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Upcoming public events: UNSW Practical Justice Initiative

Two upcoming seminars in the UNSW Practical Justice Initiative series that may be of interest to AFSEH members:

Extent and effects of child sexual abuse in institutional contexts

May 16 2017, 4.30pm – 6.00pm

In this joint seminar Professor Carolyn Warner (Arizona State University) and Associate Professor Jan Breckenridge (UNSW Sydney) will comment on how institutions reproduce or intersect with gender and other concomitant inequalities, as well as the development of more effective institutional responses to disclosures of childhood sexual abuse.

More details and to register



Sexuality and sexual citizenship in the later years

28 June 2017, 4.00pm – 5.30pm


Professor Chris Beasley (University of Adelaide) will discuss sexual citizenship, ageing and Internet dating, and Dr Bianca Fileborn ( UNSW School of Social Sciences) will explore what older Australians want, and need, to support their sexual wellbeing in later life.

More details and to register





Special AFSEH issue of Sex Education journal

A recently published issue of Sex Education contains key papers from AFSEH’s first national conference.

With an open access editorial introduction by Tania Ferfolja and Jacqueline Ullman, and an open access In Conversation between Simon Blake and Peter Aggleton, the issue contains papers details cutting edge research and commentary from across Australia.

Topics addressed include:

  • the importance of educating young people about HPV vaccination in schools;
  • teacher positivity towards gender diversity;
  • parents’ perspectives on sexuality education;
  • the politicisation of Australian queer affirming curriculum materials;
  • young people’s perspectives on homophobic language use; and
  • LGBTIQ experiences in tertiary education.

Contributors include Paul Byron, Cristyn Davies, Karyn Fulcher, Kerry Robinson, Barrie Shannon, Rachel Skinner and Andrea Waling

Full details here:


Call for abstracts: The 9th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights


The Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights (APCRSHR) is a biennial gathering of civil society, young people, academia, government, media, private sector, and development partners from the region concerned about sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). The first APCRSHR was organized in 2001 in Manila and the succeeding seven conferences were hosted by countries across Asia. The 9th APCRSHR will be held from 27th to 30st November 2017 in Hanoi, Vietnam. The conference expects to welcome 1,000 or more participants from across the Asia Pacific region. It is an initiative of non-governmental organizations, but includes contributions from governmental and multilateral institutions.

The first International Committee meeting of the 9th APCRSHR was held in Hanoi on April 19 to 20, 2016 and agreed that the 9th APCRSHR theme should be Leave No One Behind! Justice in Sexual and Reproductive Health.

The Organizing Committee warmly invites you to submit abstracts for the 9th ASIA PACIFICE CONFERENCE ON REPRODUCTIVE AND SEXUAL HEALTH AND RIGHTS (9th APCRSHR).

The topics covered by the conference includes state-of-the-art research; policy and programme evidence; service delivery systems; advocacy and communication of different elements of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) especially with respect to the most vulnerable populations. The meeting will emphasize equity, inclusiveness and rights.

The selection of oral presentations and posters for presentation will be based on the quality of submissions and their relevance to the key conference subthemes:

1.     Overcoming social, cultural and religious barriers in sexual and reproductive health
2.     Towards a just economic order for sexual and reproductive health
3.     Strengthening justice systems for sexual and reproductive health and rights
4.     Making good quality sexual and reproductive health education available to all
5.     Advancing justice and equity in sexual and reproductive health and health care
6.     Other themes of relevance to SRHR in the Asia-Pacific Region.

The review of submissions will be guided by the objectives and subthemes of the conference, but the scientific committee will give full consideration to abstracts related to other themes relevant to SRHR, and may create additional sessions or tracks to accommodate these. The deadline for online submission of abstracts is 31 March 2017

A panel of Vietnamese and international experts will anonymously review all submissions.  A limited number of scholarships will be provided by the Organizing Committee to the presenters of papers selected for oral or poster presentation.

