Thought Leadership Event Series

Western Sydney University was placed first in the world in the 2022 and 2023 Times Higher Education Impact rankings, the only global performance measure that assesses universities against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The event series aims to celebrate and promote this #1 ranking, complementing work being undertaken across the University as part of its Sustainability and Resilience Decadal Strategy 2030.

For more information or to get involved,  please contact: Emma Boddington or Bhadra Chandran

Upcoming events

12th March 2024: The Impacts of Urbanisation on the Platypus in the Hawkesbury Nepean - Dr Michelle Ryan

In-Person / Online

Dr Michelle Ryan is a Senior Lecturer in Ecology and Environmental Science and Western Sydney University and the current Hawkesbury-Nepean Waterkeeper. Michelle's research includes human impacts on aquatic environments with a focus on the ecological health of freshwater systems and aquatic animals. Her current research focuses on the iconic platypus and the health of the platypus populations in a growing Greater Sydney. Michelle is passionate about waterway health and uses her research into the platypus to connect the community, industry and governments with waterways to create resilient waterways throughout Western Sydney.

Michelle Ryan

Date & time: Tuesday, 12th March, 2024, 12:00pm-1:00pm

Location: Hawkesbury Campus, Building L2, Room 30 or Online via Zoom

Bookings for this hybrid event are essential

26th March 2024: Understanding Women Living with Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) through Midwifery and Healthcare Settings in Australia -Associate Professor Olayide Ogunsiji

In-Person / Online

Associate Professor Olayide Ogunsiji is in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Western Sydney University. Olayide’s research is in Women’s Health with a focus on migrant and refugee women’s health and cultural issues that impact health. Her current research focuses on raising awareness about female genital mutilation (FGM) and the short- and long-term health consequences of this cultural practice. Associate Professor Ogunsiji is passionate about prevention of FGM and optimal health care of women and girls living with FGM. Through her research, Olayide is engaging FGM practicing communities, health providers, researchers, non-government organisations and government agencies to contribute to the national and global agenda to eliminate FGM and promote optimal health outcomes for women and girls living with the consequences of the practice.


Female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) is one of the cultural practices targeted by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) for elimination by the year 2030. The World Health Organisation recognises and acknowledges the unique position that health care providers including nurses and midwives occupy in the achievement of this global agenda. They are relied upon to work closely with practicing communities in changing their attitude towards the practice and to provide optimal health care for women and girls living with FGM/C. With just six years left for the UNSDGs, it is important to understand how women living with FGM/C are faring under the care of Australian health providers.

FGM/C involves partial or total removal of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. It is an extreme form of gender-based violence, a women and girls health issue and a violation of women's and girls' human right. FGM/C is associated with significant short- and long-term health consequences for women and girls. Globally, more than 200 million women and girls are living with female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and every year about 3 million girls are at the risk of undergoing the practice. In Australia, about 53, 000 women and girls born overseas are living with FGM/C.

To understand women living with FGM/C and gain insight into what it means to be living with the health consequences of the practice in Australia, qualitative research methodologies including body mapping have been used to engage health providers and women living with FGM/C. We now know that health care of women living with FGM/C is overwhelmingly maternity-centric and that the neglected areas such as the psycho-sexual and relationship-building components of the women's and girls' health require attention. Collaborations with State and National Stakeholders continue to enhance this understanding.

Through this presentation, I will share some of the findings of the research among health care providers and women living with FGM/C. I will also showcase some of the work undertaken with State and National Stakeholders.

Prof Ogunsiji

Date & time: Tuesday, 26th March, 2024, 1:00pm -2:00pm

Location: Liverpool Campus, Level 9, Room 1 or Online via Zoom

Bookings for this hybrid event are essential

11th April 2024: White Nose Syndrome vs. Australian Bats - Dr Nicholas Wu

In-Person / Online

White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a devastating wildlife disease that has killed millions of insectivorous bats in North America since 2006, when the causal fungal pathogen Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) was first detected. Australian bats might soon face exposure to this potentially catastrophic fungal disease. Limited initial screening indicates the fungus is not currently in Australia. However, a Commonwealth-initiated expert risk assessment has concluded it is 'almost certain' that Pd will be inadvertently introduced into an Australian cave within the next ten years.

