Projects that commenced prior to 2011

A Study of the Brazilian Community in Australia and Australian-Brazilian Bilateral Exchange

Researcher: Dr Christina Rocha (Australian Postdoctoral Fellow)
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window)
Period: 2006-2008
» Fact sheet (PDF, 38KB)

A Young People, Technology and Well-Being Research Facility

A young girl and man looking at their iPhones. (From Young and Well CRC). Researchers: Dr Amanda Third, Dr Philippa Collin, Jane Burns, Lucas Walsh, Rosalyn Black
Australian Research Council (opens in a new window)
Period: 2010-2013
Inspire website

Large numbers of initiatives now mobilise technology to support the well-being of young Australians. However, amongst communities undertaking this work, there is currently significant duplication and insufficient sharing research and best practice models. A Research Facility that consolidates existing research, and guides new research and initiatives will improve service delivery to young Australians by: reducing duplication between organizations working with young people; providing an accessible interface with research that can help address, the community's concerns about the role of technology in young people's lives, and inform future policy and programs; and model effective cross-sector knowledge brokering to Australian industry.

Advancing Cultural Research in Australian and European Contexts: Citizenship, Migration and Globalisation

Researchers: Associate Professor Brett NeilsonProfessor Kay Anderson, Fiona Allon
Funding: University of Western Sydney Eminent Research Visitors Scheme
Partner: Associate Professor Sandro MezzadraUniversity of Bologna, Italy
Period: 2006-2008

AHURI Scholarship - Anne Hurni - Urban development, transport and child health: the case of Western Sydney

Researcher: Professor Kay Anderson
Funding: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute
Period: 2006-2010

Anti-Ageing Devices: On the Cultural Politics of Staying Young in a Globalised World

Researchers: Associate Professor Brett Neilson, Professor C Franceschi, Dr G Lamura
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window)
Period: 2005-2007
» Fact Sheet (opens in a new window) (PDF, 241KB)

ASAN Plus Three Initiative on Healthy Tourism

An Asian girl with a white mask over her nose and mouth.Researchers: Associate Professor Robyn Bushell; Associate Professor Brent Powis, World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre – UWS
Funding: AusAID
Period: 2009-2010
» Fact sheet (opens in a new window)(PDF, 96KB)

This project investigated ways to promote the wellbeing of locals and protection of local economies and tourists from emerging infectious diseases (EIDs). The study was part of the project ASEAN Plus Three (Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus China, Japan and the Republic of Korea) Initiative on Healthy Tourism funded by the Australian Government's (AusAID) aid program.

EIDs can have a devastating effect on the tourism industry, as recently occurred with the SARS epidemic. This study focused on the Southeast Asian region where tourism is a key part of the regional economy, in particular for those ASEAN nations such as Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar where significant numbers of the population live in poverty and tourism is one of the strategies to improve GDP and standards of living.

The project's key aim was to shift the conceptual understanding of both health and tourism and in so doing strengthen the partnership potential between the health and tourism sectors. Working with both Ministries in each of the 10 ASEAN nations the researchers undertook field work in pilot destinations in each country, developing a framework for Healthy Tourism. The framework is designed to enable collaboration involving public, private and NGO sectors. Recommendations were workshopped the ASEAN Ministries of Public Health and Tourism and later presented to the annual ASEAN Tourism Ministers conference.

The project builds on work the researchers have previously undertaken for the United Nations through the WHO - Pacific region.

Backpacker Cultures, Residential Communities, and the Construction of Tourist Spaces and Landscapes: A Regional Study of Changing Tourism Dynamics in Sydney

Researchers: Professor Kay Anderson, Associate Professor Robyn Bushell, Fiona Allon, Mr N Ryan
Partners/Funding: City of Sydney (opens in a new window), Manly Council (opens in a new window), Randwick City Council (opens in a new window), Waverley Council (opens in a new window), North Sydney Council (opens in a new window), Woollahra Council (opens in a new window), Australian Research Council (opens in a new window)
Period: 2004-2007

Bridging Worlds, Linking Cultures: an Electronic Planning Tool for the Western Sydney Region

Researchers: Elaine Lally, Professor Bob Hodge, Ms T Lee-Shoy
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window), Western Sydney Organisation of Councils (WSROC) (opens in a new window), Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE)
Period: 2005-2006
» Fact Sheet (PDF, 42KB)

