HDR Scholarship - Cultural Pathways to Teen Reading

Applications now open. A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Cultural Pathways to Teen Reading'.

Associate Supervisor

Professor Katya Johanson

Dr Susan La Marca


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus/ Melbourne Burwood Campus

Research topic

This PhD project sits within the wider Australian Research Council-funded project ‘Discovering a ‘good read’: Pathways to reading for Australian teens'. The ARC Linkage project is led by Associate Professor Leonie Rutherford (Deakin University), and includes Associate Professor Michael Dezuanni (Queensland University of Technology), Professor Katya Johanson (Deakin University), Professor Andrew Singleton (Deakin University), Associate Professor Donald Matheson (University of Canterbury) and Dr Susan La Marca (School Library Association of Victoria). Other collaborating industry partners include the Australian Copyright Agency, the Australian Library and Information Association, the Australian Booksellers Association, and the Australian Publishers Association.

The PhD project will investigate how cultural intermediaries shape young people’s knowledge of and access to reading culture, including how Australian teenagers discover books they consider to be ‘good reads’. The candidate will spend part of their project embedded in different industry workplaces in order to explore the professional contexts of teachers, librarians and teacher-librarians, including (but not limited to) their use of social media to research and access youth content such as Australian YA fiction.

Applicants are invited to develop an appropriate area of focus to address some or all of these priorities. The successful student will be supervised by Associate Professor Leonie Rutherford and Professor Katya Johanson, with industry supervisor Dr Susan La Marca (School Library Association of Victoria).

Project aim

Alongside the wider Australian Research Council project this PhD project aims to support the school, library and book industries to increase teenagers’ recreational reading. Matching the right book to the right reader is essential to increase young people’s motivation to read. Yet it's unclear how cultural intermediaries should operate to best effect within the complex ecologies that shape young people’s text selection. The project expects to generate robust evidence on how teens discover books and the cultural factors that influence their choices. Expected outcomes include strategies that libraries, schools, and the book industry can use to promote Australian content for young adults, and equip young people to participate more fully in the social and economic benefits of pleasure reading.

Important dates

Applications will remain open until a candidate has been appointed.


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $27,596 per annum tax exempt (2019 rate)
  • Relocation allowance of $500-1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate or overseas

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be a domestic candidate (domestic includes candidates with Australian Citizenship, Australian Permanent Residency or New Zealand Citizenship).
  • meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements
  • be enrolling full time and hold an honours degree (first class) or an equivalent standard master's degree with a substantial research component.

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page for further information.

Additional desirable criteria include:

Your Honours or Research Masters Degree should be in a relevant field, covering areas such as:

  • Reading, particularly young adult fiction
  • Australian publishing or library sectors
  • Sociology of culture

Experience in qualitative analysis methods such as interviews and participant observation and/or analysis of policy documents would be an advantage.

How to apply

Please apply using the expression of interest (EOI) form.

You are strongly advised to contact either Associate Professor Rutherford or Professor Johanson before submitting an EOI form.


Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Associate Professor Leonie Rutherford or Professor Katya Johanson

A/Prof. Leonie Rutherford
Associate Professor of Writing and Literature
Email Leonie Rutherford
+61 3 5227 1469

Prof. Katya Johanson
Associate Dean, Partnerships and International
Email Katya Johanson
+61 3 9244 6465