Our Researchers

Associate Professor Jo Elfving-Hwang 

Deputy Head of School (MCASI, Curtin University)

Dean Global, Korea (Curtin University)

KRC Director

Associate Professor Jo Elfving-Hwang is the Director of the Korea Research Centre of Western Australia and Dean Global, Korea, at the Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor Global. She is also Associate Professor of Korean Society and Culture at the School of Media Creative Arts and Social inquiry at Curtin University.  Her research focuses on the body in Korean culture and society, and she leads the Centre’s thematic initiative focusing on “Bodies”. Her previous work has examined how beauty work and cosmetic surgery in Korea relate to embodied and material expressions of performing social class and status, race and celebrity beauty work as a form of somatic entrepreneurship. Recently Jo’s work has examined social meanings attached to beauty work as the body ages and how middle aged men relate to technologies of the body in every day corporate contexts. Her monograph drawing on the findings of project is titled Beauty Matters: the Body in Korean Culture and Society.

Prior to joining Curtin University in 2022, Jo worked at the University of Western Australia where she lead the development of UWA's Korean Studies program. She has also worked as the Director of Korean Studies at Frankfurt University in Germany, having worked in a number of academic roles in the UK. She currently serves in the Education Advisory Board of the Australia Korea Business Council and is the Vice President of the Korean Studies Association of Australasia. In 2022 she was nominated by the Australia Korea Foundation as one of the 60 people in Australia who have made a significant contribution to Australia-Korea relations in the past 60 years. 

Senior Lecturer (MCASI, Curtin University)

KRC Deputy Director

Denise Woods is a senior lecturer and co-director of learning and teaching in the School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry at Curtin University. Her areas of research include media studies, cultural studies, Asian Studies and Asian Australian studies.  

Denise has supervised honours research on Korean popular culture, and has a research interest in how Australians engage with Korean popular culture such as Korean dramas and K-Pop and what contributions these engagements may have on their cultural identities and cosmopolitan views.  

Denise coordinates and teaches in the Bachelor of Communications program which is offered at Curtin’s Bentley (Western Australia) and offshore campuses in Dubai, Mauritius, Malaysia and Singapore. Korean popular media is part of the curriculum for the Bachelor of Communications. Denise is also the convenor of the Asian Australian Studies Research Network (AASRN) and a member of the Centre for Culture and Technology (CCAT) at Curtin University.

Professor Crystal Abidin

Curtin University

Prof Crystal Abidin is an anthropologist and ethnographer of internet cultures, focusing especially on influencer cultures, internet celebrity, and social media pop cultures, mostly in the Asia Pacific region, including Korea. She works as Professor of Internet Studies and ARC DECRA Fellow, Deputy Director of the Korea Research Centre, Founding Director of the Influencer Ethnography Research Lab, and Founder of the TikTok Cultures Research Network, among other portfolios. She has published six books and over 80 articles and chapters, and her research has directly informed policy changes at government and industry level. She has won international accolades, including WA Young Tall Poppy Science Award (2022), The Australian Top 40 Early Career Researchers (2021), ABC TOP 5 Humanities Fellow (2020), ICA Pop Comm Early Career Scholar Prize (2020), Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia (2018), and Pacific Standard 30 Top Thinkers Under 30 (2016). 

She is currently working on a book titled 'Social Media Pop Cultures in Korea'. Reach her at wishcrys.com.

Associate Professor Alexey Muraviev

Head, Defence and Strategic Studies (Curtin University)

Dr Alexey D. Muraviev is Associate Professor of National Security and Strategic Studies at Curtin University. He is the founder and Director of the Strategic Flashlight forum on national security and strategy at Curtin. 


Alexey has published widely in the field of national security, strategic and defence studies. His research interests include problems of modern maritime power, contemporary defence and strategic policy, political-military developments in East Asia, Russia as a Pacific power, transnational terrorism and Australian national security. Among his latest publications are Strategic Reality Check: The Current State and Prospects of Russia-China Deepening Defence Cooperation’, Australian Journal of Defence and Strategic Studies, 2021; andIndia’s Security Dilemma: Engaging Big Powers while Retaining Strategic Autonomy, International Politics, 2021.


He holds positions on several journals and organisations, including: member of the International Editorial and Advisory Board of The Australian Journal of Defence and Strategic Studies; Australian Member Committee of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region; International Institute for Strategic Studies, London; National judge, Department of Defence Eureka Prize for Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia; member of the Advisory Board, Australia Public Network, and other organisations and think tanks.

