Our Team

The work of the Centre for Children & Young People is led by the Director, Professor Anne Graham, and supported by a dynamic, committed team of multidisciplinary researchers, a distinguished Advisory Board, young persons' consultative groups, research Associates from Schools across the University, engaged and supportive Adjunct staff, high performing postgraduate students and regular visiting scholars. This diverse and talented team contributes immense expertise in undertaking research, education and advocacy activities to advance the rights and wellbeing of children and young people in the different contexts in which they live their lives.



Professor Anne Graham is the Founding Director of the Centre for Children and Young People (CCYP). Under Anne's leadership the CCYP has built the reputation of Southern Cross University as a key player regionally, nationally and internationally in providing high quality, high impact interdisciplinary research aimed at improving policy and practice in key areas of children and young people's lives. Over the past 12 years Anne has led over 60 research projects, including 5 ARC Linkage grants and 2 ARC Discovery grants, focused primarily on children's rights and wellbeing in different contexts (schools, family law processes, juvenile justice, disability services), as well as ethical issues in research involving children, and teacher (and other professionals’) learning. This program of research has attracted well over $8 million in funding to date. To help ensure relevance and strong industry engagement, Anne’s research has been undertaken collaboratively with state and Commonwealth government departments, as well as key statutory bodies, major national and international NGOs, and many other community based organisations. Anne has published extensively in scholarly journals and books, and provides a substantial number of presentations, seminars and collaboratively run workshops to help ensure partner organisations benefit from research undertaken with the Centre. Anne's research has also resulted in her authorship of a highly successful psycho-social education program, Seasons for Growth, which provides children, young people and parents with knowledge and skills to adapt to significant change in family life following death, separation, divorce and other loss experiences. Over 300,000 children and young people in 5 countries have now participated in the program.

Research Interests:  children and young people’s rights, social and emotional wellbeing and safety within different family, school and community contexts; children and young people’s experiences of loss and grief; participation at school; participation in family law processes; relationships; ethical issues in researching with children & young people; teacher learning; ethical practice in working with children; interdisciplinary understandings of childhood; effective knowledge translation.

Methodological Expertise: a wide range of mixed-method and qualitative methodologies; participatory research design; program evaluation; on-line survey development; young people as co-researchers.

Industry Collaboration Interests:  State and Commonwealth government departments (including Family and Community Services, Social Services, Education, Juvenile Justice, Legal Aid), as well as key statutory bodies (such as the NSW Advocate for Children and Young People, the Australian Human Rights Commission), major national and international NGOs (such as UNICEF, Save the Children, Childfund Australia, The Smith Family), and many significant regional organisations (disability and out-of-home care services, Catholic Schools Offices, local councils, Family Relationships Centres).

Detailed Profile

Centre Researchers

Dr Catharine Simmons

Dr Catharine Simmons

Research Interests: Childhood studies; sociology; student participation in decision making; children and young people’s rights and agency; participatory methodologies; cultures of childhood; learning through play and practice; knowledge as power; popular culture
Methodological Expertise: Qualitative participatory methodologies and methods; child-led research; ethnography; arts-based research 
Industry Collaboration Interests: Student participation in education; student wellbeing; personalised learning; creativity and imaginative play in education programming; Indigenous knowledge and land management practices; young people’s theatre; community engagement

Detailed Profile 

Dr Kate Neale

Dr Kate Neale

Research Interests: childhood studies, commercial enculturation, socio-cultural theory, recognition theory, social geography, socialisation theories, accessible methodologies, knowledge translation and the ethical considerations of involving children and young people in research in a meaningful capacity. 
Methodological Expertise: A wide range of quantitative and qualitative approaches; participatory action research methods; accessible methodologies; mind-mapping; PhotoVoice
Industry Collaboration Interests: Horticultural therapy; wellbeing, social inclusion and community cohesion linked to greenspaces in education, early years learning; public spaces; social housing; allied health
Research Areas: Education; Early Years

Detailed Profile 

Antonia Canosa

Dr Antonia Canosa

Research Interests: childhood studies; anthropology of tourism; critical theory; children’s rights and participation; ethical dimensions of research with children and young people; youth cultures. 
Methodological Expertise: ethnography; visual ethnography; participatory research; participatory filmmaking
Industry Collaboration Interests: Children and young people’s wellbeing in tourist destinations; civic and political participation of children and young people in communities; children’s contact with nature and national parks.
Research Areas: Children’s rights and participation

