The Faculty of Arts and Education has a vibrant and diverse community of doctoral candidates, both on and off campus, in Australia and around the world, pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy degree in the areas of education and information studies. The majority of our doctoral candidates study via distance education and come to campus on a regular basis to meet with their supervisors and other candidates. There are also a number of full time doctoral candidates, both on and off campus.
Prospective Higher Degree by Research candidates should read the information on this page which outlines the steps to take PRIOR to completing an application for admission to the program.
Candidates are supported and mentored by academic staff with a broad background, and expertise in a diverse range of content areas and research methodologies. More information about expertise in the faculty is available here.
Children's perspectives of play
The study aimed to explore children's perspectives of play, and children's ways of participation in research to inform ethical practice. Recently, research has acknowledged children as primary stakeholders of play whose perspectives are underrepresented, and the importance of including their understandings to inform play-based pedagogy. Less attention has been paid how children choose to participate in such research.
Sociocultural play theories and contemporary notions of children's rights informed the study.
The qualitative study used an interpretive paradigm. Constructivist grounded theory framed data generation and analysis acknowledging individual and collective acts of creating meaning. Children's play was video-recorded and shown to the children to stimulate group conversations. 17 four-to-five year old children from one Australian childcare centre participated. Conversations were transcribed and coded. Children's verbal expressions and nonverbal participation were interpreted.
The findings contribute to existing knowledge, highlighting children's perspectives of play are diverse; the importance of peers; the role of adults; the influence of the physical context and nature of play, such as choice and control. Further, the study contributes to childhood studies, in particular to little research reporting how children consent, choose to participate, and dissent, acknowledging children's right to express their views in their preferred and capable ways.
I chose to undertake my PhD at CSU first and foremost to follow Sue's and Bob's offer to supervise my thesis. Both have been highly respected academics in early childhood research internationally, especially in my areas of interest: researching children's perspectives. Secondly, the establishment of the Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education (RIPPLE) at the time of my enrolment drew my attention to CSU's commitment to enhancing research and encouraging interdisciplinary research in the educational field. The involvement in the federally funded Collaborative Research Network Excellence in Research in Early Years Education CRN, one of the largest networks of research-productive EYE academics worldwide promised to be an inspiring and supportive environment to research in the early childhood education field and to promote my own learning journey.
Huser, C., Dockett, S. & Perry, B. (2016). Transition to school: Revisiting the bridge metaphor. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 24(3), 439-449, DOI: 10.1080/1350293X.2015.1102414
Huser, C. (2016). Spielend lernen?! Spielpädagogische Ansätze aus der Kinderperspektive. [Learning playfully?! Children's perspectives of play-based pedagogical approaches.] In I. Hunger & R. Zimmer (Eds.), Bewegungschancen bilden. (pp. 131-135). Schorndorf: Hofmann.
Cowie, H., Huser, C. & Myers, C. A. (2014). The use of participatory methods in researching the experiences of children and young people. Croatian Journal of Education, 16, (2), Special Edition, 51-66.
Huser, C. (2014). Wo die wilden Kerle in Bewegung kommen! Bewegte Sprachförderung mit dem Bilderbuch [Where the wild things start to move! Movement-oriented language promotion with story books]. In I. Hunger & R. Zimmer (Eds.), Inklusion bewegt. Herausforderungen für die frühkindliche Bildung. (pp. 263-268). Schorndorf: Hofmann.
Huser, C. (2011). Bewegungsspiele mit vollem Körpereinsatz. Krabbeln, klettern, springen. [Physical play with the whole body. Crawling, climbing, jumping.]. Kleinstkinder, Themenheft Bewegung, 27-33.
Huser, C. (2011). Objekterfahrungen – Materialien entdecken. [Object experiences and exploration] In R. Zimmer (Ed.) Psychomotorik für Kinder unter 3 Jahren. Entwicklungsförderung durch Bewegung. [Psychomotricity for children under 3 years. Fostering development through movement.] (pp. 63-72). Freiburg, Basel, Wien: Herder.
Zimmer, R., Huser, C. & Madeira Firmino, N. (2011). Bewegte Sprache – Sprachförderung durch Bewegung. [Moving Language – Promoting language through movement.] (DVD). Freiburg: Herder.
Huser, C. (2010). Children's voices on play in a Mosaic Approach study: Children as conscious participants in a case study. Boğaziçi University Journal of Education, 26 (1), 35-48.
Huser, C. (2016). What do children say about play? Insights into play from children's perspectives in a prior-to-school setting. Conference presentation, Early Childhood Australia National Conference 2016 "This is Childhood", 5-8 October 2016, Darwin, Australia.
