Current Projects

A Centre for Research Excellence in Adolescent Health: Making Health Services Work for Adolescents in a Digital Age

Participation is one of eight standards listed by the World Health Organisation for quality healthcare service for adolescents. Despite these global guidelines and decades of evidence, youth participation in health research is not the standard approach. Moreover, while technology has become increasingly central to how young people search for information on, communicate with and access mental health services, other health services have yet to embrace the full potential of digital communications technology. Through active creation and promotion of innovative practices, Stream 1 of this CRE (led by Dr Philippa Collin and Professor Angus Dawson, University of Sydney) will develop a new ethics of engagement for adolescent health research in a digital age. In collaboration with the Intergener8 Living Lab, this research brings together diverse young people, families, health consumers, researchers, policy makers and other community members to investigate the conditions, ethics and modalities of youth-engaged health research. Our aim is to directly inform priorities and practices in health research and address the challenges of embedding young people’s experiences in health research, policy and service design in the digital society.

Researchers: Dr Philippa Collin (ICS), Dr Teresa Swist (ICS), Associate Professor Amanda Third (ICS), Professor Katharine Steinbeck (University of Sydney), Professor Rachel Skinner (University of Sydney), Professor Lena Sanci (University of Melbourne), Professor Deborah Schofield (University of Sydney), Professor Fiona Brooks (University of Technology Sydney), Professor Angus Dawson (University of Sydney), Professor Rebecca Ivers (University of Sydney), Professor Lin Perry (University of Technology Sydney), Associate Professor Bette Liu (University of New South Wales), Associate Professor Melissa Kang (University of Technology Sydney), Dr Julie Mooney-Somers (University of Sydney), Professor Leon Straker (University of Sydney), Dr Sally Gibson (Youth Health and Wellbeing, NSW Health), Professor Phillip Hazell (University of Sydney), Professor Louise Baur (University of Sydney), Professor Sandra Eades (Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute), Professor Susan Sawyer (University of Melbourne)
Funding: National Health and Medical Research Council (via University of Sydney)
Period: 2017-2022
Project websites: Intergener8 Living Lab (opens in a new window) and Wellbeing Health & Youth (opens in a new window)

Advancing the news media literacy of young Australians

This project responds to changes in the production, experience and consumption of news media by young Australians. In our recent research, we have identified several barriers that prevent news media literacy from being developed in the home and in schools in a meaningful and effective way. This project will document, analyse and address some of these barriers. In this way it will respond to emerging questions regarding the changing role of news in relation to active citizenship and democracy, and the challenge of ‘fake news’ or disinformation. It will achieve this by:

  • contributing to the design, implementation and evaluation of a new major semi-permanent exhibition at the Museum of Australian Democracy in Canberra, to be launched in 2019
  • developing a media literacy framework for the digital age to support the design of news engagement and learning materials
    engaging young Australians and school teachers as co-designers of the Museum’s news exhibition content and news literacy learning resources and activities.

Researchers: Dr Tanya Notley (ICS), Associate Professor Michael Dezuanni (Queensland University of Technology), Ms Edwina Jans (Museum of Australian Democracy), Mr Michael Evans (Museum of Australian Democracy)
Funding: Western Sydney University Research Partnerships Program: Museum of Australian Democracy; Google Australia
Period: 2018- 2020.
Our recent research: News and Australian Children, How Young People Access, Perceive and are Affected by the News (opens in a new window)
Project Website: Advancing the news media literacy of young Australians

Ageing, Home and Housing Security Among Single, Asset-Poor Older Women

Thumbnail image of a brick house and a car parked in the driveway.

This project aims to investigate the stability of single older women's senses of home, security and belonging as they negotiate asset and income insecurity. It examines: how national and housing provider scale housing policy and governance frameworks shape the ways that older women experience and make decisions about the home; and how the home is affected by housing mobility. Using a housing pathways approach, the project aims to develop knowledge of how housing markets and supply affect, and are shaped by, homemaking cultures and practices. The project aims to address a research gap about the ways in which asset-poor older Australians maintain stable housing pathways and senses of home, security and belonging as they age.

Researcher: Dr Emma Power
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window), Discovery Early Career Researcher Award
Period: 2015-2019
» Fact sheet (opens in a new window) (PDF,145KB)

An investigation of stories, narratives and alternatives to plastic in Cambodia

This postdoctoral fellowship investigates the potential of a group of traders and producers of processed food goods to act as drivers of plastic-free asset-based community development in Hanchey, Cambodia. The research examines local modes of valuation and the ways that productivity and efficiency are embodied. Grand narratives of modernity, including the embodiment of plastic in everyday life, will be set against and elicit small narratives, such as those embodied in attachments to traditional modes of production and packaging which have been significantly displaced. These may be contrasted to narratives embodied by “scalable solutions” to plastic, such as reusable aluminium water bottles and biodegradable polymer bags made with cassava starch.

