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Research theses

Listed below are theses projects by Humanities Higher Degree by Research Students who have given us permission to provide details of their research on this site.

Research projects 2016

Rusaila BAZLAMIT

Doctor of Philosophy

School/Department/Area:  School of Design and Art Curtin

Proposed completion date: June 2017

Supervisors: Dr Andrew Hutchison and Professor Erik Champion

Thesis title:  Interactive Installations as Experiential Mediums for Communicating Political Narratives

Key words: Interactive design, digital media, design activism, political design

Description of research: The core question of this research is to investigate the potentials of using interactive and digital installations to experientially carry complex political narratives. A specific case that will be addressed is that of the Palestinian narratives of occupation and apartheid. In order to carry out this investigation, a prototype of an interactive environment is being created, reviewed and evaluated. The creation of the prototype is 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 occupation and apartheid policies alter the spatial qualities of the natural and urban/built environment, and thus the everyday experiences of Palestinians. This research is interdisciplinary and will significantly add to the existing knowledge of the application of digital media in both “Design Activism” and “Experience Design” fields via the innovative employment of interactive and digital media. The prototype also has potential as a model for application in other contested political narratives; most especially for misrepresented or under-resourced people whose claims and voices have been overwhelmed by better-resourced narratives.

 

Jessica BREADSELL

Doctor of Philosophy

School/Department/Area:  Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute (CUSP)

Proposed completion date: April

Supervisors: Professor Greg Morrison and Professor Peter Newman

Thesis title:  Integration of Design, Technology and Practices in Low Carbon Precincts

Key words: Social practices; living laboratory; transition theory; resource consumption; social networks

Description of research: Innovative technologies and household design are expected to lead to efficient resource consumption but often result in unanticipated or even increased water, energy, waste and transport practices. The time at which people transition into new households presents a window of opportunity to study and influence these practices. The research question for this PhD is “what are the implications of household design on user practices and resource flows for sustainable living?” This research explores how three prominent frameworks; resource consumption, transitions, and practice theories explain household behaviours and practices. Core methods from these frameworks are being applied in a Western Australian case study at the newly built WGV development near Fremantle, examining how household practices and social context change after moving into a low carbon precinct. This study will measure and compare multiple levels of resource flows with their corresponding practices and social influences. In comparison to the traditional behavioural socio-psychology approach to encouraging sustainable lifestyles, practice theory focuses on enabling people to act in a sustainable way with the resources and appliances around them. A Living Laboratory setting allows for user focused research with in-situ mixed methods.

 

Sebastian DAVIES-SLATE

Doctor of Philosophy

School/Department/Area:  Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute

Proposed completion date: April

Supervisors: Professor Peter Newman, Professor Jeffrey Kenworthy and Mr Evan Jones

Thesis title:  Innovative Public Transport Funding and Procurement: A Greater Curtin Light Rail Case Study

Key words: Public transport, light rail, land development, public private partnerships, Greater Curtin

Description of research: Governments across Australia struggle to adequately fund public transport infrastructure. At the same time, the infrastructure that is built is often poorly integrated with the surrounding land uses and is under-utilised, with heavy usage restricted mostly to the peak hours. For these reasons, services require ongoing subsidies to continue. This study proposes that the solution to these problems is privately initiated and delivered railways, funded by integrated development around stations. This was how the first generation of railways were funded around the world, and development funding is still practiced in many of the highly successful public transport systems in East Asia.

This research will start be investigating whether such a model is possible in Western Australia, by examining international case studies and the State’s own entrepreneurial tramway-building history. A financial model will be built for a proposed light rail connecting Greater Curtin, the Perth CBD and Stirling activity centre, with development of the under-developed land along this corridor.

A review of the State’s institutional and legislative framework will be undertaken, with a desktop review of relevant legislation and government policy documents and interviews with government officers. Using this information as context, an entrepreneurial rail-building model will be proposed for Western Australia.