Dr Nicholas Wu discusses his research which aims to understand, prepare for, and respond to the imminent threat posed by WNS to Australia's bat fauna. Learn what you can do to also protect Australian bats, and how to respond if you come across a potentially infected animal.

Date & time: Thursday 11th April, 2024, 12:00pm-1:00pm

Location: Hawkesbury Campus, Building 2, Room 30 or Online via Zoom

Bookings for this hybrid event are essential

Coming events in 2024

Gender, Work and Social Theory: The Critical Consequences of the Cultural Turn – Kate Huppatz, Associate Professor, Associate Dean, Research, Discipline Lead, Sociology, School of Social Sciences

Masculinity, Backlash and Antifeminism – Lucy Nicholas, Associate Professor, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

How Australian Forests Will Cope with A Hot, Dry and Fiery Future – Associate Professor, Matthias Boer, Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment

Teasing-Eve: Diverse Perspectives on the Sexual Harassment of Women in Dhaka City, Bangladesh – Arunima Kishore Das, Associate Lecturer, Culture and Society

Sexual Harassment in the Legal Profession – Ashlee Gore Academic Program Advisor, Criminology & Policing, Liverpool

Female Entrepreneurship and the Creative Industries: Women’s Participation in Cultural Labour – Sheree Gregory, Senior Lecturer, School of Business

The African Great Lakes Diaspora: Community-led research on Gender-based Violence – Selda Dagistanli, Senior Lecturer, School of Social Sciences

Building Custodianship of Antarctica – Professor Juan Francisco Salazar, School of Humanities and Communication Arts

Past events

8th November 2023: Fix My Food: Sustainable Food Systems - Dr Catharine Fleming

In Person/Online

Global food systems are failing children and adolescents. Poor diet quality is driving malnutrition among adolescents around the world. The quality of food eaten by adolescents not only determines their health and development but is also the foundation of thriving communities. With 1.3 billion adolescents (10-19 years), forming 16 percent of the world’s population (UNICEF Data 2023), investment in the transition from childhood to adulthood during this critical period of growth is crucial.

To develop a truly child-centred food system, we need to understand how children navigate their food environments, deciding what to eat, where to eat, and where to buy it. To do this we used a novel distributed data generation method to consult with 1,300 children and adolescents from over 30 countries to document their needs, experiences and aspirations in relation to nutrition, food environments and food systems. We published two companion reports to UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children 2019 report and a seminal report on how young people engage with their food systems globally.

This presentation will showcase what young people told us about a range of barriers which impact their ability to consume foods that are healthy, nutritious, and sustainable. We will also highlight how children and young people want to be engaged in the food system transformation.

Join us to hear recommendations from children and adolescents across the world and what they identified as urgent actions needed to transform food systems and reduce the negative impact on young people and their environment.

Dr Catharine Fleming is a Lecturer in Public Health in the School Health Science, Western Sydney University and is Stream Co-Lead for Youth Participation and Engagement in the Young and Resilient Research Centre. Dr Fleming has a PhD in paediatric nutrition and dietetics and over 15 years’ experience in paediatric nutrition relating to infant and young child feeding, paediatric food allergy and childhood obesity. Dr Fleming has research experience in mixed methods, co design, clinical and public health research methodologies covering quantitative, qualitative and data linkage studies. This experience has involved working with families, children and population-based data in paediatric nutrition in a variety of clinical, community and global settings. Dr Fleming is building a body of work focusing on protecting against lifelong chronic disease through investigating different aspects of feeding and diet in the most teachable moments of childhood and adolescence. Dr Fleming is passionate about ensuring a sustainable nutritional change occurs for children and adolescents through co-designed and development of interventions and policies by young people for young people.

Date and Time: Wednesday 8th November, 2023, 12 noon to 1pm

Location: Western Sydney University, Parramatta City Campus, Peter Shergold Building, Level 9, Conference room 2 (PC-01.9.16) or online via Zoom.

25th October 2023: Teaching for Sustainability - Professor Graciela Metternicht

In-Person / Online

Why should we aim to empower our students to work and think globally, implementing strategies to end poverty, improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests?

