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Curtin University
Humanities Office of Research and Graduate Studies

Current Research Projects 2015

Shaymaa ABBAS ALI
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Department of Architecture and Interior Architecture
Proposed completion date: September 2018
Supervisors: Associate Professor Reena Tiwari, Emeritus Professor Roy Jones and Associate Professor Dianne Smith
Thesis title: The effects of the exterior built form of the traditional hotels on the sense of the place identity; a study about Fremantle in Western Australia
Key words: Culture, identity, traditional, hotels, perception

Description of research: Traditional hotels are one of the leading ways to express the identity of many places in the world. However, these types of hotels have witnessed number of changes and modifications to suit the new needs and requirements of their visitors. This research has hypothesized that the exterior built form of the traditional hotels have a significant role in promoting the sense of the place identity for the native people in general, and Fremantle in particular. The research has focused on answering the following questions: “Does the exterior built form of the traditional hotels affect the sense of the place identity?” The research has also addressed the following two questions: “If so, how does the exterior built form of the traditional hotels do that?” And “What are the elements that enhance the sense of the identity of the place?” This research is a qualitative research, a mixture from a theoretical exploration and an explanatory and exploratory case study research. It identifies a general theory regarding the phenomenon the research studies, the place cultural identity. Furthermore, it investigates the people’s evaluation to this phenomenon by focusing on a specific case study, Fremantle, due to the presence of the same general gap of knowledge of the research.

Ali ALBALUSHI
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Department of Social Sciences and International Studies
Proposed completion date: April 2017
Supervisors: Associate Professor Anne Aly and Dr Yasuo Takao
Thesis title: The Historical Origins and Contemporary Nature of the Relationship between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran after the 2003 Iraq Invasion
Key words: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Middle East

Description of research: This purpose for this PhD is to explore the current and retrospective status of Saudi-Iranian relations after the United States of America’s invasion of Iraq, 2003. The study will focus on the nature of rivalry between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia characterised by a struggle for regional influence, with both the Islamic Republic of Iran and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia seeking to establish hegemony in the region.

Zafu Assefa TEFERI
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute
Proposed completion date: April 2017
Supervisors: Professor Peter Newman and Associate Professor Annie Matan
Thesis title: Struggling for Sustainability; Applying the Sustainable Development Goals Framework to Sustainable Improvement of Slums in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Key words: Slum, sustainability, SDG’s, upgrading

Description of research: The focus of the research is to provide policy recommendations for better practice and better outcomes in remediating and preventing slums. As a guide to evaluating the ability of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to provide an integrated framework, the Extended Metabolism Model will be used. This model has been developed for assessing sustainable development in cities. This model can help demonstrate how many of the SDGs can be integrated into an assessment of how effective are different approaches to upgrading slums. Its application to the slums of Addis Ababa will be outlined as a framework for the data collection that is needed for the effective upgrading of these settlements consistent with the SDGs. The recommendations will be based on the results of five case studies of present and remediated slums in Addis Ababa and a review of global best practices and lessons learned in slum improvement approaches. Rather than focusing on a single solution, such as simply upgrading house structure and displacing the families that may no longer be able to afford to stay, the research aims to develop a holistic policy framework that works for sustainable transformation of slums into liveable, healthy urban areas.

Anne-Marie BALBI
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Department of Social Sciences and International Studies
Proposed completion date: June 2016
Supervisors: Dr Yasuo Takao, Dr Mark Briskey and Associate Professor Anne Aly
Thesis title: Constructing Counter-narratives to Terrorism – A Comparative Analysis of Collective Resistance in the aftermath of the terror attacks in Bali and Norway
Key words: Counter-terrorism, CVE, counter-narratives, constructivism, collective resilience

Description of research: The research involves a comparative analysis of how individuals and different stakeholders engage with the terror attack sites in Bali and Norway, and how these sites are symbolic to terrorism and counter-terrorism. The research will analyse the symbolism of these sites by exploring the various discourses surrounding the terror attack sites using qualitative methods. By conceptualising terrorism as a communicative act and, conversely, counter-terrorism as collective social resistance, the research explores how collective resistance to terrorism is situated around the community and social functions that take place around terror attack sites and highlights how community driven responses form a counter-narrative to terrorism and whether this counter-narrative is effective as a counter-terrorism strategy.

Rusaila BAZLAMIT
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: School of Design and Arts
Proposed completion date: June 2017
Supervisors: Dr Andrew Hutchison and Professor Erik Champion
Thesis title: Interactive installations as experiential mediums for Palestinian Narratives of Apartheid
Key words: Interactive design, digital media, immersive environment, design activism

Description of research: The core question of this research is to investigate the potentials of interactive and immersive installations to experientially carry complex political narratives. A specific case of a complex political narrative that will be addressed is that of the Palestinian narratives of Apartheid. In order to carry out this investigation, a prototype of an immersive environment will be created, reviewed and evaluated. The creation of the prototype will be informed by an existing and growing body of research into the political and social history of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, with particular attention to communicating alternative narratives that challenge the dominant narrative in mainstream media. The main focus of the prototype will be on how Apartheid affects the spatial impacts on the natural and urban/built environment, and thus the everyday experiences of Palestinians and Israelis. This research is interdisciplinary and will significantly add to the existing knowledge of the application of digital media in both the design activism and the experience design fields via the innovative employment of interactive and immersive media. The prototype also has potential as a model for application in other contested political narratives; most especially where misrepresented or under-resourced people whose claims and voices have been overwhelmed by better resourced narratives.

Arpana DHAR
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Science and Maths Education Centre
Proposed completion date: 2019
Supervisors: Professor David Treagust and Associate Professor Georgina Fyfe
Thesis title: Co-teaching: A case study of co-teaching practices in tertiary education
Key words: Co-teaching, higher education, inter-disciplinary teaching, collaborative teaching

Description of research: The traditional mode of silo didactic teaching in higher education is paving way for more flexible student-centred hands on experience learning. With recent changes in higher education landscape such as globalisation, blended and flexible learning and demands from the health care industry for a more inter-disciplinary education, there is a shift towards introducing core inter-disciplinary units. One of the strategies used for creating positive and authentic student learning experiences in inter-disciplinary education is co-teaching where educators experienced in different disciplines teach together a group of students. This study reports the perceptions and experiences of students and academics teaching in this unit giving an insight into various aspects of co-teaching in a higher education framework. Participants, students and academics, will complete a survey questionnaire with some open ended questions followed by interviews with selected participants to describe their expectations and experiences with co-teaching. Student feedback from eVALUate instrument will also be taken as a data source. Video observation of several co-taught sessions by the researcher will add richness to the qualitative data. Students’ and teachers’ expectations and experiences of co-teaching will be analysed and strategies suggested to maximise the potential benefits and fill the gaps of this delivery mode.

Warrick FORT
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Department of Planning and Geography
Proposed completion date: February 2017
Supervisors: Dr Tod Jones and Dr Diana MacCallum
Thesis title: What role do social networks play in supporting Aboriginal entrepreneurs in metropolitan Perth?
Key words: Aboriginal Australians, entrepreneurship, networking

Description of research: Entrepreneurship has been identified as a way of improving socio-economic outcomes for Aboriginal Australians. A series of in-depth interviews with Aboriginal entrepreneurs in Western Australia has highlighted the variety of industries they are participating in; the role that social networks (business, family, friends etc.) play in supporting their business efforts; how the demands of entrepreneurship and ‘being Aboriginal’ are influencing their business decision-making processes; and, the effect of subsequent business outcomes on relationships within both the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities. Also, by drawing on conceptual and theoretical links between disciplines such as archaeology, anthropology, economics and entrepreneurship, and primary data collected from interviews, a strong case can be made for entrepreneurship having occurred in traditional Aboriginal societies, i.e. before the British occupation. In turn, these findings can contribute to a significant shift in people’s understanding of entrepreneurship; how the entrepreneurial paradigm is constructed; and the theoretical foundations of this activity.   
Juliana GADRET DA SILVA
Master of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Cultural Heritage Studies
Proposed completion date: February 2017
Supervisors: Professor John Stephens and Dr Jennifer Harris
Thesis title:  Forgotten people: an investigation into the contribution of African descendants to cultural traditions in Southern Brazil”
Key words: Heritage, cultural identity, collective memory, cultural landscapes, place making

Description of research: This study is concerned with the connections of African people to cultural heritage values and places in the city of Pelotas, in Southern Brazil. It aims to explore the contribution of African descendants and its cultural survival, their influence on cultural values and practices, and more specifically, to look at clues and traces of their presence in the urban area of this region. Through an ethnographic research, the intention is to investigate and identify the controversies around social imaginary, collective memory and cultural identity in this country and to look also at these issues in a regional level by undertaking a “case of study” in the Southern region. 
The results intend to contribute into the development, decision-making processes and implementation of public policies and cultural heritage preservation and educational projects, including personal as well as collective memories in the process of urban planning and thinking of the city,  helping to identify  "places of memory" and zones of social and cultural interest.

Fiona Harman
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Architecture
Proposed completion date: February 2017
Supervisors:  Dr Annette Condello, Associate Professor Dianne Smith and Nicole Slatter
Thesis title: Re-interpreting the Display Home and its Allusions to Place, Belonging and Identity.
Key words: Painting, suburbia, utopia, architectural space.

Description of research: The display home provides an insight into the dominant forms of architectural aesthetics and identity within the Australian suburban landscape. This creative production thesis considers the aspirations and desires associated with the display home and how these relate to the lived experience of home. It examines the façade through representations of the display home, including ways the home is represented in visual culture, as well as real estate advertising and design features (or follies) intended to inspire a more comfortable, happy and luxurious lifestyle. Through a process of deconstruction, reflection and discovery, the research will explore the utopian potentials of the display home and scrutinise the advertising used to encourage associations with escape, desire and the Great Australian Dream. By using the display home as a motif, the creative production research challenges the homogenisation of the suburban landscape perpetuated by commoditised display homes. A series of visualisations of the façade through painting will explore new understandings and experiences of home, both real and imagined which reflect disrupted connections to place, belonging and identity within the Australian suburban landscape.

Toong Tjiek LIAUW (Aditya NUGRAHA)
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts
Proposed completion date: March 2018
Supervisors: Associate Professor Paul Genoni and Dr Gaby Haddow
Thesis title: Institutional Repositories and Open Access in Indonesian Higher Education Sector: Case Studies of Three Indonesian Universities
Key words: Institutional Repositories, Open Access, Indonesia, Higher Education, Scholarly Communication

Description of research: Institutional Repositories (IRs) – as a variant of digital libraries – were initially introduced by the Open Access (OA) Movement as the Green OA strategy (with the Gold OA strategy being the Open Access Journals). Developed countries have been the early adopters of IRs and various studies have been produced on this topic. Similar studies for developing countries – who are late adopters – are still relatively rare, and are virtually non-existence for the Indonesian context. This research aims to fill this gap by investigating the state of institutional repositories developments and/or deployments in the Indonesian higher education sector, and their prospects for supporting the creation of an open access scholarly communication environment in the country. This research will benefit Indonesian universities and Directorate General of Higher Education by establishing best practices in the development of institutional repositories and open access policies, and it will provide data and recommendations that are important to the future development of Indonesian scholarly communication. This will help provide reliable and affordable access to research/scholarly materials, and help to increase the nation’s research outputs. It will also provide research that can be replicated by other developing countries, which are struggling to define their path into a scholarly open access environment.

Jane LOVEDAY
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute
Proposed completion date: February 2018
Supervisors: Professor Peter Newman, Dr Boon Ong and Dr Vanessa Rauland
Thesis title: Rating the Thermal Performance of a Residential Landscape
Key words: Star rating, residential landscape, computer modelling, urban microclimate

Description of research: Globally, climate change is increasing average air temperatures and increasing the frequency of extreme heat events. The urban heat island effect is compounding this for urban residents. Smart urban landscape design has the potential to moderate the effects of extreme heat events by creating cooler microclimates. The microclimate of a residential landscape can have a significant influence on increasing resilience (social, economic and ecological) and reducing emissions. The Australian building industry thermal performance rating tool (NatHERS) is currently used for new homes and for those requiring major renovations. NatHERS and other global energy rating schemes do not adequately consider the thermal effects of landscape design on residential homes. Several international landscape only rating tools exist but do not consider thermal performance with regards to spatial positioning of landscape features. They are not comparable with each other and as such, there is no consistent standard method for rating landscapes. This project will address this issue. Quantification of the thermal performance of residential landscape features and designs can provide information to enable a star rating system to be developed to both supplement NatHERS and to provide an indication of resilience (sustainability) of the landscape.

Gabriel MADDOCK
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: School of Design and Art
Proposed completion date: March 2018
Supervisors: Professor Anna Haebich, Dr Michelle Johnston and Dr Melissa Bellanta
Thesis title: Modernity and amusement park culture in the 1920s: Perth’s White City
Key words: Amusement park culture, social and cultural history, modernity

Description of research: A popular amusement park called White City was a feature of Perth’s foreshore in the 1920s. Like the original White City in Chicago, it was named after the bright lights that illuminated the site at night. Until its closure in 1929, the many forms of entertainment on offer at Perth’s White City (which included open-air dancing, sideshow games, and circus performances) were eagerly consumed by its patrons. This research examines the social and cultural appeal of White City for the various sub-groups that made up its clientele. In doing so, it uses White City as a lens to examine how the people of Perth, residents of a geographically isolated yet culturally outward-looking Australian city, saw themselves and the world they inhabited in the 1920s. The resulting thesis will make an original contribution to scholarly and popular discussions about Perth’s social and cultural history and Australia’s engagement with transnational popular culture in the interwar years.

Niall MCMAHON
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts
Proposed completion date: June 2017
Supervisors: Dr Antonio Traverso and Dr Stuart Bender
Thesis title: South Korean Cinema and the Historical Film: A Critical Study of the Filmic Depiction of Key Korean Conflicts and their position within the Film and History debate.
Key words: South Korea, historical film, war genre, Japanese occupation of Korea, World War II, Korean War

Description of research: The historical film genre is one of the most widespread sources of historical knowledge available in contemporary times. However, since the late 1980s, a multitude of theorists have debated film’s potential as a vessel of historical understanding. While some theorists argue against film, citing the genre’s fictionalised narratives and characters as overriding the historical content, others claim that the fictional elements are more important than the historical content, as the genre displays history through metaphor and meaning rather than accuracy. The historical films of South Korea, specifically those that depict the Japanese Occupation of Korea, World War II and the Korean War, encapsulate the criticisms of the film and history debate. This research aims to investigate this group of South Korean historical films, drawing a distinction between those made in the anti-communist regime of the South Korean government pre-1990 and those created once the country moved past the anti-communist rhetoric post-1990. Through the close analysis of South Korean historical films, this thesis seeks to show the way in which historical content and fiction are always intertwined.

