Griffith University scientist named Australian of the Year

Griffith University Emeritus Professor Alan Mackay-Sim is the 2017 Queensland Australian of the Year.
Griffith University Professor Emeritus Alan Mackay-Sim is the 2017 Queensland Australian of the Year.


Emeritus Professor Alan Mackay-Sim has been honoured as this year’s Australian of the Year recipient.

The retired biomedical scientist accepted the prestigious award during a live announcement at Parliament House in Canberra on Australia Day eve.

Professor Mackay-Sim's 'personal object' on display at the Australian National Museum in an exhibition for the Australian of the Year awards.
Professor Mackay-Sim’s ‘personal object’ on display at the Australian National Museum in an exhibition for the Australian of the Year awards.

Professor Mackay-Sim has spent his career researching how nerve cells in the nose regenerate and pioneered a way to safely apply that same regenerative process to damaged spinal cords.

Recognised as the 2003 Queenslander of the Year and the 2017 Queensland Australian of the Year, Professor Mackay-Sim will now spend the next year fulfilling his duties for the Australian title while still overseeing several research projects at the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery.

Those projects include stem cell research into treatments for conditions such as schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease and Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to talk about the importance of research on spinal cord injury and brain diseases,” Professor Mackay-Sim said in his speech.

“About new treatments using stem cells and cell transplantation, undreamed of 20 years ago. About how we must, as Australians, prioritise our spending so that we can afford not only to look after the diseased and disabled in our communities but also to afford the research for new and radical treatments to reduce future health costs.

“As a nation we must be part of this. And we must invest in young scientists.”

University response to media reports

Professor Mackay-Sim highlighted the vital need for continued support and funding for research to ensure this life changing work isn’t compromised.

Vice Chancellor Professor Ian O’Connor congratulated Professor Mackay-Sim on his national award.

“Griffith University is extremely proud to have such a remarkable man and scientist among us,” he said.

“Alan’s research has laid the foundation for global efforts to use stem cell surgery to repair spinal cord injury. It is an extraordinary field.

“He is a deserved recipient of Australian of the Year and we join the rest of the country in applauding him.”

Pro Vice Chancellor (Sciences) Professor Andrew Smith said:  “We are delighted Emeritus Professor Alan Mackay-Sim and his research has been recognised at the highest level. Griffith Sciences Group remains committed to supporting this pioneering stem cell research towards new innovative treatments for spinal injury.”

Professor Alan Mackay-Sim
Professor Alan Mackay-Sim

Leading the world in stem cell research

A  new medical research centre established at Griffith University is offering hope to those suffering from spinal cord injury – progressing ground-breaking work that could see paralysed patients walking and feeling again.

Researchers at the Griffith University Clem Jones Centre for Neurobiology and Stem Cell Research, opened this week by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, are preparing to conduct clinical trials by 2018 focused on restoring motor and sensory function to badly injured people.

Research team leader Dr James St John said the initiative was building on research conducted around the world in the past 20 years, which involved transplanting olfactory ensheathing cells from the nose into injured spinal cords to form a cellular bridge. This enables nerve cells to regenerate and make functional motor and sensory connections.

“The medical research being done here at this centre could transform the lives of people with an acquired brain injury or a spinal injury. And the first tests are very encouraging,” the Premier said at Thursday’s opening.

“I want to thank (Vice Chancellor) Ian O’Connor and Dr James St John for the outstanding leadership happening here at Griffith University.

“This is about taking medical research to the next steps. It is ground breaking research.”

Repairing spinal cords

Dr St John said his team was currently focused on refining cellular aspects of the process, which was a crucial part of repairing spinal cords and could also have implications for the treatment of acquired brain injuries.

“This exciting therapy now offers hope to those who live with spinal cord injury that paralysis does not have to be forever,” he said.

“To some degree, it is already proven that this process can work but we need to improve the results.

“One of the keys to that is working out how to stimulate the cells to grow and migrate faster and to find specific cells that do those things when we need them to.

“We are getting some fantastic results already and are unbelievably excited about it.”

Building on global success

There has been some success in restoring movement to paralysed patients with the use of robots but so far researchers have been unable to work out how to re-establish the sensations of touch and temperature. Both motor and sensory function could be restored with cellular therapy.

Dr St John said an innovative approach was being used to get the results needed to progress to the clinical trial phase, which involved improved cell purification, 3D bioprinting and natural product drug discovery.

The therapy has its origins in Queensland with now retired Prof Alan Mackay-Sim, from Griffith University’s Eskitis Institute, who led the world’s first phase one clinical trial in 2002, which demonstrated its safety in patients with spinal paralysis.

More than 12,000 Australians currently live with spinal paralysis and each year 300 people are diagnosed with the condition.

Speech pathology students take out Queensland Health jobs

Griffith speech pathology graduates
In 2014, Griffith’s Master of Speech Pathology graduates enjoyed amazing success by being offered all five new positions in the Queensland Health new graduate position round.

Griffith’s Master of Speech Pathology department is delighted following the amazing success of five of its graduating students who are set to take on jobs with Queensland Health.

The Master of Speech Pathology program at Griffith is relatively new, having launched in 2012, and now its second student cohort is about to graduate. “We had great success last year in the Queensland Health new graduate position round. Out of 6 speech pathology positions, our students gained three of these, which delighted us as a new program,” says discipline head Associate Professor Elizabeth Cardell from the Griffith Health Institute.

“These positions are highly competitive and much sought after by graduating students from all speech pathology programs.” “This year, five new graduate positions were offered including Gold Coast University Hospital, the Gold Coast Child Development and Behaviour Service, Logan Hospital, Princess Alexandra Hospital and the Royal Brisbane Hospital.

High quality, work-ready graduates

“We are thrilled that this year, our students were successful in being offered all five positions. It also shows that our program is achieving its aims in in providing high quality, work-ready graduates for the speech pathology sector.”

Second year Master of Speech Pathology student Jodie Connolly is set to begin a oneyear full time position at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane early next year.

“It was a tough interview process but I am so thrilled to have got a position in the Brain Injury and Rehabilitation Unit at the hospital,” says Jodie. “I am not sure exactly what all my responsibilities will entail yet but I will be assisting people with brain injuries with their swallowing and communication difficulties.”

She says the Griffith program has been very beneficial in providing a framework for real life work.

“We were provided with a high level of clinical and theory work, as well as diverse previous placement opportunities, so this next step will really be an extension of that,” she says.

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Griffith grad named Australasian Junior Doctor of the Year

Supporting young doctors as an educator and trainer has been the passion for Dr Kat Curtis, who has been named Australasian Junior Doctor of the Year at the Postgraduate Medical Education Council Awards.

A Griffith Medicine graduate from 2011, Kat originally worked at the Mater Hospital in Brisbane, before joining Bundaberg Hospital this year as a principal house officer in general surgery.

“This is a great honour for me and a great encouragement but I never really expected it,” said Kat, 30.

“Supporting other young doctors as an educator and trainer of surgical treatment is something that I am really passionate about and it is great to be recognised for it.”