This year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a synthesis report summarising the state of knowledge of climate change, its widespread impacts and risks, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. The message is clear: the windows of opportunity for climate resilient development are narrowing and education has a role to play towards creating a more informed society in terms of consumption and lifestyle. This presentation will touch on specific points of the IPCC Report relating to the understanding of causality and impact, and how this can inform and educate responses focused on adaptation to climate change.

Join us to hear Professor Graciela Metternicht discuss the importance of learning design to teach sustainable development, and why and how we can meaningfully teach skills students can apply in their future professions, making a tangible difference to our world.

Graciela Metternicht is the Dean of Science at Western Sydney University. She is a Professor of Geography with over 25 years of experience in environmental management, sustainability and the science-policy interface. Her research interests are primarily in environmental geography, with a focus on geospatial technologies and their application in environmental management and policy (sustainable land management, terrestrial ecosystems) and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Graciela is a Scientific and Technical Adviser on ecosystem restoration and sustainable land management for the Global Environment Facility (GEF); Chair of the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Advisory Panel; member of the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management; member of Future Earth Global Land Program Scientific Steering Committee. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Environmental Geography at the Earth and Sustainability Science Research Centre, UNSW Sydney.

Date & time: Wednesday 25th October 2023, 12:00pm-1:00pm

Location: Western Sydney University, Parramatta City Campus, Peter Shergold Building, Level 9, Conference room 2 (PC-01.9.16) or Online via Zoom.

21st September 2023: Peace or Democracy?: Peacebuilding Dilemmas to Transition from Civil Wars - Dr Izabela Pereira Watts

In-Person / Online

Why do countries torn by civil war rarely emerge as robust democracies with sustainable peace?

Join the conversation on the International Day of Peace as former UN Peacekeeper Dr Izabela Pereira Watts discusses her new book Peace or Democracy: Dilemmas for Peacebuilding after Civil Wars and her professional and practical experiences, with special guest Leanne Smith, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Human Rights Commission, and Dr Simon Longstaff, AO (CEO of The Ethics Centre) as part of the Library's Thought Leadership series.

Dr Izabela Pereira Watts accumulates more than 15 years of experience in development cooperation projects with major international organizations, such as the United Nations and the Organisation of American States, as well as private and public sectors, including think tanks, the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Peruvian Embassy. Her experience in international development across Asia, Latin America, Africa and Europe intersects with public policy design, project management, monitoring and evaluation, peacekeeping, elections, humanitarian affairs, strategic analysis and gender in fragile states. She is a former UN Peacekeeper (Democratic Governance Officer to the United Nations Mission in Timor-Leste). She holds a Doctorate in International Relations and two master's degrees in Economics and Political Sciences and Peace Studies, respectively. Her bachelor's degree was also in International Relations.

Her passion and energy led her to multiple awards, including, “Top 99 Under 33 Most Influential International Leaders” by the global affairs magazine Diplomatic Courier (USA-2013) and the Yunque Prize for Humanitarianism and Education (Argentina-2007). She was also nominated twice for the Outstanding Contribution for Teaching and Learning Award (OCTAL-University of Wollongong- 2020 & 2022). Dr Pereira Watts is a senior international consultant and lecturer at the University of Wollongong and Western Sydney University. She is a research member of the Future of Rights Centre (FoRC) at the University of Wollongong and an Adjunct Fellow for the Humanitarian and Development Research Initiative (HADRI) at Western Sydney University. She is also a former Ambassador for the Global Peace Index of the Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP) and a former research coordinator of Armed Conflict Prevention and Resolution–(GapCON University Rio de Janeiro). Dr Pereira Watts has many publications, including the book Peace or Democracy: Dilemmas for Peacebuilding after Civil Wars (2023 Routledge- UK) the foreword of which was written by Nobel Peace Laureate Jose Ramos-Horta, and endorsed by former members of the Parliament of Kosovo and Rwanda and UN high Officials. Dr Pereira Watts’ excellent communication skills are also evident in her fluency in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

Date & time: Thursday, 21st September 2023, 1:30pm-2:30pm

Location: Western Sydney University, Parramatta City Campus, Peter Shergold Building, Level 9, Conference room 2 (PC-01.9.16) or Online via Zoom.

