Doctor Melissa Phillips

Doctor Melissa Phillips

Academic Program Advisor, Humanitarian and Development Studies,
Humanitarian & Development Studies

Senior Lecturer in Humanitarian and Development Studies,
Humanitarian & Development Studies


Senior Lecturer in School of Social Sciences (Humanitarian and Development Studies) and Academic Program Advisor for Humanitarian and Development Studies. 

Sociologist whose research interests include migration, mobility, displacement, migrant and refugee settlement, diasporas, transit migration, migration policies.

A passionate advocate for migration, multiculturalism and human rights. My research focus is on migration, displacement and forced migration-related issues. With 10+ years as a field-based practitioner in the Horn of Africa, South Sudan, Libya, Middle East, UK and Australia, I bring a unique perspective to bear on the experiences of refugees and migrants and the policy domain governing this area. Formerly a National Board of the Australian Red Cross & Regional Advisor for the International Detention Coalition. Advisory Board Member for Swedish Observatory for Human Rights Information. Co-managing Editor for the Journal of Intercultural Studies

Recent publications include Understanding Diaspora Development: Lessons from Australia and the Pacific (co-edited with Louise Olliff), Palgrave Macmillan (2022) and Special Issue on "Civil society and humanitarian actors across European borderlands" (2023) co-edited with Paolo Cuttita and Antoine Pecoud. 

Current projects - ARC Linkage Project Settling well in regional Australia a longitudinal, comparative assessment of the impacts of the settlement of people from refugee backgrounds in regional Australia, for both people from refugee backgrounds themselves and the communities in which they settle. 

This information has been contributed by Doctor Phillips.


  • PhD University of Melbourne

Professional Memberships

  • Development Studies Association of Australia (DSAA) (2022 - 2023)
  • The Australian Sociological Association (2009)


  • Diaspora Communities and Trans-nationalism
  • Humanitarian Aid
  • Migration Studies
  • Refugees and displaced persons

Organisational Unit (School / Division)

  • Humanitarian & Development Studies
  • Humanitarian & Development Studies


Location: P.G.45
Penrith (Kingswood)

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Previous Teaching Areas

  • HUMN1028 Human Rights, Peace and Development, 2023
  • HUMN2037 Peace-Making and Peace-Building, 2022
  • HUMN3063 Peace & Development Project, 2022
  • HUMN3063 Peace & Development Project, 2023
  • HUMN7023 Global Health, Migration and Development, 2023
  • HUMN7024 Humanitarian and Development Agendas and Progress, 2022



  • Phillips, M. and Olliff, L. (2022), 'Understanding Diaspora Development: Lessons from Australia and the Pacific', : Palgrave Macmillan 9783030978655.
  • Galligan, B., Boese, M. and Phillips, M. (2014), 'Becoming Australian: Migration, Settlement, Citizenship', : Melbourne University Press 9780522866377.

Chapters in Books

  • Phillips, M. and Gottardo, C. (2023), 'Deconstructing the myth of the need for immigration detention', Handbook of Critical Whiteness: Deconstructing Dominant Discourses across Disciplines, Springer 9789811916120.
  • Phillips, M. (2022), 'Diaspora policy : a missing plank in Australia's multicultural policy portfolio', Understanding Diaspora Development: Lessons from Australia and the Pacific, Palgrave Macmillan 9783030978655.
  • Phillips, M. (2021), 'Cautionary tales from the geographic South : the impact of Australia's 'worst-practice' on international policy-making towards asylum seekers and refugees in times of crisis', Immigrants, Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Times of Crises B, An International Handbook on Migration, Asylum, Social Integration and Exclusion, European Public Law Organization 9786185417123.
  • Phillips, M. (2020), 'Responding to migrant workers : the case of Australia', State Responses to COVID-19: A Global Snapshot at 1 June 2020, Western Sydney University .
  • Phillips, M. and Heiduk, M. (2019), ''Europe is not worth dying for' : the dilemma facing Somalis in Europe', Roaming Africa: Migration, Resilience and Social Protection, Langaa Research and Publishing Common Initiative Group 9789956551019.
  • Boese, M. and Phillips, M. (2015), 'Multiculturalising at the interface of policy and practice', Cultural, Religious and Political Contestations: The Multicultural Challenge, Springer 9783319160023.
  • Phillips, M. (2013), 'Being South Sudanese in the diaspora : exploring the relationship between pre-migration, identity and labelling', South Sudanese Diaspora in Australia and New Zealand: Reconciling the Past with the Present, Cambridge Scholars Publishing 9781443847520.
  • Phillips, M. (2013), 'Migration and Australian foreign policy towards Africa : the place of Australia's African transnational communities', New Engagement: Contemporary Australian Foreign Policy towards Africa, Melbourne University Press 9780522862614.

