‘Ideas for Change’ Independent Project

Global Change Scholars were asked to produce a project that demonstrated the ways in which their academic work speaks to global trends, and how that work might drive some aspect of global change.

They were encouraged to consider non-traditional avenues to present their academic findings. 

Kali MarnaneKali Marnane

I’m a registered architect, passionate about understanding and creating places that sustain communities. My professional experience includes mixed-use, commercial, educational and public architecture. I’m particularly interested in places that bring people together, and projects that contribute to city and community making. I recently volunteered with the Anganwadi Project in India. Based in Ahmedabad, the largest city in the state of Gujarat in India’s north-west, I worked for six months in close consultation with the local community to design and oversee construction of a preschool in the Ramapir No Tekro informal settlement. Working in disadvantaged communities in India has inspired my doctoral research at The University of Queensland. I'm studying small urban spaces in informal settlements to identify the form, structure and character of those places that sustain social, cultural and economic wellbeing.

Ideas for Change (winner)
Video presentation -- Making Cities

Ella Kuskoff Ella Kuskoff

A PhD candidate and research assistant at the Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR), I completed my Bachelor of Arts (Hon) in Sociology at The University of Queensland in 2016 (focusing on representations of youth homelessness in Australian policy). I have previously completed two Summer Scholarships and one Winter Scholarship at ISSR, working in collaboration with institutes such as the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course. This work has fuelled my interest in issues surrounding social disadvantage, policy, and practice. As such, my research interests include: Youth and families, gender and sexuality, social disadvantage, and social change.

Ideas for Change (runner-up)
Educational computer game -- the Generation

About the Project

Culture plays a highly influential role in shaping social attitudes and behaviours (Condon & LaBrack, 2015). Strategies to influence cultural change have attracted increasing attention in recent years, with government, businesses, and community groups all seeking more effective ways to positively influence cultural change (Knott, Muers, & Aldridge, 2008).

Environmental attitudes and behaviours are currently a key focus, as many of these are unsustainable (Shove, 2010). Conspicuous consumption, the use of fossil fuels, chasing the latest technology, and choosing convenience over sustainability are all inherently cultural behaviours which are putting strain on the planet. My research may be helpful in understanding the potential that new culture-based approaches have to influence society as a whole to start adopting more sustainable ways of living.

In exploring current literature on the topic, several key aspects stand out as vital for effectively changing culture. They are:

  1. Education: people must understand why their cultural values are harmful, and what the alternatives are (Sheppard, 2005)
  2. Prominence: people’s responses to positive-change messages are better when messages are prominent throughout society (Edelstein, 2004)
  3. Persistence: to ensure positive change is perpetuated, new values and behaviours must be passed on to younger generations (Bruun Jensen, 2002)

My project combines these points to present a fun and interactive platform that will positively influence the recycling behaviour of the younger generation. I chose recycling as a key behaviour to focus on because, despite the high rates of recycling in Australia, there is considerable misunderstanding about what can actually be recycled (ABS, 2010). This means that many things end up in the wrong bin, and this hinders the recycling process.

This is not to suggest that if we just teach the next generation how to recycle properly then all our sustainability problems will be solved. But rather, this game serves as a very basic representation of the idea that social values and attitudes towards environmental behaviours can be changed and must be changed if we are to promote a sustainable future.

How to Play

You must correctly sort the items in the garbage facility to generate clean power for your city. Recyclables must be put in the generator, and trash must be put in the furnace. Sorting items incorrectly will stall the machinery for a few seconds. Correctly recycling items will boost your power levels, which automatically drop over time. So be quick! After each round you can view a list of items you sorted incorrectly to learn some fun facts about the benefits of recycling properly.

Game concept and design: Ella Kuskoff
Game design and programming: Jack Kuskoff
Artwork: Patrick Vuillermin
Music: Kevin MacLeod

For information about how to play or access the game, please contact Ella Kuskoff.

Sam Nixon

Sam Nixon

I’m fascinated by how we can find natural products around the world and use them in biomedical and biotechnological applications. My PhD at the UQ Institute of Molecular Bioscience looks at the amazing and diverse chemistries in spider venoms and how we can use them to treat major parasitic diseases of both livestock and humans. I’m passionate about addressing equality in access to education and medicine and my goal is to see the end of neglected tropical diseases. I’m working in the science communication and education space to try to encourage STEM literacy and participation for young Australians. I hope to become a leader in research with connections to government, industry and other key stakeholder organisations so that I can ensure policy is evidence-based, that we have transparent communication between stakeholders, researchers and policymakers, and that research funding is equitably distributed to better our broader community.

Ideas for Change (runner-up)
Poster presentation -- Eaten Alive, Monsters Inside Me & Master Chemists

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