Cultural Research for the 21st Century: Building Cultural Intelligence for a Complex World

Researcher: Professor Ien Ang (Australian Professorial Fellow)
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window)
Period: 2005-2010

Cultural complexity is one of the key characteristics of 21st century Australia. This is manifest in the rapid proliferation of social and cultural differences in society. By developing knowledge about the challenges posed by cultural complexity to the management of diversity, this project will assist public institutions and the broader community in building the cultural intelligence needed to address these challenges in more effective and innovative ways. In this way the project will showcase the practical benefits of cultural research – and the humanities and social sciences more generally – in the promotion of an innovation culture and economy.

Culture Circuits: Exploring the International Networks and Institutions Shaping Contemporary Cultural Policy

Researchers: Professor Deborah Stevenson, Professor David Rowe
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window)
Period: 2005-2007

Culture in Transition: Creative Labour and Social Mobilities in the Asian Century

Looking over the city of Shangai.Researchers: Associate Professor Brett Neilson, Professor Ien Ang, Associate Professor Ned Rossiter, Meaghan Morris, Ranabir Samaddar, Hui Wang, Associate Professor Sandro Mezzadra
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window), Discovery Project
Period: 2009-2012

» Fact sheet (opens in a new window)(PDF, 90KB)

The Asian century has arrived Australia's economic relations with China and India are crucial. Its cultural relations with these nations assume new importance. This project investigates how economic and cultural processes interact to change Australia's position in Asia. Focusing on the experiences of workers in the creative and cultural sectors of three cities (Beijing, Kolkata, Sydney), the project will advance understandings of changing forms of governance and migration in the region. New media will be used to 1) conduct experiments in cultural collaboration between Australia, India and China, and 2) build innovative platforms for the broadening of debates on social inclusion, intercultural dialogue and economic uncertainty.

Culturalisation and Globalisation: Advancing Cultural Research in Sweden and Australia

Blue shapes of countries connected by curved lines and above a layer of binary code.Researchers: Professor David Rowe, Johan Fornas, Associate Professor Brett Neilson, Professor Kay Anderson
Partner/Funding: The Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (opens in a new window)
Period: 2008-2012

» Fact sheet (opens in a new window)(PDF, 98KB)

Researchers from the Institute for Culture and Society and the Advanced Cultural Studies Institute of Sweden at Linköping University, Sweden, are investigating the interfaces of culturalisation and globalisation. This research is funded by the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education under its Institutional Grants Program for the total amount of 1,600,000 SEK.

‘Culture is often understood within national contexts or in terms of the impact of the cultures of dominant nations on less powerful ones,’ says Professor Rowe. ‘But with growing networks of transport, trade, travel, tourism, migration and communication, relations between the local and the global are being redefined. What we call ‘culturalisation’ foregrounds aesthetics, media and meaning-making in all aspects of social, economic and political life. Globalisation is constantly disrupting local conditions, but also carrying local cultures far beyond their points of origin. This multi-directional, dynamic exchange demands a better understanding of these complex cultural and global processes. Getting a clearer picture of the global-cultural nexus can enhance social, political and commercial interactions between countries and cultures.’

Comparative studies will be conducted by the researchers in four areas: cultural policy and cultural production in Australia and Sweden; uses of history and museums in both countries; urban tourism (Stockholm and Sydney are key tourist cities in an international tourist circuit); and media and popular culture, including sport, music and youth cultures. Workshops at both universities, with the substantial participation of PhD candidates, will allow participants to collaboratively discuss and examine their findings.

Increasing transnational interaction brings cultures into greater contact, but also results in their mutual modification. For this reason, the cultural dimensions of regional planning, sustainable growth, democracy and social cohesion have come to the fore. Knowledge of these trends is critical to Australia in a global context.

Development of Environmental Management Systems in Small Business in the Macarthur Region NSW

Researchers: Associate Professor Robyn Bushell, Bruce Simmons
Funding: AusIndustry, an Australian Government funded initiative under the Building Entrepreneurship in Small Business program
» Fact sheet (opens in a new window)(PDF, 91KB)

Associate Professor Robyn Bushell together with Bruce Simmons from the School of Natural Sciences, the Macarthur Regional Organisation of Councils (MACROC) with members of the Macarthur Business Enterprise Centre and the Macarthur Centre for Sustainable Living are developing environmental management systems (EMS) for small businesses in the south-west region of Sydney. This research is funded by AusIndustry (an Australian Government funded initiative under the Building Entrepreneurship in Small Business program).