7th September: Rethinking Approaches to Achieving Sustainable Development Goals In An Era Of Smart Computing - Professor Athula Ginige, Dr Bahman Javadi Jahantigh and Dr Ashini Wesumperuma

In-Person / Online

Food security is essential for the survival of humankind and is linked to many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Each SDG has some connection to other SDGs creating a complex web of interconnected systems. At a fundamental level, these interconnections facilitate the exchange of knowledge, material, services, and money. Smart Computing can facilitate these exchanges to significantly enhance economic, social, and environmental outcomes.

In this seminar, we will show practical applications of Smart Computing to achieve food security by creating Digital Agrifood Ecosystems. Unlike traditional digital agriculture, digital agrifood ecosystems take a holistic approach by integrating various stakeholders in the food system, including farmers, consumers, supply chains, agriculture extension and other service providers, and policymakers. It enhances the flow of information among these stakeholders, enabling them to coordinate activities leading to improved productivity, distribution, quality, and food availability, focusing on achieving food security. These ecosystems leverage advances in digital technologies, social computing, inferencing, predictive, and generative computational techniques to create necessary information flows to facilitate the timely and context-specific exchange of knowledge, material (inputs and harvest), and money. We will present some case studies of application of these innovations in agriculture practices in Sri Lanka, India, and Africa.

Professor Athula Ginige holds a B.Sc. first-class honours in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. He completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge on a Cambridge Commonwealth Scholarship. Formerly an Associate Professor at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), he is currently the Head of School and Professor of Information Technology at Western Sydney University. His research interests include Web Engineering and remote healthcare. He serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal on Advances in ICT for Emerging Regions (ICTer).

Dr. Bahman Javadi Jahantigh is an Associate Professor in Networking and Cloud Computing at Western Sydney University. He holds MS and PhD degrees in Computer Engineering from the Amirkabir University of Technology. Prior to his current role, he was a Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne and INRIA Rhone-Alpes, France. He is the co-founder of the Failure Trace Archive and has served on various international program committees.

Dr. Ashini Wesumperuma is an Information Technology Lecturer at Western Sydney University, specializing in eLearning Design and Development. She is keen on incorporating sustainability into teaching.

Date & time: Thursday 7th September 2023, 12:00pm-1:00pm

Location: Western Sydney University, Parramatta City Campus, Peter Shergold Building, Level 9, Conference room 2 (PC-01.9.16) or Online via Zoom.

Bookings for this hybrid event are essential

31 August 2023: Workforce and Training Issues in the Disability Sector - Dr Caroline Mills

Public Thought Leadership Event

In-Person / Online

There are 4.4 million people living with disability in Australia. That’s 1 in 6 people. The likelihood of disability increases with increasing age. People with disability experience more disadvantage when it comes to participation and employment. This presentation discusses the work of Western Sydney University and the Western Sydney Disability Hub with a focus on two key workforce issues. First, there are not enough workers to meet demand within the disability sector. This is putting a strain on existing services and staff, compromising participation and outcomes for people with disability who want to access therapies and supports in the daily life. Second, people with disability are less likely to be employed. This can cause a cycle of poverty and welfare dependency negatively impacting on outcomes for people with disability. Come and hear from industry professionals and lived experience to see how this issue may be addressed.

Dr Caroline Mills is an occupational therapist and academic in the School of Health Sciences at Western Sydney University. Her work focuses on health and disability and is often co-designed with industry stakeholders and those with lived experience.  
Kitty Mach is a provisional psychologist and WSU alumni, with lived experience of autism and ADHD. She brings a unique perspective to her work in the disability sector.

Jeff Scobie is a recognised leader in the disability field with over 40 years experience in the disability sector in various roles. He is currently the CEO of Macarthur Disability Services.

Date & time: Thursday, 31 August 2023, 12:00pm-1:00pm

Location: Western Sydney University, Parramatta City Campus, Peter Shergold Building, Level 9, Conference room 2 (PC-01.9.16) or Online via Zoom.

