Queer research initiatives at Sydney

8 March 2023
The Sydney Social Sciences and Humanities Advanced Research Centre deliver a series of activities to celebrate WorldPride
Professor Lee Wallace and Dr Victoria Rawlings from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences discuss their research during Sydney Mardi Gras and WorldPride.

In conjunction with Mardi Gras and WorldPride 2023, Professor Lee Wallace, Director at the Sydney Social Sciences and Humanities Advanced Research Centre (SSSHARC) and Dr Victoria Rawlings, Senior Lecturer at the Sydney School of Education and Social Work have been working on research projects focused on integrating queer perspectives into the classroom and other educational contexts.

In 2023, Prof Wallace and Dr Rawlings will co-direct the Hunt-Simes Institute in Sexuality Studies) a SSSHARC research initiative focused on the theme of ‘Queer Age / Queer Youth’. The Institute invited emerging researchers to think in two temporalities at once: retrospectively, with a deep understanding of past wrongs, and proleptically, in anticipation of a more just future.

Collectively, we are exploring what it means to bring queerness and education into conversation with each other.
Professor Lee Wallace

“Our participants were selected with diversity in mind, including disciplinary diversity but the format of the Institute borrows from the secondary classroom,” Professor Wallace said.

“Our entire cohort has to participate in generalist subjects like Science, Maths, Civics and Art, and even P.E."

“Along the way, we are tapping into our own experiences of schooling to think about how educational institutions shape us in often unacknowledged ways.”

Committed to inclusion, peace and justice, emerging scholars across age groups from 16 different universities and six countries will “explore what education is and what it can be when these values are embedded into it,” Dr Rawlings added.

Aside from the inaugural HISS launch, Prof Wallace and Dr Rawlings are also involved in other projects formally linked to Pride Amplified in association with Sydney WorldPride.

CLOAK is one such collaboration between SSSHARC, the School of Chemistry and UTS Fashion, which entailed Fashion students designing bespoke lab coats inspired by the personal stories of LGBTQIA+ scientists.  

SSSHARC also worked with Dr Xavier Ho to produce Pride at Play, an exhibition of queer video games and tabletop roleplaying games. The exhibition aimed to advance social research on how games can enable queer possibilities and play.  

Dr Ho also designed “Gilbert”, a light mural featuring music by queer DJ Annabelle Gaspar. Located at the Footbridge Gallery, the installation is one of the 45 public Pride-themed artworks across Greater Sydney. 

“Xavier’s works have really placed the University on the rainbow map,” Dr Rawlings said.

The feeling of all the queer people coming out together, and that there is no coming out anymore, because all of us are queer. I wish it felt this ways every day.
Dr Victoria Rawlings

Though Prof Wallace considers herself a late convert to collaborative research, Dr Rawlings praised her efforts as a research project manager.

“Dr Rawlings is a strategic thinker that understands the University and what they want and need really well,” Professor Wallace said.

“Victoria has transformed my understanding of what learning is and the role of the teacher in enabling that, I have learnt a lot from her.”

Amid the excitement around the annual Pride events, the team leaders and collaborators are united in promoting the acceptance of sexual and cultural differences through generosity in academia.