Marie O’ROURKE
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Media, Culture and Creative Arts
Proposed completion date: June 2019
Supervisors: Dr Rachel Robertson and Professor Graham Seal
Thesis title: Re(collections): Glimpses of a Life Moments, Memory and Metaphor in Lyrical Memoir
Key words: Lyric essay, memoir, memory

Description of research: In her essay collection, Notes From No Man’s Land, Eula Biss observes, “My past … was both simpler and more complicated than I had ever thought it to be”. My research project explores this seemingly contradictory statement, investigating contemporary memoir’s role in embodying the experiences, anxieties and understandings of our post-postmodern world.  The lyric essay is an experimental form that hinges on the instant, offering flashes of intense clarity within the blur of the familiar and my creative work will comprise a bricolage of interrelated essayistic ‘glimpses’. Meditating on the objects, people and places of my past through creative practice, my research will also explore the workings of memory itself — in particular, its tendency to ‘snapshots’, multiple drafts and revision — to argue that a new breed of lyrical memoir is the ideal form of written expression to capture this.

Jessica PRIEMUS
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Department of Architecture and Interior Architecture
Proposed completion date: March 2018
Supervisors: Associate Professor Dianne Smith and Dr Annette Condello
Thesis title: Narrating Textile Construction
Key words: Textile, construction, interior, fashion, weaving

Description of research: Despite almost universal participation in textile use, the understanding of the fundamentals of textile construction appears to be increasingly lacking. The common person in Australia is largely unexposed to the making process of textiles, as production of fabrics, fashion garments and other interior products is outsourced to locations distant from the final user, with little information available of its prior context. Using a series of self-produced woven textiles and qualitative surveys the project aims to identify particular visual and haptic cues that may signify aspects of the making process of cloth, including embodied evidence of structure, time, order, rhythm, materials, tool, technique and skill. The effect of cultural knowledge on textile literacy is also examined and will assist in isolating particular qualities that impact on user experience. The outcome will be the identification of textile languages and signs through comparative research of everyday people in Australia (a major consumer of textiles) and Bangladesh (a major producer and consumer of textiles). The research findings will address hypothesised gaps in both knowledge and experience of textiles in contemporary global society. The final response will be the creative production of a woven textile that responds to such gaps and expresses the construction process to the consumer.

Neeti TRIVEDI
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Urban and Regional Planning
Proposed completion date: March 2017
Supervisors: Associate Professor Shahed Khan and Associate Professor Reena Tiwari
Thesis title: Building the capacity of the urban poor through engagement in collaborative planning in built environment redevelopment interventions
Key words: Capacity building, urban poor, collaborative planning

Description of research: The aim of the research is to examine the effectiveness of on-site physical upgrading of areas inhabited by the urban poor through projects that adopt democratic and participatory planning processes in terms of capacity building. The purpose is to understand the significance of implementation strategies and practices adopted by such participatory projects in building the capacity of the urban poor by improving their socio-economic conditions. As claimed by Innes and Booher (2010), community participation and joint planning strategies are reflective of modern planning theory entrenched in the present democratic consensus and are viable for urban development. This study attempts to test the practicality, applicability and implications of capacity building of the urban poor through their effective engagement in collaborative planning strategies applied in upgrading of the built environment in the context of the developing countries. Herein the question arises whether collaborative planning strategies applied for redevelopment of the built environment can lead to capacity building of the urban poor; and, if so, how the success of these approaches could be measured? The intention of such participatory upgrading projects is not limited to improving the physical living conditions of the urban poor but also to use the community’s engagement experience to empower them by improving their capacity.

Leela WAHEED
Doctor of Education
School/Department/Area: School of Education
Proposed completion date: January 2018
Supervisors: Professor Rob Cavanaugh
Thesis title: Student and Learning Environment Characteristics associated with Student Competency in Introductory Computer Programming
Key words: CS1, introductory computer programming, environment characteristics, student characteristics, assessment

Description of research: Introductory university computer programming often referred as Computer Science 1 (CS1), is primarily for learning fundamental computer programming. However, typically, the majority of students find computer programming difficult due to the abstract nature of the processes and concepts they need to learn. Another reason for the difficulty may be the effects of student and learning environment characteristics. While previous studies have revealed statistical associations between student competence in CS1 with both student and learning environment factors, these relations are questionable. The problem lies with the measures used to quantify variables, particularly measures of programming competency. The phase 1 of this research aims at constructing and testing an instrument to measure the student competence of CS1 to provide data required for phase 2. The instrument design process will employ the Rasch Model with Mesick’s validity theory and contemporary measurement instrument construction methods. The phase 2 examines the extent of hypothesised associations between student competency in CS1 and student attributes and learning environment variables by employing the interval-level student competence scores obtained from Phase1. The outcome of the study will have important implications for the design and delivery of CS1 instruction and student eligibility for CS1.

Endah YANUARTI
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Science and Mathematics Education Centre
Proposed completion date: May 2017
Supervisors: Professor David Treagust
Thesis title: Developing Reflective Teaching Practice through Reflective Actions
Key words: Reflective teaching practice

Description of research: This study focuses on teachers’ reflection on their practice and how they understand reflection as it related to the teacher standards context in Indonesia. The research uses a qualitative interpretive approach in which the teachers were the subjects. Classroom observations and interviews were the major data, but researcher introduced various actions or activities in reflecting. Dimensions of reflective teaching practice were used as a tool to analyse the teachers’ responses about reflective practice. This study has implications for dissemination to teachers in other regions in the future. The aim of this research in general is to improve education quality in Indonesia by motivating teachers in certain way. Introducing reflective teaching practice happens to be a suitable excuse because it closes to everyday practices such as teachers’ experiences while teaching. It will motivate them to develop their own reflection towards their teaching practice.

Current Research Projects 2014

Vivien Kokutangilila Barongo
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Social Sciences
Proposed completion date: March 2015
Supervisors: Associate Prof Philip Moore and Dr Julie Hoffman
Thesis title: Access to health care services among pregnant women in rural communities: In-depth case studies from Bagamoyo District in Tanzania.
Key Words: Health care service utilization, pregnant women

Description of research: Tanzanian National Health Policy declares free health services for all pregnant women. However, utilization of the services among rural women is low and the reasons are little understood. This project deliberately shifts the prevailing research paradigm to ground itself in women's understandings and encourage their narratives to be told and heard. To do so I use qualitative methods to examine constraining and enabling factors in four rural areas of Bagamoyo District in Tanzania. The outcomes will inform scholarly and applied fields, develop better access to services, and culturally-sensitive empirical research methods.

Asukulu P Bilombele
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Centre for Human Rights Education
Proposed completion date: November 2015
Supervisors: Dr Lisa Hartley, Dr Christopher Hubbard and Dr Caroline Fleay
Thesis title: Understanding perceptions of security threats to Australia: The case of refugees and asylum seekers
Key Words: Australia, security, security threat, Refugees, Asylum seekers

Description of research: Australia has been gained international reputation in both resettling refugees and deterring asylum seekers who arrive by boats from entering Australia. Among many reasons, which cause such an attitude, is the idea that some asylum seekers may be a threat to Australia’s national security. The rise in international terrorism has only come to amplify such perception. This research aims at investigating allegations of security threats posed by refugees and asylum seekers to Australia in order to understand Australia’s anxiety about “refugees” and “asylum seekers" and how and why it has increased. In so doing, the research will also evaluate the extent to which Australia’s anxiety and resistance to refugees and asylum seekers can be legitimated.

Tetiana Bogachenko
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: School of Education
Proposed completion date: January 2016
Supervisors: Professor Rhonda Oliver and Professor Rob Cavanagh
Thesis title: Task-based language teaching in post-Soviet school classrooms: Investigation of policies, practices and teacher perceptions
Key Words: Post-Soviet schools, TBLT, context, educational change

Description of research: Task-based language teaching (TBLT) is widely reputed as a methodology that reflects current knowledge on second language acquisition as it provides opportunities to combine meaningful communication and attention to language form. Research on the implementation of this approach in different countries and with different age groups reveals a crucial role for context in this process. The present study addresses this issue by exploring the potential use of TBLT in post-Soviet schools, an under-researched area, and yet a setting where foreign language teaching, especially English language teaching, is becoming increasingly more important due to globalisation. The study comprises three phases, first, a comprehensive audit of the current educational policies and practices in post-Soviet Ukraine and Russia, second, individual and focus group interviews with teachers to investigate their perceptions about TBLT and receptivity to educational change, and third, a large scale survey of teachers. The findings will have important implications for the development of foreign language teaching in post-Soviet schools, and help improve understanding of the educational change in this context. TBLT implementation in EFL settings will be discussed and recommendations for further research and practices will be provided.

Jamie Coull
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Media, Culture and Creative Arts
Proposed completion date: February 2015
Supervisors: Dr Helen Merrick and Dr Leah Mercer
Thesis title: Please don’t tell my boyfriend I pretend to be a drag queen while he’s at work: Grown up play out of the closet.
Key Words: Drag, Faux Queens, queerness, gender, femininity

Description of research: This research project negotiates the subject positionality of straight identified faux queens. Faux queens are cisgendered women, of various sexual identities, who perform in queer spaces as drag queens. Faux queen performances by heterosexual women troubles the dichotomous logic of straight/queer and feminine/masculine by presenting a subject who is neither straight nor queer, neither feminine nor masculine, but both/and. The research employs queer feminism and uses autoethnography, indepth interview, practice-led methods and audience survey to explore the queer potentiality of straight faux queens. Creative outputs related to this work include http://agorafauxbia.com – a web based space for performance and performativity, WerqSF – a web based documentary series (http://agorafauxbia.com/werqsf), and Agorafaux-pas – a drag cabaret. WerqSF has been publically screened in San Francisco at SOMArts Cultural Center and in College Park Maryland at The University of Maryland Department of Women’s Studies. Agorafaux-pas is rehearsing throughout October and November 2014, and will be presented in two evening performance at The University of Maryland Department of Women’s Studies in December 2014.

Scott Donaldson
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Media, Culture and Creative Arts
Proposed completion date: June 2017
Supervisors: Dr Tama Leaver and Dr Deborah Hunn
Thesis title: Playing the meta: Situating the metagaming process through a case study of League of Legends
Key Words: Play, games, competition, metagaming, eSports

Description of research: A significant quality of the multiplayer games that make up eSports (organised video game competition) is that the systems of rules that govern them are often in a state of flux. Games like League of Legends, World of Warcraft, and Starcraft 2 are subject to numerous and frequent patches (downloadable software updates) that alter their core structure – meaning that what constitutes the game one week might have changed by the next. Competitors are therefore required to regularly re-learn the game in response to both these changes and how their peers are approaching them. Therefore, eSports competitors require not only mechanical skill to succeed, but an ability to approach the game with the metagame (the game universe outside of and around the game itself) in mind. Although high-level play has been the subject of a number of previous studies, the concept of the metagame and its importance at such a level has been largely overlooked. The thesis will argue that the malleability of multiplayer games all but forces competitive gamers to engage in the process of metagaming. It will subsequently investigate, through a case study of the popular competitive multiplayer game League of Legends, how high-level players are impacted by changes to the game, and how they in turn impact the ever-changing metagame.

Petra Dumbell
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Department of Information Studies
Proposed completion date: December 2016
Supervisors: Dr Gaby Haddow
Thesis title: The impact of conference attendance on Australian academic librarians and libraries
Key Words: academic libraries, professional development, knowledge management

Description of research: Large face-to-face conferences are an important part of professional development opportunities available to academic librarians in Australia. Although a considerable amount of resources is spent organising, attending and funding conferences, research evidence suggests that conferences and the impact they have on attendees and their institutions remain an under-researched field. It is in this context that the proposed research project will investigate the question of conference impact. The study will focus particularly on analysing the impact conference attendance has on librarians and libraries, both immediately after the conference and longer-term. In addition, factors that might have an influence on the impact of conference attendance such as the libraries’ policies and procedures concerning conferences will be determined. Academic libraries and individual librarians will benefit from the outcomes of this research which will result in widening the understanding of the impact conference attendance can have on attendees and their organisations.

Cole Hendrigan
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute
Proposed completion date: November, 2014
Supervisors: Dr Peter Newman and Dr Jeff Kenworthy
Thesis title: Towards the transit-oriented region: Polycentric urbanism to transform automobile dependent cities
Key Words: Transport, land use, sustainability

Description of research: Following from the rhetoric and promise of compact cities, how best may we accurately model the interactions of local land-use plans with public transportation provision to transform automobile-dependent metropolitan regions? After a reading of the literature and existing strategies, the research approaches this question by a detailed study of public transportation options and associated Transit Oriented Developments in Perth, Australia, a highly automobile-dependent metropolitan region. The research aims to uncover the capacity for redevelopment, both possible and necessary, to achieve a long-ranged transformation from an Automobile-Dependent City to a Transit-Oriented Region. It will prepare a replicable methodology to more clearly view the pay-offs and trade-offs of policy levers of sustainable transport and land-use planning. The results show that depending on the building heights, mixes of land-use, transportation mode capacity and other factors, it is possible to build the next generations requirements of parks, housing, commercial and retail spaces along high-capacity rail public transit corridors. The results demonstrate that this may be accomplished while managing road congestion, housing the expected growth in population, improving social equity and ecological function, and positively underwriting the fiscal position of governments. The results reveal a methodology to understand metropolitan growth as a science, to better inform the art of human-scaled urban design.

Saul Karnovsky
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: School of Education
Proposed completion date: December 2017
Supervisors: Dr Susan Beltman and Dr Brad Gobby
Thesis title: Which way is north from here? Navigating the emotional dimensions of learning to teach during a pre-service year
Key Words: Emotion, pre-service teachers

Description of research: Despite the fact that emotions have a central place within the practice of education, their role in understanding how a person learns to teach is not significantly researched. This study looks to build on the current wave of literature in the field of understanding emotions in teaching using both sociological and post-structural frameworks. The study will be a qualitative interpretive case study using narrative methods in its approach to data collection and analysis. The inquiry will draw on interview as well as online visual, diary and narrative forms of data to represent the complex lived experiences of a small group of pre-service teachers in a postgraduate program in 2015 at one tertiary institution. The study is significant in that it hopes to illuminate the voices of pre-service teachers in a holistic way to provide an understanding about emotions in learning to teach, suggesting how emotions are navigated is critical in the journey of becoming a teacher.

