Research Projects - 2016

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)


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)


Disability pension reform and regional Australia: The Indigenous experience

Disability Income Reform and Regional Australia: The lived experience for Indigenous Australians with disabilities is major three-year program of research funded by the Australian Research Council (DECRA Fellowship: ARC DE160100478). The project aimed to investigate the ways in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians living with disabilities and their families respond to, the challenges imposed by national disability income reform and rapid regional economic restructuring.

The project objectives are to:

  1. Build scholarly knowledge about Indigenous disabled people’s experiences of living ‘in between’ the interstice of national income support reform and regional economic growth, regeneration and/or decline
  2. Expand the theoretical boundaries of Indigenous identities through incorporating the category of disability as a regulatory regime, a redistributive mechanism and a social identity
  3. Enrich theoretical and applied understandings of the growing disability population of Indigenous Australians and their experience of disability in changing regional landscapes
  4. Elaborate Indigenous research methodologies to give ‘voice’ to Indigenous Australians with disabilities living in regional centres that can be scaled up to other contexts and settings
  5. Develop a rigorous theoretical framework to inform government (national, state, local) policies and programs that aim to promote regional economic development so that it is responsive to, and inclusive of, local Indigenous disability populations and their communities.

Researcher: Dr Karen Soldatic (ICS)
Funding: Australian Research Council, Discovery Early Career Researcher Award
Period: 2016–2018
Project Website: Disability Pension Reform and Regional Australia: The Indigenous Experience


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


Reconfiguring the Enterprise: Shifting Manufacturing Culture in Australia

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.

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)

Photograph: Christian Grelard (opens in a new window)


Re-drawing the economy: Creating place-based images that can travel Phase 2

This project received funding to conduct workshops in Finland, South Korea and Colombia with communities who are building ethical economies. The workshops were designed to allow communities to take a measure of their own economic lives and to make common cause with others by sharing what they’ve learned. The project was informed by relationships between the authors of Take Back the Economy: An Ethical Guide for Transforming our Communities (TBTE) (J.K. Gibson-Graham, Jenny Cameron and Stephen Healy), artists interested in visual representations of economic relations, and the book’s Finnish, Korean and Spanish translators. In the second stage representatives from each community joined, translators, artists from stage one with other artists and community in Barking, London home of Company Drinks — a community and art based social enterprise, and CASCO art Institute from the Netherlands. The workshop developed materials for a digital exhibition and website as well as teaching tools that can be used in a range of settings to help promote a post-capitalist logic of economy, where mutual aid, care, cooperation and common concern are practised.

Researchers: Professor Katherine Gibson (ICS), Dr Stephen Healy (ICS), Associate Professor Jenny Cameron (University of Newcastle), Associate Professor Wendy Harcourt (Erasmus University)
Funding: Antipode Foundation Scholar-Activist Project Award
Period: 2016–2018


Study of women with disability in war affected communities in Sri Lanka

The Law and Society Trust, together with researchers from the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University, have collaborated in an unprecedented report documenting the stories of hardship and resilience of Sri Lankan women with disabilities living in war-affected areas. The Final Report was launched by the Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission in July 2018.

Researcher: Dr Karen Soldatic (ICS)
Funding: Law and Society Trust, Sri Lanka
Period: 2016–2017

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