In November/December 2017, Nicola Ansell spent three weeks at the University of Wollongong, Australia, as one of four inaugural McKinnon-Walker / Global Challenges Visiting Research Fellows.
The Global Challenges Programme at UOW is a truly interdisciplinary research programme, drawing on expertise from all areas of the university to address significant global issues. There are four focal areas: transforming lives and regions; living well longer; manufacturing innovation; and sustaining coastal and marine zones – all of which connect to research strengths at Brunel. Each focal area hosted one McKinnon-Walker Fellow, and the four came together for a two day conference on Transforming Vulnerability.
At the conference, Nicola gave a keynote lecture drawing on her work on cash transfers and intergenerational relations in southern Africa. Other contributors – from disciplines as diverse as engineering, history, marine biology, critical accounting and law – reflected on how vulnerabilities might be transformed through their research. As well as new ideas about the potential for interdisciplinary research, the fellowship provided opportunities to connect with scholars from Australia and other parts of the world, and to think through possible new research agendas.