‘Environmental management systems, though developed all over the world, have not been widely adopted by small businesses with usually 10% or less having taken them up’, says Associate Professor Bushell. ‘Though some inroads have been made recently in the Australian tourism industry, other areas of small business such as retail, manufacturing and services have yet to seriously implement them. Elements of EMS that have been previously proven in the tourism industry to be successful will be used to inform the structure of EMS for the small businesses involved in this project, aiming to build their capabilities in improving their business and environmental performance through training, assessment and mentoring.’

In the growing south-west area of Sydney, 210 small businesses will be given a “tool kit” to help identify areas of improvement in their environmental practices, including workbooks, group learning sessions and networking, mentoring, and assessments of their EMS implementations. The EMS for the businesses include: increasing energy efficiency, business planning with environmental considerations, determination of ecological and environmental business footprints, change management skills and marketing based on the environmental credentials of the enterprise.

With an understanding of the elements forming an environmental management system relevant to a specific industry or area, programs can then be developed for successful uptake of EMS by small business in general. This will make for “cleaner, greener” small businesses in alignment with evolving Australian community environmental principles, policies and practices.

Discipline and Diversity: Cultural Practices and Dispositions of Learning

Researchers: Associate Professor Greg Noble, Dr Megan Watkins
Funding: NSW Department of Education and Training (opens in a new window), Australian Research Council (opens in a new window)
Period: 2005-2007
» Fact Sheet (opens in a new window) (PDF, 33KB)

Digital Storytelling: Urban Narratives of Migration and Sustainability of Community Media in Western Sydney

Researchers: Dr Juan Francisco Salazar, Associate Professor Hart Cohen
Partners: Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE), Fairfield City Council (opens in a new window)
University of Western Sydney Sustainability Research Initiatives Grant
Period: 2008

Dissemination of Environmental Management Training for Tourism Businesses

Researchers: Associate Professor Robyn Bushell, Bruce Simmons
Partner: NSW Environmental Trust (opens in a new window)
Period: 2007

Doing the Knowledge: Youth in Transition in Marrickville

Researchers: Dr George Morgan, Bronwyn Davies and Philip Toner
Funding: University of Western Sydney Partnership Grant
Partner: Western Sydney Region Councils through WSROC (opens in a new window)
Period: 2006

Global Digital Atlas for Cultural Diversity, Pluralism and Intercultural Dialogue in Asia

Researchers: Professor Ien Ang, Professor Kay Anderson, Andre Frankovits, Associate Professor Brett Neilson, Dr Juan Francisco Salazar, Ian Johnson, Steven Hayes, Andrew Wilson, Beng Huat Chua, Daniel P. S. Goh, Eric Charles Thompson, Anjali Monteiro, K. P. Jayasankar, Shilpa Phadke
Partner: UNESCO
Period: 2007-2008
» Fact sheet (opens in a new window) (PDF, 91KB)

Handling the 'Battering Ram': Rupert Murdoch, News Corporation and the Global Contest for Dominance in Sports Television

Researcher: Professor David Rowe
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window)
Period: 2005-2007

Homebuyer Preferences and Developer Contributions

Researcher: Professor Kay Anderson
Funding: Urban Development Institute of Australia, University of Western Sydney
Period: 2005-2007

Hot Science, Global Citizens: The Agency of the Museum Sector in Climate Change Debates

Researchers: Dr Fiona Cameron, Professor Bob Hodge, Associate Professor Brett Neilson, Dr Juan Francisco Salazar, Jan Conroy, David Karoly, S. Chan, Carolyn Meehan, Lynda Kelly, Graham Durant, Wayne LaBar, Richard Sandell
Partners: Powerhouse Museum (opens in a new window), Museum Victoria (opens in a new window), Australian Museum, Questacon (opens in a new window), Liberty Science Center (opens in a new window)(USA)
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window), Linkage Project
Period: 2008-2010

