My research interests revolve around issues of social justice and human rights, and focus on two broad areas: the gendered and generational dimensions of poverty and social policy for children.
An episode of Policy Forum Pod in which I discuss some of my research on poverty is here.
The gendered and generational nature of poverty
Overcoming poverty requires a deep understanding of how it plays out to shape, constrain and often destroy people's lives. While poverty is by definition about inadequate income and a lack of material goods, it is about about the lack of opportunity, experiences of shame and stigma, and continual trade-offs. Poverty also plays out differently for different social groups and across the life course. It is fundamentally gendered and generationed.
I am currently leading the More for Children project. Through a partnership with BurnieWorks in northwest Tasmania and Family Care in regional Victoria, this research aims to contribute to ending child poverty in Australia. The research has three goals:
1. To use rights-based research with children to bring a child standpoint to debates about how to respond to poverty.
2. To develop a suite of child-centred indicators of multidimensional poverty that are relevant to local context.
3. To transform debates about child poverty in Australia, in order to move from narratives that blame individual to focusing on the structural drivers of poverty and the systemic failures that create and exacerbate it.
I am also leading a research project in Indonesia that aims to understand poverty from a child standpoint and develop a child-centred framework for assessing and responding to poverty. The video below provides an overview of that project, and its very early findings,
Based on research in Australia and Indonesia, I have developed the MOR Framework, which is a child-centred framework for understanding, assessing, and responding to child poverty. An early article from that research - Rethinking Child Poverty, published in the Journal of Human Development and Capabilities - is here. A short discussion paper on the framework is here. The video below provides an overview of the framework.
Since 2009, I have been centrally involved in the development of a gender-sensitive measure of multidimensional poverty, the Individual Measure of Multidimensional Poverty.
Children and Social Policy
The second focus of my research is social policy, social justice and the human rights of children, particularly children’s participation and citizenship, quality education, child labour, child protection, and support for children without parental care. An important aspect of my research is child inclusive policy and the ways in which policies respond to the issues children identify as priorities.
I am currently undertaking research in Tasmania, Australia on growing up in small coastal communities that are undergoing social and economic transformation. An early article from that research - Childhood and belonging over time: narratives of identity across generations on Tasmania’s east coast, published in Children's Geographies - is available here.
I have a strong interest in research methodology and ethics, and have published widely on undertaking research with children.