Alfred Deakin Institute
The Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI) is a leading humanities and social sciences research institute based at Deakin University, Australia. Our researchers aim to understand the complex meanings of citizenship, social inclusion and globalisation, and investigate the imp


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Youth Futures: Connection and Mobility in the Asia Pacific

  • Deakin Downtown 'Tower 2’, Level 12, Collins Square 727 Collins Street Melbourne, VIC 3008 Australia (map)

The Alfred Deakin Institute’s flagship conference for 2018 will explore the increasingly interlinked, complex and uncertain world that young people across the Asia-Pacific live in.

Event Details

Young people across the Asia-Pacific live in increasingly interlinked, complex and uncertain worlds. New mobilities as well as new kinds of connectivity, enabled through changing global economic, geopolitical and technological circumstances, have created unprecedented possibilities for youth pathways and networks to span spatial, temporal and social differences.

This conference considers opportunities and challenges for young people in and beyond the region as they make a place for themselves and imagine their futures in an era of increased mobilities, de-standardisation of the life course, hyperdiversity and digital connectedness. Mobilities and the possibilities to which they give rise have long been a defining feature of youth transition regimes (Wyn 2015), but today such aspirations and demands are increasingly transnational in scale, as youth are urged towards mastering ‘global’ opportunities linked to the inter and intra national movement of goods and labour, and the acquisition and leveraging of digital skills, entrepreneurialism and cosmopolitan capital in ways which cut regional and class divides (Robertson et al. 2017).

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In the face of these demands and opportunities, young people are also living in conditions of structurally uneven experiences of mobility, digital access and competence, socio-political and economic precarity. The extent to which young people can pursue new forms of mobility and connection have also become a key challenge in an era where increased diversity and technological affordances have simultaneously multiplied, intensified and fragmented networks, affiliations and connections, making the ability for young people to imagine a future where belonging and security are attainable pursuits increasingly precarious. At the same time, young people are also constructing and negotiating new terrains of togetherness within/across local, national, transnational and digital spaces, contesting stable notions of community, identity and belonging.

This conference seeks to address the temporal and spatial dimensions of youth mobilities and connections, bringing into conversation questions of migration, un/moorings, transitions, pathways, stagnation, aspiration, futurity, and hope, with those of (digital and social) networks, aspirations, solidarities, cultures, communities, participation, belonging, and social and civic lives.

Hosted by the Alfred Deakin Institute, and animated by its engagement in problem-oriented research into social issues associated with globalising processes, the conference’s underlying thematic context is the Institute’s core focus on citizenship and globalisation. It aims to explore these issues for young people as they navigate new and old pathways through the life-course, establish and disrupt forms of connection across multiplicity and differences, and put down roots/stay on the move in a globalised world. It seeks to share and build knowledge at the multidisciplinary interfaces of youth/childhood/media/migration/mobility studies.

Keynote Speakers

We are excited to welcome our three keynote speakers, their biographies can be found below. You can also view their full abstracts here.

A/Prof Sandrina de Finney (University of Victoria, Canada)

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A/Prof Sandrina de Finney (University of Victoria, Canada)


'Mobile Kinscapes: Youth stewardship and Indigeneity in the multicultural settler nation'


Dr. Sandrina de Finney is an associate professor and graduate advisor in the Faculty of Human and Social Development, University of Victoria (British Columbia, Canada), located on unceded Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ territories. Sandrina is a lead researcher with the Siem Smun’eem Indigenous Child Welfare Research Network. In this role, she works with Indigenous stakeholders to recenter land-based, customary caretaking laws for Indigenous children who are displaced from their traditional territories, and advocates for community-based Indigenous research approaches in child and family services. Sandrina is also a lead researcher with Sisters Rising: Honoring Indigenous Body and Land Sovereignty (, part of an international SSHRC-funded study on sexualized violence, with partners across Canada and South Africa. Sisters Rising promotes Indigenous land-based gender frameworks as a response to the historically gendered and sexualized nature of colonial violence. In her front-line, academic and community scholarship roles, Sandrina has worked extensively with Indigenous and racialized youth and girls using participatory, action-centered methods and is co-founder of antidote, an award-winning grassroots network for racialized girls and women. She is the recipient of the 2017 Award for Excellence in Research-Inspired Teaching.

Dr Shanthi Robertson (Western Sydney University)

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Dr Shanthi Robertson (Western Sydney University)


'Chronomobilities of the Middle: Temporality and Young Asian Migrants in Australia'


Shanthi Robertson is a sociologist and Senior Research Fellow in migration studies and globalization at the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University. Shanthi’s research interests centre on migration, mobility, transnationalism, citizenship, youth and urban space, particularly the social, cultural and political consequences of contemporary migration in the Asia-Pacific. She is currently Chief Investigator on two Australian Research Council (ARC) projects: an early career research fellowship (DECRA) on temporality, mobility and Asian temporary migrants to Australia and a five-year collaborative Discovery Project on the economic, social and civic outcomes of transnational youth mobility for young people moving into and out of Australia for work, leisure and study. Her most recent publications appear in Geoforum, Current Sociology, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, and Journal of Youth Studies. Her first book, Transnational Student-Migrants and the State: The Education-Migration Nexus was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2013.

Dr Crystal Abidin (Jönköping University, Sweden)

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Dr Crystal Abidin (Jönköping University, Sweden)


'Influencers and the materiality of youth digital cultures in Singapore'


Dr Crystal Abidin is a socio-cultural anthropologist of vernacular internet cultures, particularly young people’s relationships with internet celebrity, self-curation, and vulnerability. She is Postdoctoral Fellow with the Media Management and Transformation Centre (MMTC) at Jönköping University, and Adjunct Researcher with the Centre for Culture and Technology (CCAT) at Curtin University. Portions of this talk are adapted from Crystal’s forthcoming books, Internet Celebrity: Understanding Fame Online (2018, Emerald Publishing) and Please Subscribe: Influencers, Social Media, and the Commodification of Everyday Life (contracted, MIT Press). Reach her at or @wishcrys.

Organising committee

  • Professor Anita Harris

  • Dr Rose Butler

  • Dr Amelia Johns

  • Dr Jessica Walton

  • Mr Andy Zhao


Registrations to attend 'Youth Futures' are now open, please register through Eventbrite:

Date and time

Thursday 15 November to
Friday 16 November 2018



Deakin Downtown
Tower 2, Level 12, 
727 Collins Street,

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Earlier Event: November 9
Partisan Politics in Australia
Later Event: December 14
Responding to Refugee Crises Across Asia