Dr Alica Kizeková

Lecturer, International Relations, Security, and Strategic Studies (Curtin University)

Dr. Alica Kizeková works as a Lecturer of international relations, security and strategic studies at the Faculty of Humanities, School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry at Curtin University. She collaborates as a Senior Research Fellow with the Slovak Foreign Policy Association (SFPA). Her current research focuses on South Korea’s Indo-Pacific strategy and responses to minilateral initiatives (AUKUS, the Quad, etc.). In her previous work, she researched the EU-South Korean cooperationSouth Korea-EU democratic promotion and global governance and The Czech Republic-South Korea relations. She also co-organised three conferences on South Korea-Central Europe relations and coordination of activities in the Indo-Pacific with the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Prague and the Faculty of International Relations of the Prague University of Economics and Business.

Prior to joining Curtin University in 2024, Alica worked as a Senior Researcher and the Head of the Asia-Pacific Unit at the Institute of International Relations (IIR) in Prague in the Czech Republic, where she coordinated activities related to engagements with South Korea and the Think Visegrad V4 Think-Tank Platform. In 2015-2017, she was an expert adviser and speechwriter on Asia and the EU to the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic and was a member of the official delegation at the 2nd Meeting of Speakers of Eurasian Countries’ Parliaments in Seoul in June 2017.

She also worked as the Head of the Department of Asian Studies and an academic at the Metropolitan University of Prague (2014-2015), a Visiting Fellow at RSIS at NTU in Singapore and a National Contact Point and a Ministerial Adviser for the Slovak Republic in the European Union communitary program – IDABC (Interoperable Delivery of European eGovernment Services to public administrations, businesses and citizens). She pursued her PhD by research in International Relations at Bond University in Queensland in Australia where she lectured courses on international relations, diplomacy and geopolitics (2005-2023).  Her broader professional interests include regionalism, multilateralism, geopolitics, democratisation, soft balancing, great power relations, state strategies and security in Central Europe, Central Asia and the Indo-Pacific region.

Lecturer, AKS Core Grant

Korean Studies Major Coordinator (KRC/MCASI, Curtin University)

Dr Eldin Milak is an AKS Core Grant Lecturer and Korean Studies Major Coordinator at the School of Media, Creative Arts, and Social Inquiry at Curtin University. Eldin joined the KRC in 2023, as the Korea Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow for research in Australia and New Zealand. He completed his PhD in sociolinguistics at Sungkyunkwan University as a Global Korea Scholar (GKS). At Sungkyunkwan, Eldin also served as lead researcher in the Brain Korea 21+ (BK21) research group.  


His work explores the intersection of language and society in contemporary South Korea, with a particular focus on script and writing practices and policies in the country, as well as other sociolinguistic issues, including naming and addressing, public spaces and landscapes, and pop culture


Eldin is a Fulbright Alumnus (Montclair State University, NJ), and the 2022 International Research Foundation for English Language Education (TIRF) Doctoral Dissertation Grant (DDG) recipient

Ms Younghye Seo Whitney

Associate Lecturer

KRC/MCASI, Curtin University

Ms Younghye Seo Whitney joint Curtin as a Korea Foundation Associate Lecturer of Korean Studies in 2023 and is currently an Associate Lecturer of Korean Studies at MCASI, with the focus on developing the Korean language education side of the Korean Studies major at Curtin University.

Younghye has more than 20 years of Korean and Japanese language teaching experience. Most recently, Younghye has taught Korean at the Australian National University and the University of Western Australia. In 2022, Younghye developed the new WA ATAR Korean second language syllabus and materials for years 11 and 12. The WA Korean ATAR program is scheduled to commence this year (2023).

In addition to her teaching activities, Younghye is currently working on her PhD through the Australian National University. Her doctoral research project focuses on the role played by transnational intellectual networks in South Korea's pro-democracy movement during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Through a social network analysis approach to primary source materials, Younghye endeavours to rediscover an intricate network of actors that operated between Korea and Japan during this period.

Dr Jay Song 송지영 

Jay is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Korea Research and Engagement Centre of Western Australia at Curtin University. Prior to her current position, she was Korea Foundation Associate Professor and stood up a new BA program in Korean Studies at the University of Melbourne. Jay has served Deputy Editor for Asian Studies Review, Chair of the Partnership Committee, Research Coordinator for Gender and Migration, Korean Studies Minor Coordinator and Discipline Chair, and lastly, Director of the Korean Studies Research Hub in Melbourne. Jay has won multiple grants including an Australian Research Council Discovery Project on Korean Migration to Australia. She is the author of Human Rights Discourse in North Korea: Post-colonial, Marxist and Confucian Perspectives (London: Routledge, 2010) and peer-reviewed academic articles.

In addition to her academic achievements, Jay has also held various professional positions in the UK, the US, Switzerland and Australia, including program director of migration at the Lowy Institute (Sydney), Global Ethics Fellow of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs (New York), Associate Fellow of Chatham House (London), and Consultant for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (Geneva).

Jay has completed her PhD in Politics and International Relations (Cambridge, UK). Her current research focuses on Korean migration to Australia, Korean-Australian people relations and North Korea.

She welcomes student consultation on any of the subjects above.

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