Griffith University law lecturer Dr Shahram Dana has been awarded an Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Top 5 media residency.

The prestigious program enables Australia’s brightest minds to share their expertise with the nation.

The Griffith Law School senior lecturer is a human rights expert and was chosen to share his recent research into war crimes in the Australian military.

Dr Dana was among 15 early-career scholars and practitioners chosen from almost 400 applicants across the arts, humanities and sciences, with five winners chosen in each discipline.

He will undertake a two-week online residency with some of the country’s best broadcasters at ABC Radio National, learning how to communicate with a wide audience and develop content across radio and digital platforms.

Dr Dana said it was a privilege to be named among the top humanities experts in Australia.

“This residency provides a fantastic opportunity to disseminate your research and scholarship more widely,” he said.

Dr Dana said he looked forward to sharing his research with audiences and contributing to informed public discourse.

“I’ve always felt it’s important as a researcher to be able to engage with the broader Australian public about what you’re doing and why.”

“My research investigates the law’s capacity to shape the behaviour of very powerful individuals or elites and disrupt violence.

“I’m looking at Australia’s response to allegations of war crimes being committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan.

“I think this is a very important public issue and one that a lot of Australians have an interest in.

“I’m very happy that I can be a part of that conversation.

“There were hundreds of applications, so just to be selected as one of the top five is a really exciting honour.”

Dr Dana started his career as a journalist and worked across print, radio and broadcast media in the United States before deciding to study law.

In a career spanning stints with the United Nations to special adviser roles, criminal law practice and academia, he has worked around the globe to further human rights.

“Journalism allowed me to shine a light on issues like social injustice and discrimination, and I’ve continued that work as a lawyer and academic,” he said.

“Of course, the media landscape has changed dramatically since then — we didn’t have Twitter and Facebook.

“The core values, such as presenting information in a way that is accessible to a large audience, is the same, but the skills and the tactics to do it have changed.

“I’m excited to find new ways to present my research findings across various platforms.”

Dr Dana said lessons from the residency would also inform his teaching at Griffith University.

“As a lecturer, you learn to distill information in a way that is engaging for people who are new to the subject matter,” he said.

“This experience will give me a fresh perspective on my own research and discover which aspects resonate with the public, and by extension, my students.”

ABC Radio National Manager Cath Dwyer said the media residencies were an opportunity for the ABC to access the nation’s top talent.

“The university and arts sectors fulfil a vital role in Australian society and have faced difficult times over the past 18 months,” she said.

“We’ve been very pleased to see the passion of our best and brightest for bringing their knowledge and research to a broader audience.”

16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
UN Sustainable Development Goals 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions