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Dr Philippa Collin

IAS Fellow at Trevelyan College, January - March 2023

FellowAssociate Professor Philippa Collin is Principal Research Fellow at the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University (WSU) where she co-directs the Young and Resilient Research Centre. She is also a Stream Lead for the National Medical and Health Research Council Wellbeing, Health and Youth Centre of Research Excellence (2017 - 2022) where she established and leads the WH&Y Commission: a platform for the participation of young people in the design, delivery and translation of youth health research in a digital age. Dr Collin has particular experience in large-scale, interdisciplinary and cross sector research-practice partnerships in the NGO, academic and innovation sectors, having held research leadership roles at the pioneering online youth mental health service Reachout.com (2002 – 2010) and as a Research Program Leader for the AUD$27 million Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre (2012-2016)

Dr Collin is an interdisciplinary social scientist who works at the intersections of youth studies, digital cultures, health promotion and political sociology. She has published widely in these areas, including the monographs Young people and political participation in digital society (2015) and Young people in digital society (2019 with Amanda Third, Lucas Walsh and Rosalyn Black). She has a forthcoming commissioned edited collection Research Handbook of the Sociology of Youth (2023, with Judith Bessant and Patrick O’Keefe). 

Dr Collin’s research contribution is principally in three interrelated areas: young people’s relationship to democracy; the role of the digital for youth citizenship, health and wellbeing; and, methodological innovations in youth-centred research. Her work has challenged dominant discourses of young people as pre-political and demonstrated how their participatory practices shape democracy and forms of governance, particularly in local, community and service settings. This research has helped shift mainstream policy and practice approaches to youth participation and digital practices – from managing deficits and risks towards understanding and leveraging their strengths to maximise participation, health and wellbeing. Her research has directly informed policy and service provision in Australia, Spain and international organisations and initiatives including UNICEF and EndViolence. She has contributed methodological innovations in digital, participatory and design-based research with young people (for example, through social living labs) that have directly informed research and translation in a range of policy and practice including youth affairs, health and mental health and community resilience.

Her current major research initiatives are investigating: the mechanisms, ethics and modalities of youth-engaged health research in the digital society; student climate action and democratic renewal; and the mental health and wellbeing of young people in the Asia-Pacific and the role of digital technologies.

At Durham, Dr Collin will be working with Dr Rille Raaper (School of Education) and Dr Mariann Hardey (Department of Management and Marketing) as well as other IAS Fellows, Professor Katrin Tiidenberg (Tallinn University) and Professor Robert Hassan (University of Melbourne) on the project ‘Risks to Youth and Studenthood: Commodification, Temporality and Digital Identities. This interdisciplinary project problematises undergraduate student participation in image-rich and real-time digital spaces (YouTube/Instagram/TikTok) with an aim to understand how students construct their identities and belonging in such spaces, as well as the effects their participation may have on their mental health and wellbeing. Dr Collin’s particular contribution relates to her expertise on youth engagement with digital platforms, and its potential effects on young people’s health and wellbeing. She will also expertise on designing and conducting research on digital platforms and integrating analogue and digital methods of data collection and analysis.

Further information on Dr Collin’s research expertise and track record can be found at https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/ics/people/researchers/philippa_collin

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