Informal Pathways to Wellbeing: Cultural Forms of Belonging, Inclusion and Engagement for Young People in Western Sydney

Researcher: Associate Professor Greg Noble
Funding: NSW Department of Community Services, Uniting Care Burnside, Australian Council for the Arts, Community Cultural Development NSW, Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (opens in a new window), Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (opens in a new window), University of Western Sydney Children's Futures Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Scheme
Period: 2005-2007

Law and the City: The Parramatta Justice Precinct as Civic Culture

Researcher: Professor Kay Anderson
Partners: Parramatta City Council (opens in a new window), NSW Attorney General's Department (opens in a new window)
University of Western Sydney Urban Research Initiatives Grant
Period: 2007

Multiculturalism Research Project (Living Diversity 2)

Researchers: Professor Ien Ang, Associate Professor Greg Noble
Funding: Special Broadcasting Service Corporation
Period: 2005-2006

National Water Fellowship (2010): Cross-Connections: Linking Urban Water Managers with Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Researchers

Researchers: Dr Zoë Sofoulis (Fellow), Dr Justine Humphry (Research Associate), Vibha Bhattarai Upadhyay (Research Assistant)
National Water Commission
National Water Commission Fellowship Program; workshop grant from Australian Academy of Humanities

This project investigated the Australian urban water sector's engagement with humanities, arts and social sciences [HASS] research as part of developing socially sustainable water management. Activities included developing a database and the Tributaries directory of social and cultural researchers on urban water, interviewing water managers and researchers, conducting two knowledge exchange workshops, and producing a final report for the National Water Commission's Waterlines series. The research found mismatched expectations on how HASS research can or should contribute to water management strategies; it identified the need for HASS researchers to make their work more 'translatable' into action, and suggested initiatives to help overcome the enormous disparities between research funding and infrastructure for sciences and engineering compared to social and cultural research on water.

Negotiating the Challenge of Cultural Diversity in Children's Health Care: The Australian Context

Researchers: Dr Sharon Chalmers, Professor Ien Ang, Professor J Mason, Mr S K Choucair, Professor L J White, Dr B A Lord, Dr J G Eastwood
Partners/Funding: Multicultural Health Unit, South East Sydney, Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick (opens in a new window), Children's Hospital at Westmead (opens in a new window), Division of Population Health, South West (opens in a new window), NSW Department of Health (opens in a new window), Australian Research Council (opens in a new window)
Period: 2004-2007

Open Cities: Urban Citizenship in Sydney and Berlin

Researchers: Fiona Allon, Professor Kay Anderson, Professor Ien Ang, Justine Lloyd, Russell West-Pavlov, Mark Stein
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window)
Partner: Free University of Berlin (opens in a new window), Germany
Period: 2006-2007

'Parramatta Stories': Values Based Community Development

Researchers: Associate Professor Robyn Bushell, Dr Russell Staiff, Polladach Theerapapisit
Funding: University of Western Sydney Research Grant
Partner: Parramatta City Council (opens in a new window)
Period: 2007

Picturing Antarctica: Emerging Agendas for Antarctic Cultural Research

A person walking in the distance across the snow. The sun glows in the background. Image by Pedro Niada (April 2011).Researcher: Dr Juan Francisco Salazar
Funding: UWS Research Grant Scheme
Period: 2010-2011

This research project looks at Antarctica as a 'cultural site' and investigates cultural perceptions and the social construction of Antarctica in the national imaginary of Australia and Chile. One of its main aims is to advance contemporary cultural understandings of Antarctica through an analysis of public perceptions and opinions.

The project is designed as an interdisciplinary, multi-method and multi-sited research and involves a series of specific and practice-based research projects:

  • An international survey of cultural values and perceptions in Australia and Chile.
  • A digital ethnography of Villa Las Estrellas, a township in Chilean Antarctic Territory which also includes the development of digital storytelling workshops at the local school.
  • A transmedia documentary film project that inquires about the future of Antarctica.
  • A science-arts collaborative project on Antarctic culture/nature data ecologies and cultural mapping.

