Our Research Projects

Completed Projects

Project team: Hea-Jin Park, Younghye Seo-Whitney and Jo Elfving-Hwang

While the Australian and Korean general public might think that the ROK-Australia agricultural engagement is relatively new development, the roots of such farming exchanges  go much further than the recent trade agreements. This research project focuses on Australian agricultural aid program to South Korea in the 1970s which included, among other things, 2,500 sheep from New South Wales and two kelpies called Mick and Monty.

Current Projects

A comparative study of racial and cultural diversity in television advertising: an Australia and Korea case study


Project team: Farida Fozdar, Jin Lee and Jo Elfving-Hwang

Australia is an established ‘multicultural’ nation that has recently begun to represent its diversity more visibly in media advertising. Korea is moving towards identifying as intercultural, recognising growing numbers of mixed marriages, migrants and international students as integral to its contemporary identity. This project considers how racial and cultural diversity are represented in a small sample of television advertisements in each country, and the nature of the relationships represented.  

Project team: Jo Elfving-Hwang, Younghye Seo Whitney, Nicola Fraschini and Umberto Ansaldo

Korean language will be introduced as an ATAR subject in the WA school curriculum from 2023 onwards. The key aim of this project is to support the development and expansion of primary and secondary school Korean language education in Western Australia. In addition to supporting the teaching of Korean to new cohorts of students in WA through assisting schools to gain external support and coordinating with qualified teachers of Korean, the project team will conduct interviews and policy research with key stakeholders in the state to scope out the key barriers and support needs for successful Korean language education programs.

This project has been supported by a 2022 DFAT Australia Korea Foundation Grant number AKF00863

Pretty in Masks? How COVID has Impacted Korean Young People's Beauty Practices 

Project team: Jo Elfving-Hwang

Drawing on interviews with a sample of 20 urban 18 to 29-year-old young people in the metropolitan Seoul area, this project investigates the impact of COVID-19 related restrictions on Korean beauty cultures. As personal connections and face to face interactions play a particularly important role in creating connections with others, this project seeks to examine the impact of the literal covering of the face and shifting of person to person meetings to digital platforms have impacted particularly young people's perceptions of the role and utility of beauty, attractiveness and everyday beauty practices in post-COVID 19 Korean society.

Korean Aid and Development: Policies, Practices, and People

Project team: Jae-Eun Noh

South Korea is the 15th largest donor in its aid volume, sharing a history of experiencing colonial exploitation and poverty with developing countries. This research project explores how South Korea's aid policies and practices have been shaped by the history, socio-cultural norms and values, and the interplay of global and domestic policies. 

This project has identified the role of 'emotions' in public attitudes, aid policies, and NGO workers' practices, drawing on policy documents and interviews. Findings were published in highly-ranked journals, including Third World Quarterly, Community Development Journal, Development in Practice, and Thesis Eleven

This project now focuses on examining Korean aid and development through the lens of gender, human rights and global justice.