Researchers: Dr Isaac Lyne (ICS), with advice by Professor Gay Hawkins (ICS) and Dr Denis Byrne (ICS)
Funding: The Seed Box, A Mistra-Formas Environmental Humanities Collaboratory
Period: 2018-2019

Antarctic Cities and the Global Commons: Rethinking the Gateways

Thumbnail image looking down on buildings in Antarctica.This project aims to investigate how the Antarctic 'gateway cities' of Hobart, Australia; Christchurch, New Zealand; and Punta Arenas, Chile might reimagine and intensify their relations to the continent and each other. As pressures on Antarctica increase, these 'gateway cities' will become critical to its future. This research is expected to create a robust custodial network of partner organisations that helps these cities care for Antarctica.

Researchers: Associate Professor Juan Salazar, Professor Paul James, Associate Professor Elizabeth Leane (University of Tasmania), Dr Liam Magee, Mr Tim Short (Hobart City Council), Dr Daniela Liggett (University of Canterbury), Mr Elías Barticevic (Chilean Antarctic Institute), Professor Dr Claudia Estrada Goic (University of Magallanes)
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window), Linkage Project
Partners: Hobart City Council; Department of State Growth; University of Canterbury, Christchurch; Christchurch City Council; Chilean Antarctic Institute; University of Magallanes.
Period: 2016-2019
» Fact sheet (opens in a new window)(PDF,108KB)
» Antarctic Cities and the Global Commons video (opens in a new window)

'Anti-Racism Apps': Models, Approaches and Uses of Mobile Media for Education Against Racism

A thumbnail image of a hand holding a mobile phone in the air with a crown of people pictured on the screen.This project will examine the way in which mobile media platforms and apps are entangled in specific understandings and approaches to racism. A number of 'anti-racism apps' in Australia, the US, France, the UK and Canada are the focus of the research. Using cultural research methodologies such as platform and interface analysis and interviews with developers and users we will critically analyse and assess the user models, approaches to racism and use of mobile media for education and governance to inform future developments in anti-racism interventions and services.

Researchers: Associate Professor Alana Lentin and Dr Justine Humphry
Period: June 2015 – May 2016 (continuing)
Project webpage: 'Anti-Racism Apps': Models, Approaches and Uses of Mobile Media for Education Against Racism

Assembling and Governing Habits

This project aims to examine how modern Western disciplines conceived of habits, and how these conceptions informed the techniques of mundane governance which managed habits. As cities face increasing pressures, the challenges of governing everyday habits prompt urgent questions about how habits are understood and managed. This project will study the governance of 'city habits' from the late 19th century to the present. The project will apply and deepen its description of habit through case studies focused on contemporary Sydney. Its findings are expected to benefit city planners and policy makers by informing the organisation and regulation of habits.

Researchers: Professor Tony Bennett, Professor Gay Hawkins, Professor Gregory Noble, Professor Nikolas Rose
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window), Discovery Project
Period: 2017-2019

Australian Cultural Fields: National and Transnational Dynamics

Futuristic escalator with people Australian Cultural Fields examines the forces changing the production and consumption of contemporary Australian culture. It will assess the influence of transnationalism, the transformations caused by digital media, migration and multiculturalism, and the shifting presence of Indigenous culture, on the relations between culture and nation. It will be the first study to examine the relations between transnational forces, new information technologies, and migrant and Indigenous cultures in the contemporary Australian context. Internationally, it will be the first large-scale study to interrogate the relations between the fields of cultural production and consumption.

Researchers: Professor Tony Bennett, Professor David Rowe, Professor Greg Noble, Professor Tim Rowse, Professor Deborah Stevenson, Associate Professor Michael Volkerling, Dr Emma Waterton , Professor Fred Myers (New York University), Professor Modesto Gayo (Universidad Diego Portales, Chile), and Professors Graeme Turner and David Carter (both from the University of Queensland)
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window), Discovery Project
Period: 2014-2017 (continuing)
Project website: Australian Cultural Fields: National and Transnational Dynamics
» Fact sheet (opens in a new window)(PDF, 204KB)

