Professor Amanda Third
"High-quality research and evidence that centres young people’s lived experience needs to drive policy and practice, now and into the future. We are deeply concerned to grapple with local issues in Western Sydney, and our work has also directly impacted state, national and global policy and practice. Thinking about how these layers intersect and inform each other gives our work real power." – Amanda Third.
Professor Amanda Third is Professorial Research Fellow in Digital Social and Cultural Research in the Institute for Culture and Society and Co-Director of the Young and Resilient Research Centre at Western Sydney University; and Research Stream Co-Lead in the Centre for Resilient and Inclusive Societies (Deakin; Western Sydney University and Victoria University).
An international expert in user-centred, participatory research, her work investigates children's and young people's technology practices, focusing on marginalised groups and rights-based approaches. She has led child-centred projects to understand children's and young people's experiences of the digital age in 68 countries, working with partners across corporate, government and not-for-profit sectors. She is committed to working with communities to generate research that can be activated for effective policy and practice.
From 2011-2016, Professor Third led Research Program 2: 'Connected and Creative', of the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre, a cross-sector research entity that united young people with researchers, practitioners, innovators and policy-makers from over 75 partner organisations across the not-for-profit, academic, government and corporate sectors to explore the role of technology in young people's lives, and how technology can be used to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people aged 12 to 25. The research program Professor Third led investigated how to better connect vulnerable young people with their communities by enhancing and leveraging their technology practices and their creative engagements. This experience led Professor Third to work with colleagues at Western Sydney University to adapt an open innovation process – known as a Living Lab – to co-research and design, with children, young people and stakeholders across sectors, technology-based strategies to support intergenerational resilience. She has co-developed a range of innovative data and analysis techniques (e.g. distributed data gathering via a workshop-based method), as well as digital tools (e.g. 'Invisible City' emotion mapping app) to enable children, young people and their communities to generate data and, thereby, enable them to tackle the challenges they face.
Professor Third is lead author of Young People in Digital Society: Control/Shift (Palgrave, 2019); Young and Online: Children's Perspectives on Life in the Digital Age (WSU/UNICEF, 2017); and Children's Rights in the Digital Age: A Download from Children around the World (Young and Well CRC/UNICEF, 2014). She is currently co-authoring a General Comment on Children's Rights in the Digital Environment for the UN Committee for the Rights of the Child. She is Expert Advisor to Global Kids Online; a founding member of the Australian-based Technology and Wellbeing Cross-Sector Roundtable; and Co-Director of the Australian Living Labs Innovation Network. She is also a member of the ASEAN Regional Think Tank on Child Online Protection (UNICEF/ITU); the international Digitally Connected Network; Google Kids and Families Expert Advisory Board, UNICEF Australia's Child Rights Task Force; the Australian Federal Government's eSafety Advisory Committee, and an Ambassador of the 2168 Children's Parliament. In 2015 she was awarded the Western Sydney University Vice Chancellor's Medal for Engagement and Sustainability.
- 2006, PhD, Communication and Cultural Studies, Curtin University of Technology
- 1995, Italian (Hons), University of Western Australia
- 1994, BA, University of Western Australia
- 1990, BA, Environmental Design (Architecture), University of Western Australia
Awards and Recognition
- 2015: Western Sydney University Excellence in University Engagement and Sustainability award
- 2009: Medal for Early Career Research Achievement, Murdoch University
- 2006: Chancellor's Commendation for Outstanding Doctoral Research, Curtin University
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