Authors should submit an abstract of less than 450 words to the online abstract submission page http://www.apcrshr9vn.org/. An indication of the abstract structure could include Objective: 100 words, Method: 100 words, Results: 150 words, Conclusions: 100 words

Authors will be asked to classify their submission to one of the five conference subthemes or the sixth “other” category

For more information please contact with
Abstract submission and scientific issues:
Scholarship submission and other relating issues:
Other logistic issues:

Save the Date: Sexuality, Citizenship and Youth workshop, 8 June, WA

In partnership with the Australia Forum on Sexuality, Education and Health (AFSEH) and the WA Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Applied Research and Evaluation Network (SiREN), we are pleased to invite you to a free pre-SiREN symposium workshop event. 

Join us for afternoon tea followed by a fun and stimulating discussion with speakers from across WA and Australia!

Peter Aggleton from UNSW Australia will talk about the importance of sexual
citizenship for all young people.

Rob Cover from UWA will talk on emergent sexual diversities in and on social
networking sites, and their potential to help young people learn about sex, sexuality and

Dani Wright Toussaint from the Freedom Centre youth program will talk about LGBTIQ youth support – contemporary conditions and programs.

Kyra Clarke from UWA will talk about her recent work on teenage film and television.

Olivia Knowles from Safe Schools Coalition WA will talk about the work schools are
doing to become safer places, as well as the continuing need to create inclusive
environments for all in schools.

This event, which will take place at Shenton Park, is targeted at health and education
professionals, teachers, researchers, policy makers and community leaders who are working to fuel progress in the fields of sexuality, education and health.

To gain insights into these issues and more; expand your professional development and network with like-minded professionals, register here your interest in attending the seminar, which will take place 8 June 2016, 4:00-6:30pm.

Will you feed me?

Absolutely! We will begin this workshop with a 30 minute afternoon tea and networking session. Short presentations will begin promptly at 4.30pm.

We will write to you with full details of the event. Places are limited so an early response is much

Professional Development Programs for Effective Sexuality and Relationships Education – WA

Curtin University provides an extensive range of training programs in the area of school‐based sexuality and relationships education (SRE). We offer training opportunities for both pre‐service and in‐service teachers, and strive to provide all our attendees with ongoing support. Our programs are also suitable for school administrators and community health nurses who work in schools.

Additional events will be scheduled throughout the year, so please email jacqui.hendriks@curtin.edu.au if you wish to join our mailing list.

Please contact us if you are interested in enrolling in any of our undergraduate or postgraduate units dedicated to school‐based SRE. Students from other WA universities may be eligible to enrol.

2016 Calendar of Events

Visit www.sreteacherproject.eventbrite.com.au for more information and to register

(Registrations open a few months prior to each event)

17th & 18th March 2016 All day SRE Professional Development Workshop (2 days)
31st March 2016 4‐6pm Seminar

Pornography and young people

7th June 2016 4‐6pm Seminar

Innovative ways to teach respectful relationships

30th September 4‐6pm Seminar

Cyber safety, sexuality and young people

12th November 4‐6pm Seminar

Supporting male teachers who deliver SRE

How do sexuality/gender diverse students experience schooling?


Design and Aims

This report details the findings from a 2013 nationwide survey of sexuality and gender diverse Australian secondary school students.

The project’s core aims were to 1) gain a better understanding of how sexuality and gender diverse students experience their school’s ethos, referred to here as school climate, with regards to sexuality and gender diversity in the broad sense, and to 2) investigate links between students’ reported school climate and various measures of their school wellbeing and associated academic outcomes.


Seven hundred and four young people between the ages of 14-18, representing every state and territory in Australia, participated in the online survey. In terms of sexual identity, the majority of participants identified as lesbian/gay (43%) or bisexual (24%), with a sizeable minority of participants identifying as pansexual (12%).

The majority of participants identified as either a girl/woman (57%) or as a boy/man (34%), with just over 7% of participants identifying as either genderqueer or transgender. The term sexuality and gender diverse is used throughout this report to signify the array of sexuality and gender identities highlighted by the young people.

Schooling Experiences

The young people in this study attended schools from across the sector, with the majority of participants attending government schools (62%). Participants overwhelmingly depicted a secondary schooling environment in which marginalising (e.g. homophobic/transphobic) language was rife and where school staff did not respond with consistency.

