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Community engagement

Making a positive difference to the community
We are committed to helping solve complex societal problems using our expertise in teaching and research.

How we're helping the community thrive

In New South Wales more than 20,000 children are in out-of-home care, a four-fold increase in the last 20 years.

As part of reforms that support permanent family care through restoration, guardianship or open adoption, the NSW Government funded the Institute of Open Adoption Studies as a joint venture between the University and Barnardos Australia. It is the first independent centre of its kind in Australia to be publicly funded and operates with academic independence.

Together with Barnardos Australia and NSW Family and Community Services (FaCS), the University is bridging the gap between research, policy and practice to promote permanency for children in out-of-home care. 

“We are building an evidence base that is directly informing the system,” highlights Associate Professor Amy Conley Wright, director of the institute. “Through a combination of traditional and commissioned research, we are able to work with the government and non-profit organisations to identify gaps in major systems during a period of significant transformation in the sector.”

In the City of Sydney council area around 17,000 residents don’t have reliable access to affordable healthy food, and more than 3.6 million Australians experience some kind of food insecurity each year, according to Foodbank Australia.

The University’s Sydney Environment Institute is leading a research-driven initiative that places power in the hands of local heroes to reduce those sobering numbers. Called FoodLab Sydney, it’s a custom-designed program that provides support and training to people who want to bring their own idea for a food business or career to life in their own community.

The institute and UNSW Canberra have joined forces with the City of Sydney and TAFE NSW for this unique example of a local government-community-university partnership. Find out more about FoodLab Sydney.

The University has jointly pioneered a new approach to drama teaching that has already benefited more than 27,000 students and teachers, through a partnership with the Sydney Theatre Company.

Called School Drama, the unique program originally paired teaching artists – often professional actors – with teachers in primary school classrooms as dynamic duos. Recently it has expanded into secondary schools, juvenile justice centres and migrant and refugee English language centres.

School Drama reinvents conventional artist-in-residence initiatives, where the teaching is often one way – more of a fly-in, fly-out arrangement. It will soon reach every state and territory in Australia. Find out more about the impact of the University’s School Drama partnership.

Collaborate with us

Let us help address the complex problems facing our communities and put our expertise and experience to work. There are many ways that you can engage us - find out more below.

Alternatively, you can contact our Engagement Team to learn more about how we can work together.

Faculty community engagement initiatives

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is dedicated to the advancement of social justice causes. We strongly believe in community-based social change and the potential to create meaningful, long-term connections off campus. Learn more.

From refugee resettlement to remote entrepreneur support and literacy programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, the University of Sydney Business School is committed to making people’s lives better. Learn more.

The Faculty of Engineering is committed to developing skills and opportunities for Indigenous students in engineering, computer science and project management. We provide academic and financial assistance to foster the skills and talents of these future professionals. Learn more.

The Faculty of Medicine and Health understands the value of building strong partnerships with the communities that surround us, both locally and overseas. We are dedicated to sharing our expertise and providing services through our programs. Learn more.

The Faculty of Science runs a wide range of community events and activities, including public talks, HSC revision, school activities and teaching resources. Learn more

The Sydney Conservatorium of Music caters to a wide range of music lovers. Whether you're a primary school student or retiree, or anywhere in between, we have an exciting range of courses, concerts and community projects that you can be part of. Learn more.

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