Private Neighbourhoods

Researcher: Professor Deborah Stevenson
Funding: University of Western Sydney
Period: 2010-2011

Putting Humanities to Work in a Chaotic World: Dynamic Interdisciplinarity and Community Engagement

Researcher: Professor Bob Hodge
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window), Discovery Project
Period: 2007-2009

Reassessing Multicultural Education

Researchers: Dr Megan Watkins, Associate Professor Greg Noble
Partner: NSW Department of Education (opens in a new window)
Period: 2008-2010
Project webpage: Reassessing Multicultural Education

» Fact sheet (opens in a new window)(PDF, 110KB)

Dr Megan Watkins and Associate Professor Greg Noble are collaborating with the Multicultural Programs Unit of the NSW Department of Education and Training to explore approaches to multicultural education in NSW government schools.

'It has become clear that multicultural education is in something of a crisis in Australia, and across the world' explains Dr Watkins. 'Some of the assumptions made about cultural diversity that formed the basis of multicultural education programs in the 1970s may no longer be appropriate'. Associate Professor Noble continues, 'Diversity has become more diverse, shaped by intergenerational change, intermarriage and the different ways ethnic groups have accepted or rejected other cultural practices and beliefs. Students may claim three or four different cultural and linguistic heritages, and this makes it difficult to know what these students need, and how to provide it. This is a huge challenge for educators. Our project, which draws on findings from an Australian Research Council Linkage project, will explore notions of culturally inclusive curriculum appropriate for the 21st century, and how these link to broader understandings of multiculturalism and the role of education in promoting social justice'.

Working closely with the Multicultural Programs staff and NSW school educators, the researchers will employ a mixed methodology of document analysis, surveys in eleven NSW Schools, and focus group interviews with teachers, parents and students in a sample of schools. A professional learning component of the research will also be developed to involve teachers in planning, implementing and evaluating action research projects within each school.

This project will provide students, parents, and educators with successful strategies for improving multicultural education in NSW schools, and provide valuable information to assist the NSW Department of Education to develop future multicultural education policy initiatives.

Reconceptualising Heritage Collections: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Museum Collections and Documentation

Researchers: Dr Fiona Cameron, Professor E A Edmonds, Professor S R Garton, Mr KS Sumption
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window), Powerhouse Museum (opens in a new window)
Period: 2005-2007

Shanghai Expo

Looking down on a crowd of people at the Shanghai Expo.Lead Researcher: Dr Tim Winter
Research Team: Professor Ien Ang, Associate Professor Hart Cohen, Scott East, Hilary Hongjin He, Rob Leggo, Sally Leggo, Cameron McAuliffe, Professor Brett Neilson, Willem Paling, Professor David Rowe, Louise Ryan, Dr Juan Francisco Salazar, Dr Tim Winter
Period: 2010

In 2010 the city of Shanghai hosted the largest, most spectacular and most expensive World's Fair ever. The Shanghai Expo attracted a staggering 73 million visitors, ensuring China and the host city remained in the global spotlight for the six-month duration of the event. Costing around 45 billion dollars and with its theme of Better City, Better Life, the Expo was held in a country experiencing a level of urban growth unparalleled in history. With more than half of the world's population now living in cities, many of which face uncertain futures, this mega event confronted the multitude of challenges now converging on the all-pervasive notion of 'sustainability'. To this end, 190 countries, more than 50 non-governmental organisations, and a variety of multi-national institutions involved in urban governance addressed such issues.

Struggling for Possession: The Control and Use of Online Media Sport

A brown rugby ball sitting on top of a white keyboard.Researchers: Professor David Rowe, Brett Hutchins
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window), Discovery Project
Period: 2008-2011
» Fact sheet (opens in a new window)(PDF, 100KB)

Professor David Rowe and Dr Brett Hutchins from Monash University are exploring media ownership and sports coverage using digital outlets through a three-year Australian Research Council Discovery Project.

‘Sport is immensely popular in many media forms, and has been dominated by broadcast television for over three decades,’ says Professor Rowe. ‘But when sport coverage is presented online, who owns it and who has a right to access it? Recent disputes over ownership of online sport content demonstrate its pivotal role in both media and sport development. Many questions regarding private ownership by media companies, and citizens’ rights to access sport in new media environments, are still to be effectively answered. There is a pressing need to explore the sources of regulatory uncertainty and provide policy direction to address concerns about the locking up of exclusive content by major media companies.’