A startling 94% of students had heard homophobic language at school, with 58% of these young people reporting hearing this language daily. Of those who reported classmates using this language within earshot of school staff, less than 5% reported that these adults always intervened to put a stop to its use.

Although somewhat less commonly reported, 45% of participants indicated that they had witnessed school-based physical harassment of classmates perceived to be sexuality and/or gender diverse, with 12% of participants witnessing such harassment on a weekly basis. Only 12% of young people who witnessed such physical harassment occurring in front of school staff reported that these adults always intervened.

Participants depicted inconsistencies in adults’ responses to school-based marginalisation ranging from purposive ignoring (and, in the worst cases, active participation in the marginalising behaviours) to addressing the discrimination and attempting to educate around the incident. Most participants who described an educative intervention highlighted specific teachers at their school who would respond in such a manner, in contrast to a majority of others who would not.

Approximately 40% of students reported that they knew where to go to locate information and support regarding sexuality and gender diversity and similar percentages of students could recall their teachers engaging with sexuality and/or gender diversity in a positive or supportive fashion at least “some of the time” or more frequently. However, only one quarter of participants’ could recall classroom learning about topics related to sexuality and/or gender diversity in any kind of formal capacity, with a mere 3% of students reporting that it was “definitely true” that they had learned about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender identities during their Health and Physical Education instruction.

Findings suggest that some school staff work intentionally to support sexuality and gender diverse students in a variety of informal ways, including general positivity with regards to related topics and the provision of inclusive resources, but that formal curricular inclusion is far less common.

Participants attending schools in which their school harassment policies explicitly included sexual orientation as a considered and protected cohort of the student population (16% of participants) were significantly more likely to report their teachers’ intervention in instances of verbal and physical marginalisation of sexuality and gender diverse students, as well as their general positivity and support.

Relationships between School Climate and School Wellbeing

Students attending schools with fewer instances of marginalising behaviours, and more consistent adult intervention when those behaviours did occur, were happier and more connected at school, safer and more likely to feel as if their teachers were invested in their personal academic success.

Likewise, reported teacher positivity and support for both sexuality diversity and gender diversity were significantly correlated with students’ school wellbeing outcomes, with the strongest relationships present between teacher positivity and both student morale and sense of connection to school. Similar relationships were found between school wellbeing outcomes and students’ reported formal inclusions (e.g. within health and physical education and elsewhere within the curriculum).

Academic Outcomes

Participants with elevated school wellbeing outcomes also had higher reported academic outcomes, including higher academic self-concept, greater intentions to attend university and fewer reported incidences of truancy. Students’ truancy behaviours were significantly correlated with their teachers’ reported positivity with regards to sexuality and gender diversity, highlighting the links between school climate, school wellbeing and academic outcomes and behaviours for sexuality and gender diverse students.


Most of the sexuality and gender diverse young people who contributed to this research attended secondary schools in which marginalising practices occurred on a weekly, if not daily, basis and where teacher positivity and formal inclusions of sexuality and gender diversity were the exception rather than the norm. Project findings highlight the relationship between sexuality and gender diverse students’ perceptions of their school climate and their own school wellbeing, including connection to their peers, teachers and investment in the schooling environment more generally, and demonstrate how these key factors are linked to academic outcomes for this cohort.

Project-based recommendations can be found within the body of the report: http://handle.uws.edu.au:8081/1959.7/uws:32727

Rethinking media and sexuality education: executive summary


coverimage credit: George

Executive Summary

What’s the problem?

  • Parents, educators and policy makers are overwhelmed by the pace at which digital technologies (such as mobile phone and tablets) and platforms (such as Facebook and Snapchat) are evolving – and the increasing role they play in young people’s lives.
  • Practices such as sexting (the digital sharing of naked or semi-naked pictures) create complex legal and socio-cultural challenges for young people, schools and families.
  • To date, health promotion and education policy and practice have struggled to develop activities and messages that offer young people better guidance than ‘just say no’.

