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Success Stories

Linkage Project on the Social History of Holden

Congratulations to Prof Jennifer Clark, Head of the School of Humanities, and Associate Professor Paul Sendziuk from the Department of History who have been awarded $354,833 from the Australian Research Council for their Linkage project entitled People, Places and Promises: Social Histories of Holden in Australia. Additional Chief Investigators on the project are Professor Alistair Thompson and Professor Graeme Davison (Monash University).

The industry partners on this project are the National Library of Australia, G.M. Holden and the National Motor Museum, who are together contributing an additional $225, 000.

The project will investigate the social histories of Holden’s manufacturing arm in Australia in the post-WWII period, focusing particularly on the reciprocal relationship between the company, its employees, and the places where its factories were located and workers lived. Whereas most histories of histories of automotive manufacturing focus on the mercurial careers of senior managers and chief designers and engineers, this project puts manufacturing workers and places at the centre of the story. In particular, it seeks to understand:

  • how the experience of working at Holden was mediated by gender, ethnicity and class, and how the company developed policies and practices to accommodate and utilize the capacities of workers from different backgrounds;
  • how, within a tightly regulated workplace, workers managed to make their mark and form their own sub-cultures;
  • how technological innovation changed the nature of work;
  • how workers sought to protect their industrial rights and conditions;
  • how the location of Holden’s manufacturing plants influenced its business, and how the company’s decisions about where to locate factories irrevocably changed the urban landscape and socio-demographic profile of Adelaide and Melbourne;
  • how Holden behaved as a ‘corporate citizen’ and as a ‘community member’, and what communities gave to make Holden successful as a company;
  • how morale and production standards were maintained once Holden announced manufacturing plants would close;
  • how Holden has sought to assist workers to transition to new employment, and whether this has been successful.

Arabana Language Camps and Online Learning Tools

The Mobile Language Team led by Dr Paul Monaghan have recently won two major grants that will enable them to expand their work in Aboriginal language revitalization. One grant from Indigenous Languages and Arts (Open Round) for $68,437.60 will enable the team to conduct Arabana language learning camps on Country. The MLT will team up with the Arabana community to conduct language workshops and camps to develop a range of audio and written material to compliment online learning lessons currently being created.

A second grant for $12, 500 from Yipti will allow the team to build an endangered languages learning portal that will provide digital solutions to future proof the learning of South Australia's endangered languages. This grant will allow the Mobile Language Team to build and host an online portal for five endangered languages across South Australia.

For more information, contact William Fisher.

The Importance of Water

Dr Georgina Drew is part of a university-wide team that received an Interdisciplinary Research Fund (IRF) grant for a project entitled "Developing a University of Adelaide water network to address the Murray-Darling Basin (and the world's) water challenge." This project seeks to build a successful network of water researchers and collaborators who will work together to influence local, state and Federal water policy around the problem of water scarcity. The project  aims to have a significant influence in humanitarian water crises around the world by influencing: a) water supply and technological issues; and b) water governance and institutional aspects of water management. The project's more immediate aim is to produce high quality, interdisciplinary water research that focuses on issues of central importance to the Murray Darling Basin.

Georgina's work on the anthropology of water in India has also been attracting attention. See the interview with her in a brochure on the work of Go8 universities in India for more information.

Smart Wayfinding and Arts in Connected Places

Congratulations to A/Prof Mary Griffiths for being awarded funding from the Australian Smart Cities Consortium (ASCC) to conduct a research project on Connected Places and Smart Wayfinding for the Port Adelaide Centre. The ASCC is a University of Adelaide initiative that aims to work with partners on city-scale solutions to complex problems, so that citizens and businesses can fully benefit from urban informatics (insights from multiple, large datasets) and advances in technology. View the video about ASCC here.

An interdisciplinary team led by Mary will explore questions such as:

  • What makes people find places attractive and navigable?
  • How do they feel included and safe in connected places?
  • Do the expectations of urban planners match those of residents and visitors?

There are other research themes and funding opportunities related to ASCC. Smart cities is also a priority area in the Interdisciplinary Research Funding Scheme, which is now open for applications. Those interested in learning more about the ASCC or in discussing potential opportunities for smart cities research can contact the Faculty’s Research Development Manager, Simon Ladd.

Other Worlds: Forms of World Literature

Adelaide University's Nicholas Jose and Nobel laureate J.M Coetzee are part of a team of scholars working on an ARC funded project on world literature. This project aims to develop an innovative approach to our understanding of world literature and the capacities of literary form by critically examining the interests of four eminent Australian writers – Alexis Wright, Nicholas Jose, Gail Jones and J.M. Coetzee. The premise of the project is that creative writing is itself a way thinking, and that new possibilities arise from the exchange between literary criticism and literary practice. This will involve critical and creative dialogues between indigenous and non-indigenous Australia, Argentina, China, and England.