Detailed Profile

Dr Kathomi Gatwiri

Research Interests: Trauma informed practice, culturally informed practice, decolonizing teaching and practice, race and immigration, theories of the body, language and discourse, race and racism, critical race and intersectional theories, theories of belonging and governmentality, wellbeing among minoritised populations, diasporic identities, culture and identity
Methodological Expertise: Decolonizing methodologies,  Qualitative methodologies, auto-ethnographic methodologies, Anti-oppressive methodologies, Intersectional methodologies, critical participative methodologies, culturally informed methodologies.  
Industry Collaboration Interests: Wellbeing of minoritised populations, promotion of inclusion and belonging in the community, decolonizing knowledge, community engagement, cultural humility and sensitivity in diverse practice, intersectional practice,
Other appointments in University: Senior Lecturer; Senior Research Fellow-Centre for Excellence in Therapeutic Care

Detailed Profile

tess boyle

Dr Tess Boyle

Research Interests: Transitions between and across education settings; early years education and care; curriculum continuity and alignment; pedagogy education and praxis; middle leading; coaching as pedagogical leadership; ethical practices involving children. 
Methodological Expertise: Qualitative critical participatory methodologies and methods; site ontology practice theories; theory of practice architectures; critical participatory methods, action research, case studies.
Industry Collaboration Interests: Tess has worked with government and non-government education authorities in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. Recent collaborations with industry partners include cross sectorial perspectives of early years education and care; ethical practices involving children; middle leading in the early years; continuity and alignment of curriculum across and within sectors; developing early years resources (videos); policy development; cross-sectorial perspectives of transitions to school.
Other appointments in University: Lecturer: Faculty of Education; Trainee: Southern Cross University’s Human Research Ethics Committee

Detailed Profile

Lynne CCYP staff

Associate Professor Lynne McPherson

Research Interests: Lynne’s research interests are in the areas of child protection practice and out of home care, complex developmental trauma and therapeutic approaches, leadership and social work supervision. Methodological Expertise: Qualitative methodologies, auto-ethnographic methodologies, critical participative methodologies.

Industry Collaboration Interests: Lynne spent more than 25 years as a senior social work manager and practice leader in child protection and the wider child, youth and family sector. Her industry collaboration interests reflect this background. She is currently engaged in projects collaborating with statutory child protection services, non-government out of home care and child trauma specialist agencies.

Other appointments in University: Associate Professor; Director of Research- Centre for Excellence in Therapeutic Care

Detailed Profile

Adjunct Professors

Judy Cashmore

Professor Judy Cashmore

Judy Cashmore is the Chair of the Centre for Children and Young People's Advisory Board. Judy has a background in developmental psychology and is a distinguished researcher in the care and protection of children. She has published widely and served on a number of government committees concerning child protection and policy. Judy has also been involved as a consultant with a range of Federal and State organisations and she presented the non-government report on Children's Rights to the United Nations. 

Nigel Thomas

Professor Patrick Thomas

Patrick Thomas is Professor of Childhood and Youth Research at the University of Central Lancashire and Director of The Centre for Children and Young People's Participation. His research interests are principally in child welfare, children's rights and participation, and theories of childhood. His publications include Children, Family and the State: Decision-Making and Child Participation (Policy Press 2002); Social Work with Young People in Care (Palgrave 2005); Children, Politics and Communication: Participation at the Margins (Policy Press 2009); and A Handbook of Children and Young People's Participation: perspectives from theory and practice (with Barry Percy-Smith, Routledge 2010). He was from 2005 to 2011 co-editor of the journal Children & Society, and is now Chair of the Editorial Board. He is also on the Editorial Board of The International Journal of Children's Rights.

Deborah Brennan

Professor Deborah Brennan

Deborah Brennan is one of Australia's leading researchers in comparative social policy, early childhood education and care and gender and politics. Deborah has held visiting positions at the London School of Economics, Oxford University, Trinity College Dublin and the University of Melbourne. She is a member of the NSW Ministerial Carers Advisory Council, a former President of the Australian Political Science Association and was the Inaugural Convenor of the National Association of Community Based Children's Services (NABCBS). She is a member of the International Advisory Board of the United States Study Centre, University of Sydney.

Deborah serves on the editorial advisory board of Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society, Families, Relationships and Societies and the Journal of Poverty and Social Justice. She is a member of the Feminist International Institutionalist Network (FIIN), the International Network on Leave Policies and Research and the Network on Migration and Care in the Asia-Pacific.

Deborah leads the University of NSW component of a Commonwealth funded Collaborative Research Network that links the Social Policy Research Centre (UNSW) and the Centre for Children and Young People (Southern Cross University).

Dr Sally Robinson

Professor Sally Robinson

Research Interests: Promoting rights and wellbeing of children and young people with disability - abuse prevention and safety promotion for children and young people with disability; improving quality in disability service support; building inclusive schooling and services for children and young people with disability; evaluation of government and community organisations
Methodological Expertise: A range of qualitative and quantitative research approaches, with emphasis on participatory and inclusive research methods; ethical research with people with disability; and inclusive evaluation.
Industry Collaboration Interests: State and Federal government and non-government organisations, Statutory bodies, regional organisations.

Top of Page