Community Capacity Exchange | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Community Capacity Exchange

Our researchers seek to work with First Nations and culturally diverse communities to exchange knowledge and enhance these communities’ aspirations, research and practical skills and capacities in business, economics, history, geography, education, creative arts, languages and other areas nominated by these communities.
This theme is led by Dr Aaron Tham

(Business and Creative Industries)

Dr Aaron Tham is the Subject Component Lead in Tourism, Leisure, and Events Management within the School of Business and Creative Industries, UniSC. Under his leadership, the university is ranked among the top 150 hospitality and tourism institutions according to the 2022 Shanghai University subject rankings. He is also an active transcultural researcher, with primary interests in the area of emerging technologies and event legacies.

Our innovative, transdisciplinary research projects harness expertise at UniSC and beyond.

Situated understanding of resilience in island societies and environments, Natural Environment Research Council UK

The Situated Understanding of Resilience in Island Societies and Environments (SUNRISE) project consists of an international team of researchers looking at the impact of climate change as well as coping and adaptation strategies in diverse island communities.

The overarching aim of the SUNRISE project is to identify individual priorities as well as common challenges, and explore opportunities to share solutions across different island communities.

Lead organisation: UniSC Australia
Project dates: 2019-2023
Funding: $5757

Chief Investigator:

  • Prof Patrick Nunn

A scoping study of Indigenous food cultures in the Asia Pacific

The project objective is to collate the current body of knowledge around Indigenous food cultures in the Asia Pacific. The project will also align the work of the ITRC and UniSC with the direction of the United Nations 2021 international year of Fruits and Vegetables and Creative Economy for Sustainable Development.

The expected deliverables of the project is the Creation of a digital map/repository of Indigenous food cultures in the Asia Pacific; Organisation of a virtual workshop to illuminate current projects in related areas to coincide with the UN’s Sustainable Gastronomy Day; Solicitation of ideas and co-develop grant applications domestically or internationally and the Curation of papers towards a journal Special Issue.

Lead organisation: UniSC Australia
Project dates: 2020-2021
Funding: $3,000 (ITRC Seed Grant)

Chief Investigators:

  • Dr Aaron Tham, UniSC
  • A/Prof Harriot Beazley, UniSC
  • Dr Vikki Schaffer, UniSC

Promoting culturally safe learning in higher education pilot project

The purpose of this project is to review existing frameworks for embedding First Nations’ perspectives across a variety of education providers from both national and international contexts. This study sets out to identify issues and recognise successful strategies which can be applied and extended to existing practices within University of the Sunshine Coast (UniSC) to provide culturally relevant and respectful teaching and learning practices that enhance student learning outcomes.

The findings of this review will enable UniSC to advance teaching and learning to effectively embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in curriculum, pedagogy and assessment practices across UniSC and with the potential to expand to other societal institutions.

Situated understanding of resilience in island societies and environments, Natural Environment Research Council UK

Prof Patrick Nunn

  • Total: $5757
  • Dates: 2019-2023

Lead Organisation: UniSC Australia
Project dates: 2019-2021
Funding: $8,000 (Transcultural and Indigenous Pedagogies Research Group seed grant and DVCA grant)

Chief Investigators

  • Dr Sharon Louth, UniSC
  • Dr Amy Mortimer, UniSC
  • Natalie McMaster, UniSC
  • Dr Beverly Dann, UniSC
  • Dr Tracey Sanderson, UniSC
  • Dr Rachael Dwyer, UniSC

Students affected by complex trauma: The role of teachers’ professional agency in implementing curriculum

The term ‘complex trauma’ describes long-term exposure to multiple traumatic events affecting aspects of a child’s development, personal relationships and identity. This research project is being undertaken as a pilot study which explores teachers’ professional agency related to curriculum and inclusion when teaching students affected by complex trauma. The purpose of this project is to investigate primary and middle school teachers’ knowledge and professional agency in history, English and HPE units in relation to students affected by complex trauma.

Lead organisation: QUT Australia
Project dates: 2018-2019
Funding: $10,000 (QUT seed grant), $5,000 (UniSC seed grant)

Chief Investigators:

  • Dr Mallihai Tambyah, QUT
  • Dr Tracey Sempowicz, UniSC

Where are the Ghundus?

Where are the Ghundus? Is a retrospective exploration of the long-term and deep-reaching impact of an educational aspirations program, Burunga M Gambay (BMG), which was conducted in 2012 over a one year period. The longitudinal study seeks out the original participants of the project to discuss and reflect on BMG to review its long-term effectiveness on building aspirations, career pathways, sharing Indigenous knowledges and life-long learning of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

The aim of the project is to identify and understand how to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples meaningfully through culturally appropriate education programs.

Lead organisation: UniSC Australia
Project dates: 2017-2018
Funding: $10,000 (Indigenous Services Unit)

Chief Investigators

  • Dr Sharon Louth, UniSC
  • Aunty Joyce Bonner, UniSC and Butchulla Elder
  • Dr Keane Wheeler, Deakin University


Explore the Building Knowledge Systems and Creative Cultural Practices research themes.

Contact the Indigenous and Transcultural Research Centre (ITRC) by email for more information.