Our Capacities

The Institute prides itself on the calibre of its distinguished scholars in cultural and social research. The transdisciplinary research conducted within the Institute features the following areas of expertise.

Cultural Infrastructure

Culture is fluid and cultural activities can take place in any context. To reflect these dynamics, the Institute’s research broadens cultural mapping to include cultural venues and different types of cultural enterprise and organisation.

ICS is a dedicated qualitative research facility, with strong capability in urban, geospatial and social media statistical methods. This expertise can help to supplement findings developed through workshops, interviews, policy analysis and desk research by analysing, correlating and summarising key trends relating to patterns of cultural production and consumption from key sources such as the ABS, AURIN, social media (Twitter, Instagram, etc), and council-owned GIS databases and other data sets.

You can find out more about the Cultural Infrastructure body of work on the dedicated website.

Cities and Economies

Australia’s highly urbanised society faces the challenges of managing urban growth, providing purposeful work, overcoming inequality and combating climate change. ICS researchers seek ways to live well in a changing world across a number of key themes:

  • Urban sustainability, including equitable and fair housing for all
  • Cultural flourishing, including access to creative work
  • Strategies for responding to a more volatile climate.

Digital Life

Automation changes how we live. In a society of automation, the future of work and leisure is being remade by machines. Platform technologies affect the economy, culture, and politics, extracting value from the data generated by social practices. Our research addresses some of the key challenges facing society as automated media becomes ever-present:

  • Geopolitics of automation
  • Data governance and smart cities
  • Youth’s digital practices, including technological wellbeing.

Diversity and Globalisation

Australia’s increasingly diverse population poses challenges and opportunities for social service delivery, social and built infrastructure, education programs, health systems, and major industries including the arts, sports and leisure. Our expertise in the impact and challenges of diversity encompasses cultural, linguistic and religious difference, sexual and gender identities, family and household composition and disability. The areas in which we work include:

  • Cultural intelligence and organisational change
  • Community engagement, including with refugees and migrants
  • Global pressures on local communities.

Heritage and Environment

In a time of deepening global ecological crisis, new tools and policy alternatives are needed to address the effects of climate change, loss of cultural heritage and the escalating impact of waste. Our expertise extends across the fields of environmental education, cultural heritage assessment and planning, heritage tourism, museum practice, environmental film-making, and the cultural experience and politics of climate change and waste proliferation. The areas in which we work include:

  • Place-making and heritage-making practices
  • Innovative exhibition design on ecological change
  • Engagement with nature in the urban environment.

ICS researchers have a diverse range of skills and expertise, from traditional consultation methods to innovative participatory and co-design processes. Many of our projects are collaborative partnerships, including communities, cities, organisations and different levels of government. The Institute delivers quality research for strategic planning and practical outcomes to help understand and resolve the social and cultural challenges faced by organisations, communities and individuals in a diverse and complex world. The Institute has worked and collaborated around the globe, in particular in Southeast Asia, Latin America, Europe and South Africa. Details of our partners and projects can be found on our website.

Partner with ICS

If you would like to collaborate with us or find out more about what we can offer you, please get in touch through the details below.

Institute for Culture and Society
Western Sydney University
Locked Bag 1797,
Penrith NSW 2751 Australia

Email: ics@westernsydney.edu.au
Phone: +61 2 9685 9600

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