

Dawn Joyce

Dawn Joyce is a long term activist for issues of justice and peace. She is a freelance academic editor, science communicator and willing babysitter for her grandchildren. She identifies as a citizen of the world in the Quaker Universalist tradition. Dawn lives in Brisbane.


Dawn's Facebook page



In the autumn of 2010, I walked the land for seven weeks with a group of women carrying a message stick. The journey tested both my patience and my feet, but I am glad that I managed to participate as long as I did. The peace walk was a watershed event. It came as I was walking away from ten years of community advocacy work to promote supportive housing for people with mental health issues, while working as a freelance editor.

My previous work with Education Queensland involved working with students seeking healing for emotional and relationship problems. This is skilled peace work. I see my work at Barrett Adolescent Centre and with the peace convergence as public and private aspects of essential systems reform.

In the summer of 2015–16, with the words of our PM Malcolm Turnbull championing “innovation”, I approached the lead housing bodies in Queensland with a public-private partnership proposal. I already knew from earlier investigations that the state lags in housing and support offerings. At this time federal funds were up for grabs to address domestic violence and the legal team was focused on grant applications. But even when they did finally phone me back, the word was that this was not in the framework of their operation and innovation was not a concept they were prepared to embrace.

Bracing myself, I offered a single tenancy-for-life to a friend with complex needs. Since then my aim has been to encourage participation in the community and to establish networks of support. It has been satisfying to verify that the principle of “housing first” can bring stability, healing, confidence and personal growth.

I am grateful for the many opportunities I have had to give back to the community and I believe everyone has something special to offer. I strongly support the introduction of a universal basic income that is linked to individualised social contracts overseen by circles of support in the community.

It is a privilege to bring a reformer’s zeal to broken systems and to endeavour to explain where belief systems are not congruent. With a deep belief that violence never solved anything, it is disturbing to me that violence is still state sanctioned. Our First Nations had a system of diplomacy developed over 60 000 years: we need to acknowledge and learn from that.