Between logistics and migration: Duisburg and the new Silk Road

China is building a new Silk Road. One of its arteries is the Yuxinou freight railway which runs between Chongqing and the German city of Duisburg. Opened in 2011, this railway has driven growth in Duisburg’s logistical sector. But Duisburg is not only a logistical city. It is also a magnet for migration with foreign-born inhabitants averaging approximately twice the rate for Germany as a whole. This project investigates relations between transport logistics and the logistics of migration in Duisburg. Its methods combine digital research with ethnographic fieldwork (interviews, observation, visual documentation) at workplaces surrounding Duisport (the city’s logistical hub) and in the adjacent migrant neighbourhood of Marxloh. The aim is to analyse how logistics produces and connects heterogeneous urban spaces and populations. This allows critical interrogation of traditional approaches to migration (push-pull factors, labour reserve, etc.). It also permits assessment of how logistics industries affect populations beyond their workforces. The project thus explores how the digital generation of data and software orientations in industry alter the material and symbolic coordinates of the city, generating a ‘long tail’ of informal labour and mediating social reproduction as well as practices of daily life.

Researchers: Professor Brett Neilson (ICS), Professor Ned Rossiter (ICS), Tsvetelina Hristova (ICS), Professor Manuela Bojadzijev (Leuphana University Luneburg), Dr Armin Beverungen (Leuphana University Luneburg), Moritz Altenried (Leuphana University Luneburg), Mira Wallis (Leuphana University Luneburg)
Funding: Western Sydney University, as part of an external scheme by Universities Australia and German Academic Exchange Service
Period: 2017–2018

Co-operative Housing Research

Housing affordability continues to be an issue in major cities and regional centres and there is a pressing need for affordable housing to be included in new housing development. The community housing sector has been charged as a primary growth provider and has demonstrated capacity in delivering affordable rental housing at a range of price points for very low, low, and moderate income households. However, providers are becoming aware that there are often no exit strategies for residents looking to transition to the open market – market-rate home ownership is frequently beyond the reach of households and consequently households may end up in insecure private rental housing, committing to an unmanageable mortgage, and/or back on the provider’s waitlist. Further, when exit strategies do not exist, pressure builds throughout the housing system, impacting service provision, housing prices, and waitlists. Therefore, there is need within overheated markets to provide a diverse range of affordable housing options, including permanently affordable ownership options. The project looks at the social value and economic viability of cooperative housing; the operational costs of cooperatives when carrying out their obligations of regular repairs and maintenance and the possibilities of diversification.

Researchers: Dr Louise Crabtree (WSU), Dr Emma Power (ICS), Dr Neil Perry (WSU), Dr Sidsel Grimstad (University of Newcastle)
Funding: Common Equity NSW
Period: 2018-2019

Data Centres and the Governance of Labour and Territory

Thumbnail image of large cables in a data centre.Focusing on data centres in Singapore, Hong Kong and Sydney, this project aims to advance understandings of how these facilities are transforming ways of living and working in the Asia Pacific. Without data centres the world stops; these infrastructures are the core components of a rapidly expanding but rarely discussed digital storage and management industry that has become critical to global economy and society. The intended outcome of the project is a broadening of debates and research practices relevant to policymaking on the digital economy. The expected benefit is increased public knowledge about the social and cultural effects of data-driven economic change and, in particular, the growing importance of private data infrastructures...Read more.

Researchers: Professor Brett Neilson, Professor Ned Rossiter, Dr Tanya Notley, Professor Laikwan Pang (Chinese University of Hong Kong), Professor Stefano Harney (Singapore Management University), Associate Professor Sandro Mezzadra (University of Bologna and ICS Adjunct Fellow), Professor Anna Reading (King's College London and ICS Adjunct Professor), Junior Professor Florian Sprenger (Goethe University Frankfurt)
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window), Discovery Project
Period: 2016-2018
Project webpage: Data Centres and the Governance of Labour and Territory
» Fact sheet (opens in a new window)(PDF,267KB)

Cooling Common Spaces in Densifying Urban Environments

Current heat mapping has revealed hot spots in Western Sydney with ambient temperatures reaching 50 degrees in summer, while forecast modelling predicts 50-degree summer days potentially becoming a norm by mid-century. There is a pressing need to provide respite during heat waves both in and around the house and in the wider public domain, particularly in common spaces of rest, gathering and transit that span the public and private. This project will review current world best practice on cooling commons spaces. On the basis of this review it will propose design strategies to increase cool comfort and identify implications for urban design and governance. It will produce a pattern book containing visual, narrative and technical examples of cool space in collaboration with Landcom building design professionals and planners involved in the redevelopments in Airds, Claymore, Bonnyrigg, and Macarthur Park. A series of field visits will inventory potential sites where new ways of cooling common spaces might be trailed or introduced.