The research team will focus on nine of Australia’s most popular sports, including Australian rules football (AFL), rugby league, basketball and netball, by analysing web-based delivery of sport through news and information sites, live and archival video and audio streaming, and broadband television programs. The team will also analyse sport-related online activities such as competitions, online merchandising and the content of fan sites, and interview key figures in Australian sport media. This material will be examined in the context of regulations that may or may not exist to control access and provision. It will discover who is offering, hosting or controlling the content; what sort of sport content is being offered; and which trends or patterns of delivery can be discerned.

As the first project of its type in Australia or overseas, it will enhance the understanding of changes in the political, economic and cultural positioning of sport and media industries, and contribute to international scholarship on sport, media and technology. By providing valuable input into policy debates over new media and content ownership, the research seeks to enhance cultural citizenship pertaining to digital access and equity in sport and other important forms of popular culture.

"Sweet Tonic" - Qualitative Research Proposal

Researcher: Elaine Lally
Partners: Campbelltown Arts Centre, Musica Viva Australia (opens in a new window)
Period: 2008
» Fact sheet (opens in a new window)(PDF, 33KB)

Dr Elaine Lally is collaborating with Campbelltown Arts Centre and Musica Viva Australia to explore the health and well-being benefits for participation in musical activities for older Australians.

'As Australia ages and demand for health and aging services grows, it is vital that the cultural sector engages with older citizens and their concerns', says Dr Lally. 'The "Sweet Tonic: Music for Life" program of singing workshops, delivered by Musica Viva Australia in participation with Campbelltown Arts Centre and the Australia Council for the Arts, is one such program. It aims to show that participation in singing and music training has demonstrable health and well-being benefits. This research project will study the "Sweet Tonic" workshops and attempt to identify the positive physical, mental, social and cultural outcomes of the "Sweet Tonic" music-based community cultural development initiative.'

Working closely with Musica Viva and the Campbelltown Arts Centre, Dr Lally will hold focus groups and interviews with "Sweet Tonic" participants before and after the workshops in order to assess the impact of the program on physical, social and cultural wellbeing on them. The research will also examine how participation in the program's musical activities could lead to increased engagement in social and cultural networks outside the program. Interviews and discussion groups with other stakeholders such as the workshop leaders, Musica Viva organisers and musicians and Campbelltown Arts Centre staff will explore their experiences of the workshops, and their observations of the effects "Sweet Tonic" has had on older peoples interactions their organisations and on people who have participated in the workshops.

This project will provide arts and cultural organisations with evidence that engagement with communities plays a vital role in health and wellbeing of individuals, as well as having broader social and cultural benefits for the whole population. Findings from the project may also lead to an extension of the "Sweet Tonic" program to other areas of Australia, thus ensuring long-lasting impacts on the development and provision of cultural services and programs for older Australians.

The Art of Engagement: Exploring a Contemporary Arts - Business Collaboration

Researchers: Elaine Lally, Professor Ien Ang, Professor Kay Anderson, Elizabeth Macgregor
Partners and Funding: Museum of Contemporary Art (opens in a new window), Penrith Regional Gallery (opens in a new window), Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (opens in a new window), Australian Research Council (opens in a new window)
Period: 2006-2008

The City After Dark: Cultural Planning and Governance of the 'Night-time Economy' in Parramatta

Researchers: Professor David RoweProfessor Deborah StevensonProfessor Stephen Tomsen
Partner: Parramatta City Council (opens in a new window)
University of Western Sydney Urban Research Initiatives Grant

The City After Dark: The Governance and Lived Experience of Urban Night-Time Culture

A shadow of a man in a dark street.Researchers: Professor David Rowe, Professor Deborah Stevenson, Professor Stephen Tomsen
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window), Discovery Project
Period: 2008-2011
» Fact sheet (opens in a new window)(PDF, 121KB)

Professor Deborah Stevenson, Professor David Rowe and Professor Stephen Tomsen are exploring the way people use and interact with urban spaces after dark through a three-year ARC Discovery Project.

