The Faculty of Arts and Education promotes pure and applied research in the humanities, education, social sciences, performing arts and creative arts

Our mission is to foster:

  • a lively culture of research and scholarship
  • a critical mass of researchers related with each major discipline
  • internationally competitive research groups in areas of strategic importance

Our staff members:

  • are globally renowned for their research
  • are key players in national and international associations and editorial boards
  • have strong success in gaining research grants and consultancies
  • have strong experience in doctoral research supervision

Faculty Research Groups and Networks

Academics from Deakin's faculties and associated schools use their teaching expertise in ground-breaking research.

Faculty and School Research Groups

School of Communication and Creative Arts

    School of Communication and Creative Arts Programs of Research

  1. Asia Media and Cultural Studies Network

    The research project draws upon creative ethnography methodologies to explore how loneliness is experienced in Asian-Australian diasporic communities. The project will focus on the Chinese, Indian, and Japanese communities, and within the demographics of young people (aged 18-25). It will involve focus groups, interviews, story circles to record the way that young Asian-Australians experie­­­nce loneliness. The data will be drawn upon to create a documentary, an exhibition, and a full length monograph

  2. Climate Change Communication and Narratives Network (CCCNN) 

    The Climate Change Communication and Narratives Network (CCCNN) is inviting a proposal from a PhD candidate to examine the critical factors shaping climate change communication in this crucial decade for action. The science on climate change is settled, and it is now social and cultural factors that will determine how – and indeed whether – we deal with climate change with the action that is needed in this decade. The way we communicate on climate change in the broadest sense is now critical to addressing the climate crisis. A project proposal is invited that maps and analyses the assumptions, intentions, modes, strategies and tools of climate change communication in public contexts to enhance the actions and the structural and imaginative changes required to mitigate climate change. The project will also examine public opinion and concern in relation to climate change, and identify better communicative avenues and strategies for tipping public concern into action. A successful proposal will align closely with the aims of CCCNN, which has an outward facing imperative. Any proposal will therefore need to include a consideration of how the project might engender real-world action and effective change in seeking to understand how better to communicate climate change

  3. DML 1: Digital Ethnography of Children with a Vision Impairment

    This PhD project involves the development and application of an ethnographic probe to examine the journey children with a vision impairment undertake from first diagnosis through treatment. The project (led by Rosemary Woodcock) will provide insight into the lived experiences of visually impaired children that will inform educational media for research stakeholders such as Vision Australia. The research will be conducted within the context of an interdisciplinary research team and situated within the disciplines of the Deakin Motion Lab (DML) through its focus on advancing visual methodologies and gamified and playful approaches to engagement. The project will also build upon child-centred methodologies that can engage families remotely and is designed with COVID19 conditions in mind through its use of a digital methodology to allow connectedness. The probe at the heart of the research methodology involves a toybox and an app that are designed to engage young children and provide prompts for journaling and digital story telling.

    DML 2: Making Motion Tangible

    Positioned at the border of two worlds, this research project will consider ways for the physical and the virtual to combine via immersive multimodal haptics. Deakin Motion Lab is experimenting with novel interfaces to enrich human interactions between the digital and the physical through case studies in different application domains including training, education, and entertainment.

    At DML, the candidate will have the opportunity to work with an advanced wearable capable of full body motion and biometric capture, and haptic control (Teslasuit) to forward experimental research design. They will collaborate with other DML researchers in developing capacities for: a telepresent immersive anti-gravity student experience on earth for the International Space Station Orbital University (led by Russell Kennedy); dancing between worlds via the Virtual Now project to increase the embodiment of dancers and connection with their real-world audience (led by Olivia Millard); and to revolutionise Occupational Health and Safety training in VR via force feedback with industry partner KANE (led by Stefan Greuter).

    Also open to alternative cases, DML’s work is centred on active human bodies interacting with and through technology to contribute knowledge towards how haptic interfaces can provide benefit in the physical world, or how the digitality of objects and persons can be made tangible. The project aligns with DML’s vision of putting ideas into motion by engaging with new forms of technology, communication, expression, and performance to better understand and inform the design of interactive experiences.

    This funded HDR research project will assist DML’s objective to build research capacity, increase collaboration, and produce quality research outputs. The emerging field of haptic feedback also provides opportunity to accelerate the impact of our work by generating practical industry projects and outcomes, stimulating public debate, and increasing DML’s international research engagements with leading academic institutions.