A registrar in Bundaberg

Dr Curtis accepted a registrar position at Bundaberg Hospital in August.

“The position provided me with an opportunity to enjoy both clinical and surgical work in a diverse range of medical fields where I could gain experience and develop my skillset.”

Dr Curtis has also served on several peer and professional organisations including Chair of the Junior Medical Officer Forum, committee member for Queensland Women’s Medical Society and Queensland’s representative to Australian Junior Medical Officer Committee.

She said she remembers her time on the Griffith Medicine program very fondly.

“My Griffith years were brilliant, partly due to the way the third and final years were structured. We focussed on a broad range of specialities in various settings including general practice, intensive care and emergency.

“Having that kind of knowledge and experience behind you is invaluable and really prepares you for your future career.”

The Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service chairman Dominic Devine praised Dr Curtis for being recognised for her commitment to the field of medicine.

“Receiving this award is due recognition of Dr Curtis’ hard work, effort and dedication to health care,” Mr Devine said.

“It is great to see a young doctor who has made such a strong commitment to supporting and training her colleagues be recognised with this award.”

Turkey Prime Minister makes development a G20 priority

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at the Pre G20 Summit Conference. Griffith Vice Chancellor Professor Ian O'Connor is pictured in the background.
Turkish Prime Minister Professor Ahmet Davutoglu at the Pre G20 Summit Conference in Brisbane.

Global inter-connectedness and an integrated approach to economic politics set the tone when the Turkish Prime Minister addressed a Pre G20 Summit Conference in Brisbane.

Professor Ahmet Davutoglu’s speech closed the two-day event hosted by Griffith University with the G20 Research Group, University of Toronto.

The 26th head of Turkey also placed the spotlight firmly on climate change, development and the Ebola crisis in a far-reaching 40-minute delivery.

“Countries should be working shoulder to shoulder to address the crises of humanity,” he said.

More G20 Summit news

Griffith G20 events, experts and research

He outlined his view of a global economy now connected by technology rather than geography as in the past.

“Financially, nobody is safe and secure. No nation is an island. Money flows and recognises no borders in this global age,” he said.

He described issues of climate change as “ontological rather than political”pointing to its potential impact on human existence.

The Ebola outbreak from Africa provided an example of modern global connectedness. “Everything is spreading faster. This is not just a health issue. But if the G20 agenda is only limited to financial issues, the G20 can’t have global legitimacy in addressing challenges like Ebola.”

G20 Presidency

Professor Davutoglu also looked ahead to Turkey’s upcoming term as president of the G20, and put development at the top of his list of priorities. The list also covered employment, energy, inclusivity, climate change and the refugee crisis.

He explained that integrating low income countries into the international economic system would be crucial to development, and efficient mechanisms of trade would be important in this context.

“History has shown us that inter-connected and interdependent economies are the best way to achieve peace.”

Vice Chancellor Professor Ian O’Connor described the Turkish Prime Minister’s address as extraordinary. “We can think of no better person to address this group today,” he said.

GIFT stands tall on World Tourism Day

Griffith Institute for Tourism (GIFT) research aligns well with the tourism and community theme of World Tourism Day on the 27th September
Griffith Institute for Tourism (GIFT) research aligns well with the tourism and community theme of World Tourism Day on the 27th September

The Griffith Institute for Tourism (GIFT) is harnessing the ‘tourism and community development’ theme of World Tourism Day 2014, to be held this Saturday, September 27.

“Tourism is a people-based economic activity built on social interaction, and as such can only prosper if it engages the local population by contributing to social values such as participation, education and enhanced local governance,” emphasises Talib Rifai, Secretary General United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

This year’s World Tourism Day draws special attention to the role of tourism in contributing to one of the building blocks of a more sustainable future for all: Community development. This focus is in line with the global transition to the Sustainable Development Goals as the guiding principle promoted by the UN from 2015 and beyond.

GIFT researchers are contributing to sustainable tourism development at multiple levels.

GIFT Director, Prof. Susanne Becken announced a new partnership at the Third United Nations International Conference on Small Island Developing States, to work with key agencies globally, and in the region to enhance tourism resilience. The impacts of climate change and extreme weather events are a key focus of this new partnership.

“Reducing vulnerabilities to disasters is an absolute must if we want to achieve any real progress in terms of sustainable development,” highlights Prof. Becken.


Elsewhere, GIFT Adjunct Professor, Steve Noakes continues inputs to an international consultancy in Myanmar on a tourism business development project, focusing on micro/small enterprises in impoverished communities. This is all part of the A$9 million Business Innovation Facility program in Myanmar that is funded by the UK Government.

Across the past few years, Myanmar has experienced significant double-digit growth in international arrivals, with the first five months of 2014 having seen a massive 46% increase in arrivals.

“My work in Myanmar has been focussed on supporting local tourism related businesses to adjust their business in ways that create more jobs, opportunities, products and services for the local community,” confirmed Adjunct Professor Noakes.

“With such a rapidly expanding tourism industry we are calling on researchers to invest their time and effort into the project to ensure sustainability of the Myanmar tourism industry.

“Despite the obvious economic positives of the current situation, there is also potential for problems to manifest as the destination grapples with the economic, social and environmental consequences of rapid tourism growth.”

Sharing lessons learned across the various projects in different parts of the Asia Pacific region is critical to maximise progress towards sustainable development.

“The diversity of our projects and global partnerships, including important links with the UNWTO, are a real plus for our research team at GIFT,” added Prof. Becken.

Stakeholders interested in discussing GIFT’s tourism research needs and opportunities, can contact Professor Becken at

Griffith research excellence honoured

Dr Glenda Andrews and VC Professor Ian O'Connor
Vice Chancellor Professor Ian O'Connor with Dr Glenda Andrews, representing the Applied Cognitive Neuroscience winning research team

The diversity, quality and importance of Griffith University research was celebrated last night with the announcement of the 2014 Vice Chancellor’s Research Excellence Awards.

Researchers in fields as diverse as war crimes, quantum physics, neuroscience and the role of nursing in improving patient outcomes were all honoured at last night’s awards which were held for the first time at the Sir Samuel Griffith Centre at Nathan.

Vice Chancellor Professor Ian O’Connor said the past year had been one of extraordinary research achievements across disciplines.

“It’s also an interesting time for research given the changes foreshadowed in the recent Federal Budget,” he said. “However, Griffith University’s capacity to respond and adapt will ensure we navigate a pathway through and continue to build on our reputation as a research university.”

Professor O’Connor congratulated the winners in each category and commended the far-reaching benefits and diversity of their research, adding their dedication to advancing scholarly knowledge was helping to transform our world.

The winners in each of the award categories are:

Dr Olivera Simic from the Griffith Law School received the award for excellence in an early career researcher for her work in transitional justice and accountability for war crimes, in particular genocide; the involvement and accountability of UN peacekeepers in transnational organised crimes, such as human trafficking; the accountability and involvement of UN civilian police officers in sexual exploitation and abuse; and local perspectives on war crimes including the ways that local actors have dealt with the past.

