Doctoral Academy

For each Doctoral Academy, the Melbourne Social Equity Institute selects a cohort of research higher degree students from across the university to share their research, knowledge and ideas on social equity issues.

The Melbourne Social Equity Institute's Doctoral Academy began in 2014. For each cohort, the Institute selects research higher degree students from across the University of Melbourne to share their research, knowledge and ideas on social equity issues.

The Doctoral Academy aims to support students through peer-learning opportunities and mentoring from experienced academics. Membership of the academy will expose doctoral students to different disciplinary perspectives and research methodologies that can inform the development of their own research.

Topics covered include:

  • Community-engaged and participatory research methods
  • The benefits and challenges of interdisciplinary research
  • Opportunities for academic publishing
  • Careers for researchers outside academia

In 2020 the Doctoral Academy was conducted as a four-day summer intensive, running from Monday 24 to Thursday 27 February.

A modest stipend was made available for people accepted to the Doctoral Academy who having caring responsibilities to help cover costs associated with participating in the program (eg childcare).


  • Rebecca Bunn
    Project: Advocacy strategies in post-release contexts: how NGOs advocate on behalf of people leaving prison
  • Bethia Burgess
    Project: Rethinking post-conflict justice in Myanmar: addressing structural harms through community-based projects
  • Nadia Degregori
    Project: This is (not) over: The socio-environmental legacy of large-scale mine closure
  • Chabel Charles Din Khan
    Project: Precarious risks: the governance of 'at risk' and 'vulnerable' welfare populations
  • Isabel Fangyi Lu
    Project: Digital placemaking and public participation: planning, programming and governance of urban public spaces
  • Rewa Marathe
    Project: Crowdsourcing safety: examining the role of digital women’s safety audits in shaping feminist advocacy for women’s ‘right to the city’
  • Erika Martino
    Project: From shelter to security: improving the quality and quantity of long-term affordable housing for survivors of intimate partner violence
  • Margaret Josephine McCarthy
    Project: Morality and justice associated with everyday living in urban landscapes in times of climate change
  • Lubna Meempatta
    Project: Modelling the interactions in decision-making by irrigators, irrigation water supply authorities and environmental water managers
  • Jacqui Parncutt
    Project: Who cares? The lives and trajectories of Australian carers with disability
  • Karina Putri
    Project: Urban planning and the search for social justice in the global south: lessons from resettlement planning practice in Jakarta
  • Pia Treichel
    Project: The political economy of international climate finance: justice, adaptation, and the Green Climate Fund
  • Franka Vaughan
    Project: Who is a Liberian anyway? The claim for formalised identity by diasporic Liberians


  • Louisa Bufardeci
    Project: There's brown in beige: towards an aesthetic language to challenge whiteness
  • Matthew Mitchell
    Project: Judging gender: the legal recognition and regulation of transgender children
  • Alicia Yon
    Project: Access, participation and inclusion: the gender/disability/violence nexus and the role of integrated planning policy in addressing the right to services
  • Sri Pallavi Nadimpalli
    Project: Examining spaces of belonging for migrant Indian women in 'Global Cities'
  • Ronny Andrade
    Project: Echolocation as a means for people with visual impairment to build mental maps and explore virtual environments
  • Teresa Hall
    Project: Investigating 'people-centred' mental health care in Timor-Leste
  • Ainslee Meredith
    Project: Access to conservation: determinants, contemporary practice, and future policy design
  • Maya Ercole
    Project: Exploring older adults' experiences of ageing in residential care homes through dramatherapy
  • Claudine Lam
    Project: Counter narratives from the field: the lived experience of early childhood educators of colour
  • Diana Langmead
    Project: An exclusive school and an inclusive rule: the mediation of equity policy by an elite school in India
  • Juan Jose Tellez
    Project: Mending the patchwork: human rights and the regulation of chemical restraint in Australian health settings
  • Carol O'Dwyer
    Project: Staff's experiences of providing gender-sensitive care in acute psychiatric units to women who have experienced sexual violence
  • Sally Marsden
    Project: The VOICE project: voices of women and psychologists for a domestic violence counselling framework
  • Tess Toumbourou
    Project: Exploring the gender dimensions of an oil palm land deal in East Kalimantan, Indonesia


  • Zoe Aitken
    Project: How does acquiring a disability in adulthood affect people's mental health?
  • Tamara Borovica
    Project: Becomings of moving bodies: young women, bodies and affect
  • Tania CaƱas
    Project: Theatre of the oppressed and conscientisation
  • Angeline Ferdinand
    Project: Transferring international models of Aboriginal-centred health care to Australian settings
  • Anna Dabrowski
    Project: Imagining global citizenship: policy, curricula and the role of the teacher
  • Rebecca Fairchild
    Project: Collaborating with children in the homelessness and family violence context to understand the significance of music in their everyday lives
  • Sarah Green
    Project: A safe and necessary coherence: the experiences of Bosnian child refugees in Australia
  • Thea Hewitt
    Project: Locating the city of refuge: institutional support for humanitarian migrants in Melbourne, Australia
  • Kelly Hutchinson
    Project: Social impact of technology: digital social innovation in Australia
  • Hesam Kamalipour
    Project: Urban informalogy: the morphologies and incremental transformations of informal settlements
  • Lauren Kosta
    Project: Parenting after a disaster: experiences since Black Saturday
  • Ingrid Landau
    Project: Contextualising or constructing compliance? The rise of human rights due diligence and its implications for the protection of workers' rights in the global economy
  • Matthew Mabefam
    Project: Witchcraft and development in Africa: a case study of northern Ghana
  • Frankline A. Ndi
    Project: Land grabbing and community resettlement within the context of development projects in south west Cameroon
  • Renee Miller-Yeaman
    Project: Home, hospitality and confinement: the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre and Migrant Hostel
  • Emily Porter
    Project: Youth labour market transitions during the Great Recession: assessing the role of institutions
  • Amita Tuteja
    Project: Understanding the needs of migrants from Burma: reproductive health and contraception in the Australian healthcare context


