24 July 2020

The Australian Alliance for Social Enterprise (TAASE) has welcomed two new Senior Research Fellows, a Research Project Officer and a Research Assistant to its growing team of experts working with communities and social services to enable evidence-led change for people in need of social support.

Both of the new Senior Research Fellows have joined the University of South Australia from the University of Adelaide, where they worked in the fields of social sciences and policy with a strong focus on the wellbeing of older people and ageing populations.


Dr Helen Barrie

Dr Helen Barrie

Dr Helen Barrie’s work focuses on ageing populations, and the implications for society and communities. She has a background and PhD in Geography and she is particularly interested in how the built environment, especially green and public spaces, influence ageing well. Helen is the immediate past national president of the Australian Association of Gerontology, a peak body for researchers, policy makers and others interested in ageing populations.

She is working on an inquiry with Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) at UniSA investigating policies and practices for precariously housed older Australians. She is also involved in an NHMRC project on ‘Designing Indigenous Aged Care with a ‘whole of community’ perspective” with SAHMRI’s Wardliparingga Group, and an NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence on ‘Trans-disciplinary Research on Frailty’.

Most recently Helen’s work has focused on using citizen science to explore how the built environment influences wellbeing, with several smaller projects in this space, and she is excited about the opportunities citizen science offers research in the social science realm.



Dr Debbie Faulkner

Dr Debbie Faulkner

Dr Debbie Faulkner’s principal area of research is vulnerable people’s relationship with the housing market, particularly older people and people at risk of homelessness. She has a strong interest in the areas of ageing and housing, community care, quality of life and wellbeing.

Debbie is currently focusing on innovative housing options for older people, the risk profiles of older people that can lead to homelessness; and identifying gaps in the service system and housing to assist people at risk of homelessness. She is currently a member of a team providing a review of the Aged Care and Housing Program for Commonwealth Department of Health.  Debbie is also engaged in projects related to other vulnerable groups within the community and their housing and support needs, including people with a disability, people experiencing homelessness and low-income private renters.

Together with Dr Selina Tually from TAASE, Debbie has co-authored the recently released AHURI inquiry ‘A pathway to where? Inquiry into understanding and reimagining social housing pathways’.



Chris Small-PearceChristine Small-Pearce

TAASE is pleased to also welcome Christine Small-Pearce, who has commenced work in the Research Project Officer position working with Dr Catherine Mackenzie to undertake research work on an upcoming project that is part of the Hearing Country Voices Research Partnership with Uniting Country SA, exploring the specialist knowledge and skills that are required for working in regional and remote homelessness and domestic violence programs. Christine hopes this work will prepare her for a Research Higher Degree on a priority topic that will explore how local businesses and civic organisations can collaborate to reduce the impact of domestic violence.[CM1] 

Christine brings to the role a wealth of experience having worked in community development and service delivery in the not-for-profit sector and for government, including working as a domestic violence case manager. She has worked mostly with Aboriginal Communities, including a stint running Youth Programs in the APY Lands and working with Native Title Services in Community and Business Development with Native Title Holders.

Christine is also a successful abstract oil and mixed media painter, with a studio in the Fleurieu Arthouse in McLaren Vale and works part time developing the Fleurieu Arthouse as a Social Enterprise. You can follow her work and upcoming SALA exhibition on Instagram.


Dr Margaret BeckerDr Margaret Becker

Dr Margaret Becker has joined the TAASE team to work on a Regional Australia Institute grant with Dr Catherine Mackenzie and Dr Kathy Rao that is exploring the effects of bushfires and COVID-19 on Kangaroo Island and Barossa Valley businesses.

The research aims to develop a deeper understanding of experiences of disaster affected (e.g. bushfires and COVID-19) business owners and operators in regional South Australia. Using case studies and participatory methods, the research will identify the pathways through which regional businesses and the communities in which they are located can be supported to plan for, recover from, and develop long term sustainability to be as disaster resilient as possible.

Margaret brings several years of qualitative research experience, including previous research into community experiences of bushfire. A social anthropologist specialising in research on gender, development, social justice and human rights, Margaret conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork for her PhD in Nepal with marginalised women who face complex and multiple forms of discrimination. She worked with women’s organisations to examine women’s goals, understandings and experiences of development encounters to explore what empowerment looks like in the lived realities of women’s everyday lives.

Margaret is currently a member of a research team that is exploring women’s perception of alcohol-related breast cancer risks in early midlife. She also brings a wealth of teaching experience, most recently including the development of a new topic at Flinders University for the College of Medicine and Public Health: Critical Perspectives on Global Health and Development.

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