The award for excellence in an individual mid-career or senior researcher went to Professor Geoff Pryde from the Centre for Quantum Dynamics. Professor Pryde has been recognised for his outstanding research into the strange properties of the quantum world and how they can be harnessed to revolutionise technology in information processing, communications and precision measurement.

His research program aims to make fundamental advances in the theoretical and experimental understanding of quantum systems (especially photons), and use these advances as resources to make significant progress in developing quantum technologies including quantum computers, quantum communications and quantum-enhanced measurements.

The work of Professor Wendy Chaboyer, Centre for Health Practice Innovation in the Griffith Health Institute, was recognised with the research leadership award. Professor Chaboyer’s research focuses on patient safety and the role nurses play in improving the quality of hospital care and patient outcomes, particularly preventing or mitigating patient risk through care provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Professor Jane Hughes from the Australian Rivers Institute was recognised for her distinguished record in research supervision.

Professor Jane Hughes and Dr Glenda Andrews
Research Excellence award-winners Professor Jane Hughes and Dr Olivera Simic

Professor Hughes has supervised, either as Principal or Co-Principal Supervisor, a total of 57 honours students with 37 being awarded First Class Honours.  Furthermore, three students have been awarded University Medals and 38 Honours students have gone on to do PhDs, 29 of them under Professor Hughes’ supervision.

Professor Hughes has also supervised 61 Higher Degree Research (HDR) students to completion, 48 as Principal or Co-Principal Supervisor, eight as Associate Supervisor and five as External Supervisor.

The Vice Chancellor’s Research Excellence Award for a research group or team went to Applied Cognitive Neuroscience: Improving Human Functioning by Understanding Brain-Behaviour Relationships (Professor David Shum, Associate Professor David Neumann, Dr Glenda Andrews and Associate Professor Allison Waters). The team seeks to join the particular expertise each has in order to address central issues in attention, memory, learning, executive functioning and problem solving that have their analogues in the class-room, rehabilitation clinic and mental health service.

Griffith in World’s Top 100 Universities under 50

Griffith University has been ranked 84th in the world’s top 100 universities under 50 years old.

The Times Higher Education Top 100 Under 50 rankings, are a global list of universities under the age of 50.

Vice-Chancellor and President of Griffith University, Professor Ian O’Connor said the ranking was endorsement of the strategic and ambitious path the university was following which focused on strengthening the quality of its teaching and research, particularly within a number of selected areas.

“Being ranked 84 in the THE 100 Under 50 rankings confirms Griffith’s international standing” he said.

“The world of higher education is truly global and we need to evolve to meet this new reality. We are committed to enhancing the international reputation of the University through both quality teaching and research excellence, and this ranking is proof that we are well on our way to achieving this.”

THE Editor-at-Large and Rankings Editor Phil Baty agreed.

“The academy’s traditional, ancient elite should be warned – many of the exciting young universities on this forward-looking list do not see their youth as a disadvantage in the global knowledge economy.

“While they may not have had centuries to accumulate wealth and cannot draw on generations of alumni and rich traditions of scholarship to drive their reputations, they are free from the burdens of history: free to be more agile, lean, flexible and risk-taking, giving them an advantage in a rapidly changing global marketplace; free to offer innovative teaching and focus their research on niche, high-impact areas.

“So, Griffith has joined a prestigious list of some truly exciting and dynamic institutions. To feature in such a list against such tough global competition is a great achievement,” Mr Baty said.

Euro travellers more environmentally conscious

European travellers into Australia are more likely to support voluntary carbon off-setting measures than their Asian counterparts, a new study has revealed.

Collaborative research involving the Griffith Institute for Tourism and Tourism Research Australia suggests more knowledge about Asian attitudes towards sustainability is required to optimise support for voluntary carbon off-setting practices among this most crucial inbound market sector.

Click here for Carbon Offsetting Infographic

“There is a definitive gap between European and Asian country attitudes towards carbon off-setting travel habits,” confirmed Dr Char-Lee McLennan.

“There is greater prevalence of this trend among the more mature European and United Kingdom markets as opposed to the emerging growth markets of Asia.

“A better informed population that is more readily exposed to social marketing and media coverage of the issues relating to our carbon footprint are more likely to be supportive of carbon off-setting initiatives.

“Australia’s geographic proximity to the growth markets of Asia dictates that more work needs to be done in this area.”

Dr McLennan believes further research on Asian travellers’ environmental perceptions and behaviours, and how these perceptions are developed, is important.

Voluntary carbon-offsetting was popularised during the last decade, particularly by airlines, as a tool to ‘neutralise’ emissions associated with travel.

“Overall support of voluntary carbon off-setting schemes is still quite low among inbound travellers,” she said.

“However there is evidence to suggest a stable market for carbon off-setting is being established. This will be of particular interest to companies looking to tap into the environmentally conscious traveller market.”

The research, based on data collected between 2008 and 2010, also provides key demographic characteristics and travel trends of those people more likely to make voluntary payments to offset their carbon emissions.

The research raises important questions with respect to tourists’ sustainable travel behaviour and those who engage in it, with the findings indicating that social marketing and the stage of economic development in a country could influence visitors’ sustainable behaviour and mitigation activities.

Class of 2013 take the stage

Griffith graduation ceremonies

More than 7700 students will graduate from Griffith University at ceremonies on the Gold Coast and Brisbane over the next two weeks.

Graduation season begins at the Gold Coast Convention and Entertainment Centre today (Monday 9 December) with three separate ceremonies for Arts, Education and Law students, Griffith business students and science, engineering, environment and technology students plus a cohort of postgraduate business students.

The Gold Coast will celebrate the graduation more than 2000 students in attendance from the fields of arts, business, education, law, languages, health and sciences as they don their mortar boards and gowns for afternoon and evening ceremonies.

The Brisbane ceremonies for students from the Logan, Mt Gravatt, Nathan and South Bank campuses will run from 16 to 18 December and celebrate the graduation with more than 2700 students in attendance.

There will be 14 graduation ceremonies in all with 14 guest speakers set to inspire and five Honorary Doctorates to be awarded.

Guest speakers at the ceremonies include:

Gold Coast, December 9

Mr Matthew Hall – Partner at Swaab and Chair of the QCGU Advisory board)

Ms Helen Conway – Director, Workplace Gender Equality Agency

Ms Sarah Marsanich – Geotechnical Engineer at AECOM and Griffith Alumnus,

Gold Coast, December 10

Mrs Daphne Pirie AO, MBE – Founding President of Womensport Queensland

Dr John Kearney OAM – Gold Coast Eye Clinic and member of the Gold Advisory board

Professor Emeritus John O’Gorman – Foundation Professor of Psychology at Griffith University

Brisbane, December 16

Professor Jeff Dunn – CEO, Cancer Council Queensland

Ms Cheryle Royle – General Manager, St Vincents Private Hospital Brisbane

Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston AC, AFC (Retired) – Doctor of the University recipient

Ms Rachel Hunter DUniv and member of the Griffith Council

Brisbane, December 17

Dr Nancy Underhill  – Doctor of the University

Dr Des Power – Doctor of the University

Brisbane, December 18

Mr Ian Brusasco AO – Doctor of the University

Professor Emeritus Nancy Viviani – Doctor of the University

Over 130,000 alumni from more than 130 countries have graduated from Griffith University since its opening its doors in 1975.

