Events

Previous Events

Promoting Social Inclusion through Workplaces

The symposium aimed to highlight ways to promote social inclusion through workplaces drawing on recent and ongoing work by CHASE members and partners in Victoria.

Why widening participation in higher education benefits all of us

Presenter: Professor Beth Crisp

Deakin University’s social work program provides a case study of the commitment to promoting social inclusion which has been integral to the mission of the university since its commencement in the 1970s. In addition to the more apparent benefits this has for individual students/graduates who have been enabled to obtain professional qualifications despite living at a distance from education providers or having family or work commitments which mitigate against traditional attendance requirements, this presentation explores the benefits of a social inclusion agenda in higher education for health and human service delivery. In particular, the growth of online learning is facilitating a workforce which is not only digitally literate but has the e-professionalism necessary for 21st century. Online learning environments have been able to provide opportunities for students to gain practice in providing services to people at a distance utilising conferencing software as well as prepare graduates for active participation in continuing professional development (CPD) activities, many of which are offered online. This presentation concludes by identifying transferable learning which can be adopted outside the university sector for promoting social inclusion (click here for a copy of the slides).

Embedding inclusive curriculum—working from the ground up

Presenters: Dr Mary Dracup and Robyn Everist

Australian higher education students are increasingly diverse, and providers are obliged to provide all of their students an equitable opportunity for academic success. While research has called for comprehensive, integrated, institution-wide approaches to anticipate and respond to this diversity, there are few documented cases of institutional approaches that are policy-driven and fully integrated. This presentation showcases an approach that was not driven top-down, through policy. We report on the last three years of an initiative led ‘from the ground up’ by Deakin University’s Equity and Diversity Unit (EDU), funded by the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP), to transform curriculum and develop a university-wide culture of inclusive teaching and learning practice. Entitled ‘Inclusive Curriculum Capacity Building’ (ICCB), this initiative is framed as an ongoing participatory action research project, with a view to ensuring achievements are highlighted, continuously improved and sustained into the future. EDU brought together academic and professional staff to work closely on a wide range of projects chosen by the partners themselves, which aimed to embed into curricula at course level inclusive teaching practice, digital literacy, and academic skills and literacies. Mixed methods evaluation has revealed some significant improvements to student retention and success for students identified as ‘low socio-economic status’, and on staff capacity to develop and deliver inclusive curriculum. A case study will demonstrate the process and outcomes of the ICCB approach (click here for a copy of the slides).

Employing the experts: Sexual Lives and Respectful Relationships peer educators at Deakin

Presenters: Alisha Gilliland and Emily Ardley

Alisha and Emily work together on the ‘Sexual Lives & Respectful Relationships’ (SL&RR) program in Disability & Inclusion within the School of Health and Social Development, Faculty of Health. SL&RR is an internationally regarded peer education program on sexuality and relationships for people with intellectual disability. Their presentation will cover the SL&RR program and how it promotes social inclusion for people with intellectual disability in achieving their right to have ‘nothing about us without us’. Alisha and Emily will also reflect on their own experiences of inclusion as Deakin staff, and their views on employment and inclusion opportunities for people with intellectual disability (click here for a copy of the slides).

Supporting gender equality in workplaces

Presenters: Professor Ann Taket

The promotion of social inclusion in and through workplaces demands recognition of a number of different socio-demographic groups as disadvantaged in terms of entry to particular parts of the workforce as well as their experience once in it. These groups are defined by gender identity, ethnicity/culture, religion, age, sexuality and socio-economic status. This presentation will focus on promoting social inclusion through initiatives in the workplace that focus on gender equity, and explore some of the common challenges and ways forward: policy support for gender equity initiatives in workplaces; presenting the case for the work (defining gender equity and gender equality, the importance of language, use of research evidence to legitimise the work); the challenge of ensuring a receptive context for change; tools/resources to support gender equity work in workplaces; and tracking change. The presentation draws on a number of CHASE projects carried out in partnership with a wide variety of organisations in the health and social welfare space (click here for a copy of the slides).

