Graduate wins thesis of the year

Graduate wins thesis of the year

Victoria Murray

01 May 2012: University of Canberra graduate Lara Drew has won the Institute for Critical Animal Studies Thesis of the Year 2011 for her honours thesis titled ‘Freirean Pedagogy and Activism: Radical Adult Education in the Animal Liberation Movement’.

Lara wrote her thesis in 2011 for her Social and Community Studies (Honours) course.

The Institute for Critical Animal Studies is a New York-based organisation, which was founded in 2001. It aims to eliminate the domination and oppression of animals, and to transform higher education into a more inclusive environment for all species. 

Ms Drew’s winning thesis looked at activism and the animal rights movement in terms of education.

“It looked at a theory based on an educational theorist called Paulo Freire, and at how his concepts of education could be applied to activism in the animal rights movement, and how that would be more effective for activists to apply that type of education to create better forms of activism.”

Lara graduated with a Bachelor of Community Education in 2011 and then went on to complete her honours in Social and Community Studies in 2011. She began her PhD studies at the beginning of 2012.

Ms Drew has always had a passion for animal rights and activism.

Melanie Kovacs and Bruce Lines

Lara Drew. Photo: Michelle McAulay

“I have been able to weave in my activist interest with my academic interest and so I am currently doing a PhD in education but it focuses on activism and animal rights,” she said.

“It is looking at how radical forms of education could be used for activism in the animal rights movement.”

Ms Drew attended the awards ceremony in March at the 11th Annual Conference for Critical Animal Studies at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York.

Ms Drew’s honours thesis was nominated by Anthony Nocella II, an academic and activist who worked at Hamline University in Minnesota, who is centrally involved with the Institute for Critical Animal Studies.

Ms Drew had the privilege of meeting Mr Nocella, among other academics who were conducting research in similar areas. 

Lara has recently illustrated a book written by Anthony Nocella II and Sarat Colling that has been published called ‘Love and Liberation: An Animal Liberation Front Story’. Ms Drew spoke about the book at the conference.

Ms Drew is very happy and overwhelmed that her thesis won the competition and cannot wait to travel after she completes her PhD.

“Right now I just want to focus on my PhD and I would like to travel a lot more and work at other universities and focus on this area of research as it is popular overseas.”