Researchers: Katherine Gibson(WSU), Emma Power (WSU), Cameron Tonkinwise (UNSW), Abby Mellick Lopes (WSU), Stephen Healy (WSU), Louise Crabtree (WSU).
Funding: Landcom
Period: March 2018 – March 2019

Cultivating Digital Capacities

Family of four sitting around looking at an ipadThis project aims to measure digital capacity across four domains: economic, ecological, political, and cultural. It will identify enabling practices that help people connect using digital means, as well as barriers to participation in the digital world. The development of the Index will draw upon qualitative case studies of Australian families from diverse backgrounds, along with a quantitative survey of 2,000 participants...Read more.

Researchers: Associate Professor Amanda Third, Professor Paul James, Dr Philippa Collin, Dr Liam Magee, Dr Tanya Notley, Dr Justine Humphry , Dr Louise Crabtree, Samantha Yorke
Funding: Google Australia
Period: 2015-2016 (continuing)
Project webpage: Cultivating Digital Capacities
» Fact sheet (opens in a new window)(274MB)

Governing Digital Cities

A photo of Sydney city taken from the air - shows Circular Quay and Botanical Gardens and is looking towards the CBD.As with all major infrastructural developments, broadband internet is having a significant impact on the governance, economy, and built environment of cities. It is now increasingly accepted that the world economy has entered into a second phase of digital economic development, dominated by innovation in social media (Facebook and others), the growing penetration of mobile platforms (such as smartphones and tablets), a reshaped corporate landscape (the rapid transformation of start-ups such as Google and Facebook into global media players), and new modes of data storage and management (cloud computing and big data).....Read more.

Researcher: Professor Donald McNeill
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window), Future Fellowship Grant
Period: 2012-2017 (continuing)
Project webpage: Governing Digital Cities
» Fact sheet (opens in a new window) (PDF, 207KB

Hazards, Culture and Indigenous Communities

Firefighter in field with fire

Within the context of reducing natural hazard risk and increasing socio-ecological resilience in southern Australia, ‘Hazards, Culture and Indigenous Communities’ focuses on the intercultural engagement between Aboriginal communities and the emergency management sector. This project analyses current practice, drawing on co-designed research activities and products in order to map out possibilities for better engagement. This includes two case studies on cultural burning.

Researchers: Dr Jessica K. Weir (ICS), Dr Timothy Neale (Deakin University), Dr Will Smith (Deakin University), Dr Brian Cook (University of Melbourne), Mr Oliver Costello (Firesticks Initiative), Associate Professor Tara McGee (University of Alberta), Adjunct Professor Jeremy Russell-Smith (Charles Darwin University)
Funding: Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre, Commonwealth Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
Period: 2017–2020
Project Website: Hazards, Culture and Indigenous Communities (opens in a new window)

Intergener8 Living Lab

Thumbnail image of a group of young people at a table with books.The next 25 years will bring rapid and significant technological, economic and social change across the globe. This change will be felt directly in Greater Western Sydney (GWS). In 2017, we worked with more than 100 participants in the Young and Resilient Living Lab Foundation Project to identify five key areas impacting the resilience of young people and their communities: places and platforms; education and learning; participation and engagement; health and wellbeing; sustainability and climate change. Following this, we have established the Intergener8 Living Lab to explore these complex issues and investigate how to leverage technology to promote the resilience of young people and their communities. Based in Greater Western Sydney and with collaborations around Australia and overseas, Intergener8 Living Lab is a co-research and design facility that embraces an integrated and intergenerational mode of R&D, training and enterprise focused on developing technology-based products, services and solutions that build the capacity of young people to live well and participate fully in social and economic life.

Researchers: Associate Professor Amanda Third (ICS), Dr Philippa Collin (ICS), Dr Liam Magee (ICS), Dr Peter Bansel (School of Social Sciences and Psychology, Western Sydney University), Dr Michelle Catanzaro (School of Humanities and Communication Arts, Western Sydney University), Dr Louise Crabtree (ICS), Dr Milissa Deitz (School of Social Sciences and Psychology, Western Sydney University), Dr Nida Denson (School of Social Sciences and Psychology, Western Sydney University), Ms Lilly Moody (ICS), Dr Katrina Sandbach (School of Humanities and Communication Arts, Western Sydney University), Dr Teresa Swist (ICS), Ms Samantha Yorke (Google Australia), Dr Girish Lala (Western Sydney University)
Funding: Western Sydney University Research Program Partnership: Google (Australia)
Period: 2016-ongoing

Logistics as Global Governance: Labour, Software and Infrastructure Along the New Silk Road

data centre China is building a New Silk Road. It is set to revolutionise relations of trade and production, linking Asia to Europe and Latin America. This project investigates the cultural and social transformations introduced by this emerging economic network. Focusing on three key infrastructural hubs (the ports of Piraeus, Valparaíso and Kolkata), the project will advance understandings of how logistical processes manage labour forces and contribute to global governance. Digital methods will be used to: 1) build innovative platforms for broadening debates and research practices concerning software, labour and globalisation, and 2) provide a 'serious game' to illustrate changing scenarios of work and culture along the New Silk Road.

