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1997 …2024

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Personal profile

Research Biography

Getting heard when you are a young person is not easy

The website of The Smith Family (a well known national Australian children’s charity) tells the story of 8 year old Amy, whose family lives in poverty. Amy’s family can’t afford a proper uniform or shoes for her. She’s falling behind at school. She’s too embarrassed to ask her teachers for help.

Amy’s story is not unique. About one in six Australian children grow up in poverty. Very often, children in low income families experience other forms of disadvantage too. For example, they are more likely to have a disability, or to have family members with disabilities or other health problems, or to live in a disadvantaged area with poor services.

Over the past 20 years, Gerry’s research has focused on marginalisation as experienced by young people in Australia and other countries – at school, with their peers, and in the community. He’s particularly interested in amplifying young people’s voices through his research and supporting them to talk about their lived experience. We hear very little from young people themselves about how their experiences impact the opportunities available to them, and what they do to protect themselves and their families from the effects of poverty and marginalisation.

Gerry’s research does not offer ‘easy fixes’ to these problems of marginalisation. There are no simple remedial interventions. The purpose of his research is to focus the attention of people with power - advocates, policymakers and practitioners in health, education,  community services and local government - on what young people themselves see as the challenges in their lives, and supports that can help them overcome these challenges.

The Australian Child Wellbeing Project

Through extensive research projects with young people, including the Australian Child Wellbeing Project, Gerry has shown that when asked, young people will indeed tell you about their needs. For example, young people with disability describe the need for more opportunities to participate in outside school activities. Or that young carers ask for teachers to better recognise the responsibilities they face, which may mean they’re late for school or don’t always get their homework done. And that young people in low income families can miss out on being able to participate in (often expensive) outside-school activities.

The Australian Child Wellbeing Project asked young people about their lives and wellbeing during the crucial but under-researched period of middle childhood (age 8-14 years). In this project we were trying to understand the many different types of life experiences of young people (for example, being carers, experiencing disability, being poor), the social relationships that they engage in, and their perceptions of these circumstances and relationships. We were able to sample 5,440 students in 180 schools across Australia. We identified young people in marginalised groups (low income, young carers, young people with a disability, Indigenous young people) as experiencing high levels of health complaints and bullying, and low levels of engagement at school, social support and subjective wellbeing. These experiences have major implications for young people’s life chances, an issue that is currently being researched in a follow-up study, Wellbeing in Adolescence.

Professor Gerry Redmond is a sociologist and social policy analyst. Before coming to Flinders in 2012, he worked at the University of Cambridge (UK), UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre (Italy) and the University of NSW. He has won over $3.6 million in funding, and has been Chief Investigator on five Australian Research Council (ARC) grants, most recently the Wellbeing in Adolescence project. He has authored 39 journal articles, and has a Google Scholar H-index of 21. He is currently a member of advisory groups for youth and family statistics for the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. He is currently a member of the ARC College of Experts (2020-2022). At Flinders, he has occupied the role of Dean (Research) at the College of Business, Government and Law since 2017. Most importantly, he advocates for amplifying the voices of young people who are the least heard but who have the most to gain from policy makers and others in power hearing them.

Research Interests

  • Social Policy
  • Poverty & inequality
  • Child poverty, child rights, child wellbeing
  • Survey data analysis
  • Qualitative research with children and young people

Supervised Students Successes

  • Jul 2018 Raden Mas Suryo Guritno - PhD
  • Jun 2017 N S Malik - MA
  • Feb 2016 Andreas Cebulla - PhD
  • Jennifer Fane - PhD (June 2020)


  • Registered

Research Areas

  • Government and international relations

Supervisory Interests

  • Public policy
  • Poverty and inequality
  • Child development
  • Analysis of survey data


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