Social exclusion among women with no children within employment: theory and evidence

Presenter: Dr Melissa Graham on behalf of Beth Turnbull, PhD Candidate

Growing numbers of Australian women are having no children, placing them at risk of stigmatisation and social exclusion in a pronatalist Australian society. Social exclusion can result in individuals and groups experiencing exclusion from, or poor quality, resources and participation in different domains of life. This presentation focuses on the theory and research findings relating to exclusion within employment of women with no children. It firsts explore structural and post-structural theories of gender, class and other power relations as drivers of exclusionary employment experiences and outcomes among women with no children. It then outlines the findings of an exploratory, mixed methods, cross-sectional study that aimed to describe and explore the social exclusion of Australian women aged 25 to 64 years who have no children. A total of 1,070 Australian women with no children completed a self-administered online questionnaire. Findings indicated the women had high employment and income levels, and reported little employment discrimination or exclusion from employment due to having no children. However, women reported having limited access to employment benefits and experiencing work-life conflict. Qualitative themes suggested many women felt they had greater opportunities to participate in employment and accrue financial resources due to having no children. However, many women reported exclusionary experiences such as stereotyping, judgements, invalidation, marginalisation, interrogations, and subordination of their needs to those of people with children. Social exclusion is an important social determinant of health. Accordingly, it is vital that all women not only have opportunities to participate in employment, but also feel included, validated and accepted within employment, irrelevant of their motherhood status (click here for a copy of the slides).

Including residents in local government planning: Experiences of the Liveable Yarra People’s Panel

Presenter: Dr Fiona Andrews

Community engagement on planning processes is traditionally adversarial, with residents reacting to a development proposal or local amenity impacts. With the significant increase in inner-urban medium-high density developments and subsequent pressure on physical and social infrastructure, the City of Yarra embarked on a new approach to the rewrite of its Planning Scheme. This paper describes the process by which the City of Yarra involved the community to help address some of the dilemmas and trade-offs which are necessarily part of planning in an inner-urban area. To hear from a broad range of voices and receive informed recommendations, a deliberative process, the Liveable Yarra project was formed. It aimed to have an in-depth two-way conversation with the community about how Yarra can adapt to the challenges and opportunities brought about by growth and change. A 60 member People’s Panel, comprising a cross section of Yarra’s community, came together to learn, debate and provide recommendations to Council on the topics of housing, transport, built form and the local economy. The Panel was supplemented by feedback from a household baseline survey, Council’s Advisory Committees, and targeted workshops with hard-to-reach communities. This was the first time a deliberative approach had been undertaken for a topic as multifaceted and far- reaching as rewriting a Local Government Planning Scheme. It allowed participants to gain an understanding of the complexity of planning issues and the challenges this presents to Council decision making. It’s expected that the revised Planning Scheme will more accurately reflect community expectations, improve liveability and enhance community understanding of the complex issues faced by Council in planning the city’s future. Furthermore, in describing this approach, along with reflections from those Councillors, planners and community members involved, we hope to provide a model which other councils could embrace to enhance their existing planning processes (click here for a copy of the slides).

Growing communities and sustainability: community gardens as sites of social inclusion and action on sustainability

Presenters: Dr Claire Henderson-Wilson on behalf of Nkoli Mmako and Teresa Capetola

This presentation will present two projects related to community gardens. The first focuses on a qualitative Masters Major Project that aimed to explore the level of interest by the tenants of Ashwood- Chadstone Gateway in the establishment of a community garden for the social housing estate. The project was instigated by LINK Health and Community Services and Port Phillip Housing Authority. The research methods employed were a combination of photo-elicitation, to explore the personal and social meanings of images to participants, and focus group discussions. Key findings indicated that there was strong acceptability of an onsite community garden as a platform for social connectedness and inclusion. Additionally, design elements were identified to facilitate accessibility and inclusion for diverse population groups. The second project focuses on the establishment of a campus community garden at Deakin University, Burwood. The garden was established in 2016 following a university wide feasibility study which had demonstrated strong support for a setting that provided food security, action on sustainability and social connectedness. The vision of the garden is: to provide a space on campus where students, staff and the broader community can come together, build relationships, learn new skills and grow wholesome fresh produce. To date, the garden has been widely used by staff, students and community members to provide freely available and locally grown produce. Activities have also included: 18 working bees and educational workshops with over 140 attendees and over 70 volunteers contributing more than 280 hours. Future research projects include exploring the potential of the garden as a setting for teaching and learning including Education for Sustainability (click here for a copy of the slides).

Gender equity and health

The aim of the symposium was to focus on identifying and highlighting gender (in)equity and subsequent health consequences, and the application and implications of research findings for the field including service delivery, policy, and community engagement in relation to promoting gender equity and health in a range of settings and contexts.

