Transforming Lives and Regions

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Transforming Lives and Regions

About this Challenge

Chris GibsonHow do we transform lives and regions? 

Transformations are taking place across the globe, impacting on the way we live and how we interact with the world around us.

We live in an uncertain world, a world of climate change, of social transformation, of rapid economic change. Most cities and regions have inherited their physical infrastructure, their local population, their skills base and their culture. But in order to survive in this changing world, cities and regions must adapt. 

The University of Wollongong’s innovative Global Challenges Program is on a mission to understand and tackle these economic, social and cultural challenges by bringing world-class researchers together with government, community organisations and business.

Transforming Lives and Regions is both an overarching theme for the UOW Global Challenges Program and its own distinct challenge, recognising the interconnected nature of regional transformation. Professor Chris Gibson (pictured above) is the Director of Global Challenges and oversees the theme of Transforming Lives and Regions.

Active Projects

Chris and the Global Challenges team are currently engaging with Researchers and Stakeholders on the following projects.     

Art education in Kingdom of Bhutan iconTrace Arts Education from Early Childhood to High School in the Kingdom of Bhutan

The project aims to better appreciate current early childhood, primary and high school visual arts pedagogy in Bhutan in order to support pedagogical transformation for teachers and pre-service teachers.

Mapping local indigenous communities iconMapping how local indigenous communities are sustaining their cultural heritage in the Pacific: the case of Australia, New Caledonia and New Zealand

This project aims to map what activities three indigenous communities, based in Australia', New Caledonia and New Zealand, are engaging in to sustain their cultural heritage despite facing rapid changes.

Leadership aGender and diversity iconThe Leadership aGender: Promoting future diversity 

This project seeks to identify the barriers and enablers to leadership at UOW.

Micro finance and empowering womenMicrofinance and Women’s Empowerment: Bringing Transformations through Dialogic Accounting

How can accounting contribute to female empowerment? The proposed study seeks to address this question via several challenging research questions by drawing on innovative theoretical and methodological tools.

Pearling Industry Broome iconAn iconic regional industry and identity: helping to secure value for the pearling industry of Broome

This project explores how external and/or modified pearls that are potentially being brought into the Australian market and represented as true ‘Australian South Sea’ pearls undermine the reputation of the pearling industry in Broome, and how it affects Broome’s social and economic position.

Sustainable Eco villagesAn investigation in the sustainable economic practices of eco-villages

The aim of this project is to explore the mix of local and introduced practices that support the development of emerging sustainable ecovillage economies.

Obesity PreventionStronger culture, healthier lifestyles

The development of an afterschool cultural and activity program for Aboriginal children living in the Shoalhaven.


Multi-sensory room 180 by 160SMILE: Sensory Made Inclusive Leisure Environment

This project is designed to gauge the feasibility and benefits of developing a multi-sensory environment for disability services and community engagement in the Illawarra. 

Greener Cities Healthier Lives IconGreener Cities Healthier measuring the wider societal benefits

Does a greener neighbourhood promote better health outcomes for pregnant women, young children and retirees living in urban areas?


Caring for the incarcerated 180 by 160Caring for the incarcerated: lessons from the past, policy for the future

This research aims to unveil how historical forces come into play in the delivery of today's health care within the prison system.  

Gamifying ActivityGamifying Activity

This project uses gamified physical activity and motor skill development for pre-school families using smartphones.


Caring for Community Caring for Community

This project engages with Aboriginal communities in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven to develop an understanding of their long-term social and health needs.

Hands on Science IconHands-on Science to promote fine motor skills in early childhood

This project focuses on children in vulnerable communities to help grow interest and skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) using art.

Sustainable Development Goals IconAustralia and the sustainable development goals

This project looks at the relevance of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals for Australia, specifically focussing on human rights, equity, climate change, environment, food security and social justice issues.

GC Energy3Warm as Toast? Home Heating and Energy Use in the Illawarra

This project will encourage affluent households in the Illawarra to think about the steps that can be taken to reduce energy use when heating their homes during winter. 

Pokemon Go 180 by 160Experiencing urban environments through Pokémon Go

This project examines how locative data applications with ludic aspects affects users’ experiences and engagements with urban, built and ‘natural’ landscapes.

Visible Parenting Visible Parenting

This Global Challenges Project looks at Visible Parenting in the Workplace, the impact of workplace discrimination and strategies to address it.  

Enhancing employee engagement 180 by 160Enhancing employee engagement and wellbeing in at-risk units at Illawarra hospitals

This project looks at developing strategies to help improve the engagement and wellbeing of medical and nursing staff in at-risk units in Illawarra public hospitals. 

Developing STEM knowledge  180 by 160Developing Young People's Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematical (STEM) knowledge through computer programming

This project aims to introduce computer programming to young school students to stimulate their scientific and technological curiosity. 

A Long View 180 by 160The Long View: a scoping and capacity building project investigating the long term efficacy of social and cultural responses to natural disaster

This project analyses the ongoing social and cultural transformations generated by environment disaster with magnitude.

Global Climate Change WeekGlobal Climate Change Week  

Global Climate Change Week (GCCW) is a new initiative designed to encourage academics in all disciplines and countries to engage with their students and communities on climate change

Street literacy 180 by 160Street literacy: increasing children's literacy exposure through literary art in the street

The street literacy project will bring adults and children together from different cultural backgrounds to foster community building around literacy and music.

GC Green ProjectSustainability Partnership between UOW and Office of Environment and Heritage

The University of Wollongong and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage have partnered to research strategies around sustainability in the home and office. 

GC-NBN3Creative Responses to the NBN-Empowered Digital Economy

Creative Responses to the NBN-Empowered Digital Economy aims to transform the social, environmental and cultural landscape of the Illawarra and Australia through high-speed broadband.

Illawarra Region2'Our Region, Our Future' - Building a Collective Vision for the Illawarra

This project aims to develop a dynamic plan for the region's future that takes into account economic drivers, demographics, and infrastructure.

Complexity3Managing Complexity - A Multidisciplinary Dialogue

Managing Complexity – A Multidisciplinary Dialogue aims to examine the theory and practical application of complexity in the fields of science, engineering, philosophy, and social science. 

SES2Redesigning Leadership to Improve Retention of Volunteers in the NSW SES

This project examines how the NSW SES, which has an annual turnover of volunteers of around 20 per cent, can improve the recruitment and retainment of volunteers. 

Corporate Responsibility2Corporate Social (Ir)responsibility and the Health and Wellbeing of Australian Regions 

This project focuses on the ‘wicked’ health issues, such as obesity, smoking, drinking and gambling, facing the Illawarra and many regions throughout Australia. 

Last reviewed: 19 October, 2017

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