Our Team


Kerrie Noonan,
Co-Founder, Director, Executive Officer

Kerrie founded The Groundswell Project in 2010 with Peta Murray and is our lead on developing research driven strategies that develop death literacy for Australians and drive innovation for the way we develop end of life services and systems. Kerrie has spent a number of years developing capacity building approaches to death, dying and bereavement. She is passionate about the role that the arts can play in facilitating social and cultural change about death.

Kerrie is a clinical psychologist in palliative care and has worked in health and community settings as a community development social researcher. She is a fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs and a PhD was competed at Western Sydney University in 2018.

See her work:

Read: Why talking about death is good for you by Adel Horin

Developing Death Literacy article published in the journal Progress in Palliative Care

End of Life at Home: Co-Creating an Ecology of Care by the Caring at end of life research team.

10 Facts about death everyone should know

Talking about Death with Children: Lessons from Sesame Street.

Listen: RN breakfast

Watch: TEDxSydney

Birth and Death: the home ground advantage via Talking Sticks


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Jessie Williams, Executive Officer

Jessie is responsible for driving the growth and partnerships for social impact around end of life and supports the delivery of all our major projects and programs. As a learning entrepreneur, she works across commercial business, non-government organisations and social enterprises co-creating programs for social change. She has been on the board of the Groundswell Project for 4 years and in the role as Executive Director since early 2015.

After losing her first born son in 2006, she experienced post traumatic growth thanks to her community. Her passion with the GroundSwell Project keeps her up at night and she invites everyone to be a part of the collective change around death and dying in Australia

See her work:

Read Death and the Workplace, Centre for Workplace Leadership

Listen Podcast: Breath and Bone

Listen Podcast: Asking for it

Listen Podcast: Alison Hill A Stand out Life


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Holly Rankin Smith
Compassionate Communities, National Lead

Holly joined the GroundSwell team in early 2017 and brings with her an extensive background in rights based community development. Since 2007 Holly has worked with communities across the country on projects addressing a range of social issues including; at-risk rural teenagers, isolation in elderly maritime communities and campaigning for justice for indigenous arts communities. Holly believes the arts are a key driver in generating sustainable social change and this forms the underlying approach to her work.

Holly has experienced the impact of unsupported carers and the rippling ramifications this can have on a family and wider community which has drawn her to this work. She is excited to contribute to growing community capacity around end of life care in Australia.

Holly has background in digital comms and a Masters in Development and is also an authorised civil celebrant.

Past Projects:
Namatjira, NT
Smashed, TAS
Blue Angel




Niki Read

Compassionate Communities Local Lead

Niki Read has been a part of The GroundSwell project since it’s conception. With a background as a multi-disciplinary artist; in community and in health, Niki has contributed as collaborator, supporter, nurturer, early board member and arts worker. She’s witnessed this baby grow from big ideas to what it is now – a group of dedicated humans doing great stuff locally, nationally and internationally, changing the way we experience life in all its mess and glory.

Niki has experienced the death of loved ones through suicide, cancer and dementia, where both the beautiful and the tragic were felt, and has been a volunteer in a community development palliative care setting. Niki worked on an acute palliative care ward in 2017 as lead artist on the Reflected Legacy project, and in the past has taught writing skills to people living with life-limiting illness and their carers, as well as hosted intimate community festival experiences in which to remember our dead. Niki was research assistant on both the Bringing our dying home and Caring at end of life research projects with Western Sydney University.

Niki joins us in 2018 as our Compassionate Communities Local Lead where she will work at a grassroots level with people, groups, organisations, businesses and health professionals in the Blue Mountains and Liverpool to build an active and engaged citizenship that gives it’s heartfelt, educated best to all who happen upon the end of a life.