You can watch the ceremonies live at – #griffithgrads

Griffith scientist part of Multiple Sclerosis breakthrough

Professor Simon Broadley

A Griffith University medical scientist is part of an international team which has made a key discovery in the effort to find the cause and cure of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

The Griffith Health Institute’s Professor Simon Broadley is working under the umbrella of the International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium (IMSGC) and has identified 48 previously unknown genetic variants that influence the risk of developing MS.

The discovery nearly doubles the number of known genetic risk factors and thereby provides additional key insights into the biology of this debilitating neurological condition.

“Getting to the source of this terrible condition is a key focus for medical scientists around the world. This new information is a significant step forward in unlocking the genetic code of the disease,” Professor Broadley said.

A central role played by the immune system

The genes implicated by the newly identified associations underline the central role played by the immune system in the development of MS and show substantial overlap with genes known to be involved in other autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease and Coeliac disease.

“It shows why this search for a cure of MS is so important. It will take us to new areas of understanding of the human body and its functions and new areas of therapy. This will assist many more conditions than just MS,” he said.

The study published today in the medical journal, Nature Genetics, is the largest investigation of MS genetics to date.

The international team consist of 193 investigators from 84 research groups in 13 countries, led by the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine.

The Australia and New Zealand branch is led by Associate Professor David Booth, MS Research Australia Senior Research Fellow from the Westmead Millennium Institute, University of Sydney with fellow scientists from the ANZgene Consortium (Australia and New Zealand MS Genetics Consortium). DNA from blood samples from 80,000 people both with and without MS were examined, 1800 of which came from Australia and New Zealand.

“This discovery really demonstrates the power of global scientific collaboration in finding answers to some of our most pressing problems. MS is the most common neurological condition in young people,” Professor Broadley said. Dr. Jacob McCauley from the University of Miami (who led the study on behalf of the IMSGC), commented further on the significance of the work and nature of the collaboration.

“By further refining the genetic landscape of multiple sclerosis and identifying novel genetic associations, we are closer to being able to identify the cellular and molecular processes responsible for MS and therefore the specific biological targets for future drug treatment strategies,” said Dr. McCauley.

Dr. Matthew Miles, MS Research Australia’s CEO said “MS Research Australia is proud to have provided foundation funding and continued support to the ANZgene Consortium. This work is a huge contribution to our understanding of MS and will underpin intensified efforts to translate these genetic findings into new therapies to reduce the impact of this condition for people with MS world-wide.”

There is currently no cure for MS.

Griffith Health Centre prepares to open

Pro Vice Chancellor (Health) Professor Allan Cripps in front of the Griffith Health Centre. Photo montage: Tina Reed

The new $150m Griffith Health Centre is finally preparing to open its doors to the community.

With expanded clinical services and a wealth of new student learning opportunities, the primary health care facility – set to be officially opened on Friday July 19 by Her Excellency The Honourable Quentin Bryce AC CVO – will operate alongside the new Gold Coast University Hospital and focus on Chronic Disease Management and Sports Health.

In addition to the teaching, learning and research, there will be five individual clinical facilities which will initially operate within the Griffith Health Centre and which will be known as the Griffith Health Clinics. These clinics will comprise dentistry; physiotherapy/rehabilitation; exercise physiology; psychology and dietetics.

This is then expected to expand next year to include speech pathology; medicine (general practice); nursing & midwifery; clinical pharmacy; social work and occupational therapy.

“It’s been a challenging period, however we are almost there and we are really excited about what the Griffith Health Clinics will have to offer the local and academic communities,” says clinical services director Jenny McDonald.

A significant logistical operation

“Not only has there been a whole host of new equipment and technology purchased for the Centre, but there has been a significant logistical operation involved in moving the contents of the three previous Griffith Health buildings over to the new location. Two of these were on the Parklands Campus and the other was the Centre for Medicine & Oral Health located in Southport, which housed the 54 chair Griffith Dental Clinic.

“Whilst we have purchased 42 new state-of-the-art dental chairs for our new dentistry facility, we have relocated and upgraded a further 54 chairs from the old clinic.

“Unfortunately the time allocated to do the dismantling and installation of these was during very heavy rain so it was extremely challenging for those involved and it took longer than expected.”

22 X-ray units have been relocated and installed at the Centre’s new Dentistry Clinic, with a further 22 new ones expected to arrive imminently.

Dentistry students can also look forward to the installation of Simodonts, which are cutting-edge simulators that can be used to practice dental procedures in a realistic virtual environment.

Meanwhile, the psychology services located at the Centre are being prepared with the installation of a sophisticated hi-tech program designed to facilitate the supervision of psychology interns during their clinical practice sessions.

Queensland’s only plastination lab

Queensland’s only plastination lab is also set to be established at the Centre, for the preservation and exhibition of body part samples. The teaching and learning facility, which will be located on the 10th floor, is a purpose-built space which will be managed by a team of German-trained staff. Plastination was invented in 1977 by the controversial German doctor Gunther von Hagens and involves the removal of a body’s water and fat and then replacement with special plastics.

Nine consultancy/therapy rooms alongside a specialist observation area are also being given the final touches in preparation to be made available to all disciplines within the Griffith Health Centre.

“Another challenge we have had during this relocation period is how to keep a busy dental clinic running for patients at the same time as moving. We overcame this by opening three weeks earlier than usual in January this year. This enabled us to maximise our moving time in the middle of the year to seven weeks,” says Ms McDonald.

The Griffith Health Centre is part of a suite of new initiatives under Griffith’s three-year ‘New Griffith 2013-2016’ program, which signifies an intensive period of change and innovation for the university.

The opening also comes as a new report shows Griffith University contributes more than 7300 jobs to the Gold Coast economy.

Vice Chancellor Professor Ian O’Connor said an Ernst and Young economic impact analysis showed Griffith contributed a total of $585 million directly and indirectly to the Coast. The report findings show that 4908 direct jobs and 2418 indirect jobs exist because of Griffith’s presence on the Coast.

For more information on ‘New Griffith’ visit



Brisbane transforms into ‘Little India’

Brisbane’s eyes will be opened to the diversity of India this weekthrough the ENCOUNTERS: INDIA festival featuring more than 70 leading artists from India and Australia across 70 events.

Presented by Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, the festival was officially opened by Her Excellency Dr Penelope Wensley AC, Governor of Queensland and Mr Stuart McCosker, Chancellor Ms Leneen Forde AC and Vice Chancellor Professor Ian O’Connor on Monday 13 May.

ENCOUNTERS: INDIA will highlight traditional music, street bazaars, fine art, dawn ragas, cinema, fashion, debates, dance and masterclasses set to transform South Bank into a bustling parade of contemporary India, bringing to life the vibrant colours, tantalizing aromas and the unmistakable movement and sounds of its music styles.

