International Learning Community (ILC)

Supporting jurisdictions around the world that are committed to becoming restorative.

The Restorative Lab hosts and supports the Restorative International Learning Community.  A group of leading experts, policymakers, community leaders, practitioners supporting jurisdictions around the world that are committed to exploring and realizing the potential of a restorative approach to create and sustain healthy and just communities.

Learning together on restorative journeys

The ILC mobilizes knowledge across a network of local learning communities that bring together community, government and researchers to support the development and implementation of a restorative approach. These local learning communities are committed to building connections and working together to share knowledge, support one another and lift each other up in their common efforts to become restorative communities.

The ILC has come together to:

  • Collaborate with one another to accelerate learning and development of a restorative approach to create just communities;
  • Reject competitiveness and support one another in sharing our knowledge and expertise;
  • Deepen knowledge and seek to establish a foundation for other communities around the world to come and learn for this work;
  • Establish an international network capable of generating better data and knowledge and collaborating to scale up and innovate 

Building Restorative Communities

The International Learning Community supports workshops, conferences and learning exchanges among researchers, policymakers and practitioners. We are involved in designing, convening, coordinating and supporting the experiential learning and capacity building essential for significant and sustainable social, institutional and system change. The ILC leads critical research initiatives and targeted projects ensuring access to expertise, sharing research and data.

Related Reports and ResourcesVisit the Education & Learning section for reports,  publications and videos for restorative communities

Faces of the International Learning Community

The ILC came together initially as a committed group of leaders in the field — scholars, policymakers and practitioners who shared a common recognition of the potential of a restorative approach to governance and human services to address some of the most significant and pressing social problems and challenges and secure better communities/societies (healthier, more inclusive and just).  

This group saw the importance of enabling connection and collaboration and common commitment across local contexts seeking to take this approach — they sought to build an international learning community to share, mobilize and advance knowledge to support the realization of restorative communities.

ILC Lead Team

Jennifer Llewellyn is Director of the Restorative International Learning Community. A Professor of Law at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia her teaching and research is focused in the areas of relational theory, restorative justice, truth commissions, international and domestic human rights law and Canadian constitutional law. She has written and published extensively on the theory and practice of a restorative approach across human services in both transitional contexts and established democracies. Professor Llewellyn was the Director of the Nova Scotia Restorative Justice Community University Research Alliance (NSRJ-CURA) a collaborative research partnership between university and community partners focused on the institutionalization of restorative justice. She advises and supports a number of projects and programs using a restorative approach in Nova Scotia and internationally. For example, she has been an academic/policy advisor to the Nova Scotia Restorative Justice Program, the Provincial Restorative Approaches in Schools Project, the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Jamaican government, and the United Nations. She is currently the Scholar in Residence with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. She facilitated the design process for Canada’s first restorative public inquiry into the Home for Colored Children and was appointed as an advisor to the process. She previously advised the Assembly of First Nations and Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission on the response to Residential School abuse.

Paul Nixon, an independent Social Worker, based in Wellington New Zealand has worked for more than 30 years as a practitioner and leader in the government and community sector. Previously Chief Social Worker for Government of New Zealand for 8 years and prior to that Assistant Director Children’s Services for North Yorkshire County Council, UK for 5 years. Paul has his own Independent Consultancy working internationally with Government and Non-Government agencies and Universities in New Zealand, United Kingdom, Europe, USA, Canada and Australia. 

His interests include Restorative Practices, Child Protection, Family Group Conferences, Children’s Voice and Participation and Kinship Care. Paul has written a number of books and articles on social work, empowerment practice and social work with children and families. 


Mary Ivec holds post-graduate degrees in social policy, social work and counselling having completed her Bachelor of Arts (Sociology and Politics) at the ANU. Mary has over thirty years experience in human services ranging from the not-for-profit sector, government policy development, social work education and clinical practice as a mental health social worker.

Mary convenes the Canberra Restorative Community Network which has over 600 members interested in sharing and learning about the applications of restorative justice practices and processes across social issues.

Mary’s thesis explores the relational dimensions of regulation through the case study of glyphosate (commonly known as the weedspray RoundUp) in Australia. By exploring the regulation of glyphosate in terms of the relationships that matter between actors, mechanisms and principles, and why they matter, Mary is interested in a deeper and expanded relational explanation of responsive regulation and its potential application to regulatory theory and practice more broadly.

Gale Burford PhD, MSW is Emeritus Professor, University of Vermont. He has held full-time appointments in Social Work at Memorial University of Newfoundland, the University of Vermont, and visiting appointments at the University of Stirling in Scotland, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, the Centre for International Governance and Justice (CIGJ), School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) Australia National University, and Vermont Law School.  He has published on a range of topics but his best-known research focuses on the use of family engagement and restorative approaches at the intersection of child protection and interpersonal violence that first grew from he and Joan Pennell’s work on the Newfoundland & and Labrador Family Group Decision Making Project. He is co-editor with John and Valerie Braithwaite of Restorative and Responsive Human Services (Routledge, 2019) and of Family Group Conferencing: New Directions in Community-Centered Child & Family Practice with co-editor Joe Hudson (Aldine, 2000).

