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Study with us

Study with us

Applying for a research degree at the Alfred Deakin Institute, Deakin University, will allow you to reimagine your career and transform your future.

Why study with us?

ADI fosters the study of complex social problems from a number of academic vantage points in a vibrant research environment that supports excellence, innovation and collaboration. As such, the Institute has a rich program of both theoretical and applied research.

We support our members through mentoring and training schemes, and help to develop career pathways for our early-career researchers and doctoral students. We’re open to new ways of thinking about and studying social phenomena, and our membership is drawn from diverse disciplines and areas of study. We share a commitment to lead high-impact knowledge creation that has a meaningful and measurable effect on lived human experiences.

The core fields of research at ADI are anthropology, criminology, political science, sociology, curatorial studies, history, philosophy and religion. However, we welcome expressions of interest from potential HDR students from within these fields and beyond.

The Institute’s research broadly aligns with our four research streams of People, Place, Heritage; Governance, Development and Peace; Mobilities, Diversity and Multiculturalism; and Culture, Environment and Science. Members of these streams come from schools and faculties across Deakin and the research within each is varied.


To be eligible for a scholarship, students must have completed a research project in a related area, including a thesis that is equivalent to at least 25% of a year’s full-time study at Level 8 or 9 of the Australian Qualifications Framework, with achievement of a grade equivalent to a Deakin grade of H1 (80%) OR a Masters’ Degree (Research) in a related area. Full eligibility criteria for PhD scholarships are available on the Deakin website.

Applying for a scholarship

Expressions of interests must be submitted to the Faculty Research Office, using the Faculty of Arts and Education EOI form.

For any enquiries please contact

Scholarship opportunities

Aboriginal Objects in the Art Museum: Histories, Issues and Exhibitions

About the scholarship

Expressions of interest are sought for a PhD scholarship focused on historical Aboriginal objects in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria’, and more generally, on how art museums in Australia engage with ‘ethnographic’ objects. A core part of the research will involve undertaking provenance and contextual research on one of the NGV’s shield collections (comprising 66 objects), which come from places in mostly eastern Australia and date mostly to the nineteenth century. It will also examine histories of acquisition and exhibition by the NGV, placing this within a broader interpretation of how Aboriginal objects collected in colonial times are being used in other art museums in Australia. Research outcomes and consultation with relevant communities will provide data for new interpretation which incorporate First Nations’ perspectives. Students and professionals in the fields of anthropology, history, art history, cultural heritage, museum studies, and related fields are encouraged to apply. Indigenous applicants are preferred however non-Indigenous applicants will also be welcomed.

The candidate will be supervised by leading scholars in history and museum studies at Deakin (Associate Professor Tiffany Shellam and Professor Gaye Sculthorpe) in association with Dr Myles Russell-Cook, Senior Curator Indigenous Art, National Gallery of Victoria.

About the Supervisor

Gaye is a palawa woman from Tasmania with qualifications in history and anthropology (Australian National University) and Museum Studies (University of Sydney). As a mature age student she completed a PhD at La Trobe University in the Area of Aboriginal Studies, School of Archaeology. Her thesis focused on change and innovation in wood carving (punu) in the central and western deserts of Australia. 

Over her museum career, Gaye has worked in local, state, national and international museums: Burke Memorial Museum, Beechworth; Museums Victoria, Melbourne, National Museum of Australia, Canberra; and the British Museum (2013-2022) where she was curator and section head of Oceania, in the Department of the Africa, Oceania and the Americas. For almost ten years she worked as a Member of the National Native Title Tribunal, before moving to work in London. 

In August 2022, she took up the position of Research Professor, Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies, in the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University. 


Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Collections in Museums

About the Scholarship

The ADI scholarship is for candidates interested in undertaking research that engages Aboriginal communities in the production of new knowledge about under-studied Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander collections in museums. Candidates may have backgrounds in Indigenous studies, anthropology, archaeology, art, history, historical geography, archives or a related field. Potential topics might focus on particular types of material culture, specific geographic regions, or approaches to museum exhibitions, research, curation or other museum practice which challenge conventional perspectives. This might include interdisciplinary topics that address Indigenous knowledge embedded in natural history collections (‘biocultural collections’). Candidates with established community and museum relationships are particularly encouraged to apply. Indigenous applicants are preferred, however, non-Indigenous candidates will also be welcomed.

About the Supervisor

Gaye Sculthorpe is Research Professor of Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies in the Alfred Deakin Institute and Faculty of Arts and Education at Deakin University. A Palawa woman from Tasmania, Prof Sculthorpe is a descendant of the famous Aboriginal singer Fanny Smith. She has recently relocated to Melbourne after almost 10 years at the British Museum, where she was a curator and Head of Oceania in the Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas.

