Australia’s Unjust Treatment of Refugees

Whilst in London I came across this sign which reads, Begin your dream today, emigrate to Australia!  A warm invitation indeed: unless of course you are an asylum seeker – in which case our current government will revoke this welcome and abscond its responsibility to the United Nations Convention Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.

The Australian government has passed several laws that allow the detention of asylum seekers in offshore jails. The Government also sought to imprison professionals who speak out against child abuse in refugee detention centres, including medical and health practitioners who are otherwise required by long-standing law to report such abuse of all other children. Continue reading Australia’s Unjust Treatment of Refugees

The Institute of Sexology

This exhibition was held in London. It covered the early work by Western scholars to study sexuality and diverse sexual identities. Featuring various social scientists from anthropology (such as Margaret Mead) to psychology (Freud), I was ecstatic that two sociologists, Prof Kayle Wells and Prof Julia Field, are featured prominently in the final section of the exhibit.

Wells and Field are two of the lead investigators of the longitudinal National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles.

The exhibition ends with an invitation to participate in the exhibition survey and also contribute a question. One of these is chosen to be added to the survey each week and the aim is to replace all the original questions with public questions. Some of the anonymous answers are on display and they change constantly.

My favourite that I’m still mulling over is by a woman in her 20s (paraphrased): “You can tell whether a man is feminist or not by the way he has sex.”

Doing Secondments as an Applied Sociologist

Throughout my career, I have taken on roles that require secondments both interstate and overseas. I have always treated these as a type of ethnography – I’m there to do a job, but I’m observing workplace relations and surroundings. This helps me cope with the “culture shock” that comes with gliding into a new work environment, and being expected to hit the ground running, with little time to get acclimatised. Continue reading Doing Secondments as an Applied Sociologist

Impressionists room in the National Gallery of London

“This is where all the famous paintings are.” People gather in the main Impressionists room in the National Gallery of London, photographing themselves in front of one of Vincent Van Gogh’s most famous work, Sunflowers, but mostly ignoring his other equally celebrated artwork, Chair, and completely missing the artists who influenced him such as Pissarro.

This selfie enthusiasm is new; the Gallery only started allowing photos in August 2014 – and very reluctantly. The Wire reported the dismay of art critics at the time:

“I have to say, a bit of my soul died each time someone photographed a piece or even worse, took a selfie without actually looking at it with their own two eyes.” (Art History Newsletter)
“The last bastion of quiet contemplation is now to become selfie central, where noisy clicking smartphones and intense flashlights will prevail over any ‘eccentrics’ who want actually to look at art. The gallery used to be a haven where looking at pictures was prioritised. Now it will all be about taking your own pictures.” (Michael Savage, author of the Grumpy Art Historian blog)


London Calling: A Visual Sociology

Late in June 2015, I visited London for work. I’d visited London almost one decade earlier, having just submitted my PhD thesis, and wanting to stay busy while I waited for the results. Back then, I did what people do in their mid-20s, lots of partying and lots of touristy things. In this most recent trip, I invested in longer visits to art galleries and museums.

Continue reading London Calling: A Visual Sociology

Representations of Race and Gender in London’s Art Galleries

This is a visual sociology of art in some of London’s major galleries, focused on the sociology of gender and race. Let’s start by looking at the exibitions for NAIDOC Week, a time for national reflection on the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


Indigenous Australian flags in London during NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee). During from 5-12 July, NAIDOC week is a celebration of Indigenous cultures and a time to acknowledge the contribution of Indigenous Australians to our national success. This is also a marker of the historical and ongoing struggles to address institutional racism against Indigenous Australians. The origins of NAIDOC go back to the 1920s to a collective of activists who advocated for the rights of First Australians. Visit to learn more. 4 July Continue reading Representations of Race and Gender in London’s Art Galleries