‘The stimulation of a night time economy can deliver great cultural, social and economic benefits to Australian cities, or result in social disruption and disputation, assaults, and serious injuries that drain criminal justice and health resources’, says Professor Stevenson. ‘The promotion and regulation of the city at night is amongst the most important issues facing communities, private enterprise and governments around the globe. Building on the findings of two pilot studies, our project is the first comprehensive examination of the experience and governance of night-time cultures and spaces in metropolitan Australia. It will address competing uses of urban space and the levels of planning and regulation required to foster after-dark leisure and minimise alienation amongst different interest groups. The project will look at issues of diversity, inclusiveness and public safety, contributing to international interdisciplinary debates concerning cultural planning and crime prevention’.

Using a range of documentary evidence, surveys of user groups, businesses and government officials and direct observation of after-dark activities, the multidisciplinary research team will analyse how night-time culture in inner Sydney has changed over the last 15 years. They will also explore what effects these changes may have had on social and cultural diversity in the ’24-hour city’,and seek to discover the most successful strategies for ensuring safety and equity and for minimising conflict between different social, cultural and commercial interests.

This innovative project will contribute to the development of urban policies attuned to urban conditions in Australia. It will promote the long-term cultural, social and economic sustainability of diverse urban after-dark leisure spaces, and the well-being of both leisure participants and neighbouring areas and communities.

The Cultural Research Network

Researchers: Associate Professor Greg Noble, Graeme Turner, Dr Zoë Sofoulis, Professor Kay Anderson, Professor Ien Ang
Funding: Australian Research Council Research Networks
Period: 2005-2010

The Humanities Beyond Humanism: Race, Nature and the Human in Australia from Enlightenment to Federation

Researcher: Professor Kay Anderson
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window)
Period: 2005-2007

The Just-in-Time Self: Young Men, Skill and Narratives of Aspiration in the New Economy

A close-up portrait of a young man.Researchers: Dr George Morgan, Associate Professor Greg Noble
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window), Discovery Project
Period: 2009-2011
» Fact sheet (opens in a new window)(PDF, 118 KB)

Dr George Morgan and Professor Greg Noble are exploring whether the participation of young men in creative skills training courses can provide the basis for vocational aspiration. This project is supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery grant.

'In the past, young men from underprivileged backgrounds relied on older men to train and recruit them into the world of work, where they had the opportunity to develop their skills on-the-job in a stable community,' explains Dr Morgan. 'Unfortunately, these communities are no longer as common and young men have to develop such skill sets individually and apply them to their employment with little or no collective support or solidarity. Economic restructuring in recent history has led to the decline of blue-collar jobs and the rise of service employment and creative skills. It is men who find this environment most challenging. The aim of this project is to discover the ways young disadvantaged men are responding to the pressures and strain of the new economy and how they are developing the ability to train and educate themselves in order to respond to industrial and competitive change in the work environment.'

Research will be conducted in three separate locations in Sydney, involving men of different ethnic backgrounds: in Redfern Waterloo working with Aboriginal men; in the Bankstown area working with Middle Eastern men; and in the Campbelltown region working with Anglo-Irish men. Life history interviews will be conducted twice with twelve young men from each site to determine how they develop competencies and vocational inclinations.

This research may tell us more about how young men form vocational and employment identities and suggest how we can enable young men who are alienated from society to reinvent themselves and consider new forms of learning, training and work.

The Role of Cultural Heritage in Conflict Transformation Societies

A black and white photo of a canon and barbed wire in a field.Researcher: Dr Tim Winter
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window), Discovery Project
Period: 2010-2013
» Fact sheet (opens in a new window)(PDF, 139KB)

Dr Tim Winter is exploring what cultural changes societies face when they are recovering from war and other violence. This project is funded by the Australian Research Council through its Discovery Projects grant scheme.

'Since the Cold War, there have been a rising number of conflicts around the world' explains Dr Winter. War and conflict almost always involve destruction and devastation on a human and social scale. With much attention focused on the political and economic aspects of reconstruction, the cultural damage can often be neglected. Moreover, given that it is not only politics that impact how a society rebuilds itself, this research brings into focus the often neglected cultural challenges and the role of cultural heritage in the rebuilding process.'