Researchers: Professor Brett Neilson and Professor Ned Rossiter from the Institute for Culture and Society with Professor Ursula Huws, Professor William Walters, Professor Ranabir Samaddar, Associate Professor Sandro Mezzadra, Dr Eleni Kambouri and Dr Hernan Cuevas
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window), Discovery Project
Period: 2013-2017 (continuing)
Website: Logistical Worlds: Infrastructure, Software, Labour (opens in a new window)
» Fact sheet (opens in a new window)(PDF, 187KB)

Mapping the educational experiences of refugee students (MEERS)

Various community, government and non-government organisations have provided considerable assistance to schools with enrolments of refugee students. Recent studies, however, suggest that not only far more is needed, but that further research is required to gauge refugee students’ experiences of schooling and whether current practice is addressing their needs and those of teachers. This is the aim of the proposed project. Through a detailed qualitative enquiry, it will provide a comprehensive snapshot of the experiences of refugee students in NSW schools together with accumulating accounts of good practice in the area regarding curriculum, pedagogy and wider school programs. This research will be used to inform professional learning materials for NSW teachers building their capacity to support refugee students and their families.

Researchers: Associate Professor Megan Watkins (ICS), Professor Greg Noble (ICS), Dr Alex Wong (ICS)
Funding: New South Wales Teachers’ Federation
Period: 2017–2019

Marina de Valencia Living Lab: An Activation Project

In 2017 the Concorsio Valencia 2007 entered the second decade of transformation of the Marina de Valencia. The strategic plan 2017–2022 outlines a vision for the Marina as a place of experimentation and innovation, enabling both tradition and invention to drive the transformation of the economy, urban environment and civic culture of Valencia. In this project, the Intergener8 Living Lab is supporting the Marina de Valencia to create an experimental research and development ecosystem in which systematic practices of participatory design are applied to reimagine inclusive and innovative public spaces.

Researchers: Dr Philippa Collin (ICS), Associate Professor Amanda Third (ICS), Ramon Marrades Sempere (Marina de Valencia), Dr Michelle Catanzaro (School of Humanities and Communication Arts, Western Sydney University)
Funding: Marina de Valencia
Period: 2018

Making Animals Public: the Changing Role of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in Building Public Value and Interest in Wildlife Documentary

Thumbnail image of a row of kangaroos drinking from a water hole.The aim of this project is to critically evaluate the ABC's changing role in building public value and engagement with animals through the genre of wildlife documentary. For many years wildlife documentary has been seen as quintessential public service content. There is no question that the ABC's Natural History Unit, set up in 1973, played a key role in making animals educational, entertaining and often national. Through an innovative collaboration between media scholars and the ABC this study investigates exactly how the ABC has built public awareness of animals' environmental and cultural significance and the national benefit of this; how this has been affected by changed production models; and how the ABC should manage the intellectual property (IP) of its extensive wildlife archive for the public good in a converged environment.

Researchers: Professor Gay Hawkins, Dr Ben Dibley, Mary Jane Stannus (Head of Content Services, ABC)
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window), Linkage Project
Partner: Australian Broadcasting Corporation (opens in a new window)
Period: 2014-2017 (continuing)
Project webpage: Making Animals Public

Photograph: David Cook (opens in a new window)

New public management, Aboriginal organisations, and Indigenous rights

This project aims to understand links between recent new public management reforms, particularly in New South Wales, and the operation and capacity of successful urban Aboriginal organisations. The project will include an analysis of case studies from other international jurisdictions (such as New Zealand and Canada). Urban Aboriginal organisations have a distinctive role in society about urban Aboriginal peoples and their rights to self-determination and community development. The outcomes from this project will provide evidence-based research to improve public policy understandings of the distinct role Urban Aboriginal organisations play in society, as well as insights from international comparative research.

