Community Engagement

The first ethical principle of Sociology and Anthropology is that our insights necessarily emerge from and feed back into the broader society. Therefore, engagement is an intrinsic part of the dialogue and argument that is the social and cultural process. Our recent work, for example, has drawn out and changed thinking and policies on issues of educational reform, migration, scientific research, media and cultural policy, ecological debate, human rights, social justice, Indigenous experience, community and religious life, philanthropy, development, family and aged policy.


Alex Broom engages with a wide range of partners (e.g. hospitals, community organisations, and professional organisations related to health, illness and medicine) with a focus on improving people's experiences of illness and healthcare delivery. His program of research melds the conceptual richness of sociology with the value of applied, translational health research. Alex’s most recent work focuses on improving the delivery of cancer and palliative care, and to protect antibiotics for future generations. These projects involve close collaboration with key health providers across Australia including: The Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, The Sunshine Coast Health and Hospital Service, The Prince of Wales Hospital and Community Health Services, St Vincent's Brisbane, the Mater Hospitals and Health Service, and Liverpool Hospital (Sydney).


Paul K. Jones has a longstanding record of public engagement via policy submission and sociological research on the relationship between media use and consumption and key social goals such as informed citizenship, media/speech freedoms and work/life balance. Between 2006 and 2010, he led an ARC Discovery Project on the relationship between media consumption, political communication and informed citizenship. Between 2010 and 2013, he was a participant in the 'Eleven Nation Project' a.k.a. ‘Media System, Political Context and Informed Citizenship: A Comparative Study’. Between 2006 and 2008, he was a co-chief investigator on the ARC Linkage Project ‘The Impact of the Mobile Phone on Work/Life Balance’ involving close liaison with the mobile phone industry.


Amanda Kearney has collaborated extensively with Indigenous families in the Northern Territory, and works closely with staff and students at Tranby Aboriginal College in Sydney to gain a better understanding of Indigenous education programs and contemporary life experiences for Indigenous Australians. In turn, she has contributed to policy developments concerning Indigenous education reform, the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage, and inter-generational knowledge exchange. She is also an advising anthropologist and panellist for the Aurora Internship Program. Since 2007, Amanda has worked with digital animators at Monash University (Monash Countrylines Archive) to assist in the development of creative new ways of sharing ancestral knowledge with younger generation Indigenous people in remote parts of northern Australia. In addition, Amanda’s work in Brazil has extended her engagement into African descendant education facilities such as the Instituto Cultural Steve Biko.


Vicki Kirby’s research encourages dialogue between the humanities and the sciences to address problems that threaten global well-being. To this end, Quantum Anthropologies: Life at Large has received an enthusiastic reception, generating invitations from across Europe, including science and humanities think-tanks (ICI Berlin), and in the US at Emory, Duke and Yale Universities. Vicki is regularly invited to teach in rural India through the Forum of Contemporary Theory, and her work is being translated into Mandarin. Forging new research communities across national boundaries and with diverse disciplinary expertise has implications that are not confined to the academy. Current research with neurologists hopes to contribute to policy decisions about global ecologies.


Andrew Metcalfe, with his colleagues Ann Game and Demelza Marlin, has recently written a book On Bondi Beach, concerning the experience of ecological belonging in a modern cosmopolitan community close to UNSW. This was based on collaboration with many local groups, such as the Bondi and North Bondi Life Saving clubs, Chapel by the Sea, Norman Andrew House, Bondi Boardriders and Waverley Council, and on hundreds of interviews with local residents and tourists and beach-goers. The book is itself a part of the process of communion. It enables people come to reflect on the environment of which they are part, and hear and appreciate the different perspectives and stories of those with whom they share the beach.


Katrina Moore is investigating the role of artistic communities in facilitating the wellbeing of older persons in Australia and Japan. She has recently written a monograph on the Japanese elderly’s participation in dancing and chanting rituals of the Noh theater and the role these activities play in promoting their wellbeing. Katrina has collaborated with research centres on ageing in Japan, such as the International Longevity Centre Global Alliance in order to encourage the exchange of knowledge across academic and government organisations. This research seeks to encourage the participation of older people in community life and foster the intergenerational sharing of knowledge. In Australia, Katrina has contributed research to public organisations, including the Art Gallery of NSW , to promote knowledge exchange about art in facilitating ageing, resilience and wellbeing in Japan and Australia.


Claudia Tazreiter works with non-governmental and civil society organisations in Australia and internationally on human rights, public policy and advocacy issues related to forced migration, citizenship and women’s rights. She is a member of the Border Crossing Observatory linking researchers working on human mobility with policy makers and the general public across the globe. Claudia is also a member of the Australian Human Rights Centre (AHRC), serves on the Advisory Committee of the Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, and is a Research Affiliate of the Gendered Violence Research Network (GVRN). AHRC, the Kaldor Centre and GVRN all work on policy advocacy and engage with the media and the public on issues of human rights, refugees and gendered forms of violence. Claudia is currently engaged in research in Indonesia and Malaysia with refugee communities in transit, in partnership with local non-governmental organisation s as well as colleagues at Monash University and Monash Malaysia.


Melanie White is committed to cultivating spaces for intellectual inquiry and research support for emerging scholars in her immediate community. She has worked with primary school students to consider what distinguishes life from non-life, and most recently, gave a workshop at St. Catherine’s School in Bronte with Dr. Na’ama Carlin on the topic ‘Do Robots Dream?’. She works closely with the post-graduate community in the Arts & Social Sciences Faculty at UNSW and offers regular workshops on Research Design and the Researchable Problem. Most recently, she has developed the role of PG Research Culture Convenor in the School of Social Sciences where she will offer a range of programs to build the publication portfolios of research students across the School.


Mary Zournazi works across the scholarly and public dissemination and communication of ideas, and she is committed to public intellectual work. She produces and writes film and radio documentaries on key social issues of our times: hope, migration, war and peace. Her work has been broadcast on ABC Radio National. Her film Dogs of Democracy has recently won US Spirit of Activism Award at the Nevada Women’s Film Festival (2017). She the founder and mentor for Early Career Fellowship with the Australian War Memorial. She has written a play on dementia with the Australian writer Christos Tsiolkas called Solomon's Dream, and she is currenlty working on a film essay on Peace with the German film maker, Wim Wenders.