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Past Projects and Publications

Examining women's business acumen in Papua New Guinea: Working with women smallholders in horticulture

Project Leader: Professor Barbara Pamphilon

Research team: Adjunct Professor Barbara Chambers (UC) Associate Professor Lalen Simeon (Pacific Adventist University, PNG) Associate Professor Katja Mikhailovich ( UC)

PNG research partners: Baptist Union (PNG) National Agricultural Research Institute (Lae and Kerevat) , Pacific Adventist University

Funding body: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.

This project aims to research and develop the business and food crop growing skills of women smallholders and their families in three diverse areas of PNG: the highlands (Baiyer Valley, Western Highlands) the islands (Baining and Central Gazelle districts, East New Britain) and lowlands (Bautama and Bereina, Central Province).It will focus on the question 'in the light of the cultural and contextual issues of each region, what are better ways to improve the business knowledge and practices of women vegetable producer smallholders? The comparative study will identify the impact of gender and cultural dynamics through collaborative ethnographies of each village, trial and evaluate a range of ways to improve women's vegetable business knowledge and skills, and identify and develop financial skills and opportunities. The project will provide data on improved local strategies that will enhance women food crop producers' success and security.


Social Research to Foster Effective Collaboration and Strengthen Pro-Poor Value Chains

Researchers: Barbara Chambers and John Spriggs (Co-leaders) with Sandra Heaney-Mustafa and Robert Fitzgerald. Funded by Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research Partners: University of Agriculture Faisalabad (Faisalabad, Pakistan), National Agricultural Research Centre (Islamabad, Pakistan), Sindh Agricultural University (Tandojam, Sindh, Pakistan)

The project aims to encourage and facilitate pro-poor collaborative development in the Pakistan-Australian Agricultural Sector Linkages Program (ASLP 2) by using participatory action research and case-study approaches within and between four commodity-based value chain projects and industries (mango production, mango value chain, citrus and dairy). The Social Project will enhance understanding and opportunities for the poor, and investigate options for improving communication modalities and tools in order to foster more effective collaboration and inclusive outcomes.

Increasing Vegetable Production in Central Province, Papua New Guinea to Supply Port Moresby Markets —PNG Women in Agriculture in the Central Province (2009 - 2013)

Researchers: Barbara Chambers (Socio-Cultural Component) with Colin Birch (University of Tasmania, Horticulture Component and Overall Coordinator), with Laurie Bonney and Gomathy Palaniappan Funded by Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.

Partners: Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research, University of Tasmania; National Agricultural Research Institute, PNG; Fresh Produce Development Agency, PNG; Pacific Adventist University, PNG.

The socio-cultural component of this project will enhance urban/regional equity, and address some of the gender inequities in the production and marketing of vegetables whilst incorporating sufficient flexibility to maintain socio-cultural practices. The collaborative approach will empower rural communities enhancing their leverage with urban wholesalers and other fresh marketers and enabling resolution of many of the current barriers to small-holders and women in vegetable marketing.

Towards place-based education in the Murray–Darling Basin

Project Leader: Philip Roberts

Team: Jo Caffrey, Katia Mikhailovich, Natalie Downes - RA' Will Inveen - MDBA, Amy Chapman - ACU, Bill Green - CSU

Funding body: Murray Darling Basin Authority

This project explores the ways in which sustainability is understood in MDB communities (including Indigenous, rural, small towns and regional centres); how it is presented in MDBA education programs, and the ways it is currently taught in schools in the MDB region. Phase one mapped existing understandings and approaches to sustainability within the basin, including in schools and community groups, and identified that there are significant differences in how sustainability is understood and used between community respondents and school respondents. Community respondents have a strong triple bottom line meaning in use, whereas school respondents have an environmentally oriented meaning in use.An analysis of curriculum and policy documents in the MDB education jurisdictions identified that while the official definitions in curriculum documents suggest a non-specific, or triple bottom line identification of sustainability, the implied definition of sustainability is one of environmental issues and focuses.
This second phase of the project explores the way in which place conscious education is enacted, specifically the process of curriculum interpretation, development and implementation. Using a collaborative action research cycle of curriculum implementation in selected schools, phase two will examine how MDBA education programs and the Australian Curriculum, including its cross curriculum priorities of Sustainability and Indigenous perspectives, can best be adapted through place-based education to incorporate local knowledge in education. Schools will develop curriculum from the existing understandings in their communities and work towards shared, yet critical, understandings of local sustainability practices and knowledge rather than merely teaching the predominantly metropolitan version of sustainability. The process developed and refined in this phase will inform the development of future MDBA education projects, and place-conscious curriculum more generally.

