children in school uniform walking on grass

Corridor Cultures

A community-led research project into school cultures of gender and sexuality
Schools should be places where everyone can be themselves and feel like they belong. Corridor Cultures aims to understand school cultures of gender and sexuality, and how these can affirm or marginalise students.

This first-of-its-kind project directly includes students and teachers as co-researchers to investigate how school policies, spaces and activities influence cultures of gender and sexuality, and how these in turn shape feelings of belonging and wellbeing at school.

Producing evidence from the ground up, Corridor Cultures will provide different school communities with inventive and contextually responsive ways to disrupt gendered violence, and improve the experiences of schooling for everyone.

Corridor Cultures logo
Why is this project ‘community-led’?

Community-led research recognises the specificity of cultures in particular places. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to understanding school cultures of gender and sexuality; every school is different, with different histories, geographies, and ethos’.

Students and teachers from each school are directly involved in the design and execution of this project, allowing us to better understand the culture of each participating school, and to design strategies that respect and respond to this culture.

What does the project involve?

The project involves three types of fieldwork within partner schools for three years.

  • At the beginning of the project, a questionnaire will be completed by all students at each participating school, which will aim to get a snapshot of the values and attitudes about gender and sexuality in the student body, as well as how students experience the school environment.
  • Next, focus groups of students and teachers will take place to help understand the results of the questionnaire more comprehensively.
  • Using this data, co-researchers will devise activities or resources that the school can use to address areas that need improvement. 
  • Following an implementation of these resources, the questionnaire and focus groups will be repeated. Throughout this process, co-researchers will meet to work on the research strategy and interpret the findings.


The Corridor Cultures team

This research is being led by Dr Victoria Rawlings, a lecturer in the Sydney School of Education and Social Work. Vic is a global research leader on gender regulation, policing and violence in school communities. She has expertise in community-led empirical research and the theoretical framing of gender and sexuality, as well as experience as a high school teacher.

Morgan graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Health and Physical Education (Honours) and is currently working as a secondary school PDHPE teacher in Sydney. Morgan will be working with Vic to complete her PhD, using her passion and experience in school sport to undertake further research in this area.

Dr Paul Kelaita is a research affiliate in the Discipline of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. Paul will be providing administrative and research support on the project and has a background working on queer art practices and suburban spaces.

Banner image: iStock. 

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