His research has focused on restorative justice and family engagement interventions — particularly in situations of child abuse and interpersonal violence, the use of drug courts, reparative probation with adult offenders, a youth-run community living program, group care and residential treatment programs, differential treatment approaches, teamwork, and organizational change.

Estelle MacDonald is CEO of Hull Collaborative Academy Trust. The trust runs 15 schools who are all committed to the restorative ethos. Estelle has been awarded an OBE for her services to education. She is a national leader of education and her business is improving schools and turning failing schools around. She is also the founder of Hull centre for restorative practice playing a critical role in the drive to establish Hull as a restorative city. Her passion is in educating children and adults in restorative practice to improve outcomes for all but especially the disadvantaged.

Miranda Forsyth is an Associate Professor at RegNet School of Regulation and Global Governance in the College of Asia and Pacific at the Australian National University. She is the co-director of the Centre for Restorative Justice at the ANU and the convenor of the Masters of Criminology, Justice and Regulation. Miranda is the author of A Bird that Flies with Two Wings: Kastom and State Justice Systems in Vanuatu (2009) ANU ePress and co-author of Weaving Intellectual Property Policy in Small island Developing States, Intersentia 2015. The broad focus of Miranda’s research is investigating the possibilities and challenges of the inter-operation of state and non-state justice and regulatory systems. She currently works on the topic of sorcery accusation related violence in PNG.

Saleem (Sal) Tariq

Saleem (Sal) Tariq is the Director of Children and Families in Leeds and committed to making Leeds the best place for children and young people in the UK. He led the service through significant change from a poorly performing in 2009 to a nationally recognised service from 2015 onwards.  Restorative practices have been at the heart of this work, including a leadership development programme for all managers, a restorative social work programme for all social work teams, and investment in evidence-based restorative offers such as Family Group Conferences.  Sal is passionate about using restorative and relational approaches to give families a greater say in how to resolve their difficulties. 

Fania E. Davis

Fania Davis is a leading national voice on restorative justice. She is a long-time social justice activist, civil rights trial attorney, writer, restorative justice practitioner, and educator with a PhD in Indigenous Knowledge. Coming of age in Birmingham, Alabama during the social ferment of the civil rights era, the murder of two close childhood friends in the 1963 Sunday School bombing crystallized within Fania a passionate commitment to social transformation. For the next decades, she was active in the Civil Rights, Black liberation, women’s, prisoners’, peace, anti-racial violence, economic justice and anti-apartheid movements. Studying with African indigenous healers catalyzed Fania’s search for a healing justice, ultimately leading her to serve as Founding Director of Restorative Justice of Oakland Youth (RJOY) and Co-Founding Board Member of the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice (NACRJ). Her numerous honors include the Ubuntu award for service to humanity, the Dennis Maloney Award for excellence in Youth Restorative Justice, the Black Feminist Shapeshifters and Waymakers’ Award, the Tikkun (Repair the World) award, the Ella Baker Jo Baker Human Rights Award, and the Ebony POWER 100 award. The Los Angeles Times named her a New Civil Rights Leader of the 21st Century. Fania, who resides in Oakland, California, writes and speaks internationally on restorative justice, racial justice, truth processes and indigeneity. Among her publications is the Little Book of Race and Restorative Justice: Black Lives, Justice, and U.S. Social Transformation.


Nigel Richardson CBE is a former Director of Children’s Services at Leeds City Council, who has been widely praised for his radical and progressive child protection practices during his 34 years in the public sector.

Sharon Inglis is the founder and director of Circles Training & Consultancy Limited and has over 25 years experience of working with organizations big and small, both nationally and internationally.  Sharon has been involved in the development of restorative practices since the 1990s.  Her practice started as a family group conference coordinator, supporting families to make decisions about children at risk. Since then she has managed the Dove Project in Hampshire, which looked at the use of family group conferencing in situations of domestic violence. She also managed a Sure Start, community-based FGC project in Portsmouth.  Sharon then led the implementation of a Home Office funded local research project exploring the use of FGC across Education, Social Services and Youth Offending teams and developed a unified, multi-agency service delivery model aimed at putting families back in the centre of decision making.

More recently Sharon has worked with Leeds City Council Childrens’ Services to develop their Family Group Conference Service as part of its vision of a Child-Friendly City.  Recognizing the organizational barriers to this approach, she worked collaboratively, with senior leaders, to analyse the organizational culture. This led to a co-designed bespoke restorative leadership programme, which was rolled out across the City to all managers and social work staff.  Leeds has subsequently received national acclaim for its children’s services.  In their 2015 Ofsted report, the approach was identified as central to the success achieved.