Skip to main content
Add Me To Your Mailing List
Background Image URL //
CHASS Board 

CHASS Council Nov 2023 - Nov 2025


Professor Frank Bongiorno: President

Frank Bongiorno AM (born Nhill, Victoria, 1969) is Professor of History and a historian of Australia. He was formerly Head of the School of History (2018-21), and Deputy Director (Education) of the Research School of Social Sciences (2012-14). He is currently President of the Australian Historical Association.

Twitter: @fbongiornoanu

He is most recently the author of Dreamers and Schemers: A Political History of Australia (La Trobe University in conjunction with Black Inc.):

Frank welcomes student enquiries about Higher Degree Research supervision of projects in Australian history.

Frank is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and the Australian Academy of the Humanities and a Whitlam Institute Distinguished Fellow at Western Sydney University. He is a Member of the Order of Australia.

Prior to joining the Australian National University, he held lecturing positions at King’s College London (2007-11), the University of New England (2000-07) and Griffith University (1996), and taught previously at the ANU (1994). He has been an Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the ANU (1997-2000), and in 1997-8 was Smuts Visiting Fellow in Commonwealth Studies at the University of Cambridge and Mellon Visiting Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. He has also worked as a Research Officer in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Frank is the author or co-author of five books and many scholarly articles and book chapters on Australian history. The Sex Lives of Australians: A History (2012), won the ACT (Australian Capital Territory) Book of the Year and was shortlisted in the Australian History category of the Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Award and the New South Wales Premier’s History Award. The Eighties: The Decade That Transformed Australia (2015) also won ACT Book of the Year and was shortlisted for the Ernest Scott Prize, the New South Wales Premier’s History Award and the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS) Book Prize, and long listed for the Colin Roderick Award. Read on... 

Professor Dimitris Vardoulakis: Vice-President (Congress)

Dimitris Vardoulakis works on political, social and cultural philosophy.

His is primarily interested in how materialist philosophy conceives democracy and sovereignty, with a particular focus on conceptions of technology.

What binds these diverse fields is the attempt to reassess epicureanism, an undervalued and under-researched school of thought from antiquity whose modern proponents, such as Spinoza, faced persecution.

Dimitris is currently serving as the Chair of the Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy, and is a member of Western Sydney University’s Human Research Ethics Committee. Read on... 

Professor Ilana Mushin: Treasurer

Ilana is a linguist whose research interests include: interactions between discourse, cognition and grammar, pragmatics, perspective-taking in discourse, Conversation Analysis, typology, narrative structure, language shift and language maintenance, Australian First Nations Languages. Ilana is currently a Chief Investigator on the ARC Discovery Project 'Conversational interaction in Aboriginal and Remote Australia' (CIARA - She is also currently President of the Australian Linguistic Society and Conference Chair of the International Society for Conversation Analysis conference (ICCA23).

Ilana is a UQ Expert for media in the following fields:

Australian Aboriginal languages, Aboriginal languages, Languages - Aboriginal, Sociolinguistics, Discourse analysis, Pragmatics, Linguistic typology

They are happy to lend their expertise to your articles or broadcasts and share their research discoveries and insights with the community via media channels.

For additional assistance with story ideas, general advice and information or help with seeking further experts, please email the UQ Media Team or telephone (07) 3365 1120.

Alec Coles OBE

Alec has been CEO of the Western Australian Museum since 2010: the State’s museum with branches in Perth, Fremantle, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie and Albany. He was previously Director of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums in North East England for eight years. Prior to that, he was CEO of the Northumberland Wildlife Trust, a wildlife conservation charity in North East England. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Social Sciences at The University of Western Australia, an Executive Member of the Council for Australasian Museum Directors, a Board member of The University of Western Australia’s Institute of Advanced Studies, and Chair of International Council of Museums (ICOM) Australia. He is committed to developing and demonstrating the public value of museums. He is currently driving Western Australia’s initiative of a new State Museum and aspires to create a museum that is owned and valued by all West Australians and admired by the world. In 2010, he was awarded an OBE for Services to Museums. In March 2017, he was awarded Honorary Doctor of Letters from The University of Western Australia in recognition of his contribution to the Arts.