    DML 3: Augmenting Greener Futures

    The disconnection between people and natural landscapes is well documented and concerns us all given its impact on well-being and imagining sustainable futures. Moreover, emerging technologies, such as VR/AR, provide immersive and engaging experiences that can effectively reduce the disconnection between people and natural landscapes to positively impact on well-being. This is even more significant during the time of coronavirus isolation where such technologies can be deployed. The problem for solving in this project (led by Toija Cinque) is that students and the public don't often get opportunities to learn from scientists about what is happening in our ecosystems. There is an imperative to support people (across Australia and beyond) to learn alongside our scientists. Accessing such science can support the public to value biodiversity and work towards developing sustainable futures. This project seeks candidates keen to investigate the capacity for learning about local science from research scientists through digitally mediated technologies (VR/AR) to enhance and deepen student learning and radiate outward to engaged extended family and communities more broadly.

    4.  Gender and Sexuality Studies Research Network

    This project will examine relationships between gender, sexuality and belonging through a study of how gender and sexual difference is archived and remembered. Focusing on relationships between the representation, documentation and interpretation of gender and sexual diversity within formal and informal contexts of archiving and memory work, this project will gather new data and develop new insights about how gender and sexual difference gets remembered. This project will engage with relevant stakeholders/beneficiaries (e.g. community archives, local councils and institutions like schools/universities) who have an investment in investigating new approaches to studying cultural histories of sexual and gender difference, and their relationships to belonging. Other potential outcomes include recommendations to stakeholder organisations on memory work in relation to sexual and gender difference. This research project will contribute to research regarding archives, memory, and cultural histories within the Gender and Sexuality Studies Research Network.

    5. Global Digital Publics Network (GDPN)

    We are interested in PhD projects that push knowledge on how digital networks connect, transform, augment, and govern publics. One specific project (led by David Marshall) will investigate influencers who make digital identities and personas visible in ways that move across national, language, and cultural divides. The techniques employed by these influencers may provide intercultural pathways that reflect an extension of the GDPN’s research into the active curation of emotion in digital culture shaping experiences that have previously been identified within language and national/ethnic cultural groups; this work may also identify new forms of cultural politics including how state actors are entering this space. One specific project (led by Luke Heemsbergen) will consider how the socialisation of Augmented Reality (AR) creates novel forms of identity, surveillance, and publics. It may ask how industry, research, and users react, engage, and reconfigure AR media in novel practices afforded in context. It will apply a critical methodology to technical fields to produce new insights into AR as socio-technical media infrastructures, asking how we use AR and how AR uses us.

    6. Literature and its Readers Network

    Literature and its Readers focuses on the analysis of literary form and textuality, literary production, and reception studies. We are particularly interested in projects that focus on the following areas: children’s and young adult literature; Australian and New Zealand literature; diasporic literature; poetry and poetics; popular and genre fiction (especially fantasy, magical realism, romance and science fiction); fan culture; literatures of place and environment; narratives of extremism or activism; feminist and LGBTQIA+ literatures; literature and the body; literature and philosophy; Victorian literature; modernism; and literature and comedy. The research cluster is also interested in interdisciplinary approaches to literature that draws scholarship into fields such as print culture, book history, and the digital humanities. We are also interested in projects that include archival or quantitative research methods and projects that focus on intersectionality are particularly welcome. The project may be based at the Burwood, Waurn Ponds, or Warrnambool campus.

    7. Religion, Society and Culture

    Religion — beliefs and believers, institutions, social justice contributions, personal spirituality — plays a crucial role in areas of health, well-being, and safe and secure communities. While so-called secular Australia is in constant dialogue (and sometimes tension) with religion at the institutional level (child abuse, inter-faith disputes, the roles of women, other beliefs which seem to contradict the public policies of society), the contributions of religious leaders and believers are multiple. The Network is concerned with how such debates can be more fully acknowledged and considered, especially in relation to the growing recognition of Indigenous Australian spiritual beliefs, and in the increasing presence of Moslem, Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist and other religious faiths. What does “Australia” have to say in the dialogue between faiths and between secular and religious worldviews? Proposals for a PhD project that would investigate the role played by religion either historically and/or in contemporary cultures are sought. It might be based in policy-making (potential supervisors are Ana Halafoff and Andrew Singleton), educational studies, ideological or theological approaches (Lyn McCredden, Ly Hon Tan). Supervisors in the Network for Religion, Society and Culture have a range of expertise in religious studies, with particular strengths in Buddhist studies (John Power, Ana Halafoff), Indigenous and postcolonial studies (Joanna Cruikshank, Lyn McCredden, Gillian Tan), fundamentalisms, religion and conspiracy theories (Geoff Boucher, Ana Halafoff, Andrew Singleton), evangelicalism, media and religion.

    8.  Rural Communications Cluster

    This project seeks a compelling proposal from a PhD candidate within the field of media and communications to examine factors shaping liveability and innovation in rural/regional and agricultural communities in a digitised world. The project may identify a key societal challenge or opportunity facing rural Australia in the COVID-19 era and examine how media and communication practices may shape or hinder transformative change within this space. Projects may examine, for example, perceptions and mediated representations of rural places and issues; changing digital media practices; local journalism; brand and advertising trends; the rise of misinformation and its impact on the agricultural sector; and/or stories of inspirational rural women. Projects with a potential interdisciplinary focus are encouraged.