 

Beata DAWSON

Doctor of Philosophy

School/Department/Area:  Media Culture and Creative Arts

Proposed completion date: April

Supervisors: Professor Erik Champion and Dr Pauline Joseph

Thesis title:  The story of the Markham car collection – A comparative study of print versus multimedia production

Key words: Digital humanities, interactive, multimedia, visualisation, museum environment

Description of research: The use of traditional print media instead of new visual media to tell stories about physical objects in museums prompted this research. It aims to investigate museum visitors’ preferences to comprehend stories about physical objects on display using print and/or visual media. The primary research question is ‘Are there preferences by museum visitors to comprehend stories about physical object collections using print and/or visual media?’. Their reasons for preferences will also be investigated. An empirical approach is taken to tell ‘The story of the Markham car collection’, including the 1898 Star currently displayed at the Motor Museum of WA. It is a creative work, a Digital Multimedia Production (DMMP), based on Joseph’s (2016) research article titled ‘Heritage of the Markham car collection’. Two methodologies are used to investigate the research question. Firstly, usability testing will be conducted involving experts to test the production’s usability and the users’ expectations against four key usability criteria: learnability, understandability, attractiveness and satisfaction. Findings from the usability testing will be used to improve the DMMP. Secondly, participants will be asked about their media preferences to comprehend the Markham collection’s story based on their reading of Joseph’s printed article and by interacting with the DMMP.

 

Cerys HOWSON

Doctor of Education

School/Department/Area:  Education

Proposed completion date: February 2020

Supervisors: Associate Professor Karen Nonis and Associate Professor Susan Beltman

Thesis title:  Social skill strategies used by teachers in mainstream secondary schools with students on the Autism Spectrum

Key words: Autism spectrum, social skills, mainstream, secondary

Description of research: The prevalence of people aged ten to fourteen years diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum is continuing to rise and most students with disabilities are now attending mainstream schools. Students on the Autism Spectrum demonstrate impairments in their ability to interact and socialise with others, and require teacher support to develop their skills.

The proposed study will determine which social skill strategies/interventions teachers use in mainstream secondary schools with students on the Autism Spectrum and the frequency and perceived effectiveness of these strategies/interventions. A case-study design methodology has been applied, including a focus group, surveys and semi-structured interviews. The focus group will provide direction for the survey, while data collected from the survey and interviews will be analysed individually, with the interview providing supporting evidence of teacher perspectives.

These findings will describe teachers’ reflections and perspectives on their practice and may potentially influence state and national government bodies to create policies and professional development to support in-service and pre-service teachers in improving and maintaining a practice suitable to the needs of students on the Autism Spectrum.

 

Max JACKSON

Master of Philosophy

School/Department/Area:  Centre for Aboriginal Studies

Proposed completion date: April 2017

Supervisors: Dr John Fielder, Dr Shaouli Shahid, Professor Cheryl Kickett, Professor Marion Kickett

Thesis title:  An Investigation How Customary Nyungar (Aboriginal) Practises Can Impact Stakeholder Relationships with Industry

Key words: Aboriginal, employment, relationships, representation, business

Description of research: Non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal groups currently still lack the necessary attributes to develop strong cross cultural relationships. By avoiding to acknowledge ownership of past or current deeds, creates minimal cross cultural acknowledgement of behaviours and understanding, leading to ill-informed expectations of each other. This is relevant in business where Non Aboriginals have economic based intentions, while Aboriginals lack interest with relationships built on these impersonal designs.  The resulting lack of awareness constructs relationships between Aboriginal persons and businesses absent of realistic interaction, critical for cross cultural understanding.

With the current trend focusing on further employment and engagement of Aboriginal stakeholders, a critical need has initiated for a structure that brings stability to relationships relevant for new business initiatives. Aboriginals will rely heavily on non-Aboriginal business drivers in roles of managers or guideline experts to understand their professional requirements.  While in turn, these professionals rely on Aboriginal stakeholders to achieve contractual obligations. For this reason it is crucial that ideologies and attitudes become cross cultural effective so stronger relationships can eventuate between these groups.

This study will define values of all participants and examine ways to identify how they may coexist to maximise the invested financial and cultural interests of all groups.