Chancellor Ms Leneen Forde AC, Her Excellency Dr Penelope Wensley AC, Governor of Queensland, Vice Chancellor Professor Ian O’Connor, Professor Huib Schippers, Artistic Director Vincent Plush and Mr Arun K.Goel, Consul General of India at the official opening event.

Festival Highlights:

Beyond Bollywood  

An all-ages free public concert, will take to the stage in the Courier-Mail Piazza for lovers and explorers of Indian culture. The line-up features Topology, the Sruthi Laya ensemble from South India, the Australian Art Orchestra, Queensland Youth Symphony Big Band and jazz students from the Queensland Conservatorium. From 7pm the surprises of Bollywood will emerge with a troupe of Indian singers and dancers, hosted by renowned Bollywood star Nicholas Brown. From 4pm till late, Saturday 18 May.

Indian Bazaar 

The chaotic and riotous colour and sounds of a Mumbai market will be transported to Brisbane for the Indian Bazaar, set to transform the Cultural Forecourt of QPAC with dozens of stalls offering Indian food and crafts, fashion and henna painting, meditation and spiritual nourishment, as well as a dazzling array of music and dance. WHEN: 9am – 6pm, Saturday 18 May and 9am – 4pm, Sunday 19 May.

The Darbar Night Series

Five unforgettable experiences of music fit for a king, reminiscent of the great Moghul Emperors of India who entertained lavishly at their royal court, will feature each evening. These concerts will explore an aspect of music from the vantage points of Indian traditions and Western culture – rhythm (Aneesh Pradhan); voice (Patricia Rozario); drone (Rohan de Saram); ensemble (Shubha Mudgal and Guru Kaaraikkudi Mani); and the guru (a celebration of Peggy Glanville-Hicks). From 7.30pm each weeknight (May 13 – 17).

The Diaspora Twilight Series

Bringing to light aspects of Indian culture barely acknowledged in Lonely Planet guides, the Diaspora series hints at the manifold ways in which Indian culture has permeated into the West in the past 150 years or so. With ancient Vedic chants, live music and dance, Flamenco and jazz with tabla virtuoso Dheeraj Shrestha and a celebration of the centenary of the opening of the Royal Opera House in Mumbai. Held at 6pm each evening from May 13 – 17.

The Ties That Bind Us

The relationship between Australia and India will be explored in a two-day symposium covering cultural diplomacy; identity through film and television; Western concepts; musical interactions; and the rise of India as a superpower. Key participants will include John McCarthy AO (Chair of the Australia-India Council); Rory Medcalf (The Lowy Institute); Anupam Sharma (Bollyw

ood director); Maxine Williamson (artistic director, Asia Pacific Screen Awards); and Aneesh Pradhan (one of India’s leading tabla players). Runs on Thursday 16 and Friday 17 May at Cinema A in GOMA.


The work of 15 women artists from Australia and India come together for an exhibition across three galleries at the Queensland College of Art Griffith University this May as the art installment of the festival. Artists include Pushpamala N., Sonia Khurana, Shambhavi Singh, Dhruvi Acharya (India) and Fiona Hall, Simone Eisler, Patt Hoffie, Kate Beynon, Laini Burton and Sangeeta Sandrasegar (Australia). At the Griffith University Art Gallery, the Project Gallery and the Webb Gallery – 226 Grey St, South Brisbane.

Emerging artist in the spotlight at national graduate exhibition


Queensland College of Art graduate Mandy Quadrio  is one of 30 emerging artists from across Australia chosen to exhibit at the Hatched National Graduate Show.

The prestigious exhibition at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art has been running since 1992, and showcases the country’s best up-and-coming artists.

The works on display this year span a range of disciplines including painting, sculpture, installation, sound and video.

Mandy said her selection for Hatched was “a really big deal”.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to showcase my work at a national level, I feel quite privileged,” she said.

Mandy’s sculptures, which formed part of her Honours project, are made from a range of materials, including steel wool, kelp, shells and string. Viewers can move around and through the works – some of which hang suspended in midair, while others are freestanding.

The collection, Holes in History, refers to the invisibility and attempted erasure of the Indigenous palawa women of Tasmania – Mandy’s ancestral home.

“This project literally began at my kitchen sink,” she said.

“I started playing around with steel wool, and I chose it for these works because it speaks to the harsh abrasiveness and scrubbing out of indigenous culture,” she said.

“I create art to share our stories and experiences and to give us legitimacy.”

Queensland College of Art fine art lecturer Dr Laini Burton is supervising Mandy’s doctoral thesis and said her work explored vital issues.

“Mandy’s current PhD topic is a continuation of her Honours research, which sought to redress the losses, invisibility and erasures of palawa (Tasmanian Aboriginal) women throughout history,” she said.

“Mandy’s PhD now gives her the opportunity to engage with Eurocentric fictions claiming the extinction of Tasmanian Aboriginal people.

“Her research and practice seeks to reinstate the voices of palawa people, past and present.”

Mandy graduated from the QCA’s unique Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art (CAIA) program in 2016, and says the course encouraged her to reconnect with family and country.

“There is no other course like it, and it really increased my knowledge and understanding of where I come from and where I belong,” she said.

“It allows Indigenous artists to break out of the expectation that all Aboriginal art is dot paintings.

“We are a diverse bunch and we all bring different stories to the table, and studying at Uni encourages us to think conceptually about our practice.”

Queensland College of Art Director Professor Derrick Cherrie said Mandy was one of many promising artists to emerge from the QCA’s unique Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art (CAIA) program.

“We are delighted to see Mandy’s work selected for this national exhibition,” he said.

“Hatched provides an opportunity for graduates to present their work in a leading contemporary art gallery alongside their peers from across the country, as well as opportunities for international exposure.

“The fact that our graduates are consistently represented at Hatched reflects the calibre of students studying at the QCA.”

After graduating from CAIA, Mandy completed an Honours degree in Fine Arts, winning the Griffith University Medal for Outstanding Academic Excellence.

As well as exhibiting at Hatched, Mandy will have her first solo show at Metro Arts later this year, and her work is currently on display in Brisbane’s CBD as part of the annual Maiwar Festival.

“I’m so excited about my first show – Metro Arts is a great place to present art, and they have been so supportive,” she said.

“I’m also really pleased to be able to take my art on to the streets as part of Maiwar – public art is really important and it makes the work more accessible to people who might never venture into a gallery.”



Graduate Vanessa explores UN peacekeeping in Lebanon

UN peacekeeper and Lebanese woman and child: Image from the cover of Vanessa Newby's book, Peacekeeping in South Lebanon
Image from the cover of Vanessa Newby's book, Peacekeeping in South Lebanon

At a time when international tensions in the Middle East are the subject of increasing scrutiny, a new book by Griffith University graduate Dr Vanessa Newby offers rare insight into the challenges facing United Nations peacekeepers.