  • Kari Gibson
    Project: Climate change, coping and psychological distress in Tuvalu
  • Liz Gill-Atkinson
    Project: How do women with disability in the Philippines understand and experience participatory research practice?
  • Kelvin Lau
    Project: Understanding mental distress in young people from a migrant background in Australia through photo-interviewing
  • Maureen Murphy
    Project: Local food environments for a healthy equitable city: evidence to inform urban planning policy and governance in Melbourne, Australia
  • Melissa Murphy
    Project: From social connectedness to equitable access: A participatory action research illuminating the ways in which young people with disability can engage with music opportunities and the barriers that prevent them doing so
  • Hannah Robertson
    Project: Resilient Remote Settlements: Analysing the role and potential of buildings to satisfy human needs in very remote settlements
  • Elly Scrine
    Project: Exploring relational competencies in music therapy group improvisation for people with borderline personality disorder
  • Nathaniel Swain
    Project: Speech-language pathology intervention for young offenders


  • Ashrafalsadat Hosseini
    Project: Migration experience, resilience and psychological outcomes: an exploratory study of Iranian immigrants in Australia
  • Caroline Phillips
    Project: Materialising feminism: object and interval
  • Cherry Hense
    Project: Musical identities of young people recovering from mental illness
  • Cristina Aziz Dos Santos
    Project: Inequality of learning opportunity: the location effect in the Chilean municipalized school choice system
  • David Henry
    Project: Creating space to talk: cultural organisations, community engagement and intercultural dialogue
  • Elizabeth McLindon
    Project: It happens to clinicians too: intimate partner, family and sexual violence amongst health professionals
  • Emily Cheesman
    Project: Children's rights-based approaches to policies, services and programmes for Filipino street children
  • Gemma McKibbin
    Project: "I knew it was wrong but I couldn't stop it": young people talk about the prevention of sexually abusive behaviour
  • Haslina Hashim
    Project: Linking the past to the present: housing history and the sense of home in temporary public rental housing in Sarawak
  • Hayley Henderson
    Project: Integrated planning with social logics in Melbourne and Buenos Aires
  • Kelum Palipane
    Project: Towards a multimodal production of urban space: exploring the role of socio-sensory knowledge in design for urban renewal
  • Lily O'Neill
    Project: A tale of two agreements: negotiating Aboriginal land access agreements in Australia's natural gas industry
  • Luke Heemsbergen
    Project: Radical transparency in democratic governing: democracy unbound within a networked society?
  • Melinda Herron
    Project: Reconfiguring racism: youthful dyanmics of conflict and conviviality in a culturally diverse, working-class high school
  • Sara Ciesielski
    Project: Language development and socialisation in Sherpa
  • Sophie Rudolph
    Project: Racing the gap: a critical analysis of Australian Indigenous education policy discourse and its political effects


This compilation of working papers written by the 2014 Doctoral Academy cohort reflects critically on the process of researching for social change and the dilemmas and challenges of that work. Edited by Cherry Hense, Gemma McKibbin, Julie McLeod, Caroline Phillips and Sophie Rudolph.

Applications for the Doctoral Academy 2020 closed on Monday 3 December.


The 2020 Doctoral Academy will run as an intensive series of workshops held each day from Monday 24 to Thursday 27 February. There will be daily workshops between 10am and 3pm (with a break for lunch).

It is not a requirement that members are present for every session. However, regular participation is expected and candidates should only apply if they can attend at least 80% of the program.

A modest stipend will be available for people accepted to the Doctoral Academy who having caring responsibilities to help cover costs associated with participating in the program (eg childcare).


Applicants must be enrolled at the University of Melbourne and are expected to have completed their doctoral confirmation process.

Applications will be reviewed by the Melbourne Social Equity Institute executive staff, who will assess the applications against the following criteria:

  • Does the applicant’s research project address social equity issues?
  • Has the applicant demonstrated an interest in working across disciplines?

In determining successful applications, the institute will seek to bring together a mix of students from a diverse range of disciplines.

Students who have participated in a previous Institute Doctoral Academy are ineligible.


Applicants are asked to provide the following information via an online form. We strongly recommend that you prepare your answers offline (in Microsoft Word or similar) and save a copy for your own records.

Students who have been allocated an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship through the Institute qualify for automatic entry into the academy once they have completed confirmation. These students should still complete the application form but letters of support and a CV are not required.

  • Name, enrolment and contact information
  • Thesis title
  • Confirmation and expected completion dates
  • Principal supervisor's name and contact information
  • Co-supervisor's name and contact information (if applicable)
  • Research Summary
    Please provide (up to 300 words):
    (a) a brief summary of your research thesis and key research questions; and
    (b) an outline of how your research aims contribute to advancing the social equity agenda
  • Personal Statement
    Please tell us in up to 300 words or less:
    (a) why you would like to become a member of the academy;
    (b) what you would bring to the group; and
    (c) any further information about yourself and your research interests not covered elsewhere
  • A current CV (upload attachment)
  • A letter of support from your supervisor, indicating their support for your participation in the program if accepted (upload attachment – a copy of an email is sufficient)

Applications closed at 9am on Monday 2 December 2020.

If you have any questions about the Doctoral Academy please contact:

Dr Piers Gooding

+61 3 8344 0910

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