From 2000 until February 2013, Gaye was a member of the National Native Title Tribunal, and prior to that worked at Museums Victoria as Head of the Department of Indigenous Cultures. She has served on the board of Museums Victoria and the Executive Committee of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge.

Over the last 10 years, Gaye has worked with Australian and British colleagues to research and publish on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collections in the UK and Ireland. Her most recent publication is Ancestors, artefacts, empire: Indigenous Australia in British and Irish Museums, published by British Museum Press in 2021.

Cultural Burning and Medicinal Plants

About the Scholarship

A full-time PhD scholarship is available for a First Nations student to study relationships between Cultural Burning and medicinal plants. This is a mixed-methods project to be undertaken among Community and on Native Title Land that is subject to Cultural Burning. This scholarship is part of an ARC funded DECRA project entitled: Narrating the Roles of Animals in Cultural Burning. This project recognises the holistic nature of First Nations land management practices and seeks to produce detailed knowledge of how people, plants and animals co-construct landscapes via the medium of cultural fire.

About the Supervisor

Marcus’ research interests include relations between humans and large carnivores and the new wave of animal domestication in Australia. He is the author of Among the Bone Eaters: Encounters with Hyenas in Harar and Crocodile Undone : The Domestication of Australia’s Fauna.

Understanding Drivers of Extremist Violence

About the Scholarship

Our understanding of and ability to respond to extremist violence is limited. This innovative program of research is designed to establish an empirical foundation for understanding and responding to extremist violence in Australia. It aims to examine risk and protective factors for such violence, the needs of those susceptible to committing such acts, and the effectiveness of intervention. Findings are expected to inform health, national security, social welfare, and justice agencies in their pursuit to identify those at risk of offending, address their clinical needs and manage the risk of harm they pose to society and to themselves.

About the Supervisor

Dr. Stephane Shepherd is Professor of Forensic Psychology at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University. He completed is PhD in Forensic Psychology at Monash University in 2013 and also hold a Masters (Communication) and BA (Criminology). Dr. Shepherd’s research explores cross-cultural issues at the intersection of psychology and the criminal justice system. He has received regional and international recognition for his work on the social and cultural needs of young people who are involved in the justice system. He has published over 100 academic articles and book chapters and has received over 4 million in funding. In 2020, he was named one of ABCs top 5 scientists under 40, and received the 2020 Victorian Government Multi-Cultural Award for Excellence in Justice. He received the American Psychology-Law Society’s Early Career Award in 2019, an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellowship in 2017, and he was also the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship in 2015. Dr. Shepherd was appointed to the Victorian Youth Parole Board in 2022 and the Victorian Government African Communities Committee.

Understanding Re-engagements with Aboriginal Collections

About the Scholarship

One scholarship will be attached to Dr Jason Gibson’s DECRA project ‘After the Return: Understanding Re-engagements with Aboriginal Collections.’ This project is looking for a candidate interested in carrying out research into the history of Indigenous cultural collections and their contemporary uses. The candidate will develop new critical histories of key Australian ethnographic/anthropological collections, interrogate the complex intercultural exchanges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in this process, and analyse the production of cultural knowledge over time. The candidate might also investigate how museums and other collecting institutions can better respond to Indigenous interests, experiences, and epistemologies, as well as consider the future of museum anthropology as a sub-discipline at a time of increased interest in repatriation, decolonisation and Indigenisation. Students and professionals in the fields of anthropology, history, art history, archaeology, cultural heritage, museum studies, and related fields are encouraged to apply. Indigenous applicants are preferred however non-Indigenous applicants will also be welcomed.”

About the Supervisor

Jason Gibson has worked extensively with Aboriginal custodians throughout Australia on history, museum, and heritage related projects and conducted detailed fieldwork in central Australia for the past 15 years. His award winning book is Ceremony Men: Making Ethnography and the Return of the Strehlow Collection (2020) examines the making of one of Australia’s most important anthropological collections and its relevance to Anmatyerr and Arrernte people.

Hear more about Jason’s experience

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Are you ready to reimagine your career with a PhD?

Hear from our HDR Students

Septrin Calamba’s thesis project explores how the experiences and exposures to conflicts among youth in the Philippines have affected their understanding of themselves and their generation.

Neda Zeyghami’s PhD explores the continuity and change in Iran’s foreign policy towards Russia over different presidential eras. By analysing each era, Neda sought to uncover the shifts and consistencies in their relationship with Russia.

David Leek’s PhD aims to investigate and understand the impact of Conflict Induced Displacement and how its irreversible effects are imperative to providing scholarly data that could be useful in understanding its experiences among diaspora South Sudanese in Australia.

April’s PhD is progressing how we understand, and better support, male survivors of sexual assault in Australia. With the help of her academic supervisors, she is realising just how valuable her contribution to this field can be.

