Professor Debbie Horsfall

Debbie HorsfallPosition

Professor of Sociology, School of Social Sciences and Psychology


Debbie is a passionate leader in the field of inclusive, democratic and creative qualitative research in health, human services and community development. Her transformative agenda privileges people’s voices during a myriad of challenging life events. This has led to her participation in numerous engaged research projects including work with: Cancer Council NSW; Multicultural Health; The Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care; Women’s Housing Services; the Prime Ministers Youth Action Task Force, The Groundswell Project; and the Benevolent Society. Debbie has been awarded the Vice Chancellors Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Training and Supervision, many of the candidates were trailblazers in arts based and creative research methodologies and re-presentations.  She is a post graduate examiner at national and international levels and has successfully supervised over 38 research candidates. Debbie pioneered the use of photo voice in research with carers at end of life and with people living with significant mental health issues. As a result of her extensive scholarly work in the area of creative, community development and practice based research she has served on several editorial boards, written, co-edited and contributed to over 50 publications including 4 scholarly research books, and is continually approached as a reviewer across disciplinary fields. Her funded research work in the end of life area has included researching socio-cultural influences on older CALD carer’s decisions in end of life care and working with informal carers and service providers to explore how caring at end of life develops death literacy, health promoting palliative care, creative partnerships and compassionate communities. Currently she is working on developing the world’s first death literacy index; developing a community development model for aged care services to work against social isolation for elderly residents and the development of compassionate communities in Australia.

Research Interests

  • Caring at end of life
  • Inclusive and creative research methodologies
  • Trauma informed research in mental health
  • De-institutionalisation
  • Compassionate communities
  • Appreciative and arts-based inquiry

Qualifications and Recognition

  • PhD University of Western Sydney, Hawkesbury
  • MA Macquarie University
  • BEd University of Bradford

Research & Publications

Contact Details
Telephone+61 4 4736 0093