4 August 2023: The Painted River Project – Dr Leo Robba

In-Person / Online

Western Sydney University design and water researchers Dr Leo Robba and Dr Ian Wright have combined art and science in The Painted River Project, which highlights the importance of preserving and improving river and water catchments in Australia through community engagement and education.

The Painted River endeavours to engage the community through art on the health and future vision for rivers. Water and our river systems are the foundation of healthy cities and human well-being.

Date & time: Friday, 4 August 2023, 1:30pm-2:30pm

Location: Western Sydney University, Parramatta City Campus, Peter Shergold Building, Level 9, Conference room 2 (PC-01.9.16) or Online via Zoom.

25 July 2023: Redrawing the Circular Economy : Organic waste and Peri-urban futures - Dr Stephen Healyeading

In-Person / Online

This talk presents the findings of an Australian Research Council Discovery project called "Innovative Waste Economies: Redrawing the Circular Economy". The circular economy is a policy response to the global waste crisis, aiming to replace the "take-make-waste" economy with a more sustainable model that prolongs product life, reduces waste, and recovers the value of discarded materials. However, achieving circularity requires more than just technical improvements in waste management - it also involves reconfiguring social practices, economic relationships, and ingrained habits.

Our research centres social-practices of experimentation with waste already underway in Australia that are attempting to renegotiate how we live with waste. In this talk, we discuss one such experiment that involves a range of stakeholders working together to organize the reverse logistics of transporting organic waste (specifically, spent coffee grounds) from Sydney city cafes, businesses, and universities to peri-urban farms practicing regenerative farming. Our research aims to explore the social and economic relationships required to make this type of circularity work. The City of Sydney has set the ambitious goal of an 80% reduction of organic waste from landfill by 2030. Meeting this ambitious goal involves rapid and ambitious transformation. What emerges from our research is a more inclusive and participatory vision of circularity, which aims to achieve a wider range of goals beyond simply waste reduction.

Date & time: Tuesday, 25 July 2023, 12:00pm-1:00pm

Location: Western Sydney University, Parramatta City Campus, Peter Shergold Building, Level 9, Conference room 2 (PC-01.9.16).

3 June 2023: Turtles Rock! Let's Shellebrate - Associate Professor Ricky Spencer

In-Person / Online

As part of Reconciliation Week and in celebration of World Turtle Day, Western Sydney University Library and Associate Professor Ricky Spencer, in partnership with Penrith City Library, present an interactive family workshop on how we can all help protect Australian endangered turtle species, incorporating mindful rock painting activities, following on from turtle-themed Indigenous story time activities led by Pearl Wymarra, Aboriginal Elder.

This event is part of the Growing Thought Leadership Series which aims to promote and celebrate Western Sydney University's work aligned with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for people of all ages.

Time: 12 noon to 1pm

Location: Penrith City Council

Growing Thought Leadership Logo

1 June 2023: Either Lost or Found? A Child’s Story from a WWII Australian Internment Camp - Professor Pedram Khosronejad and Mrs Helga (Girschik) Griffin

In-Person / Online

As many as 50,000 German, Italian, and Japanese civilians were sent to Internment camps in Australia during WWII. Until today, the lives and fates of 512 German civilians of Persia (Iran), the imprisoned inhabitants of Australian World War II confinement centres, and the roles that they and their family members played in the development of post-war Australia has been ignored by academia.

Professor Pedram Khosronejad and Mrs Helga (Girschik) Griffin present the findings of a research project which explores the socio-cultural history and memories of a group of civilian German detainees and migrants in Australia through their heritage and the roles that they played in the development of the country after World War II.  This presentation is the result of a four year collaboration between Professor Khosronejad and Mrs Helga (Girschik) Griffin, the only surviving female among the civilian Germans from Persia (Iran) who were brought to Australia as families and allegedly kept in detention, but actually lived like prisoners in Tatura’s Internment Camp No. 3 (1941-46).

The daughter of an Austrian railway engineer working in Iran (1936-41), Helga was aged six when, with her parents and younger brother, she became a captive of the British Army’s invasion of that politically neutral country in 1941. Her family was evicted from Iran and sent by sea to a WWII prison camp at a secret destination. Her family’s internment in Australia’s Camp 3, Tatura, in north-western Victoria, lasted five years. Helga’s story represents a rare opportunity to hear a first-hand account of a young female’s experiences arriving in Australia by boat as a stateless refugee and being placed in detention for an unforeseeable time. She is the only surviving female from 512 civilian Germans detained in Iran who were taken into Australian WWII internment prison camps.

The research project investigates whether the concept of internment is a polite euphemism to disguise the political actuality of civilians being treated like prisoners without any political or moral conviction. Helga’s so-called internment was associated with life threatening danger during transportation, long-term detention in an antagonistic political environment, and the fracture of a child’s normal development. It is questionable whether such violations of Human Rights are excusable in the interest of a foreign neutral country’s national security during a time of war.

This event also includes an exhibition curated by Professor Pedram Khosronejad displaying some of the objects from Mrs Griffin’s family collection from their internment periods in Tatura Internment prison camp.

After the event, Mrs Helga (Girschik) Griffin will be signing copies of her book "At Home in Exile", which will be available to purchase for $44. Please bring exact change.

Tatura Internment Camp

Girschik Collection. Curator: P. Khosronejad © P. Khosronejad
Tatura, Victoria, Australia, 10 March 1945. Family groups of German Internees at No. 3 Camp, Tatura Internment Camp. Back row, left to right (standing): Helga Girschik; Rudolf Girschik; Lothar Streker; Daniel Streker. Front row (sitting): Peter Girschik (standing); Elfriede holding baby Herbert Girschik; Elisabeth Streker; Liselotte Streker.

Biography of Professor Pedram Khosronejad and Mrs Helga (Girschik) Griffin (PDF)

19 April 2023: Wombats: Creatures of Wonder - Associate Professor Julie Old

The Growing Thought Leadership series aims to promote and celebrate Western Sydney University's work aligned with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for a younger audience.

Come and learn about wombats, an Australian native marsupial that is endangered and needs our help.

Enjoy hands-on craft activities creating your very own wombat mask and discover more about these fascinating creatures.

Presented by Western Sydney University’s Associate Professor Julie Old, Ecologist and Western Sydney University Library.

19 April 2023: Gender Matters - Professor Susanne Gannon

In-Person / Online

How and in what ways does gender matter in Australian education? How are pedagogies, practices and policies influenced by understandings of gender? What old ideas and approaches persist and how do these need to change for the present? How are young people, teachers and school leaders responding to contemporary notions of gender? How has feminist thinking and praxis been effective in the in the past and what is needed now? In this presentation, Professor Susanne Gannon revisits her work in this field over more than twenty years, in the school education and university sectors, to consider what does it mean now for schools to be inclusive, safe spaces for all students of all genders to thrive. In particular her work considers initiatives in secondary schools, and the findings from the ARC funded Gender Matters project (with Prof Kerry Robinson).

14 March 2023: What did Australia learn about Country after the 2019-2020 catastrophic bushfires? - Dr Jessica Weir

Associate Professor Jessica Weir discusses what Australia learnt about Country in response to the catastrophic bushfires of 2019-20 and invites discussion from the audience.

What did Australia learn about Country after the 2019-20 catastrophic bushfires?

Australia’s 2019-20 catastrophic bushfires were shocking – the long stretch of burnt out eastern-seaboard localities, the capital cities blanketed in smoke, and particles from this continent circling the globe. There was national and international media interest in Indigenous peoples’ burning practices as ‘the answer’. This media attention reflects generational shifts by non-Indigenous individuals and institutions towards more respectful relations with Indigenous peoples (e.g. Welcome to Country ceremonies).

However, understanding whether Indigenous fire management is the answer requires understanding first what is the question; and this, as Indigenous leaders keep reiterating,  requires understanding Country.

This presentation considers what the catastrophic bushfire inquiries tell us about where the Federation of Australia is at with learning about Country. Associate Professor Weir will demonstrate how diverging and aligning Indigenous and non-Indigenous bushfire expertise offers not just more possibilities for responding to global environmental crisis, but more possibilities for understanding expert knowledge itself.

