Research Projects - 2018

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


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


Assembling and Governing of 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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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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