Matthew Kelly
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Department of Information Studies
Proposed completion date: May 2020
Supervisors: Associate Professor Paul Genoni and Dr Gaby Haddow
Thesis title: The representation of knowledge in Australian public library adult non-fiction monograph collections: Epistemic factors influencing selection and evaluation
Key Words: Library collections, subject representation, epistemology

Description of research: This research seeks to engage with a significant sample of the national public library collection utilising software capable of defining collections by subject to facilitate understanding of the range and depth of subject coverage. Upon completion the research will provide detailed comparative analysis of adult non-fiction collections from a wide range of Australian public libraries. This research aims to deepen our understanding of the subject-level characteristics of this type of collection, and through interviews with librarians, reveal the epistemic factors selectors bring to bear on selection decisions. The study promises to help reveal priorities for knowledge representation in civil society.

Alisa Krasnostein
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts
Proposed completion date: September 2016
Supervisors: Dr Helen Merrick
Thesis title: Challenging the centre: The potential of politicised editing and publishing
Key Words: Editing, publishing, gender, diversity

Description of research: This research examines the potential of independent publishing to advocate for social issues through the production of fiction which values diversity. This issue will be explored with particular reference to speculative fiction and the creative production of a series of speculative fiction works - a young adult anthology (Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy), two single author collections and a novel. The central research question is: what editorial and publishing practices are best suited to successfully producing and distributing socially diverse fiction? Aspects of diversity that will be explored include gender, race, sexuality and neurodiverse perspectives in both the characters in the fiction and the creators of this fiction. This project will evaluate how editing and publishing with a political intent can give rise to more diverse creative work and that such work in is in fact desired by the readership. An overview of the status quo will be presented through an historical exploration of the SF genre, including a presentation of data of performance indicators, such as awards and year’s best recommendation lists, to quantify these biases. Case studies will also be presented to show how successful politically motivated independent presses have used editing and publishing practices to produce diverse fiction.

Lara Mackintosh
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Architecture and Interior Architecture
Proposed completion date: February 2016
Supervisors: Associate Professor Dianne Smith and Associate Professor Philip Moore
Thesis title: Mapping learning to life: Developing a system of learning that prompts, supports and sustains responsible action through transformative experiences in architectural learning
Key Words: Transformative; architectural; learning

Description of research: Our learning experiences have the capacity to shape the values and attitudes that will accompany us through life. In a world in which our everyday behaviour can have an impact on the lives of others, now and in the future, how can these learning experiences be used to engender behaviour that results in positive impact? As over half of the global population are now urbanised, a need to focus on the environments in which these experiences take place has been identified. Over recent decades, environmental education has become more explicit in addressing the issues arising from the relationship between our everyday behaviour and our environments. This research investigates the contexts in which learning takes place, the actions that occur as part of this learning, and the change in those that take part. The findings from this investigation will be used to develop a pedagogical framework for application in programs of architectural education. It is anticipated that this may be used to inform development of curriculum and pedagogy, and could be underpin a range of learning experiences - from primary through to adult programs, and formal and informal learning experiences.

Leonie Mansbridge
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts
Proposed completion date: January 2017
Supervisors: Dr Deborah Hunn, Dr Kirsten Hudson, Ms Annette Seeman
Thesis title: The cross-cultural corridor: Performing Māori/Pākehā identities
Key Words: Half-caste, identities, art practice, in-betweeness, story-telling

Description of research: This Research investigates how being Māori/ Pākehā (half-caste), a descent that cannot be clearly labelled or marked as “other”, is lived. Through providing insight into challenges associated with living in an unmarked space /marked space. This unmarked space is that my physical appearance hides my Māori descent, yet acknowledging where I belong, it is marked by historical discourses bound to racial categories and theories. In my way of being in the world occupying this half-caste position, it is not an advantage. I don’t fit, but through this dis-advantage of being not one or the other I have created a strategy. Auto-ethnography will be my academic framework to support my telling of misplaced and unwritten familial stories. By using this methodology, and my visual art practice, they will be woven together to interrogate and merge knowledge, with the intention of being a conduit to disseminate Indigenous cultural knowledge to the world through story telling and a visual art practice.

Sayedul Islam Montu
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute
Proposed completion date: December 2016
Supervisors: Dr Dora Merinova and Dr Amjad Hossain
Thesis title: Influence of the mystic traditions on the policymakers in Bangladesh: sustainability perspectives
Key Words: Mystics, influence, sustainability, policy makers

Description of research: This study evaluates the mystics’ influence on the policymakers of Bangladesh and implications for sustainability. Historically, Bangladesh (previously undivided India) has been a land of many mystic traditions. The mystics recognize themselves as the stewardship of nature, live simply, possess things only for meeting their basic needs, and dedicate themselves to reflective teaching about the values and practices for eternal longevity. The lifestyle and teachings of the mystics appear highly respectable and influential. The Bauls or Baul Fakirs, Muslim Pirs and Hindu Sadhus (sages) are socially recognised as mystics in Bangladesh. Most people of Bangladesh including policymakers believe in mysticism/mystical power and are followers of the mystic gurus. This study focuses on policymakers a group comprised of politicians, bureaucrats, technocrats, selected civil elites and business personalities. Influence from the mystic traditions on policymakers is historical in the Indian sub-continent. The medieval emperors used to include a mystic amongst the courtiers. Political recognition for the mystic traditions is still prominent. The mystics encourage modesty in consumption, protection of the naturally environment and living within the ecologic means. The mystic traditions have now become a socio-political institution in Bangladesh. This study explores their ability to steer Bangladesh away from destructive development.

Yaya Mori
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Media, Culture and Creative Arts
Proposed completion date: 2014
Supervisors: Dr Robert Briggs and Professor David Buckbinder
Thesis title: Search for the political in the public sphere in an age of consumerisation
Key Words: Public space, Arendt, postwar Japan politics, social movement, Emperor system

Description of research: This study explores Hannah Arendt’s proposition that the political public space declines in the modern age, by applying her theory of politics to the public space of postwar Japan. Arendt’s key argument that the public realm is not sustainable with human plurality alone, needing the support of what I call enduring measures, such as culture and tradition, leads us to the questions of: whether political life is absent without modernising a country’s political institutions and systems; and what unites the people for the public good. The public space of postwar Japan is a unique and paradoxical realm where the phenomena of politics – collective action and social movement – manifested in the way in which it criticised the past and departed from the question of a thread of history, the emperor system. Given 21st century Japan’s public realm dominated by the private activity of consumption and understood by the pre-political epistemology of modern science, it is open to question as to whether its political life can develop without recovering the thread of history, the emperor system which had provided Japan’s political community with a sense of home, that is, the wisdom of how to live well with other fellow citizens.

Budi Rahayu
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: School of Education
Proposed completion date: January 2015
Supervisors: Professor Rhonda Oliver, Dr Stefania Giamminuti and Dr Judith Rochecouste
Thesis title: Investigation of Field, Tenor, and Mode in Indonesian university students’ academic writing in English and the pedagogic implication for Indonesian students planning to continue their studies in Australian universities
Key Words: Field, tenor, mode, texts, pedagogic

Description of research: English is being more and more widely used in the world. The need to be able to communicate in English for the people of every country is urgent. This research project has been conducted with the aim of helping the Indonesian people to communicate better in English. This thesis has collected academic texts written by a group of Indonesian university students in Indonesia. These texts are then analysed using the framework of Systemic Functional Linguistics. Field, Tenor, and Mode encoded in the Indonesian students’ academic texts are identified. From the identification, the features of the Indonesian students’ texts are explained. Interviews were conducted with L1 Australian academics in regards to the Indonesian students’ texts. The encoding of Field, Tenor and Mode in the Indonesian students’ academic texts, and the L1 Australian English academics’ opinion of the Indonesian students’ texts become a basis for developing of an application of an appropriate teaching strategy. In the end, Indonesian students are expected to be able to improve their English and to meet Australian academics’ expectation when continuing their study in an Australian university.

Aminath Riyaz
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Department of Information Studies
Proposed completion date: February 2017
Supervisors: Associate Professor Paul Genoni and Dr Pauline Joseph
Thesis title: An investigation into the ‘I can Google it’ information seeking behaviour of the academic community and the implications for the delivery of academic library services for developing countries.
Key Words: Information behaviour, Googling phenomenon, information seeking, academic library services

Description of research: Research evidence suggests that Google search engine has become the main information mediator for the academic community; a role earlier attributed to libraries. Google have gained popularity over traditional library sources, based on ease of use and reliability. Library sources are acknowledged as authoritative but clumsy to use. Also of note is the library’s invisible role in making Google more reliable by providing seamless access to resources not held by Google but by libraries. This research proposes to: understand the extent of this Googling phenomenon through the perceptions of information users in an academic setting; evaluate if the perceptions translate to reality; investigate the implications on academic library service provision; and examine the extent of cohesion of this phenomenon across different economies. While much research has been carried out on Google, there is no evidence of any research using a phenomenological approach to understand this world-wide phenomenon; nor has there been any attempt to understand the phenomenon from different economic perspectives. This research addresses these gaps, and proposes to complement the findings from in-depth interviews with a small sample of the target population, leading to the designing of an informed survey questionnaire to collect data from a large enough sample.

Angie Silva
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute
Proposed completion date: November 2015
Supervisors: Associate Professor Laura Stocker and Associate Professor Michele Rosano
Thesis title: Transitions towards sustainable materials management: The roles of labelling, framing and discourse on policy innovations
Key Words: Socio-technical transitions, discourse analysis, governance, waste and materials management

Description of research: Angie's research comparatively investigates international policy innovations in waste and materials management, demonstrating an overall transition in the waste policy paradigm. This transition is conceptualised by the shift from end of pipe solutions towards cyclical systems thinking reflected in a large volume of policy directives. Pursuits towards a ‘Sound Material Cycle Society’ in Japan, a ‘Zero Waste’ city in San Francisco or 'Sustainable Materials Management' in Flanders, have all emerged in the last decade as innovative policy examples within the waste and materials sector. The research question seeks to provide insight into how each of these cases uses different linguistic tactics to frame waste and materials transitions, exploring the influence this may have on the type of transition visions, trajectories, pathways, governance strategies and actor networks that are pursued. The research outcomes will provide frameworks applicable to practitioners and academics interested in strategic policy labelling and framing, in order to drive and promote societal acceptance, stakeholder acquisition and innovative upscaling of policy directives across geographical borders.

Lesley Ann Smith
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Media, Culture and Creative Arts
Proposed completion date: January 2017
Supervisors: Dr Liz Byrski and Professor Tim Dolin
Thesis title: Happily Ever After: The Lovers’ Journeys in Popular Romance Fiction
Key Words: Popular romance fiction, narrative structure, love story

Description of research: The research investigates how a typology for structuring the interdependent male and female narratives in popular romance fiction supports creative practice in popular romance fiction and advances the field of popular romance studies. Engaging with established narrative structures, the research and creative practice develop, test and modify a typology for the protagonists’ plot lines. The creative component is a popular romance novel that explores the protagonists’ stories as they confront and overcome obstacles to their external goals and internal growth and achieve their ‘happily ever after’.

Allan Vickers
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Media, Culture and Creative Arts
Proposed completion date: March 2017
Supervisors: Dr Robb Briggs and Dr Kara-Jane Lombard
Thesis title: Confronting practical ethical concerns about the development and use of automated, search, review and predictively reasoning information systems
Key Words: Information ethics, artificial intelligence, machine ethics, human computer interaction

Description of research: This doctoral thesis proposes an investigation of existing and forthcoming cultural concerns about the intentional and unintentional encoding of ‘value-laden’ statements into the actual programing structure of automated search, review and predictively reasoning systems by information technologists. A broadly rule-based approach to information ethics directs a review of existing normative and contextual ethical aspects of the development and use of proprietary information systems. A non-anthropocentric, agent-based ethical framework is developed to identify possibly inherent, value-sensitive, design characteristics in those algorithmic systems when deployed across distributed computing networks. As a direct result the ethical co-commitments imposed on individuals, public (state) and private (business) sectors are exposed. A significant contribution to understanding the forthcoming role that value-sensitive design can play in promoting the adoption of robust, flexible structures of accountability and independent community-based mechanisms of oversight for information technology designers to follow is expected.

Robert Weymouth
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute
Proposed completion date: February 2016
Supervisors: Professor Janette Hartz-Karp
Thesis title: Can deliberative participatory budgeting tackle wicked problems and restore public trust in government and vice versa?
Key Words: Deliberative democracy participatory budgeting trust

Description of research: The subject of this research is to investigate to what extent two high quality deliberative Participatory Budgeting (PB) initiatives (on 100% of the City budget) impact on the level of public trust and confidence in local government and vice versa, while at the same time addressing one of the wicked problems confronting municipalities. Additionally, the work will look at the degree of flow-on effects to greater civic participation as a result of engagement in this process, as well as the impact of such processes on the way local governments operate, whether their decisions are, and are perceived to be, more transparent and accountable, and whether they are accorded greater legitimacy as a result. This candidacy is an action research case study around the impact of participation in deliberative participatory budgeting initiatives on participants and the administration of a Western Australian local government, Greater Geraldton. A mixture of quantitative surveys (both longitudinal and cross sectional) and qualitative interviews (cross sectional) will be employed to probe the research question. The learnings of this project will inform governments who are aiming to improve their ability to meet wicked problems and redress public trust through more collaborative community participation in public resource allocation.

Alice Yeow
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Media, Culture, and Creative Arts
Proposed completion date: November 2014
Supervisors: Ms Margaret MacIntyre and Professor Jon Stratton
Thesis title: The new face of Asia: Aesthetic surgery in the age of globalisation
Key Words: Aesthetic surgery, Asia, globalisation, westernisation, ethnicity

Description of research: In recent decades, aesthetic surgery has become more accessible/acceptable among an increasing number of men and women around the world. The rising economy of East Asia in particular has driven the mass consumption of aesthetic surgery to Asian societies – and, critics presume, more “Asians in the West” – prompting default anti-racist concerns about the ways in which this technology can be used to Westernise Asian bodies. While it is difficult to deny the influence of Western values on contemporary global societies, this dissertation argues that racism is not the best/only critical framework to adopt when it comes to explaining current Asian surgical trends. As an alternative to the “whitening theory” of so-called “Asian” aesthetic surgery, this dissertation proposes that it is more useful to conceptualise aesthetic surgery as a global body project that can be expressed in regionally specific ways. Drawing on recent narratives of aesthetic surgery in K-Pop, Japanese street fashion, and East Asian horror cinema, this study demonstrates that subcultural uses of aesthetic surgery can serve as empowering or transgressive sources of cultural resistance for Asian women. The fact that globalisation comprises a mutual exchange of Asian/Western aesthetic values points to a future in which the Asian and Western surgical ideals are more hybridised.