 

Kerstin KUGLER

Doctor of Philosophy

School/Department/Area:  Media, Culture and Creative Arts

Proposed completion date: March 2018

Supervisors: Dr David Whish-Wilson and Professor Tim Dolin

Thesis title:  Messy. A Kristevan Approach to Young Adult Literature

Key words: YA literature, Julia Kristeva, abjection, hope, love

Description of research: Julia Kristeva’s contribution to our understanding of novelistic writing, and the importance of adolescence both in literature and as a process in subject formation, allows for a Kristevan approach to adolescent literature. This research seeks to analyse how such Kristevan concepts as abjection or chora are presented and resolved in the maturation process in YA literature. Kristeva’s generous outlook on life that sees her balancing abjection with hope, and melancholia with love; her view of change as possibility, and adolescence as a state of openness and potential, provide us with the opportunity to seek answers within her literature to questions such as why Amber Appleton, the optimistic protagonist in Matthew Quick’s Sorta Like A Rock Star, stands out from her peers in adolescent literature, and what makes Khyber in Deborah Ellis’ Looking For X so resilient in the face of the many obstacles she faces. This research proposes to write a YA novel in the light of Kristevan concepts. It seeks to understand how Kristevan concepts are relevant to understandings of adolescence and adolescent literature, and attempts to situate the Kristevan approach to YA literature in the historical context of the field. It will contribute to the critical field of study of YA literature by seeking to analyse the maturation process in YA literature in the light of Kristevan psychoanalytic theory.

 

Katrina McCHESNEY

Doctor of Philosophy

School/Department/Area:  Education

Proposed completion date: August 2017

Supervisors: Associate Professor Jill Aldridge

Thesis title:  Investigating teachers’ experiences of professional development within a major education reform in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Key words: Teacher professional development, evaluation, intercultural research, education reform, educational policy

Description of research: Teacher professional development (PD) is relied upon around the world as a key means for achieving educational improvement. However, research evidence indicates that much PD is of poor quality and has minimal impact on classroom practice. Further, current models for teacher PD have primarily emerged from Western countries, and their suitability for use in other cultural contexts has not been determined.

A large-scale education reform initiative has been underway in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi since 2005. Within this initiative, extensive PD has been provided to all teachers, and large numbers of Western teachers have been employed in addition to the existing Emirati national and expatriate-Arab teachers.

This study uses a broad-scale, mixed-methods approach to investigate teachers’ experiences of PD in the Abu Dhabi education reform context. The various forms of PD reported by teachers are compared to best practice as identified in the literature. Relationships between teachers’ perceptions of the design and impact of the PD are investigated, allowing mediating features (those that influence the impact of even well-designed PD) to be identified. Differences between Arab and Western teachers’ perceptions and responses are also examined, allowing consideration of the relevance of Western PD models in this Middle Eastern context.

 

Alkim OZAYGEN

Doctor of Philosophy

School/Department/Area:  Centre for Culture and Technology

Proposed completion date: October 2018

Supervisors: Associate Professor Lucy Montgomery, Dr Tama Leaver and Professor Cameron Neylon

Thesis title:  Analysing the usage data of open access scholarly books: What can data tell us?

Key words: Monographs, scholarly communication, altmetrics, open access, impact

Description of research: The objective of this research is to shed light on the roles and impacts of open access (OA) scholarly books by examining altmetrics data associated with Knowledge Unlatched collections. Knowledge Unlatched is a non-profit organisation coordinating a global library consortium that collectively funds OA for specialist scholarly books. Combining social media and usage data with other data such as publisher’s sales figures, library loan data, and author questionnaires will allow this project to construct a uniquely detailed picture of how and by whom OA books are being accessed and used. This will make it possible to propose an altmetrics model for Open Access scholarly books, which may be useful in helping authors, publishers, research funders and institutions to better understand the role of books in the growth and spread of knowledge in a digital age.

 

Ryan QUINN

Doctor of Philosophy

School/Department/Area:  Department of Planning and Geography

Proposed completion date: May 2018

Supervisors: Dr Diana MacCallum and Dr Shaphan Cox

Thesis title:  Deep Ecology, Non-Humans & Activism: Using Actor-Networks to Challenge Anthropocentric Land Use Planning

Key words: Human-nature relations, environmental ethics, non-human agency, environmental activism, land use planning

Description of research: Discussions surrounding the impacts of humanity upon Earth, including various forms of pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change, have become commonplace. The anthropocentric position that humans are superior to our non-human counterparts, common in Western society, has compounded these impacts. This research project seeks to investigate how the needs and requirements of non-humans can be represented and elevated by activists, in relation to the land use planning processes of two proposed urban developments in metropolitan Perth. The research will analyse the activists’ underlying ethic and motivations, and explore how their campaigning and network strategies may shift the current discourse of Nature – its identity/role/rights – and, in doing so, potentially influence the supporters and decision makers of each development. In undertaking this investigation, the research seeks to examine whether the partnership between activists and non-humans may assist in introducing a deep ecological perspective to these planning dilemmas. Further, the research is an opportunity to examine how to actively include non-humans in land use planning processes more generally and, relatedly, encourage a discussion of environmental ethics in the discipline of planning.

 

Abu Yousuf SWAPAN

Doctor of Philosophy

School/Department/Area:  Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute

Proposed completion date: January 2018

Supervisors: Dr Joo Hwa Bay and Professor Dora Marinova

Thesis title:  Enhancing a ‘sense of community’: an investigation of the ‘semi-public-private’ interface of inner city quality residential living environments

Key words: Built environment, sense of community, socializing, quality of life

Description of research: This research intends to explore the community building potential, as measured by socialization, of ‘residential built form typology’ and ‘street life’. Current policies discuss aspects of public open spaces amongst other aspects of community building. However, they do not specify exactly the community building potential of the front of residential units and how they meet the street. The methodology used by user-focused urban designers has been applied to study public open spaces; however, the application to residential streets is limited. The goal of this research is to investigate this gap. This qualitative descriptive type of research intends to apply Multiple Correlations Method. Firstly, the primary data will be collected by direct observation through small exploratory survey. Secondly, the case study review will help to explore current practice in the world to compare knowledge similar to this research. Thirdly, the literature review will contribute to prepare structured and semi-structured interviews with the different interest groups. Finally, outcomes from the observation, interview, and survey will be analysed, leading to an understanding of how ‘residential built form typology’ and ‘street life’ contribute to an increased sense of community. This new knowledge can be used to guide designers, developers, consumers and policy makers to achieve more attractive inner city living environment.

 

Meg WALSH

Doctor of Education

School/Department/Area:  Education

Proposed completion date: December 2018

Supervisors: Associate Professor Jenny Jay and Doctor Jennifer Howell

Thesis title:  Navigating the literacy landscape of the twentieth century: parents and families supporting young children’s emergent literacy

Key words: Emergent literacy, phenomenology, parents, families

Description of research: Participating in a wide range of activities within their families and community settings, children learn about literacy in what is known as a socio-cultural perspective. Rapid 21st century technological advancements, diversity in family and community cultures and people mobility impact upon how parents experience supporting the emergent literacy skills of their pre-school children. This research will investigate how parents, living in a fast transforming 21st century, experience and support their pre-school child’s early literacy development. The research questions guiding this study are: 1 How do twenty-first century parents describe their experiences of supporting the emergent literacy skills of their young children? 2 What assists parents to support early literacy development in their young children in the 21st century? 3 What hinders parents in supporting early literacy development in their young children in the 21st century? Phenomenology is the philosophy and methodology that will be applied to this research study.

 

Satrya WIBAWA

Doctor of Philosophy

School/Department/Area:  Media, Culture and Creative Arts

Proposed completion date: June 2019

Supervisors: Dr Antonio Traverso and Dr Thor Kerr

Thesis title:  Constructing the Nation: Representation and Children in Indonesian Cinema

Key words: Children, representation, Indonesian cinema, national film

Description of research: This thesis will apply a critical national cinema perspective to examination of the changing construction of Indonesia as a nation through the representation of children in Indonesian cinema. While cinema studies scholars have observed that Indonesian films utilise representations of children to explore issues such as social class, the family, the authoritarian state, and national identity (Heider, 1991; Sen, 1994; Roberts, 2000; Barker, 2011), there is limited dedicated research focusing solely on the representation of children in this nation’s cinema, although this has been a favourite subject for Indonesian film directors and writers. This thesis will analyse Indonesian fiction films that place child characters in the main narrative in order to examine the way these representations are constructed to convey ideas about Indonesia as a nation. The thesis will also include the production of a documentary film that will explore the above issues.

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

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, gemininity

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 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.

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.

 

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.