Senior Research Fellow
Susan’s research focuses on improving services and supports for vulnerable children and families. Susan applies interdisciplinary and co-design approaches with children, families and professionals so evidence is informed by their knowledge, priorities and strengths. She has extensive experience in the use of participatory action, inclusive research and arts-based methods to address complex challenges through genuine collaboration and contribute to policy and service reforms that improve the lives of disadvantaged children, young people and families. As a Chief Investigator on a Linkage Grant funded project using action research, Susan worked with partners from government and non-government organisations, and with young people, carers and parents to improve family time practice in out-of-home care. Susan sits on several Australian and international groups that aim to prevent discrimination and promote equality for parents with intellectual disability and their children. Her publications and creative resources have generated research impact in and beyond academia.
Key areas of interest
- Vulnerable children and families
- Participatory and co-design methods
- Applied research and human service evaluation
- Social support and inclusion
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Vijetta is a sociologist of education who grew up in Mauritius, an island shaped by colonisation, slavery, and indenture. Her research focuses on the genetic structures that constitute education systems to examine issues of equity, racial and social justice. Vijetta’s PhD research explored how colonial legacies, the policies and practices of the neo-colonial state and the processes of globalisation intersect with class struggles to shape the racialised identities of young people as learners in Mauritius and how this, in turn, influences their realms of what is possible and thinkable in the world. Her past research explored the nature of sibling relationships in families with a child with Autism. Vijetta is currently working on the THRIVE project that involves understanding what educational success means to differently positioned young people experiencing educational disadvantage, which will include the perspectives of Indigenous, out-of-home care and other marginalised populations such as refugees, migrants and members of the LGBTQI+ community. By understanding their perspectives and through a co-design process, the THRIVE team at TeEACH hope to identify with these young people, what helps or hinders them from finishing school well.
Cris is a sociologist whose research explores what happens when we put the child, young person and family at the centre of the nexus between service delivery and education. This requires an intersectional approach, that recognises the multiplicity of identities lived by children, young people and families, and requires listening to their voices. Cris works collaboratively with partners to ensure that research supports change through informed policy and practice. Examples of Cris’ work are an exploration of Acknowledgement of Country practices in early childhood services, and design of online learning to support educators; co-design of a theory of change for multi-agency service integration reform; a partnership with ACON to investigate LGBTQ+ experience of service provision in Western Sydney; and initiation of a project to inform what supports young people to thrive in school, and finish school well.
Cris completed a PhD on identity, belonging and social support in Australian community playgroups at the Social Policy Research Centre at UNSW. Cris graduated from Cambridge University with a BA Hons and a Cert. Ed in Mathematics and Education, was a high school teacher, then undertook a Masters’ Degree in the Sociology of Gender Divisions from Essex University.
Cathy’s research focuses on the early childhood years exploring modifiable risk factors in education and health, particularly their impact at transition to school for children and their families. Her work strives to incorporate children’s perspectives and to support their pro-active participation in co-design. Her Early Career Researcher Fellowship investigated a child participatory approach in design and delivery of a transition to school program and its impact on children’s early school, health and wellbeing outcomes. This program capitalised on parent engagement, understandings and interactions to support their child’s early education.
Cathy works collaboratively with WSU researchers to develop and evaluate the immediate and long term impact of child and family programs and other activities particularly focused on addressing the social determinants of health and modifiable risk factors in: maternal and child health; children’s cognitive and language development; and children’s early education and learning. More recently Cathy’s work has included a focus on data sharing in the co-design of programs delivered through place based organisations to provide more equitable and early support to families and children. Cathy presently collaborates externally with representatives from health, government and place based organisations, primary schools and city councils co-designing learning contexts to enhance parent/carer-child interactions and early childhood health, learning and wellbeing.