2013 Grant Recipients

SSEAC Collaborative Research Grants

The purpose of the SSEAC Collaborative Research Grants is to provide a pathway for new academic projects in/about Southeast Asia or for scholars who are engaging in the region for the first time. In addition to supporting new research initiatives, these grants offer an opportunity for experimenting with new research ideas and eliciting feedback on them from the SSEAC community.

Two Collaborative Research Grants were awarded in 2013.

Family-focused mental health care in Thailand

Nick Kowalenko and Kim Foster

Associate Professor Kim Foster from the Sydney Nursing School and Dr Nick Kowalenko from the Sydney Medical School were awarded a SSEAC Collaborative Research Grant for a project about family-focused mental health care in Thailand. Mental illness such as depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder accounts for 16.2 per cent of the total burden of disease in Thailand. Despite the prevalence and high burden of mental illness, there is a paucity of evidence on quality family practice models in adult mental health services that meet the needs of families with parental mental illness in Thailand. Family-focused practice is a specific approach that addresses the family as a unit, ranging from provision of family psycho-education, through to intensive family interventions. Evidence clearly shows that family-focused approaches are effective and significantly improve mental illness outcomes for the parent, reduce the family's subjective burden of care, promote positive determinants of children's wellbeing, and reduce children's risk factors. This study is the first to investigate family-focused practice of Thai mental health professionals working with families with parental mental illness.

Associate Professor Foster and Dr Kowalenko, in collaboration with colleagues in Thailand and from Monash University, will use the grant from SSEAC to determine the family focused knowledge, attitudes and practices of mental health professionals in Thailand in regard to parents with mental illness and their families. They will administer the Family-Focused Mental Health Practice Questionnaire to a sample of 300 mental health professionals (ie. nurses, doctors, psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists) in four regional psychiatric hospitals in Thailand. Their findings will inform the development of a tailored educational intervention for clinicians and, in the longer term, will provide substantial benefits to, and improved outcomes for, children of parents with mental illness.

Sovereign States: Indonesia and the Politics of Detention

Jennifer Ferng, Sean Anderson and Ryan Griffiths

Jennifer Ferng, Sean Anderson and Ryan Griffiths

Dr Sean Anderson and Dr Jennifer Ferng from the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning are working with Dr Ryan Griffiths from the Department of Government and International Relations in the Faculty of Arts and Social Science. They have been awarded a SSEAC Collaborative Research Grant for a project on Australian built detention centres in Bintan, Indonesia. They will analyse how the construction of the island’s detention centres and camps engage matters of sovereign territoriality, infrastructure, land use and ethical design practices.

The cross-disciplinary project will interrogate topics of ‘shelter’ and ‘incarceration’ on Bintan Island and will examine the contraction of sovereignty and the resulting physical manifestations of detention policies in Indonesia. While in Bintan, the team will conduct interviews with architects, government officials, builders, contractors and local labourers responsible for the Bintan Island centre. Their interdisciplinary approach, which may be termed an ‘ethnography of detention architecture’, will document how detention centre and camp facilities on Bintan Island have altered the local political and built environments.

SSEAC Publication Grants

There are a number of scholars whose engagement in Southeast Asia is primarily through non-academic grants. Their work involves multiple field visits and close collaboration with institutions and individuals in the region, however the structure of the funding for these projects often does not include time and resources for the development of academic output. The SSEAC publication grants provide resources to help academics draw and build on their practical experiences in Southeast Asia to publish their applied research in an academic journal.

Two SSEAC publication grants were offered in 2013-14.

Fiscal policy to support major infrastructure investment in Southeast Asia and Australia

Eric Knight

Eric Knight

Dr Eric Knight from the Sydney Business School has been awarded a SSEAC Publication Grant to publish his work on how Southeast Asian economies are developing new fiscal approaches to infrastructure investment. Energy is one of the region’s greatest socio-technical challenges both in the context of energy security, climate change, and the demands of a growing middle class. Making the shift in both investment and market design to support new energy investment, for example in geothermal infrastructure, is vital to both Southeast Asia and how it intersects with the rest of the world.

Dr Knight will use the grant to turn a report he has co-authored on this issue for the World Bank, titled Climate Change and Fiscal Policy: A Report for APEC, into an academic publication. The paper will explore how developing economies in Southeast Asia leverage existing infrastructure, market design, policy tools and expertise in the region to transform the industrial base of their economies.

Domestic Workers as Agents for Development? The migration-development nexus debate revisited though the Decent Work Agenda

Nicola Piper

Nicola Piper

Associate Professor Nicola Piper and Ms Sohoon Lee from the Department of Sociology in the Faculty of Arts and Social Science have been awarded a SSEAC Publication Grant to publish their work about the nexus between migrant workers and development in Southeast Asia. Associate Professor Piper and Ms Lee were invited to prepare a policy paper entitled ‘Contributions of Migrant Domestic Workers to Sustainable Development’ for the Pre-GFMD VI High-Level Regional Meeting on Migrant Domestic Workers at the Interface of Migration and Development that was held in November 2012. The grant from SSEAC will be used to turn this policy paper into an academic publication.

Sohoon Lee

Sohoon Lee

Recent statistics from ILO shows that Asia Pacific has an exceptionally high number of domestic workers (41 per cent of the world’s domestic worker population), yet the domestic workers in the region are among the least protected. Southeast Asia presents an illuminating case study within the Asia Pacific region because it embraces countries of origin as well as destination for migrant domestic workers. Indonesia and the Philippines are major sending countries and many workers go to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand for work. Associate Professor Piper and Ms Lee will use the grant from SSEAC to conduct a thorough literature review of the existing studies and conceptualisations around gender, migration and development from the viewpoint of labour rights. This paper will provide a systematic deliberation on the meaning of decent working conditions for non-industrial, reproductive work, focusing on fair wages, decent working conditions and industrial relations.