Research themes

Participatory communication

Participatory Communication comprises the use of communication processes, techniques and media to facilitate equitable engagement of stakeholders in change processes in society. Stakeholders include individuals, groups and institutions involved in and impacted by these change processes.

Work in this area involves the purposeful design and application of communication strategies, platforms and mechanisms for active and effective facilitation of change processes. It also concerns the critical analysis of the institutional structures, conditions and capacities required for participatory communication processes to result in more equitable and sustainable outcomes of change processes.

The CfCSC’s work in this thematic area explores:

  • Processes and capacities supporting participatory planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation for development and social change
  • Communication functions and applications in conflict resolution
  • Communication functions and applications in institutional change

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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Social movements and advocacy

Social movements are absolutely fundamental to social change. In fact, over the last decade, there are so many examples of social movements that have engaged with critical issues – the environment, deaths in custody, racism, domestic violence, human rights and communication rights. Community media have played a key role in such protests. Social movements on their own are often communicative spectacles – spaces and arenas where many forms of communication are used as a means to educate, inform and protest. For example Greenpeace’s spectacular forms of protest on the high seas against whaling vessels, protests by tree huggers and the occupation of high streets and buildings all highlight tactics, strategies and forms of protest that are meant to attract the attention of public opinion and the media. Arguably, the most innovative and creative communication strategies that have contributed to communication and social change originate in social movements. This thematic area explores:

  • Social movements and their tactical and strategic uses of media in social change
  • The analysis of the changing forms of protest
  • New thinking in the confluence between social movement and CSC theories
  • Intersectionalities and integrated social change

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 technologies and social change

Tele-centres and mobile phones, along with a variety of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), are commonly thought to have extraordinary potential to bring about positive social change.

While there are numerous examples from around the world of ICTs making a difference, their success is dependent on an enabling environment and people’s freedom to creatively adapt technologies to local needs.

The CfCSC work in this thematic area explores:

  • The ways in which ICTs can be used in social change.
  • The policies that provide the framework for the deployment of such technologies.
  • Creative and innovative uses of these technologies by, and for, disadvantaged communities in the context of social change.
  • The impact of ICTs on marginalised communities, including indigenous groups.
  • The relationship between new technologies, knowledge and power.

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

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Transdisciplinarity and social change

Transdisciplinarity means tackling issues from a holistic perspective in which disciplinary components and methodologies are complementary and mutually attuned to achieve a common goal. Collaboration in transdisciplinary initiatives requires each of the stakeholders to understand the perceptions and assumptions of the other disciplines and fields of application. Facilitation of such collaboration requires good communication processes to provide effective information exchange and a platform for dialogue to inform collective agenda setting, methodology development, implementation and impact assessment. This applies to initiatives involving research, community development and even teaching and capacity building.

The CfCSC work in this thematic area explores:

  • Frameworks and methodologies for transdisciplinary (research for) development.
  • Operationalising linkages between research, development and community stakeholder groups.
  • Impact assessment of sustainability

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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Communicating sustainability

Sustainability is an emerging narrative in public discourses and normative framework as well as moral compass for organizational and individual behaviour in relation to a constantly changing climate and related challenges. Our innovative approaches to sustainability communication as inter- and transdisciplinary area of research and teaching goes hand in hand with a critical perspective on all variations of communication aboutfor and of sustainability as well as sustainable communication.

For further information on this theme please contact the theme leader, Dr Franzisca Weder (f.weder@uq.edu.au)

 

 

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Media freedom

Since 9/11, no other country in the world has been as enthusiastic about passing national security legislation as Australia. The Federal Parliament has enacted at least 82 separate national security laws, including many that either directly or indirectly limit press freedom. According to several submissions to parliamentary inquiries, Australia has the most draconian restrictions on journalists and their sources of all the countries in the Five Eyes security partnership (the US, the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia). Its restrictions are also amongst the most draconian of all the Western democracies. But are they really necessary? What impact are the laws having on the democratic principles of transparency and accountability over government? And if one of the fundamental pillars of a successful democracy – press freedom – is undermined by the legislation, is national security really being served? How do we balance the need for security agencies to have effective tools for dealing with emerging threats, along with the need for journalists to be free to investigate the inner workings of government without exposing themselves or their sources? Those are some of the questions that the team led by Professor Greste is studying.

For further information on this theme please contact the theme leader, Professor Peter Greste (p.greste@uq.edu.au)

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Politics and communication

The politics and communication theme encompasses not only the field of political communication but also issues based research topics relating to the communication of 'political' topics. Our staff, Associates, HDR candidates, and students use diverse methodological and theoretical approaches in their research.  Examples of research areas include (but are not limited to):

  • Government communication with citizens
  • Public Diplomacy
  • International and regional organisation communications
  • Civil Society communication

 

For further information on this theme please contact the theme leader, Associate Professor Eric Louw (e.louw@uq.edu.au)

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Design for Social Change

The Design for Social Change theme is about proposing new ways to think about and respond to social issues and wicked problems through creative action. We use practice-led design research methods to understand people, contexts, and environments, working closely with individuals and communities to develop meaningful artefacts, systems, and interventions. Sometimes our proposals aim to achieve a specific goal for people; at other times, they aim to provoke new thinking. Researchers in this theme are interested in public-interest storytelling, visual strategies to support the communication rights of migrant workers, and design technologies that accommodate the needs and values of communities.

For more information contact Dr Skye Doherty (s.doherty@uq.edu.au)

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