An workshop on Antipodean China featuring writers, translators and scholars, such as J.M. Coetzee, Brian Castro, Alexis Wright, Xi Chuan, Gail Jones, Annie Ren, John Minford, Anthony Uhlmann and Ben Etherington was held at The University of Adelaide on 23-24 November 2017. A free cultural evening open to the public called "The South" featured J.M. Coetzee, Gail Jones and Alexis Wright in conversation with Nicholas Jose on the evening of the 23rd. For more information on these and other events taking place in conjunction with this project, visit:

Academics at the University's Fay Gale Centre for Research on Gender win linkage grant for research into obesity

Dr Megan Warin, and Professor Vivienne Moore of the Fay Gale Centre for Research on Gender, along with Professor Paul Ward (Flinders University) and Partner Investigator Dr Michelle Jones (Department of Health SA) have won a linkage grant for the project titled An ethnographic study of obesity risk in a disadvantaged community in collaboration with the City of Playford and SA Health (2012-2015).  This project aims to explore how the community understands risks associated with obesity, and whether gender and social class intersect to influence responses to obesity intervention strategies. Project outcomes will provide key insights to inform obesity policy and prevention efforts that respond to local realities of risk and resistance.

Andrew Rosser receives Future Fellowship grant for development research in Indonesia

Associate Professor Andrew Rosser has been awarded an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship to carry out research on a project entitled Realising Socio-economic Rights: Law and the Politics of Access to Public Services in Indonesia. The project examines the efforts of activists and ordinary citizens in Indonesia to defend and enforce Constitutionally-protected rights to free basic education, water, and health care for the poor through the judicial system and via political mobilisation.

Discovering the impact of climate change on Chinese migration

Dr Yan Tan is an ARC Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Fellow, and is currently working on the ARC Discovery project titled Climate Change and Migration in China: Theoretical, Empirical and Policy Dimensions. Dr Tan's specific research is on the environment-migration nexus, climate change and adaptations, forced displacement and resettlement produced by development projects and environmental degradation, and examining the social and environmental consequences for both affected communities and people. This work has focused particularly on China and Australia. Her research book Resettlement in the Three Gorges Project (Hong Kong University Press, 2008) is the first to be published outside China on the early stages of this mega-resettlement.

ARC study to reconstruct climate history on south-east Queensland island

Lit up buildings in Japan's

An ARC Linkage Project The Sands of Time seeking to document natural climate variability in south-east Queensland is being led by Dr John Tibby, Senior Lecturer in Geography, Environment and Population, with Dr Cameron Barr as post-doctoral researcher on the project. The project examines various chemical and biological components of climate-sensitive sediments in sites on North Stradbroke Island. Partnering with the Department of Environmental and Resource Management (Qld) and mining company Sibelco, research is concerned with understanding climates to better underpin water resource planning and the natural fire regimes on the island. So far the study has found that North Stradbroke Island has the highest concentration of ancient wetlands (>20,000 years old) in Australia.

Want to read more? Visit our archive.

Susan Oakley tackles support and participation for young homeless people in ARC Linkage Project

Dr Susan Oakley, a Senior Lecturer and Head of Discipline in the School of Gender, Work and Social Inquiry is carrying out a Housing, Urban and Regional Planning research project entitled Creating Better Pathways into Civic Participation for Young Homeless People Through Sustainable Accommodation and Support Program Models. Susan's Australian Research Council Linkage-funded project considers a sustained independent living environment to be a significant contributor to health and well being. The project will offer new insights into ways that young homeless people use and experience supported accommodation and programs, and will recommend practical models for policy development, practice and service delivery. The project runs from 2011 to 2013.

Andrew Beer demonstrates senior experience in housing and public policy issues

Professor Andrew BeerDirector of the Centre for Housing, Urban & Regional Planning has been nominated to join the inaugural 2012 Leading the Future program. This highly experiential senior leadership program is designed to equip Andrew for future leadership opportunities at the University. Andrew Beer has become a member of the Panel of External Thought Leaders for the Affordable Housing Portfolio, Wyatt Foundation. He is joining the panel given his wealth of knowledge and experience in academic research and public policy regarding housing issues. Andrew has joined the ARC College of Experts and been appointed to be the Chair of the Homelessness Strategy Advisory Group for the Dept. of Social Inclusion and Communities.

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