Research in the Faculty takes various forms and its outcomes include papers in scholarly journals, chapters in books, books (edited, multi-authored, and the single-author monographs), datasets and longitudinal studies, and non-traditional research outputs such as research reports, musical compositions and performances, theatrical scripts and performances, creative writing, and translations.

According to the 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) exercise, all broad fields of research applicable to humanities and social sciences at UQ were rated above or well above world standard and, of the twenty-one specialised HASS-related fields, 90% were rated above or well above world standard. 

Humanities and social science research at UQ rated equal first in the nation in three broad fields - Education, Studies in Human Society, Language, and Communication & Culture - and equal first in eight additional specialised fields - Specialist Studies in Education, Political Science, Performing Arts and Creative Writing, Cultural Studies, Literary Studies, Applied Ethics, History and Philosophy of Applied Fields and Religion and Religious Studies. 

Our faculty hosts one current and one recently completed ARC Laureate, three ARC Future Fellows and 11 DECRAs. Currently 19 faculty-led ARC Discovery Projects are operational and five ARC Linkage Projects with co-CI on others led within UQ and beyond.

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at UQ has one of the most diverse funding bases outside of the ARC, sourcing approximately 40% of our total research income each year from a broad range of government and industry partners.

Our researchers draw on these broad disciplines to lift the profile of humanities and social sciences research impact in Australia:

Communication, Media and Cultural Studies

Research in communication, media and cultural studies at UQ has made substantial contributions to international debates and knowledge in these fields. It has also engaged with, and influenced, directions in media, communications, and research policy both nationally and internationally. UQ research in these fields is notable for its interdisciplinarity, for its breadth and for its quality. Its performance is underpinned by the participation of outstanding researchers including a past Australian Research Council (ARC) Federation Fellow and numerous recipients of ARC Professorial Fellowships, ARC QEII Fellowships and ARC Australian Postdoctoral Fellowships.

Cultural Studies research rated at the highest level – well above world standard – in the 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia exercise. In addition, Communication & Media Studies and Film, Television & Digital Media research rated above world standard.

The international and national standing of individual researchers is reflected in their roles as:

  • President of the International Communication Association
  • President of the Australian Academy of the Humanities
  • Vice-President of the International Association for Media and Communication Research
  • Member of the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council

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Education research at UQ focuses on international and national policy, and on school reform; inclusive and socially just education; curriculum and pedagogy; languages and language policy in education; music and human movement education; and the impact of education on social outcomes. The School of Education is one of the most productive centres for education research in Australia. Internationally renowned education research is also conducted within the Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR), and the Schools of Music and of Human Movement Studies.

These research programs and community engagements are underpinned by outstanding academic recognition, including two Fellows of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and two Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellows. Researchers in the School are managing editors of eight internationally recognised, peer-reviewed journals. UQ’s education research is globally competitive, ranked 10th in the world in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2014.

UQ leads a consortium of institutions in the highly innovative ARC-funded Science of Learning Research Centre, the only centre of its kind in Australia. The consortium unites leading researchers at seven Australian universities, as well as the Australian Council for Educational Research, Questacon, State Education Departments, and institutions in the USA and UK. It brings together education research and cognitive neurosciences to understand learning and drive next-generation educational outcomes in Australia.

Education Systems and Specialist Studies in Education rated at the highest level awarded in the 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia exercise.

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Literary Studies

Literary Studies is a long-standing research strength at UQ. Our research includes Australian and British literature, the imaginative writing of other English-language literary traditions, and the study of a number of the major literatures of Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

Our researchers have received numerous national and international awards and fellowships and include nine Fellows of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. UQ literary scholars also serve as board members on a variety of key cultural and scholarly institutions, including: The Australian Research Council (ARC) College; The Excellence in Research for Australia Humanities and Creative Arts Panel; The Council of the Australian Academy of the Humanities; The Australia Council for the Arts; The Australia-India Council; The Foundation for Australian Studies in China; and The Asian Studies Association of Australia Council.

UQ literary studies boasts a diverse network of national and global partners, including: the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions (Europe, 1100-1800), in which UQ is a participating university; and the UQ-led AustLit consortium.

Literary Studies research rated at the highest level – well above world standard – in the 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia exercise.

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Performing Arts and Creative Writing

UQ’s creative outputs are acclaimed nationally and internationally, and have made significant contributions to the shape and conception of Australian literature, drama, and music. Creative Writing, Drama, and Music at UQ engage with both individual creative works and research-based portfolios. The area addresses historical and contemporary texts as well as the specific conditions of creative practice. The impact of this research shows itself in the recognition by both audience and critics of the creative texts that it generates and performs, and extends to engagement with Australia Council policy on arts education and youth arts programs.

A key feature that distinguishes the creative work at UQ is that it is research-led and produced in a context of research debates and interventions.

UQ's Performing Arts and Creative Writing researchers have held significant positions (in editorial roles and in leading organisations). Staff and students have received major research grants and awards for creative work including the Queensland Poetry Prize, Patrick White Playwright's Award, APRAs, Australian Music Centre Classical Music Award and recognition by the Academy of Humanities. They have a wide network of partners including Queensland Writers Centre, Brisbane Writers Festival, UQ Press, Queensland Theatre Company, Multi-Media Art Asia-Pacific, Q Music, Literature Board of the Australia Council, Queensland Literary Awards, the State Library of Queensland, Musica Viva, Queensland Music Festival, Playlab, and Queensland Corrections through Dr Rob Pensalfini's Shakespeare in Prison Project. The Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble is a resident company. Creative writing staff are regularly invited to major writers’ festivals and to act as book reviewers and critics.

Performing Arts and Creative Writing research rated above world standard – the highest rating awarded - in the 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia exercise.

The research in this area benefits from infrastructure such as:

  • Recording studio; Digital lab for music research; instruments for performance research; and sophisticated software for music therapy, education, and performance
  • Theatre space for teaching and performance for Drama, including the Geoffrey Rush Drama Studio
  • Leading national research collections in the field of music through the UQ Library

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Social and Political Science

UQ boasts some of the strongest groups in the social and political sciences in Australia, with particular strengths in anthropology, archaeology, human geography, international relations, political science, social work and sociology. Among the theoretical and methodological approaches employed are quantitative modeling and spatial analysis, qualitative and normative analysis, mixed methods and longitudinal analysis. A suite of externally-funded, project-based studies feeds results directly into policy-making, via UQ’s world-class Schools and Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR). The UQ Culture & Heritage Unit is a leading provider of anthropological and archaeological research expertise in indigenous native title cases and related negotiations over land and resources development.

UQ’s Social and Political Sciences researchers are of high calibre, hosting one of just two social science Australian Research Council Centres of Excellence (The Life Course Centre led by Janeen Baxter from the Institute for Social Science Research), one Australian Research Council (ARC) Laureate Fellow (Lorraine Mazerolle), one ARC Discovery Outstanding Research Award winner (Brian Head), eight Future Fellowship holders, and five Fellows of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia.

Political Science and Social Work research rated at the highest level – well above world standard – in the 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia exercise. Sociology and Human Geography research rated above world standard.

UQ Anthropology Museum has a valuable historical collection of Pacific and Indigenous Australian art, photographs and artefacts. It has global connections with The British Museum, UCL Collections, Pitt Rivers Museum (UK), Quai de Branly (France) and the National Museum of PNG.

A $27 million ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course. With $20 million of this funding coming from the ARC, this represents the largest grant ever received for a UQ-led social sciences initiative and the only Centre awarded by the ARC in the social sciences.

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