Last updated 7 March 2020
“For Josh, knowledge is relational, it’s not about power” – Emer Prof David Giles
I am an interpretive researcher with a background in community development, youth development, education and music. I am Christy’s husband, and we live with our three children on Kaurna country (Adelaide, South Australia). Alongside my professional work, I enjoy coaching junior cricket, dablling in haiku, and writing piano songs (I have been releasing solo work since 2002).
I began my career establishing the music program for the annual Schoolies Festival (Victor Harbor) in 1999, playing a lead role with Encounter Youth in creating a safe celebration space for thousands of school leavers. After completing a BA (in Australian Studies, Sociology & Development Studies) at Flinders University in 2003, I worked as Recreation, Arts and Cultural Development Officer at the City of West Torrens (CWT). Key achievements in this role include developing sport and arts programs to support young newly arrived migrants, and successfully advocating the CWT to become a Refugee Welcome Zone.
Following an ‘around the world’ adventure with Christy in 2007, I briefly worked as Youth Worker at Baptist Care SA before taking up the position of SA State Coordinator for TEAR Australia (an international development, relief and advocacy organisation). My key role was empowering school, university and community groups to advocate for just political structures that promote the dignity of people living with extreme poverty across Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Highlights include co-leading a field trip to Ethiopia in 2008, providing a group of young TEAR leaders the opportunity of visiting community development projects run by TEAR’s partners. During this time, Tabor College Adelaide invited me to write and coordinate new core subjects (in community development, sociology and youth studies) for their Bachelor of Applied Social Sciences (Youth Work).
My early experiences doing and teaching community development inspired me to undertake a Master of International and Community Development at Deakin University. For my masters dissertation, I interviewed my students to better understand their learning experiences in a course I designed. My masters study and experiences teaching at Tabor led me to undertake a PhD in the School of Education at Flinders University, under the principal supervision of Professor David Giles. I used a qualitative approach (informed by hermeneutic philosophy) to gather and analyse the experiences of Australian lecturers (from 5 universities) who have established and led teaching in Youth Work degree programs.
Upon completion of my doctorate in early 2016, I was appointed Adjunct Research Associate with the Flinders Educational Futures Research Institute at Flinders University. My first book Heidegger and the Lived Experience of Being a University Educator (based on my PhD research) was published in 2018 by Palgrave Pivot (UK), and received praised from distinguished scholars across the globe, including Nel Noddings, Max van Manen and Ronald Barnett. I have also published work exploring the temporal dimensions of ethical care for young people in youth work practice and higher education.
Since completing my PhD, I have been working as a research assistant and sessional academic at Flinders and the University of South Australia (see my CV), and have conducted consultations for local governments that give voice to the perspectives of marginalised young people on policy and planning issues.
My current research projects include a collaborative study (with Associate Professor Kris Natalier, Flinders University) on the lived experiences of PhD students living with a disability, with the aim of developing supportive practices and environments to promote the educational experiences and wellbeing of people with disability undertaking doctoral work.
As a sessional academic, I have coordinated courses and led teaching teams at Flinders University and the University of South Australia. With over 13 years experience teaching in higher education, I have taught courses across multiple professional disciplines, including social work, teacher education, psychology, youth work, counselling, nursing/midwifery and health care. My main areas of teaching lie in the fields of social research, community development, social planning, education, sociology, youth studies, cultural studies and continental philosophy.
I also enjoy giving keynotes and lectures at various national and international forums on a range of themes drawn from my practice and research.