The project will build a social-scientific framework through a series of international case studies. The framework will advance our understanding of how cultural heritage impacts and affects conflict transformations and post-conflict societies. Within each case study, the project will focus on understanding how culture is endangered or destroyed by conflict; what role governments play in maintaining culture; how material securities (shelter, food etc.) can be advanced through the prospect of non-material securities (e.g. culture); how localised culture can create a sense of ownership and how the reconstruction of cultural heritage is integrated into a society. Four societies will be examined across these analytical themes: Kashmir, after more than fifteen years of conflict and violence; Sri Lanka following the long standing civil war; Cambodia after the clash over the temple complex of Preah Vihear; and Croatia after the conflict of the 1990s. In Croatia, for example, the project will examine how tourism and cultural heritage have played a part in reconstructing the country’s post-conflict national/cultural identity.

Recognising and accepting different cultures that are in need of international assistance following conflict across the globe will help build a stronger aid and peace keeping system that can react in a culturally sensitive and stable fashion. Australia is at the forefront of international aid, and with a stronger understanding of the cultures of those in need, aid can be provided in a more beneficial and respectful manner.

The Special Broadcasting Service and Australian Cultural Democracy Evolution, Uses and Innovation

Researchers: Professor Ien Ang, Gay Hawkins, Julie Eisenberg
Funding: Special Broadcasting Service Corporation
Period: 2004-2008

Theorising the Entangled Relationships between World Heritage places, local people visitors and industry: a case study in Luang Prabang, Laos PDR

Researchers: Associate Professor Robyn Bushell, Dr Russell Staiff
Funding: UWS (International Research Grants Initiatives Grants)
Period: 2009-2010

This project examined the socio-cultural and political dynamics of everyday life in Luang Prabang Laos, where the global and the local are in constant interplay and tension through the economic forces of  tourism and international institutional presences as a UNESCO World Heritage town. The research examined Luang Prabang as a complex, dynamic and complicated 'cultural system' to better understand the many entangled relationships: between economy, local stakeholders, cultural production and the ritual geographies of place, tangible and intangible heritage values. The research sought to use this to produce a more nuanced understanding of  the potential and the challenges created by tourism in a small  World Heritage destination. The research is ongoing with numerous publications, the development of an ARC Discovery application.

Universal Design and Cultural Context: Accessibility, Diversity and Recreational Space in Penrith

Researchers: Dr Zoe Sofoulis, Professor Helen Armstrong, Michael Bounds, Abby Lopes, Tara Andrews
University of Western Sydney Research Partnerships Program
Penrith City Council(opens in a new window)

Urban Cultural Economics: Landscapes and Life in Sydney and New York

Researchers: Dr George MorganProfessor Kay Anderson
Funding: University of Western Sydney International Research Initiatives Grant
City University of New York, USA(opens in a new window)
Period: 2007

Young Aboriginal Men, Informal Learning and the 'New Economy' in Redfern, Waterloo

Researcher: Dr George Morgan
Partner/ Funding: Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (opens in a new window)(AIATSIS)
Period: 2008-2009
»Fact sheet (opens in a new window)(PDF, 95KB)

Dr George Morgan is looking at whether informal training programs for young indigenous men can lead to the development of skills suitable for employment. This research was funded by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.

'Many young indigenous men in the Redfern Waterloo area in Sydney lack formal job qualifications and have grown up in households characterised by long-term unemployment,' explains Dr Morgan. 'They have not developed the vocational ambitions and work habits required to build careers and they have little enthusiasm for post-school formal education, having often been alienated from the competitive world of work and education in the past. Their alienation is compounded by the complex requirements of the "new economy" and the decline in traditional male sources of employment. However, they are enthusiastic participants in informal learning and training and unpaid creative initiatives such as filmmaking and music production. By using cooperative training approaches, we can determine whether these initiatives help in developing skills and forming aspirations that may become foundations for future employment.'

Working with Aboriginal organisations in the area, including the Yaama Dhiyaan Hospitality Training College and the Tribal Warrior Cultural Tours, twelve young Aboriginal men will be involved in creative training projects. Semi-formal interviews will determine the formation of the men's aspirations, emerging identity and their valuation of skills through involvement in the program over several months. This analysis will be contextualised as part of a further statistical analysis of the demographics of the Redfern Waterloo area relating to education and employment.

Informal training schemes with young Aboriginal men show more promise than current formal training schemes have to date. These may help young Aboriginal men to develop, recognise and value skills that can be transferrable to work that they find fulfilling and their participation in employment is of benefit not only to themselves, but the whole Australian community.