Outskirts online journal

Jane Long and Terri-ann White

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Volume 12, October 2005


We are very pleased to be able to introduce six new essays as part of a special issue of Outskirts. Due in large part to the increasing workloads of Australian academics, there has been a longer delay that usual between issues of Outskirts; for that we apologise.

The special issue now available – edited by Jane Long and Terri-ann White – has been built around a postgraduate masterclass presented by the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) at the University of Western Australia in July 2004. The masterclass was one of a cluster of events staged by the IAS as an annual program with the title Diversity Dialogues. As well as three public lectures, a two-day symposium, a workshop for secondary school teachers, psychologists and principals on sexuality awareness, the keynote visitors worked with policymakers in university and government settings to advance a more multifarious approach to ideas thrown up by diversity: in theory, policy and practice.

Two of the keynote visitors to Diversity Dialogues acted as the facilitators for this masterclass, and nine students presented twenty-five minute papers from their research projects. Two participants – Sheree Cartwright and Lauren Rosewarne – self-funded visits to the West coast to offer papers, and the day was a useful criss-cross of disciplinary approaches within this focus on diversity. History, Political Science, Law, Organisation and Labour Studies, Business, Public Policy, Social Work and Cultural Studies were represented in the day’s papers. The facilitators, both of them distinguished scholars whose work had been influential to a number of the participants, were Professor Joan Acker, University of Oregon, and Associate Professor Carol Bacchi, University of Adelaide.

The format for the day allowed generous time for discussion of the papers; the facilitators also outlined the work they were currently engaged in, and gave freely to each of the students with feedback. We had requested papers in the areas of interest to the two facilitators and the general focus of the Diversity program, including work on the gendered organization—significance and scope of current understandings; avoiding homogeneity: new methods and theoretical approaches for bringing race, class, ethnicity, Aboriginality, religious beliefs, gender, disability, age, and/or sexual preference into your research; the complex nature of workforce diversity; diversity policies and challenges of implementation; new social movements; identity groups and organisational interventions; managing culture, managing identity, managing diversity; fundamentalism, globalisation, human diversity, social justice, social movements; leadership and diversity; diversity of leadership; the work/life collision and impacts on workforce diversity.

We invited each of the presenters to submit their papers for peer-review publication to Outskirts; two students had already made other publication arrangements. This has been a lengthy process, but a valuable one. The papers ranged widely across the broad-based theme of the day; this was a valuable exercise in cross-disciplinary exchange of ideas.


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