About us

The Institute for Human Security and Social Change (the Institute) works for inclusive social change - positive change for all.

Our work is practice-based. We aim to learn from practice, share that learning in Australia and internationally, and to inform practice by bringing to bear the latest thinking in international development and social change.

We do this through research and support of social change initiatives, teaching, training and outreach.

We believe that addressing complex problems in ways which contribute to systemic change requires new practices and different relationships. Directly addressing cultural and gender diversity, race and power dynamics is central to our way of working.

We work with a wide range of individuals, organisations and networks that are involved in social change with a particular but not exclusive focus on Indigenous Australia and the Pacific.

Rather than provide one-off services,  we strive to build long term relationships on the basis of equity, mutual respect and solidarity. We aim to be a trusted and critical friend to our partners. These relationships allow us to interact with our partners at multiple levels, to make space for dialogue and debate and generate on-going two-way learning.

We can support our partners through a combination of: action research; monitoring, evaluation and learning; research design and management; thinking and working politically, adaptive programming; coalition building, and partnership brokering.

We take a developmental approach in providing these supports which promotes partner ownership and control, amplifies the voices of people projects are designed to benefit and builds partner and participant capacity.

If you are interested in working with us, then please contact Yeshe Smith at Y.Smith@latrobe.edu.au.

Vision and mission

We seek to actively contribute to progressive social change.

We aim to do this through becoming a resource for re-imagining how social change happens, including the translation of research findings into education, practice and policy.


Our goals 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 Chris Roche.

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

Countries we support work in

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

Annual Reports and Strategic Plan