Through the prism of the UN’s Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Peacekeeping in South Lebanon: Credibility and Cooperation explores questions such as: How does the United Nations mission in Lebanon operate on the ground? How can peacekeepers build credibility? Why does it matter?

“I wanted to contribute to the growing body of literature that is broadening awareness of what the UN practitioners do in their day to day practice, especially the challenges they face,” says Vanessa.

“There is a tendency for the public to assume that once a peacekeeping mission has been authorised by the United Nations Security Council, everything is all right. That’s simply not the case in a crisis.”

Griffith University graduate, author Vanessa Newby
Griffith University graduate, author Dr Vanessa Newby

An Affiliated Scholar at the American University of Beirut and a Visiting Fellow at the National Security College at Australian National University, Vanessa’s research interests include international security, peace building, migration, the politics of religion and the international relations of the Middle East.

She also has a Masters and PhD in International Relations from Griffith University.

“I feel like I was spoilt at Griffith. I came in to the Griffith Asia Institute in 2006, completed my Masters and then went on to do my PhD. I really enjoyed the wonderful collegiality at the University,” she says.

“The focus of my PhD was the Middle East, and during my study I was fortunate enough to attend a symposium in Beirut. I visited the UNIFIL mission and I drove along the so-called “Blue Line”; this artificial yet profound division between Israel and Lebanon. The inspiration for my PhD and then this book was born there.”

In her book, Vanessa applies a formidable depth of analysis to her account of UNIFIL’s navigation of tensions in one of the world’s geopolitical flashpoints. Identifying four types of credibility—technical, material, security, and responsiveness — she shows how building credibility has served UNIFIL and enabled the mission to exercise its mandate despite significant challenges on the ground.

The first UNIFIL troops were deployed 40 years ago in March 1978. Following the 2006 Lebanon War, the United Nations Security Council enhanced UNIFIL and updated its mandate to include:

  • continued monitoring of the cessation of hostilities;
  • accompanying and supporting the Lebanese Armed Forces deployed throughout the south of Lebanon;
  • extending assistance to help ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations and the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons.

    Part of the so-called Blue Line separating Lebanon and Israel
    Part of the so-called Blue Line separating Lebanon and Israel

UNIFIL’s mandate is renewed annually by the United Nations Security Council. The current mandate expires on 31 August 2018.

Vanessa’s road to Beirut has taken her to many interesting places. An inveterate traveller, she’s lived in Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Thailand and Syria, among others, always wondering what was around the next corner.

“Around one of those corners was the decision to do my masters and then PhD at Griffith, the aim being to apply the research, opportunities and experience it provided to pursue a career in the field,” she says.

“As a scholar, as a curious person in general, and as someone so interested in the Middle East, I do love living in Lebanon. It offers so much intellectually, culturally and philosophically. It has that intriguing blend of Arab culture and Western influence. It has snow in the mountains and sunshine on gorgeous beaches.

“Furthermore, it has a geopolitical context that is endlessly fascinating to observe and to document.”

Peacekeeping in South Lebanon: Credibility and Cooperation will be published by Syracuse University Press in May this year.

‘Devil’ in the details for Eugene’s video game success

Bachelor of Popular Music graduate Eugene Nesci is enjoying success creating sound and music for the video game industry
Bachelor of Popular Music graduate Eugene Nesci is enjoying success creating sound and music in the video game industry

Forging a successful career is no game, but Griffith University graduate Eugene Nesci has shown it can arise from playing one.

The game in question is Devil Daggers, a first-person shooter video game released to critical and popular acclaim in February 2016. Players strive to survive against demonic enemies in an arena shrouded in darkness. Survival times are recorded on a global leaderboard.

Eugene provided the sound and music for Devil Daggers and continues to work as an independent audio producer.

The appeal of the game owes much to the ingenuity and innovation of the stark, minimalist design. Reviewers also raved about the elevated contribution of the sound and music to the overall experience.

For Bachelor of Popular Music graduate Eugene, response to the game was a validation of his skills after a slow start in the industry.

“My goal was always to develop games. I started out with animation, but an interest in music led me to discover a middle-ground between those areas,” says Eugene, who graduated in 2009.

“I was producing games in parallel to my audio studies, but with no commercial success. When I graduated, the gaming world was still recovering from the Global Financial Crisis. It was difficult to break into the industry the way I imagined it. So, instead of going to job interviews I decided to collaborate with other independent developers.”

Fortunately, one of those collaborations became Melbourne-based, independent game development company, Sorath, comprising the team that put together Devil Daggers during 2015. Eugene says his Griffith degree was a factor in his success.

“In retrospect, I see how the degree fostered independence in its students. The program structure was multidisciplinary, but at the core of each subject was a different approach to how to be a more resourceful person,” he says.

“My lecturers had themselves worked in the music industry during the shift away from major label control, and this had shaped them into interesting characters with first-hand experiences to impart. These turned out to be relevant to similar changes taking place in the game industry.

“At the time, I was only beginning to grasp how having a personal aim to work towards made it easier to learn, because I had something to apply the knowledge to. A decade later I’m amazed that piece of information from my time at Griffith continues to surface, giving me a new perspective on problem-solving in my work.”

That work, though informed by conventional facets of sound design and music composition, also carries an extra dimension due to the interactive nature of video games.

“There are cues that need to be self-evident and audio is a way to clearly express ideas that would otherwise be abstract,” says Eugene.

“During development, I am playing the game and checking sounds in context as I make them. It’s easy to hear if something doesn’t serve the overall experience.”

It’s also very individual. Everything Eugene creates is done from scratch, instead of relying on content available in pre-existing or pre-made libraries. This removes copyright issues and ensures a unique imprint that is a bonus for the gamer’s experience.

Meanwhile, during Eugene’s time at Griffith he also produced his debut album, which in 2011 was released on a Japanese record label. Click here

Griffith ends Games partnership on a high

The Gold Coast saved its best for last as the 2018 Commonwealth Games came to a captivating end with the staging of the marathon on the final day of competition.

Para-Marathon competitor, Madison de Rozario, does Griffith proud by winning the T54 event. Photo: Dylan Crawford
GBS alumnus Michael Shelley, holds the flag up high after coming in first place during the men’s marathon. Photo: Dylan Crawford

Under perfect autumn Sunday skies, the marathon attracted 30 thousand spectators keen to watch for the first time the men’s, women’s and para races all competing inside a three-hour block.

It was double Team Griffith gold as current Business student Madison de Rosario was first home in the women’s T54 event while GBS alumnus Michael Shelley executed a perfect strategic plan in sapping conditions to make it back-to-back marathon golds at the Games.

The 42 kilometre course showed off the city to a worldwide audience and Griffith, proud presenting partner of the Marathon, was front and centre at the business end of the race with its distinctive red livery adorning the finisher’s gantry.

Those looking heavenwards would also have seen our Be Remarkable banner perched in the sky alerting all to Griffith’s undeniable presence before Griffith Chancellor Henry Smerdon AM DUniv had the honor of presenting the medals to the winners of the women’s race.

The marathon capped off a four-year official partnership between the University and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games which unlocked a wealth of remarkable opportunities for our students, staff and graduates.