Three recently completed research projects by CHASE members and partners were featured and concluded with an expert panel discussion with Elly Taylor, acting Manager of Health Promotion, Research and Development at Women’s Health West and Anne Hunter, relationships coach specialising in ethical non-monogamy and co-founded PolyVic,

Professor Beth Crisp, discipline leader for Deakin’s social work program, presented an evaluation of the impacts of Baby Makes 3, a program for new first time parents in rural communities in the state of Victoria. Drawing on data collected from parents, program facilitators and other related staff evaluation suggests the program was successfully implemented. Parents reported a high level of satisfaction with the program and positive impacts such as changes in their awareness, attitudes, skills and behaviour that directly support gender equity, a primary determinant in reducing violence against women and children. However, the implementation of the program was not without its challenges. Professor Crisp highlighted the challenges associated with social diversity, location and scheduling of the program to enable participation, the attendance of single parents or just one parent within a couple, and the heteronormativity of the program as potentially limiting.  

Dr Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli, Senior Lecturer in the School of Health and Social Development presented on her research undertaken in collaboration with Sara Lubowitz, Women With Bisexual Partners Network, ACON on “When Your Relationship Isn’t Recognised by Relationship Counselling: the health and wellbeing of women in relationships with bisexual men”. This presentation drew on qualitative research with 78 women who have been or are currently in a relationship with a bisexual man to explore the lived realities of women in relationships with bisexual men, from the most exhilaratingly positive to the most excruciatingly negative. The presentation highlighted the assumptions, stigma, problematisation and pathologisation of mixed-orientation relationships in health service provision.

Dr Melissa Graham, Senior Lecturer in the School of Health and Social Development presented on a review of the evidence on the health inequities of sexual and reproductive health undertaken on behalf of Women’s Health West. The presentation highlighted the multiply layers and influences of sexual and reproductive health inequity. For example, gender norms and cultural and societal norms and values were pervasive in creating and recreating gender inequity resulting in negative consequences for sexual and reproductive health. This is further compounded by power imbalance, among women and men, in relation to attitudes towards sexual and reproductive health and these power imbalances are embedded within cultural attitudes and beliefs. Sexual and reproductive health inequities are also impacted by the intersectionalities of multiple identities or vulnerabilities and these inequities are gendered. Sexual and reproductive health inequities are apparent in policy, institutional structures, the social and cultural context of people’s everyday lives, health care services, employment, and education. The presentation also highlighted sexual and reproductive health inequities for various population groups, drawing on social position, gender, age, sexuality, culture and ethnicity, and location.

Together these presentations highlighted the intersection of multiple and complex identities which are experienced in both positive and negative ways in ones everyday world. Issues of gender inequity, discrimination, stigma and exclusion cut across the three presentations and these are shaped by social and cultural norms, gender roles and stereotypes. In particular, it is how policy makers and service providers acknowledge and respond to these multiple identities to improve health and wellbeing, needs to be addressed.

Working with vulnerable populations

The aim of the symposium was to focus on lessons learned from working with vulnerable populations, the application of these lessons, and implications for the field including service delivery, policy, and community engagement in a range of settings and contexts. The symposium featured three recently completed research projects by CHASE members and partners, and concluded with an expert panel discussion with Sally-Ann Nadj, Community Development and Marketing Manager at Link Health and Community and Dr Sue Barker, Headspace Geelong.

Ms Jenny Crosby, Research Fellow in the School of Psychology at Deakin University presented on a program of work “Picture My Future”. Picture My Future was conducted in Melbourne and aimed to design a method to enable people with intellectual disability to explore and explain their life priorities. Through the use of imagery people are able to communicate what is important and meaningful to them, highlighting the importance of alternative forms of communication. Picture My Future was developed in collaboration with people with disability with the aim assisting to support people talk about what is important to them to enable meaningful involvement in their own planning services processes. A range of resources have been developed and are available for use including five training modules and a tool kit. The Picture My Future resources are available at http://picturemyfuture.com/.

Picture My Future: conducted in Melbourne, this project aimed to design a method to enable people with intellectual disability to explore and explain their life priorities, as part of readying them for individualised planning associated with the NDIS

Presenters: Jenny Crosby  

Dr Matthew Dunn, a Senior Lecturer in the School of Health and Social Development presented his work conducted in partnership with Dr Sue Barker on the “Sexual health and sexual risk behaviours among students in alternative school settings: Findings and implications from working with this population”. This presentation highlighted the important implications for practice and some strategies for addressing these challenges in the context of a research project including issues of ethics and informed consent, the role of gatekeepers, power imbalances and knowledge translation.

Sexual health and sexual risk behaviours among students in alternative school settings: Findings and implications from working with this population

Presenter: Dr Matthew Dunn

Associate Professor Erin Wilson and Dr Kevin Murfitt from the School of Health and Social Development presented their work “Voices of Pacific Children with Disability”. These projects, conducted in Vanuatu and PNG, developed a suite of tools to enable children with diverse disabilities to identify their life priorities and human rights needs. This presentation focused on the use of inclusive methods to engage children with disability to enable them to share their experiences and needs – giving them a voice. The project produced a range of resources including a guide to communicating with children with disability, a photo library, and a sound library. These resources, along with others, are available at http://www.voicesofchildrenwithdisability.com/.