Professor Sandra Gattenhof is Director of Research Training in Creative Industries, Education and Social Justice Faculty at QUT situated on Turrbul and Yugara lands in Meanjin (Brisbane). Sandra is internationally recognised as expert in the field of arts and cultural evaluation and worked as a researcher with major arts organisations and arts funding bodies in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, United Kingdom and Norway. Sandra has an outstanding publications record. Sandra is chief investigator for ARC Linkage Project The Role of the Creative Arts in Regional Australia (2019-2022), Social Impact Strategy for the Puuya Foundation (2021-2023), and led Valuing the Arts Australia and New Zealand (2020). Sandra has been a lead consultant for Australian Curriculum: The Arts, Education Queensland’s Arts curriculum and syllabuses, Queensland Ballet, Out of the Box children’s festival and Brisbane Festival. Sandra’s outstanding service record includes past president of Drama Australia and Drama Queensland, chair of the Dead Puppet Society, and board member of National Advocates for Arts Education. Sandra has received QUT Vice- Chancellor’s Performance Award (2014; 2007), QUT Award for Excellence in Leadership (2014), and Creative Industries Faculty Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research and Innovation (2011). Sandra received Drama Australia President’s Award in 2021.

Dr Matthew Champion is a Senior Lecturer in History in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne. Prior to his return to Australia in 2020, he was a tenured Lecturer in Medieval History at Birkbeck, University of London, and a Junior Research Fellow at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge. He has held visiting fellowships at the Warburg Institute, London, the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, and at the Newberry Library in Chicago.

Matthew’s research spans the history of temporality, emotions, gender, sound and music, visual and material culture, and religious reform and heresy. His 2017 monograph The Fullness of Time: Temporalities of the Fifteenth-Century Low Countries (Chicago UP) was the winner of the 2018 Gladstone Prize from the Royal Historical Society. He is currently working towards a global and material history of time and sound, supported by an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award ‘The Sounds of Time’ and a collaborative Discovery Project with colleagues at the Universities of Melbourne, Manchester and Heidelberg on Albrecht Dürer’s material worlds.

Matthew is an editor of the series Genders and Sexualities in History for Palgrave, a member of the international advisory board of the Journal of Ecclesiastical History, and a current elected committee member of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Medieval Studies.

Professor Alphia Possamai-Inesedy is an accomplished academic and senior higher education leader who has contributed to the Social Sciences throughout the duration of her career. She is the current Pro Vice-Chancellor of Engagement and Advancement at Western Sydney University (WSU), President of The Australian Sociological Association and inaugural Chair of the Social Justice Network based at WSU. Alphia was Chair of Academic Senate and the inaugural Director of WSU’s Sydney City Campus. She was the editor in chief of the Journal of Sociology (2013- end of 2016) as well as the co-creator of the Risk Societies Thematic Group within The Australian Sociological Association. She is the Springer co-editor for the series ‘Religion, Spirituality and Health: A Social Scientific approach’. Her recent work includes: The Sociology of Health & Illness: Critical Perspectives for 21st century Australia (2022) and The Digital Social: Religion and Belief (2019). Alphia is a dedicated academic and executive in the areas of equity, social justice and community engagement. She is responsible for leading strategic engagement work to shape higher education’s commitment to co-producing solutions to the interconnected challenges facing society.

Jean Fornasiero FAHA is Professor Emerita of French Studies at the University of Adelaide. She has an extensive record in interdisciplinary and collaborative research within the Humanities area, having published and held ARC grants in history, history of science, nineteenth century French Studies. She also has a wide experience in administering Humanities areas at the University of Adelaide, as Head of a large School of Humanities (covering English, Creative Writing, History, Media, Philosophy, Classics, Linguistics, European Languages, the Mobile Languages Team and the JM Coetzee Centre), and Departments and Centres, such as the Centre for European Studies, as well as serving as Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts. She has also served on Chair selection committees and review panels for universities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Monash, etc. She is committed to working within professional associations and is part of the founding team of the Australian Society for French Studies and of Creative France in South Australia, the association set up to encourage academic and artistic connections with France. She contributes to both discipline specific and interdisciplinary groups, serving on editorial boards, research committees, as well as executive committees, such as LCNAU, where she is immediate Past President after serving for six years as president. As part of her activities as LCNAU president she was active in setting up a publication arm for LCNAU, as part of its mission to mentor
language academics. She also co-organised the first National Languages campaign, in partnership with ACICIS, assisting in raising $100,000 to encourage future university students to consider enrolling in language programs. Preliminary reports point to considerable success in meeting audience targets, with further results on 2023 languages enrolments expected in 2024. She looks forward to finding new ways to make the case for the Humanities.

Noriko Iwashita is an Associate Professor in Applied Linguistics at The University of Queensland (UQ). She is a dedicated educator and researcher who strongly focuses on language assessment, pedagogy, and classroom second language acquisition (SLA). At UQ, Noriko teaches these subjects within the master's program. She supervises PhD and MA students in assessment and classroom SLA.
Her expertise extends from her previous role as a Research Fellow at the Language Testing Research Centre (LTRC) at The University of Melbourne.