Researchers: Dr Karen Soldatic (ICS), Dr Deirdre Howard-Wagner (Australian National University), Associate Professor Janet Hunt (Australian National University)
Funding: Australian Research Council, Discovery Project (via Australian National University)
Period: 2018–2020

Recalibrating Culture: Production, Consumption, Policy

Thumbnail of collection of video stills arranged in a square pattern.This project documents and analyses changing modes of cultural production and consumption in Australia through a case study of the cultural economy of its most dynamic urban area, Greater Western Sydney. It advances theoretical-conceptual understanding and empirical knowledge of networks of contemporary cultural employment and activity, exposing and exploring interactions among key agents within diverse, growing cultural practitioner communities. In adding value to 'broad-brush' national cultural statistics, Recalibrating Culture will develop and validate a new cultural policy approach to Australian cultural development that, for the first time, effectively aligns with rapidly changing conditions and practices of the 'new' cultural economy.

Researchers: Professor Deborah Stevenson, Professor David Rowe
Australian Research Council (opens in a new window), Linkage Project
Period: 2013-2016 (continuing)
Partners/collaborators: Auburn City Council, Fairfield City Council, Liverpool City Council, Parramatta City Council, Penrith City Council, The Council of the City of Sydney and Information and Cultural Exchange
Project webpage: Recalibrating Culture: Production, Consumption, Policy
» Fact sheet (opens in a new window) (PDF, 191KB)

Artwork: Khaled Sabsabi

Reconfiguring the Enterprise: Shifting Manufacturing Culture in Australia

Thumbnail image of rooftops and skyThis project is exploring the future for manufacturing in Australia in the context of sustainability. Concerned with the wider societal and planetary impacts of conducting business-as-usual, some innovative Australian manufacturers are reorienting their business towards social and environmental sustainability. The complexities involved in pursuing genuine sustainability call for shifts in the culture of manufacturing. This project is using qualitative research methods to explore the cultures and practices of 10 firms that are integrating different forms of sustainability into their core operations. The research team is working with these firms to inform debates about the nature of enterprise in the 21st century....Read more.

Researchers: Professor Katherine Gibson, Dr Stephen Healy, Associate Professor Jenny Cameron (University of Newcastle)
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window), Discovery Project
Period: 2016-2019
Project webpage: Reconfiguring the Enterprise: Shifting Manufacturing Culture in Australia
» Fact sheet (opens in a new window) (517KB)

Photograph: Christian Grelard (opens in a new window)

Reviewing Cultural Diversity

The project aims to create a digital knowledge exchange portal to foster collaboration and networks, encouraging arts and culture leaders and academics in Australia and the UK to work together on solutions to shared challenges of cultural diversity within the Arts. Western Sydney University will deliver a written report at the end of the project.

Researchers: Professor James Arvanitakis
Funding: The British Council
Period: February 2018

Scientific Diversity, Scientific Uncertainty and Risk Mitigation Policy and Planning

A sign on the side of a road reads 'Planned burns reduce fire risk'.This project is focussing on how a better understanding of the role of science in decision-making will help industry articulate and defend decisions to the community, media, inquiries and elsewhere, and, better frame information and advice on how scientists and professionals communicate. The project has four components: exploring how people have different understandings of the science of flood and bushfire risk; a focus on flood and bushfire mitigation activities in urban, peri-urban and rural locales in southeast Australia; considering bushfire and flood risk across the spectrum of Prevent, Prepare, Respond and Recover, with an emphasis on mitigation activities; and informing bushfire and flood mitigation practice, policy and planning, and engaging with the experiences of practitioners....Read more.

Researchers: Dr Jessica Weir, Dr Liz Clarke, Dr Timothy Neale, Associate Professor Michael Eburn, Professor Stephen Dovers, Dr Josh Wodak, Professor John Handmer, Dr Christine Hansen, Associate Professor Tara McGee
Funding: Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre (opens in a new window)
Partner: Fenner School of Environment and Society (opens in a new window), The Australian National University
Period: 2014-2017 (continuing)
Project webpage: Scientific Diversity, Scientific Uncertainty and Risk Mitigation Policy and Planning
» Fact sheet (opens in a new window) (PDF,731KB)

Smart, Skilled, Hired and Diverse: Co-Designing Youth Employment Programs to Work for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Young People

In partnership with Navitas English and migrant, recently arrived and refugee young people in Greater Western Sydney, this project will research and co-design the Smart, Skilled, Hired Youth Employment program so as to maximize the engagement of diverse young people and dramatically improve their employment outcomes. The project adopts an engaged research, co-design and strengths-based approach which builds on the knowledge and expertise that already exists within the young people, organisations and communities who benefit from this program. The project will roll-out over three distinct phases involving co-design, pilot, delivery and evaluation of the engagement model for the program.

