Focus: Evaluating projects

Associate Professor Tess Lea joined the Department in July 2011 after working at Charles Darwin University where she inaugurated the School for Social Policy Research (now The Northern Institute). As an ARC Queen Elizabeth II Fellow, she is currently pursuing ethnographic research across housing, infrastructure, community development and education domains to explore the question “can there be good social policy in regional and remote Australia?” She has previously worked as a senior bureaucrat in the Northern Territory Departments of Health and Education, and operated as a ministerial advisor.

Her work focuses on conditions of enduring racial inequality in Australia and the material and affective dimensions of how these conditions are reproduced and inhabited

Her research interests include housing and environmental health reform; the anthropology of audit and policy; development theory and the will to improve; the tactics of post-colonial power and settler liberal governance; institutional ethnography; neo-liberal governance; urban research; Indigenous school-based education reform; development theory; the co-dependencies between Indigenous and non-Indigenous worlds; class, race and place.

Other current ARC-funded linkage projects focus on the trials and tribulations of the Housing for Health program; Indigenous parental engagement with schools; and implementation of the first randomised control trial of a literacy software program, ABRACADABRA, in collaboration with the Centre for Studies in Learning and Performance, Montreal.