He Zhang
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Media, Culture and Creative Arts
Proposed completion date: October 2017
Supervisors: Professor John Hartley, Associate Professor Lucy Montgomery and Dr Henry Li
Thesis title: Self-representation of Chinese Migrants using digital storytelling for social inclusion
Key Words: Self-representation, digital storytelling, migration, social inclusion

Description of research: This research project will investigate how Chinese transnational migrants in Australia and internal migrants in China use digital storytelling as a form of self-representation. New media and digital technologies have increased opportunities for self-representation by non-professionals and marginal groups, but so far little attention has been paid to its take-up among migrant groups. The project hypothesizes that workshop-based digital storytelling can provide Chinese migrants with the conditions for creativity, participation, self-reflexivity and ownership for self-representation in the host societies. This project will conduct workshops and interviews in both countries to test this hypothesis.

Maria Elena Zingoni de Baro
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute
Proposed completion date: February 2015
Supervisors: Professor Peter Newman and Dr Anne Matan
Thesis title: The role of biophilic urbanism in achieving sustainable regenerative development in cities
Key Words: Biophilic urbanism, regenerative design, ecosystem services, urban biodiversity

Description of research: This research explores the relationship between the natural and built environments, looking at how the urban ecological footprint can be reversed and cities transformed into a force of regeneration enabling coexistence of human activities and ecological processes. Sustainable regenerative development goes beyond reducing urban ecological impact, it restores and helps rebuild past impact in local and regional contexts ensuring ecosystems services and wellbeing to urban populations. Biophilic urbanism is starting to demonstrate that existing high density precincts can be regenerated and new ones can be designed as quality living environments that are able to restore ecosystems. It provides the possibility for dense cities to promote conditions conducive to nature regeneration by creating new habitats for natural urban systems. Examining the principles of biophilic urbanism and regenerative design, and analysing the case studies of Singapore and Curitiba, this thesis aims to create a theoretical framework for practitioners envisioning sustainable regenerative development in cities. This approach to urban design is integral to the ecological worldview and involves a new way of thinking about the built environment, enhancing the value of nature and resetting people back as part of it.

Current Research Projects 2013

Megan Bucknum
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Curtin Sustainability Policy Institute (CUSP)
Proposed completion date: April 2015
Supervisors: Professor Dora Marinova, Professor Peter Newman and Dr Anne Matan
Thesis title: Creating a Food Hub Feasibility Framework to Mainstream Local Food for Economic Development
Key Words: sustainability, local food, urban planning, agriculture

Description of research: Increasing local food production and distribution is a key component of sustainable communities. An entity that facilitates the relationship between food growers and buyers, resulting in more local food, is a Food Hub. Concensus is growing around Food Hubs being ideal in enabling food grown in a region to be purchased within the region and this research project will review the exsiting literature, draw from participatory experience and analyze qualitative interviews to create a Feasibility Framework for developing Food Hubs. The aim of this research is to examine successful Food Hub case studies and use the information gleaned from these studies, and accompanying surveys, to identify a feasibility framework for determining if a food hub is an appropriate distribution solution. Participant interviews and surveys will inform this research on best practices and key considerations for the development of Food Hubs. This knowledge will help create a feasibility framework for future Food Hub development

Jess Coyle
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: School of Media, Culture & Creative Arts
Proposed completion date: August 2015
Supervisors: Dr Sean Gorman (Curtin) and Associate Professor Barry Judd (RMIT)
Key Words: authenticity, sport, post colonialism, memory, race
Thesis title: Connecting the dots: Case studies into the ‘invisible presence’ of Aboriginal people living in Victoria

Description of research: This research explores the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Victorians and argues that this relationship is one inherently characterised and shaped by the notion of ‘invisibility’. The thesis argues that Aboriginal Victorians have been rendered ‘an invisible presence’ by the various discourses of race and culture that emerged in the colonial period of the 19th century and that remain influential among non-Aboriginal Victorians today. Retracing the trajectory of colonial discourses that function to make Aboriginal Victorians ‘an invisible presence’ the research demonstrates the ongoing invisibility of Aboriginals in Victoria through an engagement with Australian Rules football. This thesis argues that non-Aboriginal discourses deem Victorian Aboriginals present but invisible within the sphere of mainstream Victoria. It will further argue that this invisibility functions to deny Victorian Aboriginals opportunities to participate at the elite level of Australian Rules football, as the Australian Football League situates ‘authentic’ and therefore ‘visible’ Aboriginals worthy of recognition as being located outside of Victoria. The purpose of this study is to highlight the under-representation and ‘invisibility’ of Victorian Aboriginals (both within academia and within Australian sports culture). By drawing upon fieldwork with members of the Victorian Aboriginal community situated within Australian Rules football culture, it will demonstrate the consequences of the under-representation and misrepresentation of Victorian Aboriginals.

Mat Dalby
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Department of Urban and Regional Planning
Proposed completion date: November, 2015
Supervisors: Professor Dave Hedgcock and Associate Professor Jaya Earnest
Thesis title: Making Space for African Refugee Settlement in Australia: Assessing Service Delivery and Spatial Challenges for Volunteer Refugee Organisations
Key Words: Collaborative Planning, Volunteer Organisations, Refugee Settlement, Settlement Services, Community Infrastructure, Governance

Description of research: This study seeks to investigate collaborative planning's role in enabling greater equity for African refugee volunteer organisations to access community infrastructure in Melbourne. In harnessing collaborative planning for this task, the thesis will critique the ability of modernist planning methods to meet contemporary challenges in multicultural Australia. Along with other resources, the timely provision of community infrastructure (local/state government facilities, neighbourhood houses, community halls etc) is essential for burgeoning refugee organisations to plan and deliver key settlement services to their respective communities. However, readily accessible and affordable community infrastructure in Australia's major cities is limited, setting the scene for competition and tensions between new arrival communities. Beyond the practical role of community infrastructure for service delivery, these spaces also play a symbolic/political role in local governance that will be explored. Collaborative planning provides interpretive and practical tools for addressing this socio-spatial challenge, harnessing deliberative methods to engage divergent stakeholders. An ethnographic approach will be used to gather quantitative and qualitative data, primarily using participant observations, semi-structured interviews, surveys, workshops and focus groups.

Achmad Room Fitrianto
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Social Sciences
Proposed completion date: February 2016
Supervisors: Professor Bob Pokrant and Dr Aileen Hoath
Thesis title: The socio-economic impacts of the Porong mud volcano on the shrimp sector in Sidoarjo District, East Java Province Indonesia
Key Words: SLF, Shrimp Farmer, Creativity, Innovation and Policy

Description of research: This thesis will investigate the socio-economic impacts of the Porong mud volcano on the shrimp sector in Sidoarjo District, East java Province, Indonesia. It will examines shrimp farmer, government and other stakeholder responses to the mud volcano with a focus on the extent of contamination and disruption of the shrimp sector by the mudflow across five subdistricts. It will explore: the socioeconomic impacts of such disruptions on shrimp fisheries production; the diverse ways in which shrimp farmers have responded to the changing conditions; the role of government in supporting shrimp farmer initiatives to mitigate the effects of the pollution; the extent to which existing institutional/structural arrangements in the industry have constrained or facilitated recovery; the transferability of the actions taken by shrimp farmers to other shrimp farming areas in Indonesia. Conceptually, the study draws on the fields of disaster studies, development theory and practice, and social-ecological systems approaches to understand how farmer and other responses are shaped by socially constructed notions of vulnerability, risk, and resilience and by the political economic location of shrimp farming within a national and international seafood regime. The research adopts a sustainable livelihood framework (SLF), which centres on how individuals and households obtain and use particular social and economic assets to seek further opportunities, reduce risk, minimise vulnerability and maintain or improve their livelihoods. Within this methodological approach a combination of documentary investigation, critical ethnography, regulatory impacts assessment (RIA) method and stakeholder analysis will be used. Each technique will be applied differently in each of the SLF stages.

Miik Green
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: School of Design and Art
Proposed completion date: March 2015
Supervisors: Dr Ioannis Michaloudis and Professor John Teschendorff
Thesis title: Minkowski Sausages and Peano Monsters: Heterogeneous Combos & Resistance in a Visual Arts Practice
Key Words: Arts practice, resistance, limbo, equilibrium

Description of research: In the space between art and science, concepts of chaos and order can be visualised both aesthetically and poetically. Within this space, the artist’s studio operates like a laboratory, and the scientist engages creatively with matter, both maintaining the integrity of their respective disciplines. Within nature, chaos and order can be different states, which unite to create matter. It is this heterogeneous combination and the outcome of these conflicting forces which aim to support my central hypothesis: that combining resistant material in equilibrium produces unique results, similar to those demonstrated in forms such as pollen, diatoms, radiolarian and cellular organisms. Miik Green is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in Perth, represented by Flinders Lane Gallery (VIC) and Linton & Kay Contemporary (WA). As the recipient of an Australian Postgraduate Award Scholarship, Green is currently a PhD candidate at Curtin University of Technology.

Fiona Harman
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Architecture
Proposed completion date: February 2017
Supervisors: Associate Professor Steve Basson, Dr Ann Schilo and Nicole Slatter
Thesis title: Re-interpreting the Display Home and its Allusions to Place, Belonging and Identity.
Key Words: Painting, suburbia, utopia, architectural space.

Description of research: The display home provides an insight into the dominant forms of architectural aesthetics and identity within the Australian suburban landscape. This creative production thesis considers the aspirations and desires associated with the display home and how these relate to the lived experience of home. It examines the façade through representations of the display home, including ways the home is represented in visual culture, as well as real estate advertising and design features (or follies) intended to inspire a more comfortable, happy and luxurious lifestyle. Through a process of deconstruction, reflection and discovery, the research will explore the utopian potentials of the display home and scrutinise the advertising used to encourage associations with escape, desire and the Great Australian Dream. By using the display home as a motif, the creative production research challenges the homogenisation of the suburban landscape perpetuated by commoditised display homes. A series of visualisations of the façade through painting will explore new understandings and experiences of home, both real and imagined which reflect disrupted connections to place, belonging and identity within the Australian suburban landscape.

Mariana Harsono
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: School of Education
Proposed completion date: December 2016
Supervisors: Dr Kay O’Halloran and Dr Rachel Sheffield
Thesis title: The impact of Lesson Study on Indonesian primary school teachers’ knowledge in differentiating primary school mathematics instruction
Key Words: Differentiated mathematics instruction, teachers’ mathematics pedagogy, lesson study, students’ diversity

Description of research: The proposed research will investigate the impact of a form of Professional Development termed Lesson Study on Indonesian primary school teachers’ knowledge in differentiating primary school mathematics instruction. It is expected that primary school teachers in Indonesia should teach all subjects at a particular level. However, primary school teachers may not be able to teach mathematics effectively because their professional knowledge of teaching mathematics is not adequate. Teachers’ understanding of both content and pedagogy play an important role in effective teaching. These can be improved with continual professional development. The backgrounds such as readiness, ability, type of learning, and interest of primary school students in regular classrooms vary, so differentiated instruction can address this diversity of the students. Lesson Study is a professional development strategy that provides ongoing refining and learning for teachers and could be an effective vehicle for implementing mathematics differentiation and improving teachers’ knowledge of mathematical content and pedagogy. This kind of professional learning uses a teaching/learning cycle model of planning, teaching, evaluating, and reflecting by teachers working collaboratively together in one school or across a district. Lesson Study will benefit teachers’ mathematics pedagogy and ability in research lesson stage, while differentiated mathematics instruction will meet students’ needs in learning mathematics based on their diversity. A qualitative case study will be employed in this research and the proposed research method will primarily involve an interpretive paradigm. Data will be collected through participant-as-observer and semi-structured observations, collaborative interviews guide approach, document analysis, video recording, and voice recording.

Rebecca Louise Higgie
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Media, Culture and Creative Arts
Proposed completion date: October 2013
Supervisors: Dr Deborah Hunn and Dr Ron Blaber
Thesis title: Speaking Truth: The Play of Politics and Australian Satire
Key Words: satire, Australian politics, Australian television, social media

Description of research: This thesis examines the contemporary interplay between satire and politics, focusing on texts that envisage and engage with politics in unconventional and often mischievous ways. It observes that in the current media landscape, satirists and politicians are encroaching on each other’s spaces. The satirist is given licence to speak both satirically and seriously about politics, and the politician attempts to gain cultural capital through playing with the satirist in good humour, sometimes actively satirising themselves. This direct interplay between satire and politics has contributed to three significant shifts within political discourse: certain satires are now being used as trusted, legitimate sources of political information and truth; politicians increasingly engage with satirists or use satire in ways that suggest a political attempt at co-option; and those who I define as “citizen satirists” are engaging in practices of consumption and production resulting in online satirical texts that have, due to the global flow of information, started to contribute to political debates in more traditional mainstream media.

Laura Kittel
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Centre for Human Rights Education
Proposed completion date: 2014
Supervisors: Associate Professor Philip Moore and Professor Dawn Bennett
Thesis title: Happiness in Human Rights: Spiritual Empowerment for Social Change
Key Words: Happiness, human rights, spirituality, philosophy, religion

Description of research: My thesis is about being happy and living in the world the right way, where right means upright. It seeks to reclaim our understanding of happiness in relation to morality and spirituality practiced by ancient Greek philosophers and major religions of today, in particular, Christianity. This is to look at happiness as a way of life (eudaimonia) in contrast to simply a mental state (often hedonism), though it is also conducive to the feeling of happiness. I will argue that this is the proper foundation of happiness and human rights, which are each in need of this reassessment. The ethical implications of happiness should be our highest priority, on both personal as well as public levels. We are called to transform our way of being in the world, in line with a happiness that transcends it.

Bobana Kljajevic
Master of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Social Sciences and International Studies
Supervisors: Associate Professor Bobbie Oliver and Dr Scott Fitzgerald
Proposed completion date: December 2014
Thesis title: An investigation into the under-representation of women in mining in the Pilbara mining region of Western Australia
Key Words: women, mining, under-representation, gender

Description of research: This study argues that there are disproportionately low numbers of women in the mining workforce in Western Australia. Using two companies in the Pilbara region as a case study, it will use surveys and interviews, as well as a range of literature such as government and company reports and academic studies, to investigate why women continue to be under-represented in the mining sector, and to address reasons for this under-representation. My research project aims to increase our understanding of the opportunities available in the Pilbara region of Western Australia and to improve women’s access to such opportunities. Further, my study also aims to initiate the development of an industry agenda to significantly increase the attraction and retention of women in the minerals industry across all work roles.

Sandra Krempl
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute (CUSP)
Proposed Completion Date: March 2014
Supervisors: Professor Dora Marinova, Dr Shamim Samani and Dr Thor Kerr
Thesis Title: Spirituality and Environmental Sustainability
Key Words: Spirituality, Nature, Sustainability, Culture, Planning

Description of research: Sandra Krempl has worked in cultural planning and development across Australia and internationally for more than 30 years. Her work has focused on the importance of story and oral traditions in the planning process. This research probes deeper into what informs stories and traditions and how these influence the decisions we make about sustainability. The research explores how communities see and engage in spirituality and nature in their rapidly changing lives. It asks whether there is a detachment from spirituality and nature and if so, whether this detachment impacts on environmental sustainability. Part of the process will be to; understand community views on the importance, or lack of importance of spirituality and nature in today's world; develop and trial concepts and frameworks that can be used by culturally diverse communities to reflect on spirituality and nature and the role these play in environmental sustainability and develop tools to measure this engagement and the benefits of this engagement in other than economic terms. The research proposes that we must go beyond the triple-bottom-line or the four pillars to achieve sustainability and that planning should consider the wellbeing of all life on Earth.

