The multi-disciplinary centre will explore important research themes such as global mobility, crisis, conflict and security and First Nations’ communities and culture among others.
Mr Greste said it was important the centre had the courage of its convictions to undertake at times, politically sensitive research.
“Much of the centre’s work around issues like immigration and security is inevitably going to be politically contentious,’’ he said.
“It is impossible to work on those subjects without coming up against forces that will disagree with the research or its findings.
“But I’m confident the centre will do the work that is necessary, even if it means reaching conclusions that are difficult or politically inconvenient.”
Director Associate Professor Susan Forde said the centre (formerly known as the Centre for Cultural Research) would create new research that “deepens our understanding of the challenges confronting contemporary society”.
“The centre reflects the breadth of research across our disciplines and moves beyond ‘cultural’ research to broader humanities and social science research,” she said.
“We’re trying to think about our research in ways which encourage us to break through our disciplinary thinking a little, and to consider how our research might connect with colleagues from different fields.”
Since its inception in 2003, the Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research has assumed a unique position in the contemporary Australian university landscape, comprising academic researchers from a broad range of social sciences and humanities backgrounds including history, sociology, media and journalism studies, text, linguistics and languages.
The university has a strong reputation in Humanities and Social Sciences with Social Sciences placed in the 101-150 band of the 2015 Academic Ranking of World Universities (based on strong performance in social science research across the university).
Reflecting its interdisciplinary nature, the centre’s four research themes are:
- History, Media and Change – considering the notion of ‘change’ through the lenses of history and media.
- Crises: Communities, Safety and Security – considering crises, safety and disasters in contemporary social and political contexts.
- Language, Culture and Belonging – linguists, sociologists, communication researchers, Islamic studies scholars and cultural experts investigate language diversity and different ways of belonging.
- Heritage and Wellbeing – developing new research projects on the role and significance of heritage in the contemporary world as well as new ways to protect and present it for future generations.