Our themes

Engagement for SDGs

To effectively work towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we need to embrace the complexity of the global issues underpinning the need for sustainable and equitable development. This requires a transdisciplinary approach to research, development and social change that brings researchers, policy makers, practitioners, communities and the private sector together. It also implies a commitment to participation and empowerment of the most marginalised in society. Under the Engagement for SDGs theme, we research, design, practise and evaluate models and methods that facilitate effective communication and engagement in transdisciplinary collaborations that work towards sustainable, equitable and inclusive change in sectors ranging from rural/regional/community development and environmental management to health and aged care.

For further information on this theme please contact the theme leader, Associate Professor Elske van de Fliert (e.vandefliert@uq.edu.au)



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Advocacy and the Public Good

The Advocacy and the Public Good theme responds to social challenges and wicked problems through action-focused research. We use theory and practice-led methods to understand contested public spaces and develop artefacts, systems, and interventions that support advocacy by individuals and communities. Sometimes our proposals aim to achieve a specific goal. At other times, they seek to examine unsettling structures, or provoke new thinking. A multidisciplinary approach is a feature of this theme. We are interested in the intersections of civil communication, public-interest storytelling, social and political power, and technology design.

For further information on this theme please contact the theme lead, Dr Skye Doherty (s.doherty@uq.edu.au).

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Communication technologies

Which community-based technology alternatives offer the most promise? With the development of the internet, mobile technologies and networking over the last few years, there has been a move to account for and understand new forms of access to technologies in the context of community development and social change. The focus of this thematic area is to explore technologies of connectivity in relation to a community’s needs and priorities, particularly affordable access, capacity building and empowerment. Areas explored under this theme include innovations such as Wi-Fi and mesh technologies, participatory processes adopted by communities in the context of technology adoption, NGO-community interfaces, community empowerment along with issues related to policy and power. We work towards investigating both ideas and innovation, understanding successes and failures, and dealing with some of the thorny issues related to context and political economy.

For further information on this theme please contact the theme leader, Associate Professor Pradip Thomas (pradip.thomas@uq.edu.au)

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Communication for Climate Action

The communication for climate action theme aims to identify effective strategies to improve public, business, and policy engagement with the global and urgent challenge of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Using creative, critical-cultural, participatory, and quantitative methods, we seek to advance the theory and practice of climate change communication to foster behaviour change and social change. We work across a range of industries and partner with indigenous communities, farmers, businesses, NGOs, and government departments to support climate action. We are a group of interdisciplinary scholars committed to developing equitable, innovative, sustainable, and impactful community-led interventions to promote climate change advocacy in Australia and abroad. 

For further information on this theme please contact the theme lead, Dr Jagadish Thaker (j.thaker@uq.edu.au).


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