Marc Lambert
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: School of Education
Proposed completion date: 2015
Supervisors: Dr Jennifer Howell and Dr Genevieve Johnson
Thesis title: Learning to Teach: Comparing Perceptions of Online and On-Campus Primary Teacher Education
Key Words: Teacher education, fully online

Description of research: In Australia, it is now possible to gain a recognised teaching qualification fully online. Current literature contends that fully online degrees are often not viewed by employers and academics with the same regard as on-campus degrees. There is no research specifically investigating the comparability of fully online and on-campus teacher education programs offered in Australia. This proposed mixed methods research asks pre-service and beginning primary school teachers, who obtained their qualifications either fully online or on-campus, to indicate their perceived teaching competence based on AITSL professional standards. This will enable a comparison of fully online and on-campus trained beginning teachers. In addition, school leaders, mentor teachers and academics will be asked to report their views of traditional and fully online teacher education.

Susie Latham
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Centre for Human Rights Education
Proposed completion date: December 2015
Supervisors: Dr Caroline Fleay and Professor Linda Briskman
Thesis title: Muslim women and oppression: challenging western superior attitudes
Key Words: Muslim women Iran feminism racism

Description of research: This research challenges the western critique of the status of Muslim women, particularly the use of supposedly progressive, left-wing ideologies such as feminism and human rights, to further racist depictions of Muslims to a western audience. It explores how such depictions of Muslim women are linked to solutions involving the abandonment of Muslim culture and the adoption of western culture, including through programs aimed at the “education“, “empowerment” and “enlightenment” of Muslim women. These depictions patronise Muslim women, demonise Muslim men and obscure problems faced by women in western culture. Through interviews with women across the generations in a conservative, Arab-speaking rural town in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the research documents the monumental changes in women’s lives there, linked to improving economic conditions over the past 80 years. Changes include the complete abandonment of female genital cutting, the near end of polygamy, a sharp decrease in physical labour and vast increases in the choices available to women around education, work, marriage and fertility. Change has been driven by both women and men, including religious leaders. The research also draws on interviewee’s reflections on recent changes to ask how they will affect women across the generations.

Layli Rakhsha
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: School of Design and Art- Humanities
Proposed completion date: 2017
Supervisors: Dr Ann Schilo and Dr Susanna Castleden
Thesis title: Reassuring paths: Cultural influence of Iranian diaspora in Australian contemporary art
Key Words: Diaspora, Home, Visual art, Iranian diasporic art

Research Question: How is the idea of home visualized in Iranian diasporic art in Australia?
Description of research: This research examines the ways Iranian cultural values influence Australian contemporary art from the period 1990- 2010. I will contextualize my own artwork with two case studies. I specifically focus on the concept of ‘home’ developed by different Iranian artists and evaluate the ways in which this discourse has evolved. I will investigate how the idea of home is intentionally or unintentionally embedded in Iranian diasporic art in Australia with key theory based on Avtar Brah’s ideas of diaspora and home.

Kate Rice
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts
Thesis title: Ethics and Authenticity in Writing Theatre Based on Real Events
Proposed completion date: December 2014
Supervisors: Dr Leah Mercer and Dr Rachel Robertson
Key Words: Ethics, Authenticity, Reality theatre, Documentary theatre

Description of research: This thesis investigates ethics and authenticity in writing theatre about real events. I examine the ethical dimensions of the relationships between the writer/researcher and subjects of the play, and how these relationships inform the creative work. I critically evaluate the relevance of the pursuit of truth or authenticity in reality theatre. My process is informed by the work of theorists Donna Haraway, Zygmunt Bauman and Roy Bhaskar. While embracing postmodern reflexivity, these thinkers maintain the existence of a reality that operates independently of social construction. This involves a rejection of postmodern relativism, in which individuals construct their own worlds with impunity. Instead, we are invited to acknowledge that our subjects are not passive constructions, but are themselves active agents. On 26 April 2002, in the German city of Erfurt, 19-year-old Robert Steinhäuser entered his former high school with two semi-automatic weapons. He killed the secretary, twelve teachers, two students and a policeman before a staff member locked him in an empty classroom and he turned his gun on himself. Ten years later, I unpack the process of reconstructing this terrifying event as theatre. I question my own motivations, my limitations, the inherent selfishness of performance, the attraction of violence. I search for a manifestation of meaning in theatre. All I want is a moment of truthful connection.

Name: Angie Silva
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute
Proposed completion date: 2015
Supervisors: Associate Professor Laura Stocker, Associate Professor Michele Rosano and Dr Margaret Gollagher
Thesis title: Waste Transitions and the role of Higher Education Institutions; A multi-scalar, multi-level perspective
Key Words: Waste management, Transitions, Governance, Socio-technical systems, Higher education

Description of research: As a teaching and learning organisation, universities are not only expected to be responsive to societal needs but also to proactively seek to shape and improve the societal practices of the future. The role of higher education institutions in the context of an ongoing societal transition toward greater sustainability has emerged within the last decade. This research seeks to investigate how universities with a sustainable and innovative waste program have interacted with the waste sector in their surrounding region. A multi-scalar, multi-level perspective enables socio-technical systems to be mapped and analysed according to spatial and hierarchical dimensions. Based on a participatory action research philosophy, the final phase of the research will apply the transition management framework to implement waste minimisation outcomes for the proposed Greater Curtin University development and the surrounding region.

Sudeep Jana Thing
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Department of Urban and Regional Planning
Proposed completion date: January, 2013
Supervisors: Professor Roy Jones, Dr Christina Birdsall Jones, Dr Shaphan Cox and Dr Hemant Ojha
Thesis title: Dissecting Protected Area Discourse and Polemics of Conservation in Nepal: Sonaha Indigenous Minorities in Bardia National Park
Key Words: Indigenous peoples, protected areas, conservation, political ecology, space

Description of research: The research is an ethnographic investigation into the lives of semi-mobile ethnic minorities called Sonaha historically embedded in waterways and riparian areas of lower Karnali River Delta, in and around the largest protected area in lowland Nepal. It examines the contestations and consequences emanating from a designation and management of national park and buffer zone management for biodiversity conservation, and associated mainstream discourse in relation to the Sonahas' way of life. It attempts to understand their resistance and responses from the frameworks of political ecology and cultural politics of space. A critique of park-people debate and conflict is located in the inquiry of national protected area discourse and practice in Nepal. The research is informed by geography and anthropology.

Shahin Tolouashtiany
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Built environment/Cultural Heritage
Proposed completion date: March 2016
Supervisors: Professor John Stephens and Dr Jennifer Harris
Thesis title: The dialogism of local, national and global in Iranian heritage places
Key Words: Heritage, conservation, dialogism, Iran

Description of research: This thesis argues that Iranian heritage, as a cultural production and meaning assigned to the objects, can be described by two understandings of the past; as a monologic, frozen and unresponsive representation, or a multi-voiced, dynamic and responsive interpretation. This investigation argues that the first, which is currently predominant, is incapable of responding to the multi-dimensional dilemma of heritage management. The latter, is a better description of the production of heritage and presents more effective heritage protection. This investigation works towards the identification of the nature of “heritage place” and “heritage protection” in Iran. It identifies the forces, which participate in the formation of heritage as acting from different trajectories of the local, national and global; it is based on a dialogic model. In such an approach, both heritage places and their protection are conceptualised as an ongoing interplay of values, ideas, institutions and forces in the form of different kinds of dialogues. These dialogues are occurring within and between the local, national and global in their historical, cultural, social, political, economic, institutional, legislative and environmental contexts. The argument will be grounded in two relevant Iranian cases: Persepolis and the Tabriz Historical Bazaar complex. Both cases are globally and nationally well-known and represent different aspects of Iranian heritage.

Current Research Projects 2012

Bayan Khader Abu-Shaban
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute (CUSP)
Proposed Completion Date: July 2015
Supervisors: Prof Dora Marinova, Prof Jeffrey Kenworthy and Prof Peter Newman
Thesis Title: Transport Sustainability Trends in Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) Cities: An International Comparative Analysis with Implications for Urban Policy
Key Words: Sustainability, transport, urban, planning, cities

Description of research: This research is an expansion and updating of an internationally recognised database on land use and transport in cities around the world entitled the "Millennium Cities Database for Sustainable Transport". I intend here to update the data for (Riyadh, Cairo and Tunis) and expand the study by adding new cities (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Istanbul, Doha, and Amman). I will benchmark and rank these cities against over 84 metropolitan cities on all continents on a large variety of transport and land use variables; such will show where the MENA cities are situated in sustainable transport terms. This comparative study will allow very important policy insights. In this research, I intend to study transportation and urban land use in the selected cities and am therefore trying to provide answer to the following core question: How do cities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) compare to other cities in the world in land use and transport terms and how can they achieve greater transport sustainability? A series of discreet sub-questions will be addressed to thoroughly answer this overarching question.

Anne Becker
Doctor of Philosophy, Language and Intercultural Education
School/Department/Area: Asian Languages
Proposed Completion Date: 2014
Supervisors: A/Prof Grace Zhang and Dr Kyoko Kawasaki
Thesis Title: Culture specific items in translation: A comparative study between a Japanese novel and its English translation
Key Words: Japanese, formulaic, language, comparative, translation

Description of research: This research is a comparative study of the English translation of Banana Yoshimoto's novel 'Kitchen' and its original text, with a focus on the interpretation and manifestation of Japanese culture specific items (CSI's) including formulaic and non-formulaic expressions. Japanese discourse will be examined in an effort to understand expressive functions of Japanese language and how these CSI's are translated into English. The central research question of this study is how language is interpreted and manifested differently in Japanese and English and what the implications are for cross-cultural understandings and communication. The different interpretations of CSI's in language have implications to bridge gaps between the two cultures, in terms of issues such as the sense of self and others, and empathic understanding.

Robin Barrington
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Media, Culture and the Creative Arts
Proposed Completion Date: March 2014
Supervisors: Professor Suvendrini Perera and Dr Rick De Vos
Thesis Title: Who was "Big George"?  An exploration and critique of Aboriginalist discourse within historical photographic and written texts.
Key Words: Aboriginalist discourse in colonial texts

Description of research: Against the backdrop of the devastating impacts of colonisation, a figure labelled "Big George" and   "King George" weaves in and out of the official colonial records and popular cultural texts from 1897 until 1996 as a construct of anthropological, historical, governmental and other colonialist discourse. The research will critically analyse and explore the social biography of the anthropological photographs taken of Big/King George in 1897 by Alexander Morton, curator of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery from 1884 until 1907. The project aims to challenge the multiple representations of Big/King George, a Yamatji man whose name was Jaal and include oral histories as counter-narratives which are reflective of Yamatji perspectives.

Cathy Day Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: School of Built Environment
Proposed Completion Date: June 2014
Supervisors: Prof John Stephens, Dr Jennifer Harris and Dr Tod Jones
Thesis Title: Community Museums in Western Australia - survival or extinction? An evaluation of the social and cultural sustainability of community museums.
Key Words: Sustainability, community museums, collective memory

Description of research: Using a pragmatic research methodology as the basis for this problem centred inquiry, the study will involve critiquing socio-cultural sustainability indicators developed specifically for museums as published online in 2010. Community museums are recognised in museology literature as institutions contributing to the transmission of collective memory and the development of sense of place for community members. Declining volunteer and visitor numbers as well as changing expectations have put pressure on the capacity of some museums to survive. The sustainability indicators, as part of a collection mapping survey, will be used to reveal the resilience and relevance of the community museums, to help their community form identity and a sense of place in the 21st century. The study will provide a strong platform to help understand whether community museums can prove to be relevant by acting as transmitters of collective memory and resilient in the face of cultural change.

Martin Garang Aher
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Media, Culture and the Creative Arts
Proposed Completion Date: February 2015
Supervisors: A/Prof Joan Wardrop and Dr Joyce Bell
Thesis Title: Culture shock, Integration and Migrant Youth: Sudanese Refugee Migrants in Western Australia
Key Words: Culture shock, integration, migrant, youth

Description of research: The purpose of this research is to gain a fuller understanding of the attitudes, lifestyle and behaviour of refugee and migrant youth from Sudan and neighbouring countries who are recent entrants to Australia based on culture shock phenomenon. At the same time, it aims to ascertain the changes in perceptions and attitudes that they experience due to the influences (either positive or negative) of their new cultural environment. Much of the existing research on refugees and recent humanitarian entrants is concerned with issues of information provision and service delivery. This study aims to go further by also taking into account the emotional and affective needs of young refugees, combining qualitative research with cultural analysis. The study will involve interviewing youth from the Sudanese migrant communities ranging from 12 to 22 years in age. It will explore youth behaviour beyond the Settlement and Transition scheme advanced by Australian government for multicultural youth. Questions of socio-political and cultural integration will be given greater depth and analysis and the young people's particular behaviours and reactions to the lifestyles of mainstream Australia will be studied by use of a combination of discussion groups and interviews. Although the study will focus on refugee and migrant youth from Sudan, some of its findings will be relevant for those from neighbouring parts of Africa as well.

Shafiiq Gopee
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Department of Internet Studies
Proposed Completion Date: June 2014
Supervisors: A/Prof Michele Willson and Prof Matthew Allen.
Thesis Title: Digital Inequality: The Internet in Mauritius
Key Words: Digital inequality, digital divide, Mauritius, developing country, internet

Description of research: Since its inception and public release, the Internet has transformed not only the way we do things but also the things we do. Perhaps, no other technology has had such a profound impact on our daily lives and is becoming central to the socio-economic development and growth of nations. However, access is still poor (Digital Divide) and there are inequalities amongst those who have access (Digital inequality). Worldwide, the focus of governments' action is still mainly on the Digital Divide issue but there is also growing concern amongst academics of the inequalities, within the Internet user community, impeding the development of information societies. The few researches conducted on Digital inequality, so far have been mainly on developed countries and some of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries and there is a growing need to further understand and research this phenomenon. This research, therefore, proposes to shed light on the Digital Inequality phenomenon especially in a "developing" country by focusing on the following four objectives. Firstly, to develop a clearer understanding of the term Digital Inequality; Secondly, to investigate the diffusion of Internet, in the developing island state of Mauritius since its mainstream dissemination and the current state of affairs; Thirdly, to identify the main causes/determinants of Digital Inequality in Mauritius and finally, to situate governmental and non-governmental initiatives with regards to the main determinants of Digital Inequality in Mauritius.