Towards Place Based Education in the Murray-Darling Basin

Groundswell City to Soil

Researchers: Barbara Pamphilon and Barbara Chevalier. The Groundswell City to Soil project was a partnership between Goulburn Mulwaree, Palerang, Lachlan and Queanbeyan City Shire Councils that aimed to process food and green waste from municipal collections into quality compost. Funded through the NSW Environmental Trust's Urban Sustainability Program, the project proved that transformation of organic waste material into a nutrient-rich agricultural, horticultural, landscaping or garden input was possible at low cost through little intervention.

Dalgety Women's Day

Researchers: Barbara Pamphilon and Barbara Chevalier. Documenting the history and development of this significant event, this report reflects on its achievements and challenges, drawing on the evaluation and development process undertaken by a working group. The report documents the lessons learned, considers possible futures of the event and makes recommendations about its sustainability.

Common Worlds Communities and Pedagogies.

Researchers: Affrica Taylor (lead), Miriam Giugni (UC adjunct), Carmel Richardson (Wiradjuri).

Common worlds is a conceptual framework that expands notions of community, inclusion and pedagogy to encompass the human and more-than-human. It has a relational focus, and emphasises the ethics and politics of entangled relations within common worlds. It adapts postcolonial place pedagogies into decolonising common world pedagogies. A pilot research project is currently underway in the Wiradjuri early childhood community.


  • Taylor, A. (forthcoming 2012) Reconfiguring the Natures of Childhood, Routledge.
  • Taylor, A. and Giugni, M. (2012) Common Worlds: Reconceptualising inclusion in early childhood communities, Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 13 (2), pp.108-120.
  • Taylor, A., Blaise, M. & Giugni, M. (2013) Haraway's 'bag lady story-telling': Relocating childhood and learning within a 'post-human landscape'. Discourse, 34 (1).
  • Taylor, A. (2011) Reconceptualising the 'nature' of childhood, Childhood: A Journal of Global Childhood Research, 18 (4): 420-433

Postcolonial Cultures of Childhoods in Hong Kong, Australia, and Canada.

Researchers: Affrica Taylor (UC), Mindy Blaise, Hong Kong Institute of Education) and Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw, University of Victoria, British Columbia (project leaders) with Doris Cheng, Esther Chan and Vivienne Leung (Hong Kong Institute of Education) and Leslie Instone (University of Newcastle). Funding body: Hong Kong Institute of Education.

This transnational project explores the continuities and discontinuities of cultures of childhood in the British ex-colonies of Canada, Australian and Hong Kong. With a focus upon children's literature and popular culture, it traces the British colonial legacies across these three distinctive postcolonial geographical presents. A three day symposium will be held in Hong Kong in October.


  • Taylor, A., Pacini-Ketchabaw, V. and Blaise, M. (2012) Children's relations with the more-than-human world. Editorial. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 13 (2), pp. 81-85.

Community Health and Well-Being

Exploring transitions to breastfeeding in the ACT

Researchers: Barbara Pamphilon, Tiina Roppola and Barbara Chevalier (2011).

This project was conducted as part of the ACT Breastfeeding Strategic Framework 2010 –2015 and explores the perspectives of mothers and health professionals of the first eight weeks postpartum (early weeks) in relation to establishing and maintaining breastfeeding. Download full report.

Evaluation of the Indigenous Governance Project (2010)

Researchers: Katja Mikhailovich with S Henley, Rob Fitzgerald & Cathryn McConaghy. Funded by Reconciliation Australia and BHP Billiton. The research evaluated the Indigenous Governance Awards Program that was a part of the Promoting Success in Indigenous Governance partnership between Reconciliation Australia and BHP Billiton. The evaluation examined the impact of the Awards program, key learning and improved knowledge and practice in governance. [Unpublished report]

Freedom of Religion, Belief and Indigenous Spirituality (2010)

Researchers: Katja Mikhailovich (lead), Ms A Pavli & Cathryn McConaghy. Funded by Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies commissioned for the Human Rights Commission.

This project developed a discussion paper that outlined key concepts concerning Indigenous spirituality, with reference to traditional Indigenous spirituality, the impact of Christian missions, Islam and government policy on traditional Indigenous spirituality. It examined how Indigenous spirituality and religion has evolved into new forms and identified issues pertaining to freedom of religion and spirituality in Australia today.

Freedom of Religion and Belief in the 21st Century