Xavier Ho's rainbow light mural

Sexuality Studies and LGBTQ+ Inclusive Education

How do we enable everyone to thrive in educational settings?

An opportunity to join a stellar team conducting innovative research in sexuality and education using a range of co-design and community-led approaches. 

The University of Sydney is a global flagship for sexuality studies and research in the field of LGBTQ+ Inclusive Education. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences hosts the Hunt-Simes Institute in Sexuality Studies (HISS), which brings established and early career researchers to Sydney every year to share best practice and collectively devise new approaches to making schools and other education settings places where queer kids thrive. Via HISS we have generated a number of collaborations that are already gaining national attention such as CLOAK and Pride at Play, both of which appeared in the WorldPride Amplified program in 2023. We also have a new initiative underway involving the development of educational games for LGBTQ inclusion. All these projects are interdisciplinary in conception and execution and build in research engagement end to end. We welcome new collaborators with training or professional experience that extends our own. We are very excited to see if our insights and methods speak to different global contexts, particularly those in which the decolonisation of education necessarily engages the history of sexual imperialism in all its forms. 

The student will be supervised by an interdisciplinary team. Professor Lee Wallace, a former ARC Future Fellow and current Director of SSSHARC, has established expertise in sexuality studies. Dr Victoria Rawlings, a current ARC DECRA, has complementary expertise in critical education studies and gender and sexuality. We are established collaborators and co-authors. At present we are broadening and deepening our expertise in the prevention of gendered violence via cultural interventions in schooling that include curriculum activation and the development of new resources for teachers such as tabletop (ie. non-digital) games. We seek international HDR students interested in these and other interventions in support of diversity and inclusion strategically appropriate to their own institutional contexts. In this way we hope to build international capacity and leadership in educational equality at a time when LGBTQ+ student rights are being eroded globally. If necessary, we can include colleagues with additional disciplinary expertise on supervisory panels. 

We already have several projects in LGBTQ+ inclusive education in Australia underway. We now seek to expand these efforts to include research relevant to other educational jurisdictions where gender and sexual diversity may not be considered a value or may even be criminalised. We have a particular interest in international students from Africa, India, the South Pacific and other regions whose educational systems have imperialist roots and where the sexual decolonisation of the classroom often encounters complex cultural impediments. A PhD student or students working in this area would strengthen and broaden our ultimate goal, which is to secure international funding for a transnational study of LGBTQ+ inclusive education with the aim of sharing best practice for global systems-level change.

  • Excellent supervision and mentorship from a multidisciplinary research team 

  • Opportunities for engagement with school communities, policymakers, and social enterprises

  • Support for the high-impact translation of research findings and protocols

  • Opportunity to make a real-world impact through your research 

  • Access to established research environments including HISS and SSSHARC 

  • Opportunities for research assistant roles in relation to funded projects

Applicants are invited to submit a proposal for PhD research that aligns directly to this project. 

Prospective candidates may qualify for direct entry into the PhD program if their research proposal (see above) is accepted and they satisfy at least one of the criteria listed below.

  • Bachelor's degree with first- or second-class honours in an appropriate area of study that includes a research thesis based on primary data not literature review

  • Master's degree by research in an appropriate area of study that includes a research thesis that draws on primary data 

  • Master's degree by coursework, with a research thesis or dissertation of 12,000–15,000 words that draws on primary data not literature review, with a grade-point average of at least 80 per cent in the degree.

  • Demonstrated appropriate professional experience and alternative qualifications in the field of study.

For more information regarding applying for a PhD refer to the course details for Doctor of Philosophy (Arts and Social Sciences).

Please also refer to guidelines for preparing a research proposal.

A number of scholarships are available to support your studies.

Australian Government RTP Scholarship (International)

University of Sydney International Scholarship

University of Sydney Tuition Fee Scholarship

These scholarships will provide a stipend allowance of $37,207 per annum for up to 3.5 years. 

For other scholarship opportunities refer to FASS Research Scholarships (International) 

For further details about the PhD project contact Professor Lee Wallace lee.wallace@sydney.edu.au and Victoria Rawlings victoria.rawlings@sydney.edu.au 

Please note that these opportunities are open to International students only.