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Postgraduate research

The Swinburne Institute boasts a range of highly qualified supervisors who are respected figures in their fields, regular contributors to Australian public policy debate and have an exceptional track record in supervising higher degree students through to completion.

As well as excellent supervision, we offer regular postgraduate activities. Students give papers and attend regular seminars, and participate in other social and collegial activities. International exchanges are available and encouraged, as is attendance at conferences.

We are happy to discuss options for scholarships and funding that might support a candidacy. For further information about our study opportunities, contact the Postgraduate Co-ordinator (E: isradmin@swin.edu.au).

Current postgraduate opportunities

The Swinburne Institute is currently seeking people to undertake postgraduate research in the following areas:

Topic:
Memory and (forced) migration
Supervisors:
Prof Klaus Neumann
Description:

How do the life-histories and memories of immigrants feature in broader 'national' memories and histories? How do recent immigrants draw on or supress their pre-migration past? How do those who do not or no longer identify as immigrants reimagine themselves and their society in response to the presence of new arrivals? I am particularly interested in finding answers to these and related questions in relation to forced migrants (refugees and asylum seekers). I am looking for PhD students who are theoretically literate, intensely curious, hard-working, keenly interested in writing and conversant in at least two languages, and who consider themselves independent thinkers. Ideally students should have a Masters degree in a relevant humanities or social sciences discipline such as history or anthropology. I am particularly interested in students who would like to do ethnographic research.

Topic:
Historical justice and memory
Supervisors:
Prof Klaus Neumann
Description:

Over the past twenty-five years, societies from Albania to Australia, the Solomon Islands to Sierra Leone, Cambodia to Canada, and Germany to Guatemala, have become increasingly preoccupied with the legacies of conflict and injustice. All over the world, governments have put in place truth and reconciliation commissions and tribunals, issued apologies, and funded memorials and museums to publicly remember historic wrongs. I am particularly interested in the relationships between justice and remembrance/forgetting, and in gaining a better understanding of the 'drivers' of historical justice. I am looking for PhD students who are theoretically literate, intensely curious, hard-working, keenly interested in writing and conversant in at least two languages, and who consider themselves independent thinkers. Ideally students should have a Masters degree in a relevant humanities or social sciences discipline such as history, political science or anthropology. I am particularly interested in students who would like to do ethnographic research.

Topic:
Piracy, copyright and informal media
Supervisors:
Prof Julian Thomas and Dr Ramon Lobato
Description:

From streetside DVD vendors to file-sharing networks, informal distribution circuits play a major role in today's global media environment. While these circuits have their own logics, they also connect with mainstream industries in ways that, now more than ever before, are crucial to the future of media. Our ongoing research investigates the structural and historical connections between formal and informal audiovisual markets, and the degree to which they are increasingly interdependent. We welcome proposals from prospective students who are interested in conducting research around any of the following topics, or in related areas: media piracy; pirate labour; streaming; file-sharing; social media distribution; theories and models of the informal economy (in relation to media); case studies of particular networks and infrastructures; field-based studies of informal media workers, especially in Asia; comparative studies of media systems.

Topic:
Media and communications policy, business, law and history
Supervisors:
Prof Jock Given
Description:

We are seeking postgraduate students interested in working on a number of project related to contemporary communications law and policy. These include digital TV and radio, broadband, media ownership. Work on international trade in media and communications services would also be welcome, as would research proposals related to the history of the multinational media enterprises.

Topic:
Media-led social innovation
Supervisors:
Prof Denise Meredyth, A/Prof Ellie Rennie, Dr Aneta Podkalicka
Description:

This project is about Australian and international enterprises, such as Youthworx, Youth Radio and One Economy, amongst others, which are experimenting with new social enterprise business models in community media. These enterprises offer alternatives to formal education for vulnerable young people, including refugee, indigenous and disdvantaged youth, enabling them to develop new skills as pro-am media creators, broadcasters, journalists, entrepreneurs and organizers, while helping local communities develop culturally relevant content.  We are seeking students who would like to investigate aspects of this phenomenon, in various national contexts. 

Topic:
Colonialism, settler colonialism and its legacies
Supervisor:
Dr Lorenzo Veracini
Description:

“Settler colonialism” and “settler society” have entered public discourse and have recently been the subject of extensive debate. Unlike other migrant groups, settler collectives are founders and shapers of political orders. A growing scholarly literature is now focusing on different aspects of this global phenomenon. This project will engage with this literature and contribute to this debate.

