Research Showcase 'HDR Candidates'

We aim to showcase a new HDR researcher every 3 to 4 months.

Denise Beckwith

Denise Beckwith HDR

Denise has a Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) and is a current PhD candidate in the School of Social Sciences. She has more than eighteen years work experience in the disability advocacy sector. Within her disability consultancy role, Denise brings both lived and professional experience. Her PhD explores the sexual lives of women with physical disability, focussing on sexuality education, sexuality identity formation and the risk of exposure to or experiencing violence. The PhD research is a multi-phased national research project, involving 19 women with both congenital and acquired physical disability. Moreover, it provided a platform for the women to share their stories and the full spectrum of their lived experiences relating to their sexuality and sexual expression. This was mainly achieved using Participatory Action Research and Photovoice. The women were asked to take four photographs illustrating how they construct, experience or express their sexual identity. The accompanying interviews led to the women explaining the significance of the photographs as well as emphasising their intersecting identities. In turn, these photographs allow the wider community a glance into the sexual and everyday lives of women with physical disability.

Denise’s publications include:

Denise’s 3 Minute Thesis Slide:

Denise Beckwith 3MT

Denise’s presentations include:

  • Beckwith, D 2018, ‘Silent tears: breaking down the silos of disability and violence experienced by women with disability’, Annual Domestic Violence Conference Resilience, Recovery & Relief, Sydney.
  • Beckwith, D 2018, ‘Silent tears: the creation and collaboration of art to highlight disability, gender and violence’ at the Euro-Mediterranean Conference on Disability Studies and Disability Activism Conference, Malta.
  • Beckwith, D 2018, ‘Sexual identity and violence: the voices of women with physical disability’ at the Euro-Mediterranean Conference on Disability Studies and Disability Activism Conference, Malta.
  • Beckwith, D 2018, ‘Silent tears: breaking the silence of violence and abuse experienced by disabled women’ at the Social Work, Education & Social Development Conference, Dublin.
  • Beckwith, D 2018, ‘The role of social work practice in embracing crip-sex, disability pride and sexual identity’ at the Social Work, Education & Social Development Conference, Dublin.
  • Beckwith, D 2018, ‘Human rights and social justice approach: the missing discourse, disability, sexuality and expression’ at the Australian Ally Conference, Perth.
  • Beckwith, D 2019, ‘The missing voices of sex education: women and girls with physical disability’ at the Inclusive Education Summit: It’s about all of us, New Zealand.
  • Beckwith, D 2019, ‘An interview and photovoice exploration of sexual education provision to women with physical disability and potential experiences of violence’ at the International Conference on Disability Studies, Vancouver.
  • Beckwith, D 2020, ‘We are sexual beings!’ at the Australian & New Zealand Social Work & Welfare Education & Research Symposium, Online.

Denise’s other engagements:

Denise has been a consultant and documentary photographer with the multimedia exhibition, Silent Tears, which explores the issue of violence against women with disability and violence against women causing disability. Silent Tears has featured in international and national events, including the United Nations (UN) headquarters in both Geneva and New York at the UN Commission on the Status of Women in 2018.

Denise also participated in the international exhibition Intimate Encounters and associated follow-up documentary Intimate Encounters 20 years on. Intimate Encounters is a photographic exhibition exploring sexuality, disability and body image and has been revisited since 2019 where Denise has taken on a consultancy role. Intimate Encounters is a form of protest by people with disability to reclaim and celebrate their sexuality within an ableist society.

Rhonda Itaoui

Rhonda Itaoui HDR

Rhonda Itaoui is a PhD candidate in the School of Social Sciences at Western Sydney University. Her project explores the impact of Islamophobia on the spatial mobility of young Muslims living in the West, based on her mixed-methods fieldwork in the San Francisco Bay Area and Sydney, Australia. Her international fieldwork was funded by the Endeavour Postgraduate Scholarship, which provided her the opportunity to work with researchers at UC Berkeley as a Research Fellow, producing a number of publications on the global impacts of Islamophobia. Her interdisciplinary research and teaching interests include the geographies of racism, segregation and diversity, as well as comparative urbanism with the aim to cultivate spaces of belonging and inclusivity.

Rhonda’s Recent Publications include:

  • Itaoui, R., 2020. Mapping perceptions of Islamophobia in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. Social & Cultural Geography, 21(4), pp.479-506, DOI 10.1080/14649365.2019.1633684
  • Thompson, P., Itaoui, R., Bazian, H. (2019). Islamophobia in India: Stoking Bigotry, Berkeley, CA.
  • Itaoui, R. and Elsheikh, E. (2018). Islamophobia in the United States: a Reading Resource Pack. Berkeley, CA: Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society. Available at:
  • Itaoui, R., Dunn, K. (2017). Media representations of racism and spatial mobility: Young Muslim (un)belonging in a post-Cronulla Riot Sutherland, 38(3), pp 315-332, Journal of Intercultural Studies, DOI10.1080/07256868.2017.131425
  • Itaoui, R. (2016). The Geography of Islamophobia in Sydney: mapping the spatial imaginaries of young Muslims. Australian Geographer, 47(3), pp.261-279.