Huser, C. (2015). Ethical spaces for children's active participation in research. Conference presentation, 5th ENSEC Conference "Social Emotional Learning and Culture", 1-4 July 215, Lisbon, Portugal.
Huser, C. (2015). Spielend lernen?! Spielpaedagogische Ansaetze aus der Kinderperspektive. [Playful learning?! Children's perspectives of play –based pedagogical approaches] Conference presentation, 9th Kongress Bewegte Kindheit [Conference Active Childhood], 19 – 21 March 2015, Osnabrueck, Germany.
Huser, C. & Cowie, H. (2013). Children as active researchers; Pre-Conference Workshop Presentation, 4th ENSEC Conference "Social and Emotional Competence in a Changing World", 3 July – 7 July 2013, Zagreb, Croatia.
Huser, C. (2013). Promoting second language acquisition in early childhood settings through the medium of movement; Conference Presentation, 23rd EECERA Conference "Values, Culture and Contexts", 28 August – 31 August 2013, Tallinn, Estonia.
Huser, C. (2013). Wo die wilden Kerle in Bewegung kommen! Bewegte Sprachförderung mit dem Bilderbuch [Where the wild things start to move! Movement-oriented language promotion with story books], Conference Workshop, 8th Conference "Bewegte Kindheit" [Active Childhood], 28 February – 2 March 2013, Osnabrueck, Germany.
Huser, C. (2012). Children's voices on play in a mosaic approach study. A thesis from a European Master Program (EMEC) using participatory research methods; Conference Presentation, 22nd EECERA Conference "Pre-birth to three: identities, learning, diversities", 29 August – 1 September 2012, Oporto, Portugal.
Madeira-Firmino, N., Huser, C. Haberer, E. & Zimmer, R. (2012). Promoting language in early childhood through the medium of movement, Conference Presentation, 22nd EECERA Conference "Pre-birth to three: identities, learning, diversities", 29 August – 1 September 2012, Oporto, Portugal.
Huser, C. (2012). Auf die Plätze, fertig … Sprache! [Ready, steady … Language!]; Conference Workshop, Conference "Fachtag Sprache und Bewegung" [Language and Movement], 25 September 2012, Osnabrueck, Germany.
Huser, C. (2011). Auf die Plätze, fertig … Sprache! Bewegte Sprachförderung für den Kindergartenalltag [Ready, steady … Language! Movement-oriented language promotion in kindergarten"; Conference workshop, 7th Conference „Bewegte Kindheit" [Active Childhood], 17 March – 19 March 2011, Osnabrueck, Germany.
Huser, C. (2009). Children's voices on play in a mosaic study. Conference Presentation, Second ENSEC Conference on Promoting Social Emotional Education: Practitioners and Researchers Exploring Evidence Based Practice, 9-12 September, 2009, Izmir, Turkey.
How do infants interact in triads in long day care?
My research, titled "How do Infants Interact in Triads in Long Day Care?" aims to better understand the interactions of infants under 2 years-of-age in groups of three children (triad) in the context of centre-based long day care. A key component of this research and what makes it different to previous laboratory-based research is that it is designed to document over a 12-month period the developmental trajectory of infant-peer triadic interactions in a natural setting. This study will gather fine-grained information about the ways infants develop social and cultural understanding in small peer group dynamics during their early transition into long day care. Data sources include observational diaries and filmed case studies of 15 infants from 3 to 24 months-of-age. Educator responses to filmed infant-peer triadic interactions are obtained providing information on how educators understand and support infant-peer interactions in group care.
I worked as a research assistant studying infants for Professor Linda Harrison, Professor Ben Bradley and Dr. Robyn Dolby. I had also worked as a psychologist and art therapist with mothers and babies. It was a natural progression to commence a PhD based on the interaction between infants.
APHRA Psychology Registration, Number PSY0001133145
Associate Member of the Australian Psychological Society
Arts Therapist Registered, Number P1997N-070
Full Professional Member of the Australian and New Zealand Arts Therapy Association
Member of the Australian Association for Infant Mental Health.
Harrison, L., Friezer, B. & Dolby, R. (in press). Applying the Tavistock method of observation and group reflection to the study of babies and toddlers in child-based childcare. In L. Li, G. Quinones & A. Ridgeway (Eds.), Relationships in cultural contexts. Springer.
Dolby, R., Hughes, E. & Friezer, B. (2014). Playspaces: educators, parents and toddlers .In L.J. Harrison & J. Sumsion (Eds.), Lived spaces of infant-toddler education and care. Exploring diverse perspectives on theory, research and practice (pp. 89-102). Dordrecht: Springer.