Noriko holds the Director of Research position at the School of Languages and Cultures. In this capacity, she oversees research activities within the school. She plays a pivotal role in setting its strategic research direction. She has actively contributed to various university committees, including the Faculty's Research Committee, the Faculty's Low Negligible Research Ethics Committee and the UQ Career Development Framework Working Group. Noriko's dedication to teaching excellence has been recognised by several awards, such as the Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence (2022), Higher Education Academy Senior Fellowship (2018), and Carrick Citations For Outstanding Contributions To Student Learning (2007).

Noriko has successfully led international collaborations and secured significant grants, including an ARC Discovery Grant (2004-7). She has also engaged in contracted research projects with prestigious organisations like the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), and The British Council. Her leadership extends to her service as an executive board member at professional associations and editorial boards (see below). Noriko's impact on Applied linguistics is reflected in her contributions to various journals, co-authored books, and edited volumes. Her work has been featured in flagship journals such as Language Testing, Studies in Second Language Acquisition, Language Learning, Applied Linguistics, Language Teaching Research, The Modern Language Journal, and TESOL Quarterly.

See Noriko’s profile at and Google Scholar.

Dr Juliet Watson: Secretary

Juliet Watson is a Senior Lecturer and Executive committee member, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University. Juliet was invited to join the organising committee for the inaugural Australian Congress of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (2022). A key collaborator with the CHASS Board alongside other disciplinary leaders, and a member of the keynote subcommittee, Juliet was instrumental in helping to bring to life an ambitious, but successful national congress to showcase high-profile events, raising national awareness of HASS.

Juliet’s invitation to the Congress organising committee centred on her long-term involvement with peak body, the Australian Women’s and Gender Studies Association (AWGSA). Elected to the AWGSA Executive (2016), Juliet held various Office Bearer roles over many years, including President. During her tenure, she strengthened the disciplines and increased national visibility and recognition of the importance of women’s and gender studies. Juliet’s extensive collaboration with industry means she has a particular strength in working with industry/government, and in the public access/dissemination of research. Accordingly, Juliet pursued a leadership vision of increasing AWGSA’s profile and influence via strategic investment in feminist events and campaigns like symposia, member prizes, open letters, and she successfully advocated for gender studies’ inclusion in the revised ARC FoR codes (2020). In 2022, Juliet led the organisation of the national AWGSA conference. Her concurrent role on the CHASS Congress committee enabled collaboration with other discipline leaders from, for example, the Australian Society for Continental Philosophy and the Australian Society for the Study of Religion, to deliver multiple co-branded sessions at the conference.

A prize-winning sociologist and media commentator, Juliet has built an international reputation as a leading scholar of gendered experiences of homelessness, violence, and poverty. She also publishes across feminist media studies and communication.

Rachel Hendery is Associate Professor of Digital Humanities at Western Sydney University. Her background is in linguistics, and she works on language contact and change, particularly in the Pacific, and how new digital tools and techniques allow us to research these in new ways. Her research interests include historical linguistics, contact linguistics, typology, mapping, simulation, virtual reality, and data visualisation.

In terms of the future of the humanities, arts and social sciences in Australia, Rachel is particularly interested in how we can build bridges between traditionally siloed disciplines, and how we can make best use of technological progress in our rapidly changing world to allow us to address research questions in new and exciting ways. She is interested in open, collaborative scholarship.

Rachel has led and contributed to a number of large-scale research projects: ‘Change in language-culture and identity in a small isolated community’, ‘Howitt and Fison’s Archive: Insights into Australian Aboriginal Language, Kinship and Culture’ led by Helen Gardner at Deakin University, Mapping Print; Charting Enlightenment, led by Simon Burrows at Western Sydney University, Waves of Words: Mapping and modelling the history of Australia’s Asia-Pacific ties, and Seeing Yourself in Digital Cultural Heritage, both of which she leads at Western Sydney University.

Rachel was President of the Australasian Association for Digital Humanities 2022-2023 and ran the international summer school DH Downunder for a number of years. She is a member of the Canadian-Australian Partnership for Open Scholarship (CAPOS) and involved through this in the INKE project (Implementing New Knowledge Environments). Rachel is also a member of the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development, and has been a member of the Centre of Excellence for Language Dynamics and the Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage. Rachel also co-leads the Intergener8 Living Lab at Western Sydney University.