    9. Writing & Communication Cluster

    ‘Writing the Anthropocene’ is a proposed project for a funded HDR candidate that looks to the ways in which the reading, writing, decoding and inscribing of the Anthropocene can help us better understand and respond to the ways in which humans as a species have become agents of the planet’s future, even as individual humans express hopelessness with regard to reversing anthropogenic climate change. The project is predicated on the belief that in its formal, imaginative, and affective power, literature can not only respond to the Anthropocene, but it can also offer necessary models of sustainability and hope.

School of Education

School of Education Programs of Research

  1. Re-imagining teacher education

    Re-imagining teacher education prioritises the co-production of research-informed partnerships and alliances across the eco-systems of educational provision that include the early years of schooling. Research in this theme draws upon mixed methods, that include novel and innovative theoretical positions and solutions.

  2. Transforming Professional Lives, Learning and Leadership 

    The changing nature of educators’ work and lives is a product of workplace conditions and policy settings. This program of research addresses professional learning across several contexts in educators’ lives:  in workplaces, early years, schools, vocational education and training, and higher education. The program is informed by understandings of education professionalism requiring strong and recognised technical expertise and agency. We work across education contexts to examine the reflective practices of educators and leaders who, as research practitioners, contribute to knowledge production for their professional field and practice. The program examines leadership capacity building for transformative organisational change, and research-based advocacy that informs policy for socially just education.

  3. Being and Becoming Learners 

    This program of local, national, and international research explores innovative, creative, and ethical ways in understanding and engaging diverse learners within early childhood, schooling, home, and communities. Our research explores children’s and young peoples’ voice, agency, and lived experiences to enhance understandings of the worlds in which children and young people live, learn and play.  We work in partnerships to inform progressive and responsive solutions enabling safe and secure communities, meaningful learning, sustainable worlds, and improved health and wellbeing.

  4. Educating for sustainable and just digital societies

    This research program explores the profound ways that digital technologies are changing how we live, work and learn. It investigates the implications of these transformations for individuals, institutions, systems and societies. The program develops new philosophies, theories and methodologies to address the challenges that emerge as a consequence of digital change, seizing the research and education opportunities afforded by new engagements between the human and the digital. Intersecting areas of research focus examine how digital technologies are changing society and can be changed through innovative approaches dedicated to achieving more sustainable and just digital futures.

  5. Transforming curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment  Contemporary learning is complex and dynamic, posing both perennial and emergent challenges to inclusive, socially just and sustainable education. This research program engages critically and creatively with policy and practice. It investigates curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment topics across formal and informal contexts, including early childhood education, primary education, secondary education, vocational education and training, higher education and community settings.

Research for Educational Impact (REDI)

REDI Programs of research

  1. Learners in a Digital World

The theme Learners in a digital world acknowledges that learning occurs across complex formal and informal contexts. It is concerned with exploring the diverse effects of digitalisation on everyday life, identity, education systems and the broader organisation of civic and political society. REDI researchers generate deep knowledge about learners and learning across early childhood, young people worlds, higher and adult education, and teacher education. Our concern is with social injustice and inequality through the effects of platformization and datafication. Through interdisciplinary collaboration, our researchers explore how individuals and the multi-layered structure of the complex digital world interact to reframe learner identities, where and how learning occurs, and the nature of knowledge production. We work creatively within innovative learning environments to understand and advance the ways that the digital affords opportunities and supports learners throughout their lives, learning and work.

2.  Diversity & Social Justice in Education

Educating for diversity and social justice is a key public goal of education. This research theme takes a critical and transformative approach to this goal that recognises the complex and growing economic, cultural, digital, spatial and political inequalities within and beyond Australia. Our research provides insight into the structures and practices that both undermine and enable educating for diversity towards a more inclusive and just citizenry. We focus on how injustices are compounded for groups marginalised on the basis of Indigeneity, gender, sexuality, disability, religion, race, age, geography and ethnicity and how these are transformed by, for example, inclusive policy, education leadership, teaching and learning and social relations. We seek to inform policy and practice within all spheres and levels of education to create a more equitable and inclusive world.

3.  STEM Education for Sustainable Futures

This theme foregrounds the potential and challenges associated with disciplinary and interdisciplinary reasoning and learning, acknowledging the critical role of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in educating for sustainable, equitable environmental, societal and work futures. Research in this theme is strongly grounded in the practices of educators, institutions and systems, and committed to innovative inter/disciplinary pedagogies, transformative curricular practices, teacher identities and professional learning, and school and system change. Our research focus extends from early childhood to adult learning settings. Associated with an ethically informed futures focus our research seeks to develop capabilities such as critical and creative reasoning, modelling and design associated with contemporary STEM practices, student agency and citizenship, and equity in relation to STEM participation.