Dolby, R., Hughes, E. & Friezer, B. (2013). Secure transitions: supporting children to feelsecure, confident and included. Early Childhood Australia (issuing body). Deakin West, A.C.T: Early Childhood Australia
Swan B., Dolby, R. (2003). The First Five Years. Developing Practice. The child, youth and family work journal: Autumn 2003 (6) 18-23.
Swan, B. (1998). An Object relations approach to art therapy and its application to early intervention programs. In S. Donnelly and J. Edwards (Eds.), Inner worlds – outer realities: the prevention of child abuse and neglect through early intervention (pp. 177-185). Sydney: Benevolent Society of NSW, Centre for Children's Early Intervention Programs.
"Developing a community within Early Childhood Services using an attachment framework." By Dr Robyn Dolby and Belinda Swan. Seminar presented at the Parent Infant Foundation of Australia, Attachment Theories and Clinical Work Seminars, 10th November 2003, St Francis Xavier Parish Hall, Sydney.
"When it's all too much. Re-thinking child-teacher relationships in facilitating positive responses in children." By Belinda Swan, Dr Robyn Dolby and Judith Croll. Presented at the Uniting Care Children's Services Forum, Annual Conference, 28th October 2003, The Uniting Church Offices, Sydney
"Early Intervention in childcare settings – a new model holds great prospects. Building relationships in Early Childhood Settings." By Belinda Swan, Dr Robyn Dolby and Judith Croll. Presented at the Country Children's Services Association Annual Conference, 20-22nd June 2003, Rydges Hotel, Canberra.
"Early Intervention in childcare settings – a new model holds great prospects." By Belinda Swan, Dr Robyn Dolby and Judith Croll. Presented at the Queen Elizabeth Centre's Second National Conference, 8-9th November 2002, University of Melbourne, Melbourne.
"Caring for children who have experienced abuse and neglect: a positive role for childcare". By Dr Robyn Dolby and Belinda Swan. Presented at the Early Childhood Association Biennial Conference, 18-21st July 2001, University of New South Wales, Sydney.
"An Object relations approach to art therapy and its application to early intervention programs". Presented at the Inner Worlds – Outer Reality Conference, 14th-15th September, 1998, Benevolent Society, Sydney.
"The Application of art therapy to infant parent psychotherapy." Presented at the Australian National Art Therapy Association Conference, 24-25th October, 1998, University of Western Sydney, Sydney.
The Role of the Tongan National Conference in the Uniting Church in Australia
The Research is exploring the role of the largest national conference of CALD communities in the Uniting Church. This Conference is not in the defined structure of the Uniting Church but it is a gathering that serves the diverse needs of migrant communities in the Church. Those who struggle with the English language are able to meet and discuss issues in their own language and also contribute to the life of the Uniting Church. The Uniting Church declared itself a Multicultural Church in 1985 but is still coming to grip with what the implications of that declaration means.
I came to do this because I am a Tongan-born Minister of the Uniting Church since 1990 and have appreciated the struggles of migrant communities who are members of the Uniting Church. The struggles with the English language dominantly used in worship and meetings as well as publications.
Walker Percy in the Age of the Crisis of Man
Using Mark Greif's concept of the 'age of the crisis of man'- a period in midcentury American letters characterized by anxieties about the status of the human person- the thesis will argue that a full appreciation of Walker Percy's writings as both novelist and philosopher is impossible except in reference to the intellectual history in which he found himself, and that a sufficient account of the 'age of the crisis of man' is likewise impossible without attending to Percy.
I completed undergraduate work at CSU and enjoyed the kindness of my teachers.
Unity and Conflict on Rowan Williams's Theology of Church
The Church has known tension between identity and difference since its beginnings, with frequent disagreement and conflict. The motivation for this research is the question: How is conflict in the church to be understood theologically? Rowan Williams's concept is that conflict and difference are constitutive of the Church's unity, theologically and historically. This research will examine the intellectual environment in which Williams has generated his complex ideas about conflict, unity and solidarity, formulate a synthesis of his ecclesial vision, engage with criticisms and alternative proposals, and consider some implications of Williams's concept for the theology of church and its role in the wider society.
I took up theological study after retirement from long career as a research librarian. Having completed honours and masters, specializing in systematic theology, I am pleased to be able to work on a research task of great interest to me.
Ludwig Wittgenstein in Rowan Williams's Theological Account of Language, New Blackfriars (2017, in press) doi 10.1111/nbfr.12225.
Revelation in Nicolas Berdyaev's Religious Philosophy,Open Theology 3 (2017): 117–133. doi 10.1515/opth-2017-0009.
Public Theology's Contribution to the Debate on Climate Change. Uniting Church Studies 20, no. 1 (2014):61-81.