Dr Caroline Lenette

Senior Lecturer
Forced Migration Research Network, School of Social Sciences


G18 Morven Brown
Kensington Campus
Fields: Mental Health, Communication and Media Studies, Cultural Policy Studies, Migrant Cultural Studies

Caroline Lenette is a Senior Lecturer in Social Research and Policy, School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. She is affiliated with the Forced Migration Research Network (FMRN@UNSW).

Caroline is interested in the links between arts-based research and policymaking, and how storytelling through creative means can influence decision-makers towards meaningful change. She also explores how ethics in research practice is conceptualised in participatory research. Caroline undertakes social-justice focussed research in collaboration with community-based organisations on different aspects of forced migration. Her current projects include: a participatory video collaboration with young people from refugee backgrounds who attend university in Sydney to share their perspectives on what the higher education system could do better to support refugee students (Australian National Commission for UNESCO); a joint-project with an art gallery in Western Sydney to gather evidence on the links between arts-based activities with women from refugee backgrounds and their sense of wellbeing in resettlement; a visual ethnographic project on how meanings attached to ‘home’ take shape across settings and over time, with a comparison among the Australian, Canadian and UK contexts (Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Development grant); and an exploration of the experiences of Syrian and Iraqi refugee children and young people with disabilities who have recently arrived in Sydney via arts-based methods (South West Sydney Research Small Grant Scheme).

Caroline also researches how the commitments to gender equality and women and girls’ issues in the Global Compact on Refugees (to be adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2018) will be implemented, with colleagues Linda Bartolomei and Eileen Pittaway. The research will shed light on how the promise of this high-level policy is realised across contexts for women from diverse backgrounds. The research will use participatory filmmaking to document the consultations, capacity-building and training activities.

Caroline was awarded a University Medal (Bachelor of Human Services) from Griffith University in 2003 and was the valedictorian. She was also shortlisted for the FASS Dean’s Research Award for Achievement as ECR (2016). Her book entitled Sanctuary: Arts-based methods in refugee research will be published in 2019 with Springer.

Recent research grants

  1. Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage 2014: Developing Best Practice for Settlement Services for Refugee Women-at-Risk (QUT, $225,000).
  2. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) grant: Women and girls and the Global Compact on Refugees (UNSW, $788,500).
  3. Australian National Commission for UNESCO grant 2018: Changing lives one degree at a time: Refugee students' digital narratives of higher education experiences ($12,000).
  4. Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight Development Scheme (Ryerson CAD74,000): Finding Home: Housing, Migration & Research-Creation
  5. South West Sydney Health Small Grant Scheme (STARTTS $20,000): Disability in South Western Sydney: Experiences of the Iraqi and Syrian refugee communities.
  6. UNSW Research Infrastructure Scheme Cross-Faculty collaboration (del Favero): 3D Virtual prototyping system ($120,000).
  7. UNSW Collaborative Research Scheme Grant 2015 ($8,000) & 2016 ($3,000).
  8. UNSW School of Social Sciences Project/Conference) 2015-16 ($12,700); 2017 ($23,500).
  9. Queensland Centre for Social Science Innovation (QCSSI) Grant 2013: Best Practice in Settlement Services for Refugee Women-at-Risk (QUT, $22,000).


  1. 2017 European Union – Durham University Co-fund International Senior Research Fellowship in Research and Enterprise: Centre for Social Justice and Community Action, Durham University, UK.
  2. 2014 Endeavour Executive Fellowship ($19,500) – Visiting Scholar: Centre for Refugee Studies, York University, Canada.

Current teaching

  • SRAP3002 Social Science and Policy Project
  • SRAP5101 Research Methods
  • SRAP5102 Theory, Ethics and Social Impact
  • SRAP5103 Research Report

Affiliation: Forced Migration Research Network (FMRN), UNSW; Kaldor Centre Emerging Scholars Network, UNSW; Gendered Violence Research Network, UNSW.


