The lived experience of undertaking a Higher Degree by Research (HDR) while living with a disability (June 2017 – June 2020, Flinders University)

This project (with lead CI Associate Professor Kris Natalier, Flinders University) aims to describe the lived experiences of HDR students living with a disability, with the broader goal of developing practical guidance for improving equity, supports and professional training for HDR students, coordinators and supervisors. Expected outcomes include training workshops and educational resources for HDR policy-makers, coordinators and supervisors on the provisioning of multimodal supports to promote the education, wellbeing and completion of people with disability – an equity group whose representation in Australian HDR programs has been increasing significantly in recent years. My role has been to assist with all steps of the research process, including consultation with internal stakeholders, and have led the collection and analysis of qqualitative data which I collected through face-to-face interviews. I am currently preparing a manuscript for publication to report findings and recommendations for the provisioning of good support for PhD students with disability.


Spier, J., Natalier, K., Rozengarten, T. & Hallahan, L. Who is accommodating whom? Being a disabled PhD student in an ableist world (in preparation; intend to submit by May 2020. Target journal: Higher Education IF 3.005 Q1).

Childhood experiences of being included and excluded from adult decision-making (2014 – 2020, Tabor Adelaide)

This study (with Dr Kirsten Macaitis, Tabor Adelaide) aims to develop a collective biography of childhood experiences of being included and excluded from adult decisions. I collected first-person phenomenological accounts of concrete childhood experiences through workshops and interviews with students and colleagues while working as a lecturer at Tabor College Adelaide (2014).


Spier, J. & Macaitis, K. Recalling childhood experiences of being included and excluded from adult decision-making: A collective biography (in preparation, intend to submit by June 2020. Target journal: Child & Youth Services)

Advancing temporal equity in doctoral education through the use of feminist, queer and crip phenomenologies of time (2019-2020, Flinders University)

In this project, I build on recent scholarship calling for the utilisation of theoretical resources (mainly from the sociology of education) to re-conceptualise ‘doctoral timescapes’ in ways that promote greater temporal equity for equity groups in doctoral education. I aim to advocate for the inclusion of feminist, queer and crip phenomenologies of time, by drawing on interview data with PhD students to develop new understandings of temporal equity.


Spier, J. Applying feminist, queer and crip phenomenologies of time to advance temporal equity in doctoral education (in preparation, intend to submit by December 2020. Target journal: Higher Education Research and Development IF 1.825 Q1)


What does it mean to care authentically for young people? (2016-2019, Flinders University)

During my adjunct postdoctoral fellowship at Flinders University, I explored the meaning of ethical and authentic care for young people across youth work and youth work education. I brought youth work educators’ accounts of particular experiences caring for young people (collected for my PhD project) into conversation with Heidegger’s philosophy of care to develop an ethical phenomenology of caring for young people in authentic ways.


Spier, J. (2019). Authentic caring: An Australian experience. In J. Hoffman & P. Blessinger (Eds.), International Perspectives in Higher Education: Strategies for Facilitating Inclusive Campuses (pp. 31-40). Bingley, England: Emerald Group Publishing.

Spier, J. & Giles, D. (2018). An ethics of caring in youth work practice. In P. Alldred, F. Cullen, K. Edwards & D. Fusco (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Youth Work Practice (pp. 329-341). London: Sage.

What does it mean to be a youth work educator in Australian higher education? PhD project (2012 – 2016, Flinders University)

Inspired by my earlier experiences of teaching in a Youth Work bachelor degree, for my PhD research I interviewed Australian Youth Work lecturers (from 5 institutions) to gather concrete descriptions of their everyday experiences teaching and working in their university social environment. I then drew on philosophical insights (from Heidegger and Gadamer) to analyse the lecturers’ descriptions to uncover ontological conditions that make possible the experience of being an educator.

This project contributed a fresh understanding of the importance and meaningfulness of people’s experience teaching in higher education (in an academic world where teaching is so often subordinate to research). Recommendations were developed for supporting and promoting the meaningful experiences of practitioner-academics, like youth work lecturers, who teach in niche professional disciplines and  whose status in the academy often marginalises the significance of their work.


Spier, J. (2018). Heidegger and the Lived Experience of Being a University Educator. London: Palgrave Pivot.

Spier, J. ‘Being’ a youth work educator in Australian higher education: an ontological analysis (in preparation, intend to submit by July, 2020. Target journal: Journal of Youth Studies IF 1.732 Q1)

Spier. J. Variations of temporal experiences of meaningful work as a university educator (in preparation, intend to submit by September 2020. Target journal: Work, Employment & Society Q1).

Spier, J. What does it mean to be a university educator? A hermeneutic review of literature (in preparation, intend to submit by October 2020. Target journal: Journal of Occupational Science Q2).

Consulting young people on the City of Unley’s Draft Living Young Action Plan for Young People (2015, Flinders University)

I was contracted by the City of Unley to interview young people about their views on the key themes of partnership, mutual benefit, intergenerational learning, community participation, and communication methods that featured in the Draft Action Plan for Unley’s Young People 2015-17. I analysed interview data, and developed and reported recommendations to inform the final Action Plan. As a result, Council staff implemented my recommendations to refine the final Living Young Action Plan for our Young People 2015- 2017 (endorsed by Unley Council on 27/7/15)

Output: Spier, J. (2015). Mutual benefit: what does it mean for young people? Unpublished consultant’s report to staff of the City of Unley, South Australia