Dr Joshua Spier began his career in 1999, founding the music program for the annual Schoolies Festival at Victor Harbor. After completing a Bachelor of Arts in Australian Studies and Sociology, he worked as a Community Development Officer for the City of West Torrens. After subsequent positions as a Youth Support Worker for Baptist Care SA, and as SA State Coordinator for TEAR Australia, Josh was appointed as Lecturer at Tabor College Adelaide where he developed and coordinated new core subjects (in community development/youth participation, sociology and youth studies) for their Bachelor of Applied Social Sciences (Youth Work).
He completed a Master of Community Development at Deakin University in 2011, with a dissertation questioning the ontological meanings of his own teaching practice. After completing his dissertation with high distinction, Josh was awarded an Australian Postgraduate Award scholarship in 2012, enabling him to undertake his PhD in the School of Education at Flinders University. Using Heidegger’s Being and Time as an interpretive-ontological lens, his doctoral research contributed a fresh existential analysis of ‘being an educator’ in the everyday context of Australian university-based Youth Work education programs.
Upon completing his PhD in early 2016, Josh was appointed as honorary Research Associate with the Flinders Educational Futures Research Institute in the College of Education, Psychology and Social Work at Flinders University. In 2016, he initiated and co-convened the Hermeneutic Phenomenological Research in Practice Conference. His first book, ‘Heidegger and the Lived Experience of Being a University Educator’, based on his PhD thesis, was published early 2018 (Palgrave Pivot UK).
Since completing his PhD, he has also been actively supporting and co-supervising Honours, Masters and PhD students from diverse practice and disciplinary backgrounds. As a supervisor, he enjoys co-learning with graduate students who want to renew their understandings of the existential/ontological dimensions of their everyday work and service to others.
Josh is currently collaborating on several research projects, including a pilot study at Flinders aiming to advance equity for PhD students with a disability or health issue. His recent writings have sought to contribute an ethical phenomenology of the phronesis of ‘caring’ for young people, pointing to the responsibility of youth practitioners and educators to delve into the question of what it means to care for young people in authentic ways.
He is a reviewer for several international journals (including Child & Youth Services, Journal of Youth Studies, and Phenomenology & Practice), and was an invited guest editor for New Community – Australia’s only journal on Community Development. He has coordinated core topics in social planning and Indigenous education across the social work and teacher education programs at Flinders University. Josh has advised local government departments on their strategic planning for supporting and engaging young people, and continues to build partnerships within the government and non-government sectors to achieve better opportunities and outcomes for young people.
Josh continues to perform as an accomplished musician and piano composer, with four solo releases (2002, 2005, 2007 & 2010).