Researchers: Dr Philippa Collin (ICS), Dr Teresa Swist (ICS), Dr Michelle Catanzaro (School of Humanities and Communication Arts, Western Sydney University)
Funding: Navitas English
Period: 2017-2020

Social Impact Analysis of NSW Arts, Screen and Culture

This project investigating the social impact of arts, screen and culture, was commissioned by Create NSW to provide insights into the role their arts and cultural initiatives play in delivering positive benefits to communities across the state. The project also aims to highlight the broad range of programs supported by Create NSW and their associated agencies, and to provide a framework for understanding social impact in terms of Social Inclusion, Health and Wellbeing, Community Resilience, and Cultural Identity.

Researchers: Professor Deborah Stevenson, Dr Sarah Barns, Ms Jacqueline Clements
Funding: NSW Department of Planning and Environment
Period: May – August 2018

Staggered Pathways: Temporality, Mobility and Asian Temporary Migrants in Australia

Black and white thumbnail of people standing at an airport.Migrant mobilities between Australia and Asia are becoming more temporary and less linear. This project investigates the lived experience and the governance of 'temporally fluid' migration flows from Asia to Australia; explores migrants' senses of belonging over time at local, national and transnational scales; and develops methods and theories to analyse and visualise complex migrant journeys across borders, regions, visa statuses and labour markets. The use of time and temporality as framing concepts of the research will advance knowledge on how migration policy and migrants' decisions and experiences influence each other, and how belonging and transnationalism are being transformed by new types of mobility in the Asia-Pacific region.

Researcher: Dr Shanthi Robertson
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window), Discovery Early Career Researcher Award
Period: 2015-2018
Project website: (opens in a new window)

Photograph: Vincent Albanese (opens in a new window)

Strengthening Economic Resilience in Monsoon Asia

Flood zone thumbnailSharing, reciprocity and resource pooling are at the frontline of recovery and relief when economic crisis or disaster hits Monsoon Asia. This research aims to shed light on cases where these economic practices have been innovatively harnessed to diversify livelihoods and build economic resilience. Working with contemporary Asian scholars, practitioners in the disaster field and a data set gleaned from multiple sources, including mid-20th century tropical geography texts, the project aims to bring to the fore a regional landscape of diverse economic practices across Monsoon Asia. A cross-regional online knowledge community is expected to be formed to explore how this asset base might be mobilised towards more effective local development and disaster response.

Researchers: Professor Katherine Gibson, Dr Lisa Law, Dr Ann Hill (University of Canberra), Associate Professor Darlene Occeña Gutierrez
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window), Discovery Project
Period: 2015-2018
Research Project Manager: Joanne McNeill
Project webpage: Strengthening Economic Resilience in Monsoon Asia
» Fact sheet (opens in a new window) (PDF, 2.1MB)

Sustainable Cities Collaboratory

The Sustainable Cities Collaboratory comprises a group of Metropolis cities, together with a small number of global advisors and a selection of relevant research centres from around the world who pursuits common goals towards developments in urban sustainability, both at a city-level and globally, taking the lead in the agenda-setting for positive social change. The project has several purposes. Firstly, it aims to develop a set of principles, policies, and guidelines for sustainable urban development – building upon Metropolis’s ‘Principles for Better Cities’, in line with the Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda, sharing knowledge, experiences and ideas among the cities involved. Secondly, it aims to create a powerful voice for successful practical implementation of principles of sustainable urban development and - most importantly -  to develop and support the use of a set of coherent urban sustainability tools — finally, it pursuits to maintain a database of exemplary sustainability projects.

Researchers: Professor Paul James, Dr Liam Magee
Funding: The Federate State of Berlin, Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection
Period: May 2018 – December 2020

The China-Australia Heritage Corridor

Thumbnail image of heritage building in China.This project aims to show how buildings and places created by Chinese migrants in Australia and home places in China testify, beyond the narrative of arrival and settlement, to Australian connections with China and the Chinese diaspora. Using the 'heritage corridor' concept, it aims to develop a transnational approach to migration heritage and will provide tools and concepts for broadly documenting, analysing and interpreting Australia's migration heritage. The project aims to help a more cosmopolitan 21st century Australia capitalise on its legacy of regional linkages through Chinese migration.

