Current Projects

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

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)

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.

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Antarctic Cities and the Global Commons: Rethinking the Gateways

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)

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.

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

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

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.

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Assembling and Governing 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

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.

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Australian Cultural Fields: National and Transnational Dynamics

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
Project website: Australian Cultural Fields: National and Transnational Dynamics
» Fact sheet (opens in a new window)(PDF, 204KB)

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.

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Data Centres and the Governance of Labour and Territory

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)

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.

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Cultivating Digital Capacities

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
Project webpage: Cultivating Digital Capacities
» Fact sheet (opens in a new window)(274MB)

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.

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Governing Digital Cities

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

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.

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Logistics as Global Governance: Labour, Software and Infrastructure 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
Website: Logistical Worlds: Infrastructure, Software, Labour (opens in a new window)
» Fact sheet (opens in a new window)(PDF, 187KB)

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.

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

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
Project webpage: Making Animals Public

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.

Photograph: David Cook (opens in a new window)

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Photos of the Past: The Negotiation of Identity and Belonging at Australian Tourism Sites

Researcher: Associate Professor Emma Waterton
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window), Discovery Early Career Researcher Award
» Fact sheet (opens in a new window)(PDF, 183KB)

Afternoon shot of the famous Uluru rock in Northern Territory, Australia.This project aims to provide a comparative analysis of the way Australia's past is constructed and remembered at heritage tourism sites. Over the course of three years, the project will examine how messages presented at six different heritage tourism sites are used to underpin present day constructions of national belonging. For this, the researcher, Associate Professor Emma Waterton, will focus upon understanding how such messages affect memory and notions of identity by focusing upon visitor responses to atmosphere, mood and meaning. Methodologically, the project will involve the ubiquitous touristic practice of photography, which will allow the research to move beyond notions of representation and consider how processes of 'taking photos' can be used to access sensory experiences, recover memories and imbue touristic sites with meaning.

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Planning Cultural Creation and Production in Sydney

Researchers: Professor Ien Ang, Professor David Rowe, Professor Deborah Stevenson, Dr Liam Magee, Dr Alexandra Wong, Dr Teresa Swist, Mr Andrea Pollio
Funding: City of Sydney
Period: 2017 
Project webpage: Planning Cultural Creation and Production in Sydney

Thumbnail image of a photographer's studioBuilding on the findings of the Mapping Culture report, the second phase of the study, Planning Cultural Creation and Production in Sydney: A Venues and Infrastructure Needs Analysis, will examine the nature and extent of future needs for cultural space in the City, especially spaces for cultural creation and production. The research involves a combination of quantitative and qualitative method, and focuses on the people, activities and spaces with the potential for developing Sydney's cultural capacity. It is envisaged that the research report produced by this project will make a timely contribution to the development of the planning framework of metropolitan Sydney for the coming decades.

Photograph: City of Sydney

Recalibrating Culture: Production, Consumption, Policy

Researchers: Professor Deborah Stevenson, Professor David Rowe
Australian Research Council (opens in a new window), Linkage Project
Period: 2013-2016
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)

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.

Artwork: Khaled Sabsabi

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Reconfiguring the Enterprise: Shifting Manufacturing Culture in Australia

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: 2016-2018
Project webpage: Reconfiguring the Enterprise: Shifting Manufacturing Culture in Australia
» Fact sheet (opens in a new window)(517KB)

Thumbnail image of rooftops and skyThis project aims to explore 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 plans to use qualitative research to explore the inner workings of 12 firms that are integrating different forms of sustainability into their core operations. It plans to develop business metrics and critical incident cases to unravel the negotiations involved in addressing social and environmental sustainability. In so doing, it expects to contribute to debates about the nature of enterprise in the 21st century....Read more.

Photograph: Christian Grelard (opens in a new window)

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Scientific Diversity, Scientific Uncertainty and Risk Mitigation Policy and Planning

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
Project webpage: Scientific Diversity, Scientific Uncertainty and Risk Mitigation Policy and Planning
» Fact sheet (opens in a new window)(PDF,731KB)

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.

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

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

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.

Photograph: Vincent Albanese (opens in a new window)

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Strengthening Economic Resilience in Monsoon Asia

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)

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.

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The China-Australia Heritage Corridor

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

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.

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The Skin of Commerce: the Role of Plastic Packaging in the Construction of Food Security, Waste and Consumer Activism in Australia

Researchers: Professor Gay Hawkins, Dr Andrea Westermann (University of Zurich), Dr Catherine Phillips
Funding: Australian Research Council (opens in a new window) , Discovery Project
Period: 2013-2017

Thumbnail image of plastic water bottles.This project investigates the history and impacts of plastic on food production, markets and waste streams and evaluates innovative industry strategies to reduce the over reliance on plastic. If we live in an overpackaged world how might this mundane material and serious waste burden be challenged while still ensuring food supply? Three key issues will be investigated: the interactions between the plastics and food industries in Australia; consumer activism about plastic waste; and new market practices that reduce plastic packaging.

Photograph: Ricardo Bernardo (opens in a new window)

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

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: 2017-2020

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.

Volumetric Urbanism

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

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.

Photograph: Robert Montgomery (opens in a new window)

Young and Resilient Living Lab

Researchers: Associate Professor Amanda Third, Dr Philippa Collin, Dr Liam Magee, Dr Peter Bansel, Ms Delphine Bellerose, Dr Michelle Catanzaro, Dr Louise Crabtree, Dr Milissa Deitz, Dr Nida Denson, Dr Girish Lala, Ms Lilly Moody, Dr Tanya Notley, Dr Katrina Sandbach, Dr Teresa Swist, Ms Samantha Yorke (Google (Australia))
Funding: Western Sydney University Research Program Partnership: Google (Australia)
Period: 2017-2018
Project Webpage: Young and Resilient 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). The Young and Resilient Lab will build on and enhance Western Sydney University's 'innovation corridor' initiatives, designed to drive a sustainable and future-focused economy. The Living Lab project seeks to develop a research and design facility that embraces an integrated mode of R&D, training and enterprise focused on developing technology-based products, services and solutions that build the capacity of children and young people in GWS to live well and participate fully in social and economic life.

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