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16 May 2013

Professor Anthony Elliott Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke knows all about transformation.

Overseeing some of the biggest economic and social changes in the nation’s history, it is fitting that he takes a lead role in proceedings as UniSA’s research institute, named in his honour, launches its biannual research agenda – Identity Transformations.

Director of UniSA’s Hawke Research Institute (HRI) Professor Anthony Elliott says the launch event on Friday May 17 will put the broad notion of identity transformation in the 21st century in focus.

“I am delighted that Bob will be with us to get a real flavour for the new overarching research theme for the Hawke Research Institute,” Prof Elliott says.

“As a master of consultation and bringing discordant ideas together to create a new picture, new ways of looking at things, I think he will appreciate how the modern landscape where transformation is the norm is posing some major challenges.”

Researchers from the Schools of Art Architecture and Design, Communication, International Studies and Languages,  Education, Psychology Social Work and Social Policy, and the David Unaipon College of Indigenous Education and Research will exploring the theme along with colleagues from UniSA’s  nationally funded centres and groups  -  the Australian Centre for Child Protection; International Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding; Centre for Post-colonial and Globalisation Studies; Centre for Peace, Conflict and Mediation; Centre for Work + Life; Group for Research in Integrity and Governance; Research Centre for Gender Studies.

“Identity has become one of the pressing issues of our times, debated both globally throughout the academy and in the wider public sphere,” Prof Elliott says.

“From anti-globalization protestors to new ecological warriors, from devotees of therapy culture to defenders of international human rights: the culture of identity-politics is fast redefining the public political sphere. 

“Our research will interrogate and explore these trends looking at the issues through historical, sociological, psychological, cultural, aesthetic, spatial, postmodern and feminist perspectives.”  

As the largest institute in the social sciences, humanities and creative arts in Australia, Prof Elliott says the HRI will investigate identity transformations from a multitude of perspectives, using a range of approaches and methodologies.

“Identity and identity transformations issues are complex so we we’ve set on five key areas for exploration - biotechnologies; disasters; mobilities; intimacies and Métissage,” he says.

“We want to explore globalization and the effects of the global electronic economy; trauma, memory and amnesia in the context of modern mobility and diaspora; creative identity and responses to disasters, emergenices and catastrophes; poetic evolutions and new art forms relating to identities; narrative transformations of identities, identities in the frame of gender, feminism and the body, identity-politics in a post-national constellation.”

The launch of the new research agenda will be held at the Bradley Forum, Level 5, Hawke Building, North Terrace from 2 – 4pm.

UniSA Media contact: Michèle Nardelli office: 08 8302 0966 mobile: 0418 823 673 email: michele.nardelli@unisa.edu.au

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