About us

Social change happens when alliances and coalitions come together, challenging ideas and vested interests, ready to create and seize opportunities for systemic change.

That’s why we see ourselves as part of an ecosystem of individuals and networks working for social change. We combine research, practice and engagement to create space for dialogue, exchange and contestation.

We seed collaboration, build partnerships and create and share knowledge. We foster collective learning in order to adapt to a complex and uncertain world.

We are a not-for-profit that works collaboratively on university-wide initiative and carries out:

  • research
  • teaching and professional development,
  • partnerships development
  • outreach programs.

Through us, La Trobe seeks to position itself as one of the key Australian universities partnering with others to undertake applied research on equity and social justice issues. Our applied research emphasises effective participation of civil society, citizens, the disadvantaged, and the role of non-state actors.

An important element is understanding the place and role of Australia and its citizens in the international arena, as well as in domestic debates on indigenous rights, poverty, inequality and injustice. We currently work in - or have partners/collaborators in multiple communities around the world.

Vision and mission

We seek to actively contribute to progressive social change. We aim to do this by being a recognised resource in the re-imagining of how social change happens; including the translation of research findings into practice, education and policy.

Goals and objectives

Our goal is to understand effective practice, build strong collaborations, and share knowledge.  While our objectives are to:

  • Better understand the practice of social change agents, networks and organisations, so that we can record what is effective in contributing to inclusive, equitable and ultimately transformational development.
  • Work in partnership with NGOs, alliances, coalitions and social movements who promote progressive social change, with a particular focus on the Pacific, Indigenous Australia and women’s collective leadership.
  • Test, curate and share different forms of knowledge and evidence that enable and support transformational development; particularly appropriate methods and tools for design, monitoring, evaluation, and learning of change initiatives.
  • Explore and promote the institutional forms, arrangements and leadership that can underpin and support collective action at multiple levels.

Our history

The Institute for Human Security was established by Professor Dennis Altman in 2010, and was renamed the Institute for Human Security and Social Change (the Institute) in 2013 under its new director Associate Professor Chris Roche.

Since then, the Institute has worked to develop its reputation and resources, establish key industry partnerships and work intensively with development practitioners on the complex research questions that currently face development practice. The Institute has developed collaborations across La Trobe with a range of relevant disciplines and academics.

Countries we work in

  • Papua New Guinea
  • Vanuatu
  • Fiji
  • Solomon Islands
  • Timor-Leste
  • Tonga
  • Kiribati
  • Samoa
  • Australian Indigenous communities

Annual Reports and Strategic Plan