Up to 240 students completed internships with GOLDOC while 61 of them gained full-time employment with Games organisers while more than 300 students worked in other Games-related activities.

Griffith’s facilities played a major role in helping overseas nations set up training camps with major teams like England and Canada using our swimming and aquatic facilities at the Gold Coast campus. Our new Business building on the Gold Coast campus (G42) also served as the team headquarters for Commonwealth Games Australia.

Creatively, we played a major part with students and staff from the Queensland Conservatorium, Queensland College of Art (QCA) involved in bringing to life key aspects of the event including the Queen’s Baton Relay, the opening and closing ceremonies and Festival 2018.

GBS student and Goldoc intern Harry Rodgers worked in Spectator Services

The Griffith community too was out in force over the eleven days of competition with nearly 200 staff working on our showcases at the Aquatic Centre, Broadbeach and the Marathon while more than 200 staff, students and alumni contributed as GC2018 volunteers or ‘Games Shapers’.

Team Griffith itself finished the competition with its best ever medal haul at a Commonwealth Games. The final tally read 23 gold, 7 silver and ten bronze.





Griffith launches free online course to improve infection control and combat health pandemics

Plagues, Pestilence and Pandemics: Are You Ready?’ is open for enrolment now and enables learners to explore the current and emerging threat of global health pandemics and how we can respond to them effectively.

Griffith University’s Infection Prevention and Control Program Director and expert, Dr Peta-Anne Zimmerman leads the global discussion on why we need to look at the current and emerging threat of global health pandemics and how we can all play a part in containing and preventing them in the future.

“Unfortunately people do not automatically see how easily disease can be transmitted and how it is related to the many choices we make regarding our food, health and lifestyle. People often, for example, expect antibiotics to solve common human infections or be used for agricultural purposes, when really the overuse of antibiotics has exacerbated antibiotic effectiveness and we now have issues with antimicrobial resistance.”

“We are aiming to also raise awareness of how the spread of many viruses is aggravated by deforestation and urbanisation within communities, therefore destroying the wildlife habitation and exposing humans to these animals and their habitats.”

“It’s about becoming a more aware global citizen, not only in learning the science of infection and how microorganisms spread, but about discovering the challenges that re-emerging diseases and bacterial resistance pose to disease prevention in diverse communities,” says Dr Zimmerman.

“If we can become more aware of the environment and how it impacts us, then we can better understand the consequences on us, our health, our children and our future, so that we can make more informed decisions.”

Available on FutureLearn, the social learning platform, ‘Plagues, Pestilence and Pandemics: Are You Ready?’ will connect individuals from around the world where they will have the opportunity not just to explore various challenges in the prevention of infectious diseases in diverse healthcare and community settings, but to hear from Griffith University experts and Gold Coast University Hospital infection control specialists on how they can be part of a global movement to contain disease effectively and prevent future pandemics.

Learners in this course will explore how people from a variety of backgrounds can make a difference and find out how together we can contribute to the transformation of infection control globally.

The course is available to join from 23 April and takes around three hours per week to complete, though learners can complete the course at their own pace. The learning modules are in bite-sized chunks and available 24/7 to enable flexible study. Learners are provided with the tools they need to be informed on the basic principles of effective containment and prevention of infectious disease.

Dr Zimmerman added: “The course is designed for anyone concerned about infectious disease including health professionals, students, researchers, educators, policy makers, politicians and health system funders.”

“We then provide learners with the tools and skills to enable them to make a difference in the prevention of disease and how we can assist in our day-to-day lives.”

“Using a wide range of interactive learning methods such as videos, animations, diagrams and discussions, we explain the case for improved infection control and how everyone is able to contribute.

“Learners are provided with opportunities to reflect and connect with other learners and international experts to discuss and share ideas about how to build a community of practice on how they live their life and improve infection control.”

“There are also lots of opportunities to see at first-hand how individuals are taking extraordinary action and making a real difference to global infection control. For example, one of our short videos documents how a doctor from the Gold Coast University Hospital was a part of the clinical response medical team to the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone in 2015.”

The course Plagues, Pestilence and Pandemics: Are You Ready?is open for enrolment now and is due to begin 23 April. If you can really help prevent the spread of infection – why wouldn’t you?

As with most FutureLearn courses, the course can be taken for free or there is the option to upgrade to receive additional benefits.

About FutureLearn

Founded by The Open University in 2012, FutureLearn is a leading social learning platform, enabling online learning through conversation. With over 7.5 million people from over 200 countries across the globe – a community that is continuously growing – it offers free and paid for online courses from world-leading UK and international universities, as well as organisations such as Accenture, the British Council and Cancer Research UK. FutureLearn’s course portfolio covers a wealth of areas to promote lifelong learning for a range of applications including general interest, an introduction to university studies, continuing professional development and fully online postgraduate degrees.

Griffith Journalism students write their own history

For three hectic weeks – around 40 Griffith University students had an opportunity that many reporters would envy – having access to and reporting on the Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast.

Based from a pop-up newsroom at the Gold Coast campus for the duration of the Games, journalism, photography and public relations students were embedded alongside working journalists and Editors from Fairfax to produce eight editions of a special newspaper for the Athletes Village – called the Village Source.

It was a real-life working newsroom environment, and some students buckled under the pressure with tears and even vomiting as deadlines loomed.

But by the end of the Games, the struggles evened out with the incredible highs they experienced, with students having stories featured on national publications such as Brisbane Times, Sydney Morning Herald, Canberra Times,  and also more than 10 radio stories broadcast on national radio show The Wire around Australia.

Journalism student Demi Lynch says being part of a working newsroom was an incredible opportunity.

“It’s good – I get the real experience of what it’s like to be a journalist in a journalists’ environment, but it’s also a bit of preparation as well for how much stress you will have to go under,” Demi said.

“So it’s a lot of loss of sleep, lots of junk food and constantly getting messages every single minute about the most minimal updates ever – so yes I feel like a real journalist.

“I don’t learn very well from theory so being able to just put it out there and have to deal with all the stories ourselves – we’re not being babied.”

While journalism student Georgia Costi learnt how a story develops in real time.

Village Source journalism student Georgia Costi shows off her interviewing skills

“What I found is we always watch the news and read the news, but you always think `how does the news get the news?’. I feel like that’s what I’ve learnt from this experience,” Georgia said.

“It’s like you have to chase one small thing and from that a story forms, and I didn’t really think about that until I did this.

“It’s cool we’ve spoken to people we’d normally never get to. It’s been hard but good.”

Jake Gallagher, who wrote two of the front page stories for The Village Source, says being part of a working newsroom gives him an edge that other journalism students lack.

“I interviewed British diver Tom Daley, he was also with Grace Reid who is normally his synchro partner in the Olympic Games for Great Britain, but she’s Scottish so she is competing for a different nation in the Commonwealth Games than he is, so there’s a bit of friendly rivalry there. It was a good experience to interview them,” Jake said.

“It’s chucked me into the deep end – you pretty much sink or swim as such, it’s good because it gives you the experience you need when you’re doing it as a professional.

