Chris Johnston is the founder and a Director of Context. She is an experienced facilitator who specialises in community consultation and involvement, and in understanding the value of heritage and attachment to place.
Chris has a national reputation for her contributions to the development of social significance methods. Chris is also a strategic planner who works with government, private organisations and communities in the development of strategic policies.
Over the last 15 years, Chris has been at the forefront of developing Australian approaches and methods for the systematic and careful identification of social value of heritage places and the involvement of communities.
She has carried out a number of commissioned projects in this area, and contributed to the development of methods through publications, training and conference presentations. Her paper, What is Social Value?, published by the Australian Heritage Commission in 1992, has become a standard reference on the assessment of social value. She was a member of the Burra Charter Working Group that developed the current Burra Charter (1999).
Prior to establishing Context, Chris worked on strategic regional planning at Upper Yarra Valley & Dandenong Ranges Authority, landscape and heritage assessment with the National Trust, environment and heritage planning and policy for the Victorian government, and taught in socio-environmental research, policy and public participation at RMIT.
Since starting the business in 1984, consulting has been her full-time occupation, creating Context and establishing its credentials in the fields of heritage, training and community engagement. Developing a new national approach to assessing inspirational landscapes enabled her to engage a wide range of people from Australia and overseas. In developing policy and a strategic vision such as for the Victorian Heritage Strategy (2005-10) Chris aims to build shared understandings about the importance of our heritage and a strong commitment to its conservation.