Sudeep Jana Thing
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Social Sciences
Proposed Completion Date: June 2013
Supervisors: Prof Roy Jones, A/Prof Alan Pilgrim, Dr Christina Birdsall Jones, Dr Hemant Ojha
Thesis Title: Dissecting Protected Area Discourse and Polemics of Conservation in Nepal: Sonaha Indigenous Minorities in Bardia National Park
Key Words: Indigenous peoples and protected areas, conservation, political ecology, space

Description of research: The research inquires the lives of semi-mobile ethnic minorities called Sonaha historically embedded in waterways and riparian areas of lower Karnali River Delta, in and around the largest protected area in lowland Nepal. It examines the contestations and consequences emanating from a designation and management of national park and buffer zone management for wildlife and biodiversity conservation, in relation to Sonahas' way of life. It attempts to understand their struggles, resistance and responses from the frameworks of political ecology and cultural politics of space. A critique of park-people debate and conflict is located in the inquiry of national protected area discourse and practice in Nepal. The research is informed by geography and anthropology.

Eunjeong Joen
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Design
Proposed Completion Date: July 2012
Supervisors: A/Prof Paul Thomas, Prof Suzette Worden and Ms Anne Farren
Thesis Title: Designing Enriched Aesthetic Interaction for Garment Comfort
Key Words: Comfort, phenomenology, body, kinaesthetics, garment

Description of research: This PhD research describes a research through design approach to identifying comfort factors within the kinaesthetic experiences of human sensory activities and perceptions. Research through design has an explorative character and includes a participatory focus. The research explores the experience of women through the way they touch, move, and feel in the process of interacting with wool clothing. The research involved 'in-situation specificity' (e.g., secure vs. insecure situations, blindfolded vs. non-blindfolded, and happy vs. fearful condition) to understand the phenomenological representation of nature and human senses and behaviours. The conceptual garments were developed by the process of designing, building and testing highly experiential prototypes and different interaction ideas. The resultant garment designs reflected people's new ideas, skills, and bodily interactions and what they created subjectively by their sensing, adapting and reacting capabilities. This opened up a new approach to design: 'emotion-driven action possibilities' and proposes a new functionality for clothing design. The research therefore provides new design solutions for comfort from (1) a body of creative work, (2) a framework of 'enriched aesthetic interaction' approach, and (3) the development of design principles in the context of aesthetic comfort for clothing.

Sandra Krempl
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute (CUSP)
Proposed Completion Date: March 2014
Supervisors: Professor Dora Marinova and Associate Professor Len Collard
Thesis Title: Spirituality and Environmental Sustainability
Key Words: Spirituality, Nature, Sustainability, Culture, Planning

Description of research: Sandra Krempl has worked in cultural planning and development across Australia and internationally for more than 30 years. Her work has focused on the importance of story and oral traditions in the planning process. This research probes deeper into what informs stories and traditions and how these influence the decisions we make about sustainability. The research explores how communities see and engage in spirituality and nature in their rapidly changing lives. It asks whether there is a detachment from spirituality and nature and if so, whether this detachment impacts on environmental sustainability. Part of the process will be to; understand community views on the importance, or lack of importance of spirituality and nature in today's world; develop and trial concepts and frameworks that can be used by culturally diverse communities to reflect on spirituality and nature and the role these play in environmental sustainability and develop tools to measure this engagement and the benefits of this engagement in other than economic terms. The research proposes that we must go beyond the triple-bottom-line or the four pillars to achieve sustainability and that planning should consider the wellbeing of all life on Earth.

Susie Latham
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Centre for Human Rights Education
Proposed Completion Date: March 2014
Supervisors: Dr Caroline Fleay and Prof Linda Briskman
Thesis Title: Muslim women and oppression: challenging western superior attitudes
Key Words: Muslim women, Iran, Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Description of research: This research examines the portrayal of Muslim women's lives by former Muslim, best-selling author and fierce critic of Islam, Ayaan Hirsi Ali - a figure who appeals to western audiences across the social and political spectrum. The thesis argues her portrayal is inaccurate and pitched to appeal to racism, often under the guise of feminism. To counter her portrayal, I have interviewed women across the generations from a very conservative Muslim community - a small Arab village in the Islamic Republic of Iran, a country against which Hirsi Ali has repeatedly urged a Western militarily attack.

Julie Lunn
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Social Sciences
Proposed Completion Date: May 2015
Supervisors: Prof Graham Seal and Prof Roy Jones
Thesis Title: The Changing Meanings of Anzac Day in Western Australia Since 1915
Key Words: Anzac Day, commemoration, identity, communities, meanings, national days

Description of research: Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance for the fallen of all wars and conflicts which Australians have participated in. It is also considered by many to be Australia's most national day. Despite this very little is known about the history of Anzac Day, or how, and if, the meanings associated with the day have changed over time. This research seeks to investigate the history, public commemorative practices and changing meanings of Anzac Day in Western Australia since 1915. Several case studies will be selected from around WA and archival research will be undertaken on each location to establish their public commemorative practices, how the communities have localised or nationalised their Anzac Days, and how this ties in with popular notions of national identity, and finally, how they compare to each other.

Lara Mackintosh
Doctor of Philosophy, Architecture
School/Department/Area: Department of Architecture and Interior Architecture
Proposed Completion Date: 2015
Supervisors: A/Prof Dianne Smith, A/Prof Phil Moore
Thesis Title: LEARNING FOR LIFE: augmenting the environmental education learning experience to support sustainable behaviour now and in the future.
Key Words: learning experiences; built environment; behaviour change

Description of research: Our learning experiences have the capacity to shape the values and attitudes that will accompany us through life and over recent decades, environmental education has become more explicit in addressing the issues arising from the relationship between our everyday behaviour, the built environment and the natural (Prietto 2011). It is recognised that learning experiences occur within a complex environmental system, and that a deeper understanding of the system is required in order to engender the desired change.

Systems theory will be applied to understand the four elements of this system - social/cultural, natural, built and education - the relations between them, the actions that occur, and the resultant change to the system itself. As these actions and resultant change are typically evident in everyday behaviour, this research seeks to better understand how sense is made through everyday actions, and how this affects change. The findings from this investigation will be used to develop a pedagogical framework for application in programs of environmental education. It is anticipated that this may be used to inform development of curriculum and pedagogy, and could be underpin a range of learning experiences - from primary through to adult programs, and formal and informal learning experiences.

Yaya Mori
Doctor of Philosophy,
School/Department/Area: Media, Culture and Creative Arts
Proposed Completion Date: 2013
Supervisors: Dr Robert Briggs and Professor David Buchbinder
Thesis Title: Search for the Political in the Public Sphere in an Age of Consumerisation
Key Words: Public space, politics, social movement, consumption, post-war Japan

Description of research: Contemporary critics are drawing high attention to Hannah Arendt's work, stating that her work is 'urgently political'. Why does Arendt - a key twentieth-century political philosopher - apprehend the political life of our age so gravely as to propose that it is on the brink of disappearance? My research explores Japan's post-war public-political realm, especially, in focus of social movements by applying Arendt's political discourse of public space and her exercise of phenomenologist methodology. While liberal social democracy has been taken for granted in the advanced industrial societies, how is it actually manifest in the sphere of everyday human interaction and communication? Should the public space mean the realm of interdependence between politics and culture, Japan's post-war public realm is a fascinating intellectual case in point to have us examine whether these fields have been respected and fostered. Claiming one of the earliest countries to be democratized in Asia, Japan's post-war academics - particularly political and social science - are still largely unaccustomed to the discourses that critically explore the political affects of modernization and industrialization. Taking into account the bourgeoning liberal democracy throughout the world today, my thesis re-examines what it means by the 'public' model of interactive space with a view to restoring its political meanings essential to human life.

Karla Nunes Penna
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Education
Proposed Completion Date: August 2014
Supervisors: Dr Elisabeth (Lily) Taylor and A/Prof Peter Taylor
Thesis Title: Evaluating training programs performance for cultural heritage conservation at world heritage sites in developing countries: case study of the Northeast Region of Brazil
Key Words: Preservation education, world heritage, training programs, education planning

Description of research: This study is a qualitative ethnographic research concerned with preservation education at world heritage sites in developing countries. By analysing and evaluating conservation training programs located in world heritage cities in the Northeast Region of Brazil, the goal is to demonstrate educational and preservation issues, risks and perspectives of these programs, as well as possible causes for underperformance of conservation efforts in that region. It also proposes guidelines for evaluating, monitoring and improvement of existing programs and for new initiatives, regarding aspects of sustainable urban development and educational planning and management.

Mai Anh Nguyen
Doctor of Philosophy of Urban and Regional Planning
School/Department/Area: Department of Urban and Regional Planning
Proposed Completion Date: February 2015
Supervisors: Prof Dave Hedgcock
Thesis Title: Vietnamese Culture: The key influence on Vietnamese urban housing
Key Words: Vietnam, culture, urban housing

Description of research: A critical analysis of housing in Vietnam could draw the conclusion that, in big cities residents are both upgrading and destroying their dwellings at the same time! They are violating housing law and housing policies as well as respecting them. Why are Vietnamese city dwellers creating these contradictory phenomena? This research aims to examine the urban housing environment in Vietnam through the lens of cultural analysis, to provide some insight into these dichotomies in the hope of uncovering the fundamental flaws in the housing system that has seen the development of urban dwellings that are well below the basic needs of the Vietnamese community. Using a cultural perspective, evaluating literature and conducting case studies in Hanoi and also in Perth, the research will outline the housing development history of Vietnam and research the cultural gap that exists between housing demand and housing provision. This will include policy analysis to explain how people have reacted to state housing policy in a distinctively Vietnamese fashion; by ignoring and challenging it. The result will shed a light on the crucial role of culture in housing development, and the manner in which policy has ignored the fundamental relationship between housing and its occupants.

Paul Oliver
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Centre for Aboriginal Studies
Proposed Completion Date: June 2014
Supervisors: Dr Sean Gorman and A/Prof Philip Moore
Thesis Title: The Power of Sport: Building social bridges and breaking down cultural barriers
Key Words: Sport, inclusion, barriers, society, community

Description of research: This research aims, by way of semi-structured interviews, questionnaires and document review, to identify and examine the policies, programs and structures federal, state and territory government sporting agencies, several specific national sporting organisations, and community sport practitioners have set up to ensure that sport in Australia is a safe, fair and inclusive experience. It will then assess how effective these are at retaining and gaining new participations, particularly those from Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. By doing this, a clearer picture will be constructed on whether sport remains a powerful way to influence individuals and society in a positive way by encouraging participation, social inclusion and community harmony. It will also aim to show how this 'sporting model' may be used for wider social change in the areas of reconciliation and multiculturalism.

Kathleen O'Hare
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Centre for Human Rights
Proposed Completion Date: 2016
Supervisors: Prof Dora Marinova and Dr Jean Byrne
Thesis Title: Contemporary yoga practice and human rights as reflexive embodied experience
Key Words: Human rights, yoga, ahimsa, embodied experience

Description of research: Yoga is a dynamic practice which has roots in ancient spiritual philosophy and applications in modern times for health and wellbeing. Recently there has been a significant uptake of yoga practice for health and wellbeing purposes, however there have appears to be new applications for yoga emerging. One such application of yoga appears in the area of human rights and social justice. Anecdotal evidence suggests that human rights interest groups and individuals are beginning to utilize the practice of yoga in campaigning and activism activities. Yoga, in this context has received scant interrogation from researchers. This observed phenomenon is a significant departure from the neo-liberal and positivist understandings of contemporary human rights philosophy. Modern human rights, as a philosophy has centrally been concerned with the betterment of human existence with an emphasis on the establishment of laws, instruments to achieve this end. To tie these together is the central teaching of yoga, ahimsa or non-violence. This research aims to explore the experiences of individuals and organisations that merge yoga practice and human rights.

Mona Omar
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Architecture
Proposed Completion Date: November 2012
Supervisors: Prof John Stephens and A/Prof Steve Basson
Thesis Title: Architectural Concepts and Design Criteria for Socio-cultural Islamic Centres: Their Role in Developing and Integrating West Australian Muslims.
Key Words: Australian Islamic architecture, Islamic centres design, Islamic architectural concepts, Perth Muslim built forms, mosques in the West.

Description of research: Despite the large number of Islamic organisations, schools and mosques in Australia, there are a very few Islamic community centres that provide socio-cultural and recreational services to the growing number of Australian Muslims. To date, there has been a lack of research that has studied the types or variety of Muslim built forms in Australia. This research studies and analyses the contemporary nature of such forms in Perth, as well as, identify the socio-cultural needs and demands that they serve. It also investigates and highlights the importance of socio-cultural and recreational Islamic centres for both Muslim and non-Muslim communities in Australia and the West. This study aims to identify the main architectural concepts and design criteria that can produce a successful socio-cultural Islamic centre, which fulfils the needs of the Muslim communities and promotes mutual understanding and harmony between Muslim and non-Muslim Australians.

Mojib Othman Alzahrani
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Design School
Proposed Completion Date: 2012
Supervisors: Dr Terence Love
Thesis Title: The Impacts of Computers on Saudi Advertising Design
Key Words: Design, advertising, computer

Description of research: Problems in the use of computer technology in Saudi Arabian advertising industry shape differences in design quality between local and international advertising agencies. These issues were investigated in depth using data collected from 223 industry professionals via questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. Analyses revealed quality variations are due primarily to local and international agencies' differences in computer-technology use, education, training and professional processes. Strategies to address the issues were identified.

Muhibuddin Napsah
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Department of Construction Management
Proposed Completion Date: March 2015
Supervisors: Prof Peter Love and Dr Peter Bullen
Thesis Title: The adoption of e-procurement in Indonesian Public Sector
Key Words: E-procurement, adoption, Indonesia, public

Description of research: The study aims to determine the factors that are influencing the adoption of e-procurement for public sector/government procurement of goods and services in Indonesia. Specific objectives include; identifying cost, benefits and risk of e-procurement adoption, determining the critical success factors of e-procurement adoption; identifying e-procurement quality and performance dimensions and design and evaluate a framework for the successful adoption in Indonesia. This study attempts to leverage the possibilities of a successful adoption. It is expected to contribute in significance improvement of current e-procurement practices in Indonesia. It is estimated to gain efficiency in allocated budget consumption around 10%-35%. Therefore, the significance of this study is believed to enhance greater savings in national expenditure, by providing framework for successful adoption.