Journal Articles

  • Cuttitta, P., Pecoud, A. and Phillips, M. (2023), 'Civil society and migration governance across European borderlands', Journal of Intercultural Studies, vol 44, no 1 , pp 1 - 11.
  • Phillips, M. (2023), 'Advocates, implementers or allies? : NGOs between humanitarian borderwork and migration management in Libya', Journal of Intercultural Studies, vol 44, no 1 , pp 110 - 124.
  • De Nardi, S. and Phillips, M. (2022), 'The plight of racialised minorities during a pandemic : migrants and refugees in Italy and Australia', Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, vol 41, no 1 , pp 98 - 111.
  • Phillips, M. (2020), 'Managing a multiplicity of interests : the case of irregular migration from Libya', Migration and Society, vol 3, no 1 , pp 89 - 97.
  • Missbach, A. and Phillips, M. (2020), 'Reconceptualizing transit states in an era of outsourcing, offshoring, and obfuscation', Migration and Society, vol 3, no 1 , pp 19 - 33.
  • Boese, M. and Phillips, M. (2017), ''Half of myself belongs to this town' : conditional belongings of temporary migrants in regional Australia', Migration, Mobility, and Displacement, vol 3, no 1 , pp 51 - 69.
  • Phillips, M. and Missbach, A. (2017), 'Economies of transit : exploiting migrants and refugees in Indonesia and Libya', International Journal of Migration and Border Studies, vol 3, no 2-3 , pp 139 - 157.
  • Phillips, M. and Missbach, A. (2017), 'Introduction to the Special Issue on Transit Migration: Renewing the Focus on a Global Phenomenon', International Journal of Migration and Border Studies, vol 3, no 2-3 , pp 113 - 120.
  • Boese, M. and Phillips, M. (2017), 'The role of local government in migrant and refugee settlement in regional and rural Australia', Australian Journal of Social Issues, vol 52, no 4 , pp 388 - 404.
  • Phillips, M. (2016), 'Refugees and migrants at sea : another view from the Middle East and North Africa region', Proceedings of the American Society of International Law, vol 110 , pp 169 - 173.
  • O'Brien, P. and Phillips, M. (2015), 'Health care justice for temporary migrant workers on 457 visas in Australia : a case study of internationally qualified nurses', Journal of Law and Medicine, vol 22, no 3 , pp 550 - 567.
  • Missbach, A. and Phillips, M. (2015), 'Die Okonomie des ausbeuterischen Transits Lebensbedingungen von Migrant*innen und Asylsuchenden in Indonesien und Libyen', Peripherie, vol 138/139, no 35 , pp 170 - 192.
  • Phillips, M. (2015), 'Conceptualizing 'people on the move' in the Horn of Africa and Yemen', Refugee Review, vol 2, no 1 , pp 193 - 194.
  • Phillips, M. and Starup, K. (2014), 'Protection challenges of mobility', Forced Migration Review, vol 47 , pp 27 - 30.
  • Phillips, M. (2013), 'Voices from inside Australia's detention centres', Forced Migration Review, vol 44 , pp 10 - 11.
  • Boese, M. and Phillips, M. (2011), 'Multiculturalism and social inclusion', Journal of Intercultural Studies, vol 32, no 2 , pp 189 - 197.
  • Phillips, M. (2011), 'Convenient labels, inaccurate representations : turning Southern Sudanese refugees into 'African-Australians'', Australasian Review of African Studies, vol 32, no 2 , pp 57 - 79.
  • Phillips, M. (2000), 'The impact of being detained on-shore : the plight of asylum-seekers in Australia', University of New South Wales Law Journal, vol 23, no 3 , pp 288 - 302.

Conference Papers

  • Boese, M. and Phillips, M. (2012), 'At the coal-face : experiencing multiculturalism in Australia', International Symposium on Multiculturalism, Deakin University.

Other Publications

  • 2022, 'Rethinking Socio-Economic Models for Migrant Settlement in Regional Australia Post COVID-19', Report
  • 2021, 'Moving On: Exploring Onward Migration of Refugees and Migrants from East Africa', Report
  • 2020, 'Urban Mixed Migration: Nairobi Case Study', Report
  • 2020, 'COVID-19 Impacts on Immigration Detention: Global Responses', Report
  • 2018, 'Women and Wash in Nepal: Key Issues and Challenges', Report
  • 2018, 'Diaspora Responses in Times of Disaster and Other Crises: Outcomes Report', Report
  • 2016, 'Diaspora Humanitarianism: Findings of the Diaspora Emergency Action and Coordination Project', Report
  • 2016, 'Getting to Europe the 'WhatsApp' Way: The Use of ICT in Contemporary Mixed Migration Flows to Europe', Report
  • 2011, 'Living Hand to Mouth: Protection Funding and Coordination in South Sudan', Report

My main areas of research broadly focus on migration, migrant/refugee settlement and related policies, diaspora and transit migration. I enjoy collaborative research on projects that have an applied focus. 

I am currently a CI on an ARC project 'Settling well in regional Australia: Experiences of people from refugee backgrounds' [LP200100205] which runs until 2025 and as a recipient of an RDA (Women’s Fellowship) for 2023. 

This information has been contributed by Doctor Phillips.

Current Projects

Title: Settling well: a longitudinal study of refugees in regional Australia [Via UoW]
  • Australian Research Council (ACRG)
  • UoW Partner Funds
  • University of Western Sydney
Western Researchers: Rae Dufty-Jones and Melissa Phillips
Years: 2021-12-02 - 2026-12-31
ID: P00027628
Title: Myway evaluation - Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre
  • Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre LTD
Western Researchers: Rimple Mehta and Melissa Phillips
Years: 2022-12-01 - 2024-04-30
ID: P00028378


Current Supervision

Thesis Title: Development implications of refugee influxes in Jordan and Egypt: the effects of humanitarian crises on low and middle-income countries in the Middle East and North Africa
Field of Research:

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