Village Source Journalists on the job during the Games

“The best bit has probably been just being able to get advice and experience from professionals and getting people that are actually working in the field to sub your stories and find out where you can improve.”

Deputy Editor and PhD candidate Audrey Courty said it was a fast paced learning environment.

“There are things you learn in these pop up newsroom experiences that you otherwise wouldn’t in the classroom,” Audrey said.

“Over time it’s been great to see them evolve and doing interviews on their own, building up their confidence to approach athletes or people they don’t know and have a conversation.

“Learning how to work on a deadline – that’s one thing I don’t think they really have a strong grasp of.

“You’re seeing it put the pressure on the first couple of weeks, we had breakdowns we had tears, we even had someone spew, we had it all but now you see they’ve got a sense of the workflow and they’re coming in a bit more ready and getting used to that pressure.”

Journalism Lecturer in the School of Humanities Faith Valencia-Forrester says the success of the newsroom shows the value of work-integrated learning.

Faith Valencia-Forrester interviews Australian Rugby Sevens player Ellia Green

“It gives the students a practical base to understand the work practices of journalism,” Faith said.

“But what makes these kinds of events significant is that it gives these students access to internationally renowned athletes, media identities, people that are working in an event scenario that normally if they were a journalism student they would not have that access.

“We’ve got a Fairfax editor in our newsroom laying out the paper for them. So not only are they working in that environment they’re able to see how professionals and industry practitioners are doing their job and they’re right there in the trenches working alongside them.”

Cameron Atfield is usually the Afternoon Editor for Fairfax publication The Brisbane Times, but enjoyed his time working with the students on a newspaper again.

“These sorts of exercises separate the field a bit, it’s fair to say that, a few have risen to the challenge, a few have crashed and burned. But that’s what you expect,” Cameron said.

“The ones who make it through here are the ones who are going to be a journalist in today’s landscape.

“It’s been a great experience and I really think that it’s going to hold a lot of these guys in good stead going forward if this is the career that they want to pursue – if it hasn’t frightened them off!”

To listen to a podcast of the students experience, click below.

The Beijing Factor: How China could shape President Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong-un

Mr Scott Snyder (left), Professor Andrew O'Neil and Ms Duyeon Kim in conversation at the State Library.

The widely anticipated proposed meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump is just over one month away, with the countries’ ongoing diplomatic jostling continuing unabated in the lead-up.

The geopolitical environment was further shaken up recently by the unexpected revelation that Mr Kim had made the journey to the Chinese capital of Beijing to meet with President Xi Jinping, his first trip outside the isolationist state since he inherited power in 2011.

The geopolitical environment was further shaken up recently by the unexpected revelation that Mr Kim had made the journey to the Chinese capital of Beijing to meet with President Xi Jinping, his first trip outside the isolationist state since he inherited power in 2011.

In the wake of that event, Griffith University hosted a public forum featuring renowned international Korea experts Scott Snyder and Duyeon Kim, moderated by Griffith Business School’s Dean (Research), Professor Andrew O’Neil.

Prior to the forum, Professor O’Neil, Mr Snyder and Ms Kim took part in a workshop canvassing the breadth of interests at play in Korean-based international diplomacy, as well as potential outcomes of not only the Trump-Kim meeting, but also Mr Kim’s planned summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on April 27.

“I think we had some interesting discussion about how Australia views peninsular issues,” Mr Snyder said of the workshop event.

“On the one hand, north-east Asia’s a big trade partner for Australia but, on the other hand, there’s this ‘alliance framework’ that seems to be very important in terms of the ways that Australians look at global conflict.”

During the forum’s wide-ranging discussion, which took place at the State Library of Queensland, in South Bank, the discussion turned to the shifting dynamics of power and politics along the Korean Peninsula, freshly informed by the injection of China into the tumultuous equation.

“I think it’s very significant that [the Kim-Xi meeting] occurred prior to the inter-Korea summit and the possible Trump-Kim meeting in May, because it changes the framing and the context,” Mr Snyder said.

“I think that the fact that Kim went and met with Xi pushes forward the geopolitical dimension of whatever happens at both summits.

“It just reminds everybody that China is a stakeholder, and I think that the Chinese wanted to send that message, and needed to send that message.

“The North Koreans also demonstrated actually that they recognise that they might need the Chinese, really, as back-up, in case things don’t quite go right in the unfolding summitry that they have planned with South Korea and the United States.”

Ms Kim agreed: “It would just send a reminder to Washington that Beijing and Pyongyang are on the same side.

“In terms of shaping outcomes, I think it’s pretty clear both where Washington wants to go, and where Pyongyang wants to go on the nuclear issue, and they are completely different paths.

“So where Beijing comes into play is that Beijing and Pyongyang’s vision and interests align when it comes to elements like a peace treaty, like US-South Korean military exercises, like their desire to remove US forces from the Korean peninsula – on those elements, their interests align.

“So perhaps – we don’t know, but perhaps – Pyongyang and Beijing might have discussed a game plan on how to go about achieving those goals, but I don’t think that Kim Jong-un really needs to seek Beijing’s advice or guidelines or marching orders, because I think Kim Jong-un has shown that he is confident enough to enter into these two summits with his own ideas and his own strategy.”

Importantly, Mr Snyder said, the meeting made clear the message that countries such as the US “really shouldn’t think about trying to find solutions on the Korean peninsula without considering Chinese interests”.

“At the beginning of the year, when Kim Jong-un made his New Year’s speech, he talked positively about improving the relationship with South Korea; there was a more negative tone to what he said about the United States – but China was left out entirely,” he explained.

“And then the way that diplomacy unfolded around the Olympics, China was really on the sidelines. So it’s really just a reminder and a re-orienter in terms of reasserting that China is a player and that they have interests that are also going to have to be taken into account.

“It complicates how North and South Korea interact with each other, and it also potentially complicates the way that Trump and Kim might interact.”

Those complications, Ms Kim said, would potentially have far-reaching and serious consequences, should Washington not take kindly to the diplomatic summit process – or its ultimate outcomes.

And, with China’s support for North Korea now firmly established in the public consciousness, the prospect of mutual amiability between the dispute’s political stakeholders may be more nebulous than the international community would like.

“The concerning thing is that if the Trump-Kim summit does not result in the manner of fashion and the way that President Trump and his White House aides want it to go, then they might jump to serious considerations of military measures,” Ms Kim said.

“This is where, for many on the outside – whether scholars or experts and civil society even – the White House is faced with three broad choices.

“One is a negotiated settlement, no matter how hard that might be right now; the second would be a Soviet-style, long-term containment isolation; and the final would be military measures.

“The concern is that the Trump administration is entertaining the idea of this potential diplomacy, but if that doesn’t work, they’ll just skip over and jump to military measures.

“I would suspect that particularly South Korean President Moon and his administration will try whatever it can to keep all parties – even Beijing – locked into this diplomatic process that we’re seeing, and it would really have to take an international effort to restrain President Trump and his aides who are for military options.”