Associate Professor Weir: 'I contribute as a white non-Indigenous scholar descended from colonialists, and my scholarship is both charged and constrained by this positionality.'

8 March 2023: Women in Science Panel, Celebrating Female Scientists

Join us as we host a panel of scientists from fields such as biology, human anatomy, forensic anthropology, ecology and environmental science. Learn how they got into science, their current research, what challenges they have faced as females in the scientific community and celebrate the rise of women in the industry.

Proudly bought to you by Western Sydney University Library, Science @ The Local and Penrith City Library

28 February 2023: Life after school for young people with intellectual disabilities - Dr Lise Mogensen

Dr Lise Mogensen is an Associate Professor at School of Medicine Western Sydney University, with demonstrated teaching excellence in project based learning. Lise’s areas of expertise include Research Design and Supervision, Lecturing, Medical Education, Medical Sociology, Childhood and Disability Studies. Dr Mogensen holds a PhD in Social Justice and Social Change from Western Sydney University.

Life after school for young people with intellectual disability: “I want to be more than a disability person’’

This session is presented by Associate Professor Lise Mogensen, School of Medicine, Professor Gabrielle Drake, School of Social Sciences, Dr Jenny McDonald, School of Medicine and Dr Nicole Sharp, School of Health Sciences, and Director of Believe and Become Occupational Therapy.

The researchers present findings from a recent study exploring the transition from school to adult life as experienced by young people with intellectual disability in Queensland, NSW, and Victoria. The project also explored whether the change from a social welfare model of disability support to a consumer-focused market-based system, funded by the NDIS, better enable consumer ‘choice and control’ as intended. Findings from interviews with parents, educators, health, and disability services providers will also be presented, questions and discussion will be invited from the audience.

14 February 2023: From Hot Suburbs to Cool Towns - Dr Sebastian Pfautsch

Australia is one of the most urbanised countries in the world, where nearly 90% of the population lives in towns and metropolitan areas. The trend in Australia and elsewhere in the world is towards larger and denser cities. Both processes, expansion of cities at their fringe zones and densifying within, make cities hotter. This is counterproductive in a time where our summers become hotter. We must do the opposite – develop urban spaces so they keep cool.

Dr Sebastian Pfautsch is an Associate Professor at the Urban Transformations Research Centre of Western Sydney University where he develops strategies to keep cities cool. He is an advocate for change who regularly features in the media. His work has changed government policies and practices and he has won state and national awards for his projects.

In this talk, he explained why it is necessary to pivot urban design and development from business-as-usual to cool. Using practical examples, he demonstrated the wide range of possibilities available today to create heat-smart towns and cities for tomorrow – from simple changes around residential homes to turning public parks into large air conditioners.

You may find out about his work on car parks, playgrounds and schools as well.

This presentation was recorded, and is available to watch.

7 November 2022: Climate action and carbon transitions – Dr. Roger Attwater

Dr. Roger Attwater discussed operational sustainability at Western Sydney University, and invited discussion from the audience.

WSU’s commitment to the UN-led ‘Race to Zero for Colleges and Universities’ is for Carbon Neutral 2023 and Climate Positive 2029.

The presentation outlined our journey during 2022 towards Climate Active accreditation of carbon neutrality, and our developing Carbon Transition Plan to progress towards being a low carbon organisation and our Climate Positive aspirations.

22 November 2022: Maldhan Ngurr Ngurra: Partnerships for sustainable regional futures – Associate Professors Louise Crabtree-Hayes and Neil Perry

Associate Professor Louise Crabtree-Hayes and Associate Professor Neil Perry discussed regional collaboration and invited discussion from the audience.

In 2021 after two years of closure, the University's Lithgow building re-opened as Maldhan Ngurr Ngurra - the Lithgow Transformation Hub. The name translates as 'working together, side by side'.

The name was provided by Wiradjuri language holder Sharon Riley to uphold the vision developed by local stakeholders, which is for Maldhan Ngurr Ngurra to act as a catalyst for regional collaboration towards sustainable futures.

Framed by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Maldhan Ngurr Ngurra is now a thriving centre of regional innovation with a program of intertwined capacity-building activities that continues to expand and deepen.