Working on Social Change

Paste-up drawing on a wall, showing two women. One woman is sitting and holds an electric drill. The other woman stands and holds scales of justice

Happy New Year! Today I summarise my major projects for the past year, covering public health, vocational training, disability, technology, and gender equity.

Twenty twenty-one was difficult, especially for groups at high risk of COVID-19, people who didn’t have paid employment, and those who could not work from home. I was fortunate to be able to continue my paid research whilst working from home. While it was a productive year, there were many challenges. I recovered from illness and injury, whilst pushing for equity, accessibility and inclusion in my paid and unpaid work.

Labouring on social transformation within organisations and communities is far more difficult, as well as physically and emotionally draining, than most other work. As we gear up for another tumultuous year, I send my solidarity to those struggling to create change.

Recent projects

  1. Public health: In February 2021, I finished writing the results of our 2020 study on COVID-19. March to June was frenetic, as I coordinated the scale-up of our research across the state. This includes co-creating and filming a training video (it was a hoot!). Our research is yet to be published but hopefully will be soon. One of the most rewarding aspects of this work is that our intervention and survey were multilingual
  2. Vocational training: In June 2021, we published results from another large study (carried out 2019-2020). We tested six behavioural messages to encourage apprentices to seek help when they encounter barriers to completing their qualification. This led to 16% fewer drop-outs. The intervention will be scaled in 2022
  3. Accessibility: In October 2021, I finally published fieldwork findings on how to improve promotion and retention of people with disability in the public service. The research was undertaken in late 2019. Publication was delayed due to COVID-19 and other matters. Nevertheless, momentum continued, as the team built on our recommendations, by conducting a trial to increase disability awareness. This publication is a highlight for me professionally and personally. I was incredibly proud to finally share insights from people with disability as well as managers and HR experts who generously contributed their expertise
  4. Technology: In November 2021, I wrapped up an exciting project to increase cyber safety. I designed an online training game! I hope we can share results in the future. This is one of the most fun projects I have worked on. A personal highlight is that our design was informed by accessibility principles, with meaningful input from colleagues with disability at every stage: planning, development, and user testing
  5. Gender equity: In December 2021, we received funding to carry out a large project to boost recruitment and retention of women and girls in non-traditional roles. I completed our proposal and project plan, focusing heavily on how to best support flexibility for the incoming team.

In addition, I maintained my unpaid research, which was firmly focused on racial justice. See my research blog for my analysis on COVID-19 and other work.

Hope your year is off to a joyful, peaceful and safe start. Let’s keep fighting for change.