Rhonda’s 3 Minute Thesis Slide:

Rhonda was voted ‘People’s Choice Winner' of the 3 Minute Thesis Competition 2020, for the School of Social Sciences

Rhonda 3MT

Rhonda's Conference Presentations Include:

  • Itaoui, R. (2020). Gendered countermobilities of Muslims in the Bay Area, CURS Geography Seminar, University of Newcastle, 27th August.
  • Itaoui, R. (2020). The comparative geographies of Islamophobia: Sydney and the San Francisco Bay Area, Advancing Community Cohesion Conference, 11th Feb, Western Sydney University, Sydney.
  • Itaoui, R. (2019). Gendered geographies of Islamophobia in the Bay Area, Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG) Annual Conference, Hobart, Tasmania.
  • Itaoui, R. (2019), Race and Islam [Panelist], Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG) Annual Conference, Hobart, Tasmania.
  • Itaoui, R. (2019). Belonging & Public Space: Racism and the Right to the City, Othering and Belonging Conference, 21st April, Oakland CA.
  • Itaoui, R. (2019). Gendered Muslim mobilities in the Bay Area, 10th Annual Islamophobia Conference, 23rd April, Boalt School of Law, UC Berkeley, CA.
  • Itaoui, R. (2018). Mapping Islamophobia in the West:  Sydney, Australia and the Bay Area, California, 12 Nov, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
  • Itaoui, R. (2018). Understanding and Countering Islamophobia [Invited Trainer], 9 March, Lake Arrowhead California, United States.

Rhonda's Media Engagements (2018-2020):

Itaoui, R. and Dunn, K (2020). Christchurch attacks strike at the heart of Muslims’ safe places from Islamophobia. The Conversation. Retrieved from

FBI Radio (2019). The Geography of Islamophobia with Rhonda Itaoui – Radio Interview.

Radio New Zealand (2019). Three Minutes Max: Rhonda Itaoui on the Christchurch Attacks and Islamophobia. Retrieved from

Sisemore, B., & Itaoui, R. (2018). Trump’s travel ban is just one of many US policies that legalize discrimination against Muslims. The Conversation. Retrieved from

Teddy Nagaddya

Teddy Nagaddya HDR

Teddy is a Commonwealth Scholar and PhD graduand currently teaching in the School of Social Sciences. Teddy’s PhD examines how the recent significant changes to Uganda’s rural economy and the consequences of unprecedented levels of in-migration to rural villages have impacted on the everyday lives of native and migrant older adult women. She demonstrates that the combined influences of the market, community, and capital shape the social and economic realities of those ageing in rural settings, perceivably more than the ageing process itself. Women experienced these changes as disruption and dislocation characterised by socio-economic disequilibrium - an outcome further exacerbated by gender and class. Teddy draws on older adult women’s voices and lived experiences to propose a five-tier pyramidal rural-centric framework aimed at advancing the well-being of those ageing in contemporary rural.

Teddy’s publications include:

  • Nagaddya, T. (2020). “All we know is the hoe” : women’s later life experiences within a changing rural economy in Uganda.
  • Stout, B., Nagaddya, T. (2020) ‘Research based Evaluation of Liverpool Neighbourhood Connection’s Community Development Program’, Western Sydney University.
  • Atim, F., Nagaddya, T., Nakaggwa, F., et al, (2018). Agony resulting from cultural practices of canine bud extraction among children under five years in selected slums of Makindye: a cross sectional study. BMC oral health18(1), p.133.
  • Sims, Margaret, Teddy Nagaddya, Florence Nakaggwa, Charles Kivunja, David Ngungutse, and Evelyn Ayot. "Children's Experiences of Social Exclusion--What is It Like Living in a Slum in Kampala?." International Research in Early Childhood Education 2, no. 1 (2011): 17-29.

Teddy’s Current / Recent Engagements include:

  • Teddy is currently working with a team of researchers at the School of Social Sciences on a multi-phased research project titled Getting out: Women’s housing and homelessness pathways after prison. The project utilises a participatory action and inclusive methodology by centring the voices and lived experiences of women who have left prison, their allies and relevant community service. The project aims to contribute to designing effective post-release programs that will lead to reduced rates of recidivism and homelessness among women leaving prison.
  • Teddy has been involved in conducting an evaluation project that examined the effectiveness of the Liverpool Neighbourhood Connections Community Development Program (LNC-CDP) in helping “families in crisis”.  The research was initiated by Western Sydney University and led by the Dean of School of Social Sciences - Professor Brian Stout and myself in response to the government’s call for evidence-based community initiatives that alleviate economic and social exclusion among the most vulnerable populations in Australia.  The overarching objective of the research/evaluation was to assess the impact of the CDP on women’s livelihood and the broader community within the Liverpool Local Government Area.

Teddy’s 3 Minute Thesis Slide:

Teddy emerged the Winner of the 3 Minute Thesis Competition 2020, for the School of Social Sciences

Teddy 3MT Slide