Nicola Smith
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: School of Built Environment and School of Art and Design
Proposed Completion Date: August 2012
Supervisors: A/Prof Dianne Smith and A/Prof Reena Tiwari
Thesis Title: Lifestyle, design process and the creative practice of Do It Yourself (DIY) as a transformative experience
Key Words: Design anthropology, co-creation, Do It Yourself (DIY), bricolage, design practice, lifestyle

Description of research: This study explores the relationship between design, DIY and the construction of lifestyle, in order to advance discussion on the role of designers in addressing complex social, economic and political issues, such as the unsustainable way of living pervasive in Australia and many other parts of the developed world. The research aims to map a multi-dimensional, collective interpretation of this relationship; exploring lifestyle as a provocation for change and consumption, as a way of living under constant modification, and as the focus of design and DIY practices. The designerly, collaborativeandemergent process of inquiry reveals a bricolage methodology, in research and in practice; one that takes a multi-perspective design anthropology approach, transcending disciplinary boundaries and valuing indeterminacy.

Vanessa Rauland
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute
Proposed Completion Date: February 2013
Supervisors: Prof Peter Newman, Prof Dora Marinova and Adjunct A/Prof Simon Dawkins
Thesis Title: Decarbonising Cities and Regions: Certifying urban and regional development for its carbon reduction potential.
Key Words: Carbon, decarbonising, land development, carbon neutral

Description of research: This PhD forms part of a larger ARC funded project titled 'Decarbonising Cities and Regions'. The overall project seeks to demonstrate how low carbon and carbon neutral land development can be designed and built in various locations. While numerous examples of such developments already exist around the world, there is currently no consistency in their definition nor any official process to certify them. This has led in some case to scepticism and greenwash. My research therefore involves developing a national accreditation scheme and framework for carbon neutral land development that aims not only to bring credibility to the concept, but to also provide a basis/platform for developments to demonstrate their carbon reduction and potentially be rewarded for it. The thesis will investigate current barriers facing low carbon land development and potential incentives for promoting greater uptake by developers. My research question is how can urban and regional land be certified for its carbon reduction and what are the benefits of doing so?  

Katherine Raynes-Goldie
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Department of Internet Studies
Proposed Completion Date: Under examination
Supervisors: Dr Helen Merrick, Prof Matthew Allen and A/Prof Philip Moore
Thesis Title: Privacy in the Age of Facebook: Discourse, Architecture, Consequences
Key Words: Facebook, privacy, social media, internet

Description of research: Using ethnographic methods, this thesis examines privacy on Facebook through a layered approach. The first layer is descriptive -- I provide an a detailed overview of privacy, the internet, social network sites and Facebook with a specific focus on perceived disconnect between privacy behaviours and attitudes amongst youth, also known as the privacy paradox. The second layer, based on my secondary ethnography, is a historical overview of the technology culture of the Californian Bay Area which provided the necessary preconditions for Facebook. This layer details the historical lens through which privacy on Facebook can be made sensible. Critically, this conceptual lens reveals a reflection of this technology culture within the discourse of Facebook -- a system of beliefs and values, which at its most basic level, embodies a push towards less privacy and more transparency. Using this lens, I apply this third layer to my examination of Facebook. In so doing, I detail how this discourse has critically shaped the privacy architecture of Facebook. The fourth layer combines my user ethnography with the work of John Fiske (1989) to examine the way in which 20-something users take up the use of the Facebook in their everyday lives. I show how Facebook's discursively informed architectural choices have real life consequences for the privacy of users. Bringing everything together in the final layer, I provide a reexamination of privacy in the age of Facebook and what it means for both youth and adults.

Leith Robinson
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Department of Information Studies
Proposed Completion Date: June 2012
Supervisors: A/Prof Paul Genoni
Thesis Title: Converged Memory Institutions: Combining public library and cultural resources to achieve an information and social commons
Key Words: Libraries; convergence; information and social commons

Description of research: The 21st Century's living and working environment has been transformed by technological advancements (Hofmokl, 2010), and affected by the trends of globalisation, financial restriction and citizen participation. In response, many information and cultural organisations [memory institutions] such as galleries, libraries, archives and museums are converging (physically and/or virtually) aspects of their collections, services and management. The subsequent evolution of operations has implications for sites, staff and users, and this research explores the theory and practice of convergence as it is impacting upon a particular group and domain of memory institutions, namely public libraries in Western Australia. In addition there is a focus on the interrelationship of convergence with professional and institutional identity, and with the emerging concept of the information and social commons. The findings from a survey and case studies are used to form recommendations for the best operation of a converged memory institution (CMI). Convergence is suggested as particularly appropriate at the local level, and libraries are recommended as the anchoring domain in a CMI, to maximise social capital and form a community hub. This thesis acknowledges the challenging and complex nature of convergence, but argues that as memory institutions converge they improve the delivery of information and cultural services via the optimisation of collection utility and process efficiency, thus reinforcing the value of the collecting sector.

Diane Spencer-Carr
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Media, Culture and Creative Arts
Proposed Completion Date: 2016
Supervisors: Prof Matthew Allen and Dr Tama Leaver
Thesis Title: Digital network engagement: An investigation of the tool ecology of humans and computing in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry.
Key Words: Digital-network engagement, digital divide, decision-making

Description of research: Research explores the iterative enmeshing of human activity and behaviour with digital networks which appears to result from the inherent nature of digital networks, the individual's personality type and decision-making style. This research develops a deep understanding of digital network engagement by investigating causes, consequences and mechanics of engagement and its impact on individuals which can then be applied to society as a whole. The iterative nature of digital network engagement deepens human/network relationships in many individuals raising the possibility of unanticipated digital divides that may not be reversible due to the increased embedding of digital networks in society.

Jennifer Tran
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Department of Architecture and Interior Architecture
Proposed Completion Date: 2014
Supervisors: A/Prof Steve Basson and Prof John Stephens
Thesis Title: States of Becoming: Investigating the Historically Transformative Nature of Architectural Identity
Key Words: architectural identity, history, meaning

Description of research: The values and meanings, or identity of architecture is often conceptualised as being of a trans-historical nature. Such notions are embedded within existing areas of building design, heritage conservation and architectural history. Certain theories and practices within these areas imply that architecture possesses an identity that is sustained through aesthetical features of form and inscribed via design intentions. These views are also projected by conventional depictions of history which describe the present condition of architecture as a progressive outcome of its past. Such articulations suggest that architectural identity is historically continuous and retains the originality of its being within the present era.
However, ideas of 'place identity' as well as sociological, philosophical theories of culture, historiography and discontinuity of meaning suggest that identity is more fluid and exists in a dynamic state of 'becoming'. These question the basis of traditional notions of architecture that, from a conventional perspective, fail to acknowledge how various socio-cultural, contextual relations influence the formation and historical transition of its identity. By considering architectural identity in relation to various cultural and historiographical conditions of change, this research seeks to explore this question and critically evaluate the legitimacy of existing timeless and essentialist notions of architecture.

Neeti Trivedi
Master of Philosophy (Architecture)
School/Department/Area: School of Built Environment
Proposed Completion Date: 2012
Supervisors: A/Prof Reena Tiwari
Thesis Title: Identity and Built Environment: Issues of urban poor
Key Words: Identity, built environment, urban poor, community participation, joint planning

Description of research: The aim of the research was to examine redevelopment strategies and policies attempting to elevate the identity of the urban poor by reinforcing their socio-cultural characteristics through their built environment. The study also attempted to create a dialogue between identity and built environment and questioned whether a re-designed and re-developed environment can socially empower the urban poor; and, if so, what redevelopment strategies and approaches can be adopted to re-create identity and remove stigma over urban poor? Identity is the crest in the development of both people and place and cannot be viewed as an abstract or as a subject exterior to a human. But often, questions of 'who we are' (self-identity) are intimately related to questions of 'where we are' (place-identity) (Dixon and Durrheim 2000), creating a gap between structure and agency. This thesis not only analysed this gap but also measured the impact of poverty on the urban poor prevailing over their stigmatized identity linked to their built environment.

Li X
Doctor of Philosophy
School/Department/Area: Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute
Proposed Completion Date: May, 2015
Supervisors: Prof Dora Marinova and Dr Xiumei Guo
Thesis Title: Sustainability of Chinese freshwater lakes: the case of Poyang Lake
Key Words: Sustainability, freshwater, lake, assessment, resilience

Description of research: Description of research: My research will focus on assessing the sustainability of freshwater lakes by using the case of Poyang Lake in China, with aiming to find effective and efficient policies to maintain its health as well as their applicability for other freshwater lakes. Firstly, a definition for sustainability of a freshwater lake will be given on the basis of literature review. After that, resilience indicators will be incorporated into sustainability assessment indicators system. Thirdly, this thesis will attempt to develop an integrated model based on multi-objective programming method for the assessment of the sustainability of Poyang Lake. Finally, policy scenarios analysis will be carried out for working out efficient policies and their impacts on maintaining the sustainability of Poyang Lake.

Current Research Projects 2011

Listed below are theses projects by HDR postgraduates who have given us permission to provide details of their research on this site.

Shama Adams
Doctor of Philosophy, Media, Culture, Creative Arts.
Proposed Completion Date: January 2013
Supervisors: David Buchbinder and Margaret Macintyre
Thesis Title: The Ghost in The Machine: Progress, The Enlightenment and History.
Key Words: Progress, History, Enlightenment, Teleology, Postmodern.
 
Description of research: Shama Adams is a PhD Candidate at the School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts. Her Doctoral thesis focuses on the historiography of the concept of progress, and its centrality to the development of modern understandings of history. Shama's research interests include cultural history, Enlightenment philosophy, postcolonial theory and disaporic studies. She has presented at several Graduate Conferences, including one at the University of Leiden, Netherlands in January 2011.

Deepti Ruth Azariah
Doctor of Philosophy, Communication and Cultural Studies
Proposed completion date: December 2012
Supervisors: Dr Deborah Hunn and Dr Tama Leaver
Thesis title: Mapping the Travel Blog: An Analysis of the Online Travel Narrative
Key Words: travel, discourse, blogs, self-presentation

Description of research:  This thesis draws on theoretical perspectives from tourist studies, discourse analysis, and current research on social networking, and examines a variety of travel blogs in order to determine how they negotiate the discursive tensions between travel and tourism.  Travel blogs are recognized as a credible source of information on destination image creation and consumer behaviour.  However, little is said about language that authors use to present themselves as bloggers and their texts as travel narratives. Previous research indicates that travellers discursively distinguish themselves from tourists and that travel-related texts contain specific language forms or discourses that can be associated with either travel or tourism. Against this background, this thesis explores the travel blog as a discursive form of the traveller/tourist distinction and examines the role of narrative techniques in negotiating the discursive tensions that arise from the traveller/tourist dichotomy.  It uses textual analysis to examine a random sample of travel blogs and identify the narrative forms and techniques of travel and tourism contained within various elements such as entries and photographs. Thus it aims to extend previous studies of the discursive construction of the traveller/tourist debate to a recently evolved form of travel-related communication.

Alex Bhathal
Doctor of Philosophy, Centre for Human Rights Education
Proposed completion date: May 2011
Supervisors: Prof Linda Briskman and Prof Dora Marinova
Thesis title: Responding to climate change – an exploration of the general public's experiences, interactions and perceptions in three Victorian communities 
Key Words: Climate change; general public; social construction; impacts

Description of research:  This research centres on the social construction and dimensions of climate change in Australia.  It aims to gain enhanced understanding of how members of the Australian public are experiencing the impacts of climate change, and of how this experience is mediated by, and in turn, informs people's values, opinions and perspectives on climate change, through analysing data collected in in-depth, ethnographic interviews with members of the general public in three different geographic communities in Victoria.  The research sites are; the state electorate of Northcote, located in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, the rural, mountain range communities, located to Melbourne's north-east, affected by catastrophic bushfires in February 2009 and the Surfcoast Shire, a largely coastal, semi-rural, and rural, Local Government Area, located to the south-west of Geelong.   

Bev Byron
Doctor of Philosophy
Proposed Completion Date: August  2011
Supervisors: Dr Chris Hubbard and Prof Bob Pokrant
Thesis Title: International regimes protecting developing states negotiating seabed resource agreements.
Keywords: Seabed resources, States, Global goverance, Negotiation, Extreme poverty

Description of Research: The capacity of global goverance to facilitate equitable outcomes for developing states negotiating seabed resource agreements with economically stable states. The study will be undertaken in Timor, Vietnam and Australia

Carmela De Maio
Doctor of Philosophy, Education
Proposed completion date: February 2014
Supervisors: Associate Professor Katie Dunworth, Professor Shelley Yeo
Thesis title: Academic staff perceptions of academic integrity policies and student plagiarism in Australian universities
Key Words: Academic staff, academic integrity, plagiarism, policies, universities

Description of research:  This research concerns the perceptions of academic staff in Western Australia's four public universities of academic integrity policies and the issue of student plagiarism through the examination of policy documents, focus groups, questionnaires and interviews. The study investigates whether the definitions of student plagiarism given by academic staff align with the policies of their institutions and the extent to which their responses to student plagiarism are consistent. This study will add to the growing research in the area of educational integrity.

Aminath Didi
 Doctor of Philosophy, Centre for Human Rights Education
Proposed Completion date: October 2011
Supervisors: Professor Linda Briskman and Dr Anne-Marie Hilsdon
Thesis Title: The Maldives in Transition: Human Rights and Voices of Dissent
Key Words: Maldives, transition, human rights, dissent

Description of the research: After decades of autocratic rule, the Islamic nation of Maldives held its first free and fair elections in October 2008 resulting in the overthrow of the thirty-year old dictatorial regime of President Gayoom. This research, conducted through in-depth interviews with political activists and dissidents, explores the factors that have led to the Maldives' transitioning from a very tightly controlled, authoritarian regime to a more democratic one, which places emphasis on respecting universal values of human rights and human dignity.

Rebecca Higgie
Doctor of Philosophy, Communication and Cultural Studies
Proposed completion date: March 2013
Supervisors: Dr Deb Hunn and Dr Ron Blaber
Thesis title: The Politics of Ridicule: Play and Interplay between Satire and Australian Politics
Key Words: satire, politics, authenticity

Description of research:  This research seeks to explain how increasingly popular political satires work as authentic and influential commentators on politics, and considers what impact this growing influence has on the Australian political landscape as a whole. The growing popularity and perceived authenticity of satire has seen public and political figures willingly engage with these texts, either by appearing as guests on their programs or through taking a good natured attitude when surprised by satirical ambushes. This engagement poses many questions about the wider implication of satire's perceived authenticity on political discourse.

This topic will be explored through textual and discursive analysis of Australian satirical texts, theoretical texts relevant to the field, and a set of interviews with people aged between 18-35 years who watch political satire. If you would be interested in participating in the research, please contact the researcher at rebecca.higgie@postgrad.curtin.edu.au for more information.