Find a supervisor

Browse a selection of our expert potential PhD supervisors

Prof Shahram Akbarzadeh

Specialises in:

  • Middle East politics

  • Central Asia politics

  • Political Islam and extremism

  • Islam in the West

Dr Samantha Balaton-Chrimes

Specialises in:

  • Identity politics in postcolonial societies

  • Ethnic and racial politics in Africa

  • Census politics

Study with us

Specialises in:

Prof David Bright

Specialises in:

  • Organised crime

  • Drug trafficking

  • Terrorism

  • Illicit networks

Dr Tamara Browne

Specialises in:

  • Bioethics

  • Gender

  • Mental illness

A/Prof Danielle Chubb

Specialises in:

  • Australian foreign policy

  • North Korea

  • Civil society

  • Human rights activism

Dr Jason Gibson

Specialises in:

  • Ethnographic collections

  • Museum anthropology

  • History of Australian Anthropology

  • Central Australian Aboriginal History and Culture

  • Indigenous collection management and curatorship

Dr Luke Heemsbergen

Specialises in:

  • Emerging technologies and their socialisation

  • The politics of digital visibility

  • Augmented and extended reality media

  • 3D printing applications

  • Transparency & Governance

  • Science and Technology Studies

Prof Benjamin Isakhan

Specialises in:

  • Heritage destruction and reconstruction across the Middle East

  • Democracy and civil society in the Middle East

  • Iraqi and/or Syrian politics

Dr Santosh Jatrana

Specialises in:

  • Migrant health

  • Humanitarian migrants settlement

  • Ageing and health of migrants

Alfred Deakin Prof Emma Kowal

Specialises in:

  • Medical anthropology

  • Science and Technology Studies

  • Race‚Indigeneity‚colonialism

  • Social science of genomics

Dr Rebekah McWhirter

Specialises in:

  • Health law and bioethics

  • Research ethics and governance

  • Ethical and legal aspects of Indigenous genomics

Dr Ali Mozaffari

Specialises in:

  • Heritage studies and museums

  • Heritage diplomacy

  • Studies of the built environment

  • Politics of the past in Middle Eastern Countries

  • Iranian Studies

A/Prof Yamini Narayanan

Specialises in:

  • Animal politics

  • Urban studies

  • South Asia

  • India

  • Ecofeminism

  • Post-development

  • Animal geographies

  • Environmental studies

Dr Timothy Neale

Specialises in:

  • Settler-indigenous politics

  • The anthropology of natural hazards and environmental governance

  • Environmentalism

  • Natural hazards and their risks

Dr Amy Nethery

Specialises in:

  • Asylum and refugee policy

  • Australian social policy

  • Democracy in Australia

  • Parliaments and parliamentary careers

Dr Kiran Pienaar

Specialises in:

  • Gender‚sexuality and the body

  • Sociology of Drugs

  • LGBTQ identities and cultures

  • The biopolitics of health

  • Feminist theory‚new materialisms and posthumanisms

Dr Virginie Rey

Specialises in:

  • Museums and heritage

  • Middle East

  • Islamic art

  • Community and diaspora museums

Dr Imogen Richards

Specialises in:

  • Far-right extremism

  • Neo-jihadism

  • Development and environmental politics

  • Media and public criminology

Prof Gaye Sculthorpe

Specialises in:

  • Museums and Indigenous Peoples

  • Aboriginal material culture

  • Collections-based research

  • History of collecting

  • Aboriginal collections in international museums

A/Prof Steven Slaughter

Specialises in:

  • International Relations

  • Global Governance

  • G20

Dr Victoria Stead

Specialises in:

  • Anthropology

  • Postcolonialism

  • Labour and work

  • Pacific Studies

  • Place-making

Prof Miguel Vatter

Specialises in:

  • Biopolitics and biological citizenship

  • Rights of Nature and environmental constitutionalism

  • Religion‚politics and the rule of law

Dr Matteo Vergani

Specialises in:

  • Hate crime

  • Online hate

  • Violent extremism

  • Experimental research

  • Mixed-methods research

A/Prof Anthony Ware

Specialises in:

  • Conflict/development in Myanmar and Rohingya

  • Development/humanitarian response in conflict-affected contexts

  • Everyday peace

  • Violent & hateful extremism

  • Community led development and peace-building

Prof Andrea Witcomb

Specialises in:

  • Interpretation of difficult histories

  • The uses of multimedia for interpretation purposes in exhibitions and heritage places

  • The history of collecting

  • Collections-based research

  • Exhibitions as sites for cross-cultural encounters

Dr Jian Xu

Specialises in:

  • Chinese internet and digital media

  • Internet governance‚policy and politics

  • Cultural governance and propaganda in China

  • Celebrity studies

Prof Ihsan Yilmaz

Specialises in:

  • Religion and politics in the Middle East and Indo-Pacific

  • Authoritarianism

  • Transnationalism

  • Populism

  • Securitisation

  • Minorities and Diasporas

  • Digital Technologies and Politics

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