4.  Education Policy and Governance for Sustainable Societies

Education is key to secure just and sustainable societies. Research in this program draws from interdisciplinary fields, including policy, management and technology studies and critical sociology, to investigate higher education, vocational education, schools and early childhood as well as informal education and workplace settings. It aims to understand the impacts of policies, governance practices and reform efforts at global, national, regional and institutional levels. It seeks to inform practices of policy and governance to promote sustainable systems and societies that are premised on reciprocity, mutual accountability, security of employment and safety and diversity in workplaces.

School of Humanities and Social Sciences

School of Humanities and Social Sciences Programs of Research

The School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS) undertakes outstanding, internationally recognised research in diverse fields, with expertise in political and ethical theory; contemporary histories; museum studies; human ecology; religious and social change; criminal justice reform; cybercrime; humanitarian and disaster relief; community development; state, national and regional politics and policy issues; international relations; and democracy and democratisation.

    1. The Centre for Humanitarian Leadership

    The Centre for Humanitarian Leadership is a global network of innovative thinkers and practitioners dedicated to addressing the planet's most pressing issues.  Combining evidence and practice for better humanitarian action.

    Contextual Analysis & Foresight

    Factors impacting specific humanitarian crises, as well as future-focused foresight work. Contextual analysis work seeks to unpack the rich dilemmas, opportunities, and histories of humanitarian situations around the world, including North Korea, the Rohingya refugee crisis, and COVID-19 in the Pacific. Foresight work engages in both deep contextual analysis and broader sectoral issues, such as climate change and the future of the humanitarian work force.

    System Transformation

    Research in this pillar critically examines the humanitarian system and opportunities, as well as challenges, for more equitable and just humanitarian response. Topics in this pillar include localisation, diaspora, gender, and the role of education in transforming the system.


    This pillar looks at health and other factors impacting well-being. It takes a broad view of what it means to be ‘well,’ looking holistically at topics across and between physical, mental, emotional, societal, and environmental spheres. Research in this pillar includes work on climate change, humanitarian health, nutrition, palliative care, and community development.

    2. The Contemporary Histories Research Group

    Examining the uses of modern history in the public sphere and public debate. Concerned with pasts that are not yet past.

    3. The Religion, Society and Culture Network:

    The Religion, Society and Culture Network is cross-disciplinary. Topics supervised by scholars include Buddhist studies; contemporary spirituality; postcolonial approaches to religion; religion in the Global South; teenage religion and spirituality; new religious movements; the philosophy of religion; religion and gender; lived religion and religion in Australia.

    4. Deakin Research on Violence Against Women Network (DRVAW)

    The Deakin Research on Violence Against Women (DRVAW) Hub is led by a cross-Faculty group of Deakin researchers with expertise in the area of violence against women including gendered violence; intimate partner violence; and family violence.

    5. Deakin Critical Animal Studies Network

    The Deakin Critical Animal Studies Network aims to create a conceptual, reflective and empirical academic-activist space wherein animals are recognised as subjects and agents in scholarship, as social and political members, actors and stakeholders in our co-produced and co-shared planetary worlds.

    Critical reflection in bringing marginalised communities of nonhuman animals into focus in our scholarship and teaching. We call for reflection on humans not only as race, culture, or gender, but humans as also species, and animals as also persons, and social and political actors, to dismantle one of Modernity’s oldest constructed binaries, ‘human’ and ‘animal’. The Network recognises that individual sentient beings comprise the mass collectives of highly controlled animal production spaces where their freedom, lives and bodies are forfeited to human control, and the precarity of wildlife and other animals as their habitats are erased by human-centric development.

    6. Development-Humanitarian Research Group

    A multidisciplinary group of scholars, exploring all aspects of international development, community development and humanitarian action. The group builds on a rich history of Development Studies and Humanitarian scholarship.

    7. Philosophy and the History of Ideas

    We aim to facilitate dialogue between researchers from diverse disciplinary backgrounds. Our goal is to develop new connections between the history of philosophical thought, abstract thinking about concepts, theoretical reasoning about the world and its contents, and practical reasoning about individual and collective activity.

    8. Political and International Studies (POLIS)

    Polis is a research network of Political Science and International Relations scholars who seek to understand and interpret political phenomena, driven by a willingness to move beyond traditional conceptual and empirical boundaries.

    9. Middle East Studies Forum

    The Middle East Studies Forum (MESF) is a leading centre of scholarship on the Middle East hosting world-class projects and scholarship in the field of Middle East and Central Asian studies and languages.

Institute and Strategic Research Centre

Our Strategic Research Centres are at the forefront of their fields

Last updated:
Page custodian: Faculty of Arts & Education