Researchers: Dr Denis Byrne, Professor Ien AngDr Michael Williams, Dr Alexandra Wong
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window), Discovery Project
Period: 2017-2019
Project webpage: The China-Australia Heritage Corridor

Understanding and promoting the social and emotional wellbeing and mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQ young people

There is no academic literature on the social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) and mental health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) young people in Australia. This is despite the fact that both identities are associated with exposure to risk factors associated with SEWB and mental health difficulties. Our knowledge of the interaction between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, LGBTIQ and youth identities, and how this intersection affects wellbeing, remains very poor. The primary objective of this project is to better understand how the interstice of Indigenous, LBGTIQ and youth identities impacts upon the SEWB and mental health of this group to enable the development of tailored interventions to effectively support these young people. The project will be conducted across Perth, Sydney and Darwin sites in three phases, each of which will inform the content of subsequent phases. Phase 1 will comprise of focus groups and in-depth narrative interviews with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQ young people aged 14-25 years to better understand their experiences of the intersection of identities and the impact upon SEWB. Phase 2 will be an online survey to quantitatively index mental wellbeing, exposure to risk and protective factors, experiences of health services and intervention preferences. Phase 3 will involve the co-design of one or more interventions based on the specified needs of this population. Although the nature of the interventions will be determined by prior phases, they may target the individual, community or wider sectors. The primary outcome of this project will be one or more co-designed interventions providing a roadmap for increasing the SEWB and mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQ youth, based on their specific needs and experiences.

Researchers: Dr Karen Soldatic (ICS), Dr Ashleigh Lin (Telethon Kids Institute), Mr Braden Hill (Kulbardi Aboriginal Centre), Ms Bep Uink (Kulbardi Aboriginal Centre), Dr Yael Perry (Telethon Kids Institute), Professor Linda Briskman (Western Sydney University)
Funding: National Health and Medical Research Council (via University of Western Australia/Telethon Kids Institute)
Period: 2019–2021

Understanding the effects of transnational mobility on youth transitions

Young people increasingly migrate abroad for work and education, and Australia is a significant hub for sending and receiving. Migration and education policies encourage this mobility, which is expected to provide youth with enhanced competitive skills. This project aims to examine transnational mobility amongst young people and to understand its effects on their economic opportunities, social and familial ties, capacity for citizenship and transitions to adulthood. The project involves a five-year longitudinal study of 2000 young people aged 18-30 of Indian, Chinese, Italian and British ancestry, including both Australian citizens/permanent residents who have left Australia, and overseas citizens/permanent residents who have entered Australia. Outcomes of this project include a significant quantitative and qualitative dataset on how youth from various cultural backgrounds manage mobility and develop economic, social and civic benefits for themselves and the broader community.

Researchers: Dr Shanthi Robertson (ICS), Professor Anita Harris (Deakin University) and Associate Professor Loretta Baldassar (University of Western Australia)
Funding: Australian Research Council, Discovery Project (via Deakin University)
Period: 2017–2022

UNESCO and the Making of Global Cultural Policy: Culture, Economy, Development

Thumbnail image of UNESCO logoThis project aims to influence global cultural policy and governance and the way 'actors' like UNESCO shape local policy and practice. Focusing on the global South, it will reveal complex connections between levels of governance, documenting and providing guidance on innovative policy approaches for dealing with major social, economic and development challenges. Outcomes will be compelling insights for cultural policy development and implementation, and a critical reshaping of global-local cultural dynamics to support sustainable and equitable development in the global South.

Researchers: Professor Deborah Stevenson, Professor Justin O'Connor (Monash University), Dr Christiaan De Beukelaer (University of Melbourne), Professor Yudhishthir Raj Isar (American University of Paris), Professor Constance DeVereaux (Colorado State University), Assistant Professor Jun Wang (City University of Hong Kong), Avril Joffe (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa)
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window), Discovery Project
Period: 2018-2020
Project Webpage: UNESCO and the Making of the Global Cultural Policy

Volumetric Urbanism

Thumbnail image of city at night with streaming lights of a bus in movement.This project aims to explain how global built environment and development firms 'push the envelope' of urban space. In cities worldwide, governments are faced with the problem and possibilities of 'volume': stacking and moving people within booming central business districts, especially around mass public transport nodes. This project will examine the prototypes, calculative devices and mediating technologies that are used to redefine cities and maximise development values. It will analyse the justifications for high volume urban development projects, and assess how transnational business and design models shape city redevelopment. This project expects to provide insights into interpreting complex urban megaprojects in Australia and internationally.

Researchers: Professor Donald McNeill, Professor Simon Marvin
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window), Discovery Project
Period: 2017-2019

Photograph: Robert Montgomery (opens in a new window)

You can't ask that: Mythbusting community-based palliative care

This study will promote awareness of community-based palliative care among consumers and their carers. It involves: identifying the questions, concerns, illusions, misrepresentations, and falsehoods that consumers and carers have about community-based palliative care; addressing these via an audio-video resource; and determining the perceived impact of this resource. Pending the findings, the audio-video resource will then be shared across and beyond the South Western Sydney Local Health District to promote awareness of community-based palliative care, and relatedly, death literacy.

Researchers: Associate Professor Ann Dadich
Funding: South Western Sydney Local Health District
Period: March 2018 – December 2019

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