What we did

  • Four three-hour workshops were held in New South Wales and Queensland with secondary teachers, health promoters and youth workers (n=77). The workshops covered three relevant theories of media communications as well as practical activities adapted from The Selfie Course developed by Kath Albury, Terri Senft and colleagues. Follow-up surveys assessed the extent to which participants found this approach useful, relevant and applicable to their work.

What we found

  • There are both individual and institutional barriers to an asset-based approach to young people’s digital media practices. At best, an approach focused solely on risk will result in frustration for professionals and young people alike. At worst, it will actively undermine trust between young people and the services that wish to support them.
  • Educators and policy-makers need to move beyond asking ‘what does media do to young people?’ towards asking instead ‘what do young people do with media?’ The frameworks and activities piloted and evaluated in this study can support them to make this change.

Next steps

  • A majority of participants indicated a desire to engage further with critical theory and practice models for working with young people in the area of media and sexuality education.
  • This report presents data self-reported by participants. Future research could engage more closely with educators to better understand how the frameworks and activities piloted in this project are applied and translated in their practice.

The Rethinking media and sexuality education project 2015 was led by Kath Albury and Paul Byron, UNSW, with the support of True Relationships & Reproductive Health Queensland, and Family Planning NSW.

The preliminary research report is being launched this morning at AFSEH’s First National Conference, at Western Sydney University.

A full pdf  is available for download here.

Follow the AFSEH conference Twitter conversation at #afseh15.

Planning to discuss the Essena O’Neill story with young people? Read this first…


Social Media Dress

(illustration credit: Anthony Stone)


Western Australian academic Crystal Abidin recently completed an ethnographic study of social media ‘influencers’. Her research tells us that the Essena O’Neill story is about A LOT more than the dangers of social media.

This blog post (and others on Crystal’s blog) offers an overview on mainstream media coverage of O’Neill’s story, and suggests  some ways to think about and discuss it, without blaming, or shaming young people’s social media practices. As Abidin provocatively puts it:

Dwelling on the micro-public actions of one 18-year-old (without taking into account nuances like her demographic, context, backstory, motivations, etc) and casting a blanket statement that WE NEED TO SAVE YOUNG PEOPLE or that YOUNG PEOPLE ARE NARCISSISTIC is

1) shallow albeit clickbaity,

2) prescriptive and not descriptive, and

3) just not productive. What is the value of another article describing how O’Neill cried through her video?

AFSEH members Kath Albury and Paul Byron have been conducting research into the ways that Australian sexuality educators and health promotion professionals engage with young people’s digital and mobile media practices. They will be launching their initial report on this project at the AFSEH National Conference at the University of Western Sydney in late November. You can check out a draft program here, and register for the conference here.


AFSEH conference: Abstract deadline extended to September 21

1st National Conference Australia Forum on Sexuality, Education and Health 

Equity and Justice – in Gender, Sexuality, Education and Health 

22-23 November 2015, Western Sydney University (Parramatta Campus)

 Conference themes include:

 Genders and sexualities in health and education: working together for equity and justice

 Digital cultures and youth – rights, ethics and responsibilities

 Intersectionality, sexualities and gender

 Communities, parents and sexual health – whose rights?

 Youth-led initiatives – local and international perspectives

 Popular pedagogies and informal education


We invite abstracts for papers, posters and symposia presentations. Abstracts should not exceed 300 words and address one (or more) of the conference themes above. Please include with your abstract, the presentation’s title, the presenter’s name and affiliation (or list of presenters’ names and affiliations), the conference theme addressed and contact details including an email address. All abstracts will undergo peer review.

Send your abstract to Jawed Gebrael at J.Gebrael@westernsydney.edu.au

Abstracts should be received by close of business, Monday September 21, 2015

To register, go to https://ipay.uws.edu.au/pgrp_show.asp 

Scroll down to School of Education and click on the box next to Australia Forum on Sexuality, Education and Health (AFSEH) National Conference. Scroll to the bottom of the page and then click on Submit. You will then be taken to another page where you can enter your details and pay for the registration.