Topic:
Social memory and historical justice
Supervisor:
Prof Klaus Neumann
Description:

How is the victimisation of groups – say, on account of race or ethnicity or religion or politics – remembered in democratic societies? How do such societies work towards historical justice? How do communities actively negotiate the legacies of the past? What characterises particular memorial cultures? How do collective and individual memories interact? This project is concerned with these and other related questions across a wide range of countries, ranging from Australia to Chile, from Austria to Canada, and from Indonesia to Spain. Currently, five PhD students are working on aspects of this project (in Peru, Mexico, Argentina, Germany and Australia) at The Swinburne Institute, four of them under my supervision. I am looking for students who are theoretically literate, intensely curious, hard-working, keenly interested in writing and conversant in at least two languages, and who consider themselves independent thinkers. Ideally students should have a Masters degree in a humanities or social sciences discpline such as history or anthropology. I am particularly interested in students who would like to do ethnographic research.

Topic:
Mobility, memory, citizenship and identity (particularly in relation to refugees)
Supervisor:
Prof Klaus Neumann
Description:

How do the life-histories and memories of immigrants feature in broader ‘national’ memories and histories? How do recent immigrants draw on or surpress their pre-migration past? How do those who do not or no longer identify as immigrants reimagine themselves and their society in response to the presence of new arrivals? I am particularly interested in finding answers to these and related questions in relation to forced migrants (refugees and asylum seekers). Currently, I am supervising three PhD students in this area. I am looking for students who are theoretically literate, intensely curious, hard-working, keenly interested in writing and conversant in at least two languages, and who consider themselves independent thinkers. Ideally students should have a Masters degree in a humanities or social sciences discpline such as history or anthropology. I am particularly interested in students who would like to do ethnographic research.

Topic:
Housing and affordability
Supervisor:
Prof Terry Burke, A/Prof Kathleen Hulse, Dr Angela Spinney
Description:

Australia is confronting a range of  severe housing problems including affordability, homelessness, shortages of supply, indigenous issues, and fitting new housing into existing cities. The Swinburne Institute is looking to initiate research projects on (1) the causes of these housing problems and their impacts on specific socio-economic groups and/or the quality of urban life (2) the opportunities for, impediments to, and implications of new forms of urban housing and (3) the need, delivery, and reform of the housing system both public and private.  Both quantitative and qualitative research is appropriate for these broad topics but The Swinburne Institute is particularly interested in thinking about these topics from new directions and within new paradigms.

Topic:
Sustainable Urbanism
Supervisor:
Prof Peter Newton
Description:

The sustainability challenge of the 21st century will be primarily won or lost in the cities - where over 70% of the world’s population will live by 2050 and where over 85% of global economic output will be centred. PhD research projects are being sought in a range of areas where interventions can best effect transformative change. These include:

  • Green industries: what is the genesis of a green economy? Does a basis exist in Australia? What sectors, industries, technologies, geographies etc are involved? What are the barriers?
  • Sustainable consumption: what are the drivers of contemporary consumption? And what are the prospects for more sustainable patterns of living, working and leisure activity in Australia?
  • Sustainable cities: why do some human settlements exhibit smaller ecological footprints than others? Greater liveability, competitiveness, social inclusiveness etc? How can we most effectively regenerate our cities in the 21st century?
  • Skills required: Candidates will have already achieved a first class honours degree or equivalent in a field relevant to the topics listed above (eg. urban planning, economics, human or economic geography, environmental science, behavioural science)and have a desire to undertake a leading edge PhD research project. Postgraduate qualifications or work experience in a research environment would be highly regarded, as would competence in statistical analysis.
Topic:
Media and consumption cultures
Supervisor:
Dr Aneta Podkalicka
Description:

The expansion of the Internet and the recent economic downturn coupled with growing public concerns over environmental sustainability, have seen a change in consumption practices. Emergent studies across cultural research, sociology and economics have noted a shift from high levels of consumption to behaviours of thrift and conservation. These can be variously perceived as critiques of consumerist society, unsustainable life-styles, or more prosaically, as enforced economic adaptations. Our research addresses issues of everyday practices, social and informal economies, re-distribution markets and 'collaborative consumption'. We are particularly interested in contemporary practices, meanings and uses of an older thrift ethos, including its links to green and ethnical consumption behaviours. We are looking for a student to conduct a study of this social and economic trend. The student could explore 'thrift cultures and economies' across different contexts: for example, web-based secondhand sites such as eBay or freecycle; traditional secondhand stores, including charities such as The Salvation Army stores in Melbourne; or household or community environments.