Voices of Pacific Children with Disability: conducted in Vanuatu and PNG, this project developed a suite of tools to enable children with diverse disabilities to identify their life priorities and human rights needs

Presenter: Dr Kevin Murfitt and Associate Professor Erin Wilson

Cutting across these projects was the importance of working with vulnerable population groups and how creative and novel approaches can be and are effective ways to engage with these population groups. However, it was also highlighted that inclusivity was difficult due to the range of gate keepers who make accessing these population groups challenging. As such, those who are the most vulnerable often have the least opportunity to engage and participate or have their voices heard. Thus highlighting the tension between doing research with a vulnerable population group, generally for whom there is no evidence to base programs or services on and not having access to that group. This raised two key questions: how can we advocate for vulnerable population groups when we have no evidence?; and how can we create the evidence working with the vulnerable population group if access to the group is restricted, limited or not possible?

The meanings of and dealing with social exclusion in an Arab world context: an emerging research agenda

Presenter: Professor Jihad Makhoul, Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut, Lebanon

The objective of the presentation is to provide an overview of an emerging research track on social exclusion/inclusion at the Department of Health Promotion and Community Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut being conducted by a number of interested academic researchers including herself. Judy Makhoul will present examples of a number of research projects using a social exclusion framework, and which are now in different phases and involve various populations. The aims of the presentation are:

  • contributing to the international conversation on social exclusion, inequalities and frameworks;
  • bringing the discourse on social exclusion from these populations to the international research agenda in this field for the first time from the Arab world;
  • exploring possibilities with Deakin’s CHASE to embark on collaborative research with implications for knowledge translation.

Social exclusion as a lived experience is not new to this part of the world, yet it is understudied as a concept and not usually used as a framework to understand social phenomena. Countrywide policy changes have been initiated in several countries and programs put forth to focus on improving economic viability, such as those recommended by ILO on social protection. However, although economic policies for social inclusion are important for livelihoods, they fall short on adopting a social sensibility and more holistic framework that can include other aspects of social life. Contextually specific research which brings out intra-country variations of and root causes of social exclusion may instead of alleviating poverty, risk reinforcing the very inequitable circumstances which have brought about different forms of social exclusion and inequity by not paying attention to the different types of social determinants and people’s views and therefore, social exclusion in some aspects of social life of women or youth, for example, remain unnoticed.

The presentation will gaze into the lived experiences of social exclusion by shedding light on emerging evidence about determinants, experiences and coping mechanisms used by women, youth, refugees, the general Lebanese public, as well as persons in privileged positions within a selection of Arab world contexts. The view from the Arab world is timely, given the sociocultural changes and political upheavals in the region.  A social exclusion lens will aid in problematizing or questioning commonly used victim blaming notions, such as vulnerability, impoverishment, refugees, disability. It will draw attention to the influence of wider social and exclusionary determinants and policies affecting social conditions, health, and access to quality healthcare, as well as the existence of communal and individual agency to resist and cope with social exclusionary processes.

Main messages include and are not limited to:

  • There are variations of meanings to social assigned to social exclusion across groups.
  • Social exclusion terms used in English may alienate rather than include Arabic speaking people when translated into formal and colloquial Arabic.
  • Social exclusion processes and outcomes are influenced by sociocultural and political determinants and resistance is possible through communal and individual resilience.
  • Armed conflicts and consequent break-up of social systems constitute a new dimension which needs to be investigated further in the framework of social exclusion.
  • Although social exclusion is generally involuntary, as an outcome of powerful processes, it may also in some instances be voluntary, as a result of active decision making to resist or cope with interpersonal or social pressures/conditions.
  • Social exclusion is in the eyes of the beholder and consequently requires research approaches which are able to capture voices and experiences.

Undertaking human rights research with children with disabilities

Presenters:  Kevin Murfitt, Erin Wilson and Elena Jenkin, Deakin University

In February, 2015, CHASE hosted the workshop ‘Undertaking human rights research with children with disabilities’ at the Deakin City Centre campus. 

The workshop focused on the skills, issues and methods of enabling children with disabilities to discuss/communicate their experiences and views, in this case, on the topic of human rights and life priorities. Attendees also heard about work undertaken as part of the Voices of Pacific Children with Disabilities project that gained information from children with disabilities in Vanuatu and PNG.

An overview of the workshop by presenter Assoc Prof Erin Wilson (the School’s Associate Professor of Disability and Exclusion) is given in the clip below.

 

 

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