2017 HDR Conference - School of Humanities & Social Sciences

Event status:

The School of Humanities and Social Sciences invite all Higher Degree Research candidates to present their work in a friendly, all kinds of clever environment. The Higher Degree by Research Conference provides our postgraduate students with the opportunity to present their current research and findings to the wider La Trobe community. The event will include an address from a keynote speaker and a panel discussion from La Trobe Graduates.

Monday 20 November 2017 09:00 am until Tuesday 21 November 2017 05:00 pm (Add to calendar)
HDR Conference Committee
Presented by:
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Type of Event:
Current Student: Postgraduate; Conference
Attached documents:
HDR HUSS Program [PDF, 1.0 MB]

Download Conference program [PDF 1MB]

Keynote Speaker: Professor Dennis Altman AM

Why Arts Matter

Over the past two decades there has been a steady decline in student interest in Humanities and Social Sciences, reflected in declining student enrolments and fewer academic positions. We can react to these changes by retreating into increasingly erudite academic byways, or by finding new ways to emphasize the importance of creativity and social analysis. My talk draws on thirty years’ experience at La Trobe, and on the changing nature of writing and social communication during those decades.


Professor Dennis Altman AM is the son of Jewish refugees, and a writer and academic who first came to attention with the publication of his book Homosexual: Oppression & Liberation in 1972. This book, which has often been compared to Greer’s Female Eunuch and Singer’s Animal Liberation, was the first serious analysis to emerge from the gay liberation movement, and was published in seven countries, with a readership that continues today. [In 2010 it was published in Japan, and in 2012 University of Queensland Press issued a fortieth anniversary edition]

Professor Dennis Altman AM Since then Altman has written fourteen books exploring sexuality, politics and their inter-relationship in Australia, the United States and now globally. These include The Homosexualization of America; AIDS and the New Puritanism; Rehearsals for Change; Gore Vidal’s America and Fifty First State?, as well as a novel The Comfort of Men and memoirs Defying Gravity. His book, Global Sex (Chicago U.P, 2001), has been translated into five languages, including Spanish, Turkish and Japanese. Altman co-edited Why Human Security Matters (Allen & Unwin) and his book The End of the Homosexual? was published by UQP in 2013. Since then there are two new books: Queer Wars [with Jon Symons] (Polity, 2016); and co-edited with Sean Scalmer, How to Vote Progressive in Australia (Monash University Press, 2016).

Altman is a Professorial Fellow in the Institute for Human Security at La Trobe. He was President of the AIDS Society of Asia and the Pacific (2001-5), and has been a member of the Governing Council of the International AIDS Society and a Board member of Oxfam Australia. Named as one of the most influential Australians by the Bulletin in 2006, Professor Altman holds Visiting Professorships at Harvard, New York and Chicago Universities and the University of California, Santa Cruz.  He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2008 and in 2013 he was awarded the Simon and Gagnon Award for career contributions to the field of sociology of sexualities by the American Sociological Associations’ Section on Sexualities.

Panel of La Trobe Graduates – PhD and Beyond

Dr Gustavo Portes

Gustavo has a bachelor degree in communication, a Masters degree in media and culture from Nagoya University and a Ph.D. from La Trobe University. He has received several scholarships and awards, including the EMRU Award from the International Society for Animation Studies and the Nancy Millis Award for a thesis of exceptional merit in 2016. Gustavo is currently working as a freelancer, writing screenplays, developing design projects and short animated films.

Dr Mark Mallman

Mark Mallman.jpgMark Mallman is a Senior Research Officer in the Centre for Higher Education Equity and Diversity Research, La Trobe University. His doctoral research examined the multiple social factors that enable and pose barriers to university participation for mature-age learners and for students from low socio-economic backgrounds. Mark’s research interest in socio-economic inequality and ethnic diversity (including amongst migrants and refugees) includes work with Dr Anthony Moran, commissioned by the Victorian Multicultural Commission, researching migration, multiculturalism, and social cohesion in regional cities. Mark’s recent research is about the university experiences of newer migrants at regional university campuses.

Dr Robyn Sampson

Robyn Sampson is a Senior Advisor and Research Coordinator with the International Detention Coalition and an Adjunct Research Fellow with the Swinburne Institute for Social Research at Swinburne University of Technology. She is an internationally recognized expert on the governance of migration, with over 10 years’ experience in the field. Robyn’s research on alternatives to immigration detention, undertaken with the International Detention Coalition, is a key resource in international debates on this issue. Her work has been presented to over 50 governments and used by several countries – including Japan, Mexico, Belgium and Thailand – to introduce less harmful policies. Robyn has been an invited expert speaker and technical advisor at international roundtables for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and many other International organizations. She holds a PhD in Politics from La Trobe University.

Dr Damir Mitric

Damir Mitric is a senior lecturer, Learning Futures, at La Trobe University and Adjunct Research Fellow at the Swinburne Institute for Social Research. His current research focuses on the present-day realities of post- conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina . He is also passionate about empowering students to realize their full potential and make a positive impact on their communities and the world at large.

2016 HDR Conference Highlights

In 2016, our esteemed panel of graduates spoke about their individual experiences of completing higher degrees by research and gave our current students tips about how to stay on track, and their advice for future employment. Watch the 2016 HDR Conference panel discussion or see the HDR photo highlights.


The Learning Commons (TLC) Levels 2 & 3

La Trobe University, Melbourne Campus, Bundoora



19th Apr 2018 10:02pm

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