Academic Kath

Senior Lecturer, Journalism and Media Research Centre,

The University of New South Wales

Associate Researcher, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation.

Research Role and Interests

Kath’s research draws on media studies and cultural studies methodologies to focus on gender, sexuality, sexual ethics and sexual learning. Her work explores theoretical and applied understandings of mediated sexual self-representation, sexual sub-cultures and alternative sex practices, young people’s mediated sexual cultures, and the primary prevention of sexual violence. Her current research projects focus young people’s practices of digital self-representation, and the role of user-generated media (including social networking platforms) in young people’s formal and informal sexual learning.

Since 2001, Kath has been a Chief Investigator on three Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery grants, and a Lead Investigator on an ARC Centre of Excellence grant and an ARC Linkage collaboration with Family Planning NSW. She also coordinated a commissioned research collaboration with the NSW Health Department’s STI Programs Unit, and collaborated with Factive Cultural Research Consultancy as part of a Researcher in Business placement funded by the Australian Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.

Kath was a member of Australian Research Council Cultural Research Network from 2007 to 2010, and was a member of the British Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Onscenity (Sex, Commerce, Media and Technology in Contemporary Society) Research Group from 2010 to 2012.

Teaching Role and Interests

Kath is the Academic Coordinator of the Masters of Journalism and Communication in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UNSW. She currently teaches in the areas of contemporary media; sport, media and culture; and online and mobile media.

In 2008, Kath was commissioned to write the ‘Media and Sexuality’ module, for an international short course on Critical Sexuality Theory and Research Methodologies, funded by the Ford Foundation and developed by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) in conjunction with the International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Culture and Society (IASSCS). The course modules are available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons licence.

Community engagement and applied research

Kath has been a member of the NSW Health Ministerial Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS and STIs, Health Promotion Sub Committee since 2004.

She is a community educator and facilitator, and has worked with the National Association of People with HIV Australia’s Treataware project since 1996.

She has designed and delivered primary prevention sexual ethics programs for the Australian National Rugby League (NRL) and other organisations, and is a member of the Sex + Ethics Leadership group, collaborating on the development of Professor Moira Carmody’s Sex + Ethics primary prevention of sexual violence education program.

The NRL’s ‘Playing By the Rules’ project won a NSW Premier’s Violence Against Women Prevention Award in 2005, and Kath is an ongoing member of the NRL Education and Welfare Committee’s Respectful Relationships Sub-committee.

Kath’s ARC Linkage project investigating safer sex beliefs and practices in non-gay-and-lesbian-identified sex partiers informed the development of ‘Project Kink’, the AIDS Council of NSW’ safer-sex education and resource project targeting sexually-adventurous women. Kath is a member of the project’s advisory committee.

Kath received a UNSW Staff Excellence Award for Excellence in Community Engagement in 2010.

Other public engagement

Kath has been a frequent contributor to Australian radio and television and print media, and was a regular Brains Trust panelist on the ABC television program The Einstein Factor.