Societal and Political Transformations

Alliance for Eco-Therapy, Physical Activity and Mental Wellbeing

Alliance for Eco-Therapy, Physical Activity and Mental WellbeingResearch Theme Investment Scheme, UniSA
Project Leader:  Professor Adrian Franklin

UniSA Team Members:  Dr Johannes Pieters; Dr Linda Pearce; Mr Mark Daker; Ms Kater Deuter

International team members: Dr Andrea Mechelli (Kings  College, London), Prof Terrry Hartig (Uppsala  University, Sweden), Prof Tim Edensor (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK) , Prof Tim Ingold (University of Aberdeen)

This project builds on a growing body of social theoretical work that reveals how the human body, mind and culture is open to and shaped through active connection with the natural world (Edensor 2011; Ingold & Paalson 2013; Thrift 2000). These new relational ontologies reveal how nature and culture never stood as separable entities, but form mutual becomings, ‘incorporating into themselves the lifelines of other organisms as they do so’ (Ingold & Paalson, 2013), and thus opening up the possibility of understanding why and how we attend so closely to the natural world and gain specific benefit from it. A great deal of emerging research suggests that prevention and promotion strategies are a cost effective approach to investing in mental health, and minimizing the onset and impact of serious mental illness (Barry & Jenkins 2007). Furthermore, evidence suggests that contact with nature can protect and promote mental health and wellbeing and prevent mental illness. This project will not only demonstrate the benefits of contact with nature, but how they are acquired and thus maximized to the full. The proposed research activity will draw on a recent international innovation, the Urban Mind app, an international multidisciplinary project which uses participant data to explore and measure how the built environment shapes psychological and emotional dispositions. Equally, the notion that city dwellers feel better in a space with trees, or when they have a view of the sea or a river, or water space, may feel intuitively or anecdotally right – but having evidence for this adds weight, especially when there is a major investment of money at stake for developers. The adoption of ‘ecological momentary assessment’ allows researchers to measure how people feel and what they are doing in real life context, thus it is anticipated that data would be more ecologically valid. Furthermore, it is expected that the partner organizations Neami National, Healthy Parks Healthy People SA and Conservation Council SA will provide baseline data about their relevant eco- therapy programs which will also contribute evidence to inform the research activity.

The aim is to deliver a multidisciplinary, internationally-relevant and service delivery-focused intensive two-day workshop between UniSA, international researchers and stakeholders from across State Government and non-Government organizations. All major stakeholders will be invited to share their research, policy and program experiences with a view to identifying a clear research agenda. This research activity underpins a longer term strategic international alliance with a multiplicity of academics and stakeholders from diverse fields who share a common goal of expanding our current knowledge base by identifying opportunities for enhanced research capability.

Enhanced Humans, Robotics and the Future of Work

Enhanced Humans, Robotics and the Future of Work 2016-2020 ARC Discovery Grant, Project ID: DP160100979

Project Team: Professor Anthony Elliott; Dr. David Bissell (University of Melbourne), Dr Thomas Birtchnell (university of Wollongong); Prof. John Urry, $429,401 

The aim of the project is to generate new and powerful understandings of the social consequences of robotics and artificial intelligence. The project aims to develop an understanding of technologically-mediated mobility processes and test their capacity to address such issues as social futures and the sorts of digital skills that Australians will require for future jobs. It plans to use social theory to explore technological scenarios and hypotheses concerning possible societal futures in Australia and beyond. Project outcomes may inform social science and contribute to worldwide efforts to solve global policy problems from work and unemployment to lifestyle change.

Read more about the project here

Muslim Communities Project a CALD Partnership Model Muslim Communities Project a CALD Partnership Model

Aged Care & Housing Group Inc.  (ACH Group)
Project Leaders: Ms Majhabeen Ahmad (ACH Group) Dr David Radford, UniSA

To provide expert advice on the research design, implementation, analysis, preparation of the final research report for the “Muslim Communities Project – A CALD Partnership Model” funded by the Department of Social Services, through the Aged Care Service Improvement and Healthy Ageing Grants.  Partnering with the ACH Group are the Islamic Society of South Australia (ISSA) and the Islamic Arabic Centre.

Read the Designing Aged Care for Muslims in South Australia: An Exploratory Study Report


Gendered Violence

Gendered Violence and Citizenship

ARC Discovery Grant Awarded 2013 – 2015

Suzanne Franzway | Sarah Wendt | Nicole Moulding | Carole Zufferey | Donna Chung

This project will examine the long term effects of intimate partner violence (IPV) over women’s life course. Based on a national survey and life histories, the impact of IPV on mental health, housing and employment as interconnected dimensions of citizenship will be analysed.  The research will produce evidence on women's active and diverse responses and develop new understandings of gender, violence and citizenship.

Read more


Epistemologies of workplace change: transforming gender relations in engineering

ARC Discovery Grant 2009–2011

Suzanne Franzway | Julie Mills | Rhonda Sharp | Judy Gill

Rapid economic and social changes have restructured workplaces and the workforce participation of men and women. Engineering exemplifies the benefits of globalisation through the expansion of markets and increased demands for highly paid, skilled workers. Paradoxically, women remain marginal to this workforce, despite many campaigns to improve equity and diversity. We propose a fundamental rethinking of the epistemological underpinnings of prior approaches by using an innovative taxonomy to investigate the production of ignorance of sexual politics of workplace change. This missing dimension of knowledge is critical to the development of successful gender equity campaigns and policies.

The severe shortage of engineers threatens sustainable development in rich and poor countries alike. The situation is exacerbated in Australia by global warming and the mining boom, ultimately constraining the national capacity for future economic development and long-term prosperity. Women are potentially an important source of future engineers, but they are currently neither attracted to nor retained within the profession in significant numbers. This project, involving international collaboration, will generate a new conceptual model designed to redress this problem. A key outcome will be more efficient and effective gender equity policies in engineering and related industries. 

Areas of study and research

+ Click to minimise