The cost to attend is $90, which includes meals and light refreshments

Any enquiries to Jawed Gebrael at J.Gebrael@westernsydney.edu.au

The 1st AFSEH Conference is supported by 

The Centre for Educational Research and the Sexualities & Genders Research Network at Western Sydney University; The Arts and Social Sciences Practical Justice Initiative and the Centre for Social Research in Health at UNSW Australia; and The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) at La Trobe University

Academic Research, New Media Technologies and the Culture of Control

An Interdisciplinary Workshop at The University of Wollongong

2 and 3 October 2015 

Organised by Mark McLelland and Andrew Whelan, School of Humanities and Social Inquiry, University of Wollongong 


In the last decade there has been a transformation of media consumption, production, dissemination and networking enabled by expanding access to mobile broadband. One important difference between this new era and prior media transformations is the breakdown between media audiences/consumers and producers/broadcasters. The shift to digital media has led to a massive increase in user-generated content (UGC), and hybrid terms such as ‘produser’ and ‘prosumer’ have been developed to capture the new relationship that media users now have with digital content and technologies.

These rapid changes in contemporary ‘mediascapes’ have led to enhanced regulatory measures with respect to censorship, data storage and management, privacy and intellectual property. Fear and insecurity about the online environment are driving ongoing calls for increased regulation and preventative security, especially in relation to children and to terrorism. Discourses of ‘harm’ and ‘risk’ have led to a demand for a suite of regulations that now capture individuals’ online lives, burdening internet providers and users in ways that multiply this regulatory impact. These discourses and their articulations extend across government legislation and down to policies at local institutional levels: in the home, in workplaces, in schools, and also in universities. Yet within the scholarly community, there has been little interest to date in addressing the consequences for academic research itself, given research is shaped by university protocols (such as IT and acceptable use policies, data retention requirements, mandatory reporting, civility codes and ethics committees).

This workshop brings together researchers from sociology, anthropology, information technology, law, fan studies and media studies to discuss the impact that enhanced regulatory frameworks have had on shaping the kinds of research that can be undertaken and on deterring certain kinds of questions and agendas. Speakers take up ‘the challenge . . . to take a more active role in shaping public policy making that can impact on the conduct of e-research’ (Lyons et al., 2010: 159). We aim to produce a collection of papers that informs academics, online users, university lawyers and ethics committees, legislators and other interested parties about the consequences of recent legislative changes and to support the development of more effective, evidence-based policies regarding research into online spaces and the regulation of such spaces.


  • Kath Albury (Arts and Media, UNSW): Self-Representation = Self-Incrimination: The Risks and Opportunities of Researching Young People’s Digital Cultures
  • Lyria Bennett Moses (Law, UNSW): Defining the Regulatory Space
  • Joseph Brennan (Media & Comms, USyd): Finding the Right Frame: When Fan Works ‘Play’ beyond the Limits of Classification
  • Catherine Driscoll and Liam Grealy (Cultural Studies, USYd): Media Classification and Mionoritised Adolescence
  • Terry Flew (Media and Communication, QUT): Weber, Foucault and the Governance of Media Content
  • Laura Lowenkron (Anthroplogy, Unicamp): Politics of Fear and Regulation of Desires: The Brazilian Political Crusade against Pedophilia and Child Pornography on the Internet
  • Mark McLelland (Sociology, UOW): Surveilling Fantasy: Thought Policing or Pre-Emptive Action?
  • Katina Michael (Information Sciences, UOW) The ethics of observation: who is watching who?
  • Chris Moore (Media & Communication, UOW): Persona Autosurveillance: Digital Objects, Privacy, Property and Visualising the Presentation of the Public Self
  • Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli (Health and Social Development, Deakin): The ‘C’ Words: Clitorises, Childhood and Challenging Compulsory Heterosexuality in Education
  • Brady Robards (Sociology, UTas): Scrolling Back on Facebook: Qualitative Research into Social Media
  • Brian Simpson (Law, UNE): Legal Narratives of Childhood in the Digital Age: Tensions and Contradictions in the Regulation of the Innocent, Autonomous or Otherwise ‘Wicked Child’
  • Andrew Whelan (Sociology, UOW): What is Obscene Enough? Pretending to Not Know — Obscenity and Absurdity

To book a place please email the secretariat at  uow.newmediaethics@gmail.com