Martin Jansen in de Wal
Master of Philosophy, Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute
Completion Date: June 2013
Supervisor: Dr Nonja Peters
Title of Thesis: The Migrant as Citizen: the Dutch on the Tweed [immigrant als ingezetene: Nederlanders aan de Tweed]
Key words: civic engagement, Dutch Australian, ethnic relations, social cohesion

This research project is a qualitative investigation into the experiences, activities and perceptions of a small purposive sample of the current residents of the Tweed Shire in northern NSW who were born in the Netherlands and arrived in Australia as children, and who have therefore spent their adult working life in Australia. The focus is the contribution of the participants to the civic life of the local community and their perception of the nature of that contribution and of the extent to which it has been helped or hindered by their Dutch origins and background. The projected outcome of the project is to generate some theory about the interplay of ethnicity, civic engagement and social cohesion.

Neil MacNeill
Doctor of Philosophy, Education
Completion date: 2007
Supervisors: Dr Rob Cavanagh
Thesis title: Changing Teachers' Pedagogic Practices: A Study of Principal Leadership
Key Words: Change, pedagogy, pedagogic leadership.

Description of research: The research question was: What are the perceptions of Western Australian primary school teachers of the pedagogic change leadership of their school principals? Eleven hypothesised dimensions of pedagogic leadership were identified and tested against the experiences of 10 teachers. The second, quantitative phase of the research consisted of the researcher taking the 82 items from the TSPLD instrument, and subjecting the responses to repeated Rasch analyses. As a result the researcher was able to make comparisons about the data from the two different samples, and six propositions about the nature of pedagogic leadership were developed.

Neil MacNeill
Doctor of Education
Proposed completion date: November 2011
Supervisors: Dr Rob Cavanagh
Thesis title: An examination of Csikszentmihalyi's concept of flow and its influence on school leaders' work and learning.
Key Words: Flow, the zone, motivation.

Description of research:In many jurisdictions school leaders are being placed under increased accountability and stress, which then affects their ability to address the real issue of education- improving students' learning. Flow Theory, developed by the Hungarian-American psychologist Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi seemed to have relevance to issue of the way school leaders carried out their roles in challenging contexts.

With a purposive sample of school leaders (N=8) this research examined the school leaders' Flow experiences in-school and out-of-school situations. For the purpose of this study the nine dimensions of Flow (Jackson & Csikszentmihalyi, 1999) were used as a guide for the e-interviews. Each of the school leaders was able to give powerful descriptions of their memorable out-of-school deep-Flow experiences, but their in-school experiences of Flow had far less impact. Furthermore, it appeared that only four of Jackson and Csikszentmihalyi's nine dimensions of Flow were applicable in the school leaders' in-school experiences. In concluding this research, the researcher found that a different set of dimensions elicit Flow in schools, for school leaders, and the moral dimension of the school leaders' job was identified by the respondents as the most important facilitator of Flow, in both public and private schools.

Noah Mbana
Doctor of Philosophy, Education
Proposed completion date: August 2011
Supervisors:  Associate Prof Rhonda Oliver
Thesis title:  What are the Perceptions of African Refugee students about the literacy strategies and Usefulness of the ESL Curriculum in their integration into the Australian Educational and Cultural Context
Key Words:  African Refugee Adjustment Culture Education Curriculum

Description of research:  In recent times there have been numerous calls for further investigations into low literacy levels of African refugee background students and the more general challenges they face. For example, Haig and Oliver (2007) confirmed previous findings that show that these students not only face literacy difficulties but also have considerable emotional, physical and social needs. Further, these are presenting Australian teachers with new challenges. What is unclear from the research to date is how the student themselves perceive their difficulties. Therefore this study focused on African refugee students in relation to their learning.

Using a mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative) research methodology, focus groups, individual interviews and surveys were undertaken on participants from ten Intensive English Language Centres across Western Australia.The study found that 85% of African refugee students, although generally happy and have settled well in Australia, are concerned and affected by newfound freedom, classroom dynamics, racism and trauma triggers in the WA curriculum. These findings suggest a need for ESL practitioners in Western Australia to be aware of background factors of African refugee students, how these may influence their learning and a focus therefore on how the ESL Curriculum could be adjusted to assist their integration.

Helen McCarthy
Doctor of Philosophy, Education
Proposed completion date: November 2011
Supervisors:  Dr Elisabeth (Lily) Settelmaier, Associate Professor Peter Taylor
Thesis title:  Backboards to Blackboards-Rebounding from the margins: A critical auto/ethnographic study of the struggle for culturally-sensitive educational pathways for Aboriginal girls
Key Words: Indigenous adolescent females, subjugated knowledges, socio-cultural, auto/ethnography, dialogism, emergent curriculum, transformation, feminism

Description of research:This PhD research journey describes my personal and professional involvement with the Yolngu, Nyoongar and Wongi peoples, where I consistently observed Aboriginal parents and Aboriginal teachers express dissatisfaction with the way mainstream Anglo-Celtic education was delivered in their schools and communities.  This disparity never sat well with me and I had always wanted to write about the unacceptable inequity.

As a consequence this doctoral research deploys a critical auto/ethnographic research design within an interpretive paradigm where "the writing process and the writing product are deeply intertwined". The research became the site of exploration about the struggle for culturally-sensitive educational pathways for Aboriginal adolescent girls.

The investigation took place at a metropolitan Aboriginal secondary school, where staff developed an emergent curriculum framework known as the Yorgas Program to re-engage Aboriginal learners in their schooling, through a sporting program known as the "Girls Academy".  As a consequence of the Yorgas Program there were observable improvements in the girls behaviour leading to regular attendance, improved personal hygiene, greater commitment to study, self-regulation and willingness to defer risk taking social behaviours resulting in a significantly larger number of Year 12 graduates competing their studies with the majority of students going on to traineeships or further studies.

Bich Nguyen
Doctor of Philosophy, Education
Proposed completion date: July 2013
Supervisors: A/Prof Katie Dunworth and Dr. Chris Conlan
Thesis title: An Examination of the Extent to Which a New Variety of English is Becoming Manifest in Vietnamese Written Business Communication
Key Words: new variety, English, Vietnamese business communication

Description of research:  This proposed study seeks to examine whether distinct, localised features of English used in Vietnamese business communication are emerging under the influence of the Vietnamese socio-cultural context. Literature has indicated that English has a long history in Vietnam; and in the last two decades, it has developed with an unprecedented speed in business communication. With significant issues about its status, features and functions, yet a lack of research, English in Vietnamese business communication deserves an in-depth investigation. The research study will be framed from the theoretical perspectives of World Englishes and Systemic Functional Linguistics. Choosing to focus on the written features of English due to the heavy reliance of today's business world on written documents, the study will address the research questions by two methods: content analysis and discourse analysis. Texts of different text types in various business sectors produced in one particular week will be selected. They will then be analysed with regard to their systemic functional characters to establish whether regular written features of English used in Vietnamese business communication are developing within the Vietnamese context of culture and context of situation. It is anticipated that the findings will contribute to the existing literature of World Englishes, provide information for the language planning and language policies of the Vietnamese government and have implications for English language education in Vietnam.

Mona A. Omar BSc. Arch Eng, M. Arch
Doctor of Philosophy, Architecture
Proposed completion date: November 2012
Supervisors: Prof John Stephens and A/Prof Steve Basson.
Thesis title: Architectural Concepts and Design Criteria for Socio-cultural Islamic Centres: Their Role in Developing and Integrating Muslims in Australia and the West.
Key Words: Islamic architectural concepts, Islamic centres' design, Muslims' socio-cultural needs, Perth Muslim built forms, Australian Muslims, Muslims in the West.

Description of Research: Despite the large number of Islamic organisations, schools and mosques in Australia, there are a very few Islamic community centres that provide socio-cultural and recreational services to the growing number of Australian Muslims.  To date, there has been a lack of research that has studied the types or variety of Muslim built forms in Australia.  This research studies and analyses the contemporary nature of such forms in Perth, as well as, identify the socio-cultural needs and demands that they serve.  It also investigates and highlight the importance of socio-cultural and recreational Islamic centres for both Muslim and non-Muslim communities in Australia and the West.  This study aims to identify the main architectural concepts and design criteria that can produce a successful socio-cultural Islamic centre, which fulfils the needs of the Muslim communities and promotes mutual understanding and harmony between Muslims and non-Muslims Australians.

Margaret Patrikeos
Doctor of Philosophy
Proposed Completion Date: December 2012
Supervisors: Associate Professor Joan Wardrop, Dr Liz Byrski
Thesis Title: Invisible Ink.
Keywords: patriarchy; ancestry; ethics; identity; memory, absence, loss, memoir, women's writing 

Description of research:  Originating from my personal reflections on my father's influence on my writing, my research investigates the dis(connections) between writing daughters and the subject of unpredictable fathers.   In a thesis of creative non-fiction and exegesis, I interrogate my relationship with my father author Burton Graham and the theoretical and creative issues involved in the construction of a complex individual whose personal and public lives interconnected with the Australian cultural landscape for much of the 20th century. My research draws on other writing daughters whose works knowingly or unknowingly construct their fathers as errant and/or absent patriarchs.  

Layli Rakhsha
Doctor of Philosophy, Art
Proposed completion date: 21 October 2014
Supervisors: Dr Ann Schilo, Dr Darryn Ansted, Susanna Castleden
Thesis title: Reassuring paths: Cultural influence of Iranian diaspora in Australian contemporary art
Key Words: Diaspora, cultural influence, the image of home

Description of research: This research examines the ways Iranian cultural values influence Australian contemporary art from the period 1990- 2010. I specifically focus on the concept of 'home' developed by different Iranian artists and evaluate the ways in which this discourse has evolved. I will investigate how the idea of home is intentionally or unintentionally embedded in Iranian diasporic art in Australia with key theory based on Avtar Brah's ideas of diaspora and home.

Rafael Romero
Doctor of Philosophy, Centre for Human Rights Education
Proposed completion date: April 2017
Supervisor: Dr Caroline Fleay
Thesis title: The Lessons to be Learnt from Human Rights Violation in El Salvador from January 1980 to January 1992
Key Words: human rights violations, USA interventionism, geopolitics, state terrorism, death squads, militarism, dehumanisation, corruption and human rights NGO's.

Description of Research: The internal armed struggle in El Salvador during the 1980s and early 1990s was the scenario of repeated gross violations of human rights. Although, El Salvador is a signatory to all international human rights treaties, violations of those rights lasted for twelve consecutive years. This research starts by identifying the triggering factors for human rights violations in El Salvador and its long lasting nature. The next objective will be to determine the reasons for the sustained and comprehensive  US support to  the  Government  of  El Salvador (GOES),  reputedly  for  resorting  to the use of state terror to address popular discontent. Finally, an assessment of international human rights treaties effectiveness and their enforcement mechanisms in the context of El Salvador's internal armed conflict will follow.

Melissa Russell
Doctor of Philosophy, Communication and Cultural Studies
Proposed completion date: February 2012
Supervisors: Margaret MacIntyre and David Buchbinder
Thesis title: The Divine Marquis' Ethical Project: The religious in Sade's ethics
Key Words: Ethics, theology, the Marquis de Sade, transgression

Description of research:The thesis investigates the transgressive ethics of the Marquis de Sade, a figure who is often thought to be the very antithesis of ethical behaviour.  The research focuses on the ways that Sade's philosophy and ethics relate, through the principle of transgression, to a Christian religious tradition.  Sade's works are usually understood as being merely pornography, and therefore, it is thought, devoid of philosophical and ethical value. However, this thesis attempts to place Sade within the context of the age of Enlightenment in Europe, and sees his work as engaging with, but also satirising, the philosophical and ethical debates of his time. In so doing, the aim of the thesis is to show the ways in which some of the tensions between the philosophical and the theological (which have a long history of tension between them which is yet to be resolved) are worked through in Sade's ethics.

Joy Denise Scott
Doctor of Philosophy, Social Sciences
Proposed completion date: June 2012
Supervisors: Associate Professor Maureen Perkins, Associate Professor Grace Zhang, Dr. Christina Houen
Thesis title: Embroidering myself into otherness: An auto-ethnographic inquiry of border-crossing
Key Words: Auto-ethnography, life writing, betweener, vulnerable researcher

Description of research:  At the heart of this auto-ethnographic thesis lies my story as a border-crosser, a foreign university teacher living and working in Shanghai.  My aim is to tell stories that provoke, disturb and enlighten by looking for differences at the edge of things, when something is and then is not; to reveal the slippage between these two states, a between space in which resides cultural fuzziness. By exploring the conceptualisation of the between space, a betwixt positioning that straddles the border, I cast a shadow over the whole notion of foreign academics/teachers in China, to extend the boundaries of perception as to what really might be happening under the surface of borderlands.

Neeti Trivedi
Master of Philosophy, Architecture
Proposed completion date: 31 May 2011
Supervisor: Dr Reena Tiwari
Thesis title: Identity and Built Environment: Issues for Urban Poor
Key Words: Collaboration, stigma, urban poor, participatory approach, neighbourhood/community

Description of research:  The research aims to elevate the identity of the urban poor by reinforcing their socio-cultural dimensions through their built environment. Consequently, it questions whether re-designed/re-developed environment can socially empower the urban poor; and, if so, what design strategies can be adopted to re-create identity? The study intends to assess design approaches through global best practices in order to create liveable spaces for the urban poor by affording them a sense of ownership leading to social empowerment.

Susan Waller
Doctor of Philosophy, Arts
Proposed completion date: December 2012
Supervisors: Dr Ann Schilo, Dr Dawn Bennett and Dr Laura Stocker
Thesis title: Artists as Change Agents: How Visual Artists Can Contribute to Sustainability
Key Words: Sustainability, art, artist

Description of research: My PhD thesis aims to examine how as a visual artist I can advance sustainability through my creative practice. In doing so I seek to investigate the notion of art for sustainability; explore the history of art for environmental and social change; identify how contemporary visual artists are contributing to sustainability through their art practice; develop and document my own sustainability art works; and generate critical insights from my visual art practice.

Yan Zhang
Doctor of Philosophy, Social Sciences and Asian Language
Proposed completion date: February 2014
Supervisors: Joan Wardrop, Helen Merrick
Thesis title: Feminism/nu quan(xing) zhu yi in contemporary popular women's writing in Australia and China
Key Words: Feminism, popular fiction, Australia, China

Description of research: This research will address the issue popular women's writing within the frame of feminism/nu quan(xing) zhu yi in Australia and China. My thesis will analyze the current situation of women's popular fiction in both countries, inquire how popular fiction interactswith nu quan(xing) zhu yi in China and feminism in the West, and further investigate the historical, social and cultural backgrounds surrounding such intersections. This study will also examine the in-between terrains, specifically the cross-cultural, transnational and disaporic scholarship of feminism/ nu quan(xing) zhu yi within the context of a third space.