Borders and Diversity

Program Co-Convenors: Dr Benjamin Hanckel and Dr Valentina Baú


The Borders and Diversity Research Program conducts critical social inquiry on contemporary cultural diversity and the intensifying presence of borders that govern labour, life and movement.

Conditions of ‘uneven globalisation’ and increasing use of digital technologies are radically shifting our capacities to ‘move’ and participate across various social and political boundaries. In reshaping practices, they offer both new limitations and opportunities for participation in the world. Of particular importance for our research is understanding these as they take place in and across contexts.

Existing practices of diversity and inclusion at local, national and transnational scales are opening up new opportunities. The growing momentum of engagement in issues such as the Black Lives Matters campaign, recognition of Indigenous sovereignty through decolonisation approaches, and climate change-induced displacement, further point to critical ruptures in the logic of internal and external borders. These ruptures require scholarship that questions such logics and examines border regimes as they interact with lived experiences and cultural diversity across place(s).

Drawing on interdisciplinary methods across cultural studies, sociology, geography, development studies, communication and media studies, we are experts in conducting research with diverse populations across a number of strategic contexts: these include education, technology practice, social cohesion, migrants and refugees, gender and sexuality, diversity in media representation, and everyday sites of dis/connection, family and belonging.

We work with national and international partners and end-users in policy, social services, education, health, technology and the media. We focus on projects that amplify institutional and community impact and cross-sector knowledge translation.

Our work aims to:

  • answer the most pressing questions that enable and support the expression of diverse communities and the development of institutional practices;
  • produce research that surfaces the experiences of those living within and across contexts that are constrained by border regimes;
  • advocate for inclusive and supportive outcomes that have an impact in the communities we work with;
  • foster collaboration between scholars and communities;
  • form a strong network of partnerships with industries, which are key in promoting knowledge and outputs that enhance understanding and address both enabling and constraining structures across society.

Current Members

Name of the ResearcherAffiliationResearch Focus
Valentina BaúInstitute for Culture and SocietyCommunication for Development; Communicating with Communities; Participatory Communication; Communication for Peace; Communication for Social Change.
Shiva ChandraThe Young and Resilient Research Centre, Institute for Culture and SocietyYouth; LGBT+; Race; Digital Technology; Personal Life.
Alexandra ColemanSchool of Humanities and Communication ArtsClass; Place; Western Sydney; Bourdieu; Education.
Benjamin HanckelInstitute for Culture and Society; Young and Resilient Research CentreHealth; Youth; Digital; Gender; Sexuality.
Kate HuppatzSchool of Social SciencesGender; Work; Care; Families; Social Class; Violence.
Jorge KnijnikSchool of EducationDemocracy; Curriculum; Gender; Sports; Education.
Quah Ee LingSchool of Humanities and Communication ArtsMigration; Race; Genders; Sexualities; Decoloniality.
Liwan LiyanageComputer Data and Mathematical SciencesInternal Migration; International Migration; Spatio-Temporal Disease Classification; Migrant Child Health; Data Science and Digital Technology.
Jasbeer Musthafa MamalipurathInstitute for Culture and SocietyMisinformation; Disinformation; Digital; Muslims; Caste.
Rachel MorleySchool of Humanities and Communication ArtsArts and Cultural Engagement and Innovation; Region Arts; Participatory Storytelling; Life-writing; Ageing and Creativity.
Brett NeilsonInstitute for Culture and SocietyBorders; Logistics; Extraction; Automation; Geopolitics.
Lucy NicholasSchool of Social SciencesGender Diversity; Sexualities; Masculinities; Right-wing Extremism; Gender-based Violence.
Greg NobleInstitute for Culture and SocietyEthnicity; Migration; Multiculturalism; Education; Bourdieu
Nukte OgunYoung and Resilient Research CentreChildren and Young People; Online Safety; Research Impact; Communication; Media.
Melissa PhillipsSchool of Social SciencesMigration; Displacement; Diaspora; Settlement and Refugees.
Corrinne T SullivanSchool of Social SciencesIndigenous; Gender; Sexuality; Diversity; LGBTIQ+SB.
Megan WatkinsSchool of EducationAffect; Bourdieu; Multicultural Education; Asian Migration; Pedagogy
Alexandra WongInstitute for Culture and SocietyMulticulturalism; Migration; Chinese diaspora; Multicultural Education; Ethnoburbs.

Selected Publications


Book Chapters

Journal Articles

Other Publications