    Book Chapters

    • Lenette CD, 2019, 'Mental health and critical multicultural practice: An arts-based approach', in Nipperess S; Williams C (ed.), Critical Multicultural Practice: New perspectives in Australian social work
    • Lenette C;Procopis B;Caballero P, 2018, 'They’d just “flown away”: Reflections on shifting gender norms in the context of engagement with asylum seekers and refugees through community music', in The Routledge Handbook of Community Development Research, pp. 41 - 54, http://dx.doi.org/10.4324/9781315612829
    • Lenette CD, 2018, 'Visual depictions of refugee camps: (de)constructing notions of refugee-ness?', in Liamputtong P (ed.), Doing Cross-Cultural Research in Health Social Sciences
    • Sunderland N;Istvandity L;Lakhani A;Lenette CD, 2017, 'Community Music Research and Evaluation Through a Social Determinants Lens', in Sunderland N; Bendrups D; Bartleet B-L; Lewandowski N (ed.), Music, health and wellbeing: Exploring music for health equity and social justice, Springer, https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1057/978-1-349-95284-7_7
    • Lenette CD, 2017, 'Using digital storytelling in participatory research with refugee women.', in Research Methods Cases SAGE Methods Online, http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781526411273

    Journal articles

    • Lenette C;Banks S;Nunn C;Coddington K;Cook T;Kong ST;Stavropoulou N, 2019, 'Brushed under the carpet: Examining the complexities of participatory research (PR)', Research for All
    • Jops P;Lenette C;Breckenridge J, 2019, 'Lessons of Survival: Exploring the Social Networks and Coping Mechanisms of Chin Refugee Women in Delhi', Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15562948.2018.1550230
    • Schweitzer RD;Vromans L;Brough M;Asic-Kobe M;Correa-Velez I;Murray K;Lenette C, 2018, 'Recently resettled refugee women-at-risk in Australia evidence high levels of psychiatric symptoms: Individual, trauma and post-migration factors predict outcomes Alimuddin Zumla; Ibrahim Abubakar', BMC Medicine, vol. 16, http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-018-1143-2
    • Lenette C, 2018, 'Political cartoons and host nations' public dispositions toward integration', Peace and Conflict, vol. 24, pp. 343 - 346, http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pac0000305
    • Yeung J;Lenette C, 2018, 'Stranded at sea: Photographic representations of the Rohingya in the 2015 bay of Bengal crisis', Qualitative Report, vol. 23, pp. 1301 - 1313
    • Blomfield I;Lenette C, 2018, 'Artistic Representations of Refugees: What Is the Role of the Artist?', Journal of Intercultural Studies, vol. 39, pp. 322 - 338, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07256868.2018.1459517
    • Vromans L;Schweitzer RD;Brough M;Correa-Velez I;Murray K;Lenette C, 2018, 'Psychometric Properties of the Multidimensional Loss Scale with Refugee Women-at-Risk Recently Arrived in Australia', Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, pp. 1 - 7, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10903-018-0750-5
    • Vromans L;Schweitzer RD;Farrell L;Correa-Velez I;Brough M;Murray K;Lenette C, 2018, '‘Her cry is my cry’: resettlement experiences of refugee women at risk recently resettled in Australia', Public Health, vol. 158, pp. 149 - 155, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.puhe.2018.03.010
    • Lenette C;Botfield JR;Boydell K;Haire B;Newman CE;Zwi AB, 2018, 'Beyond Compliance Checking: A Situated Approach to Visual Research Ethics', Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, vol. 15, pp. 293 - 303, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11673-018-9850-0
    • Lenette C;Miskovic N, 2018, '‘Some viewers may find the following images disturbing’: Visual representations of refugee deaths at border crossings', Crime, Media, Culture, vol. 14, pp. 111 - 120, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1741659016672716
    • Botfield JR;Newman CE;Lenette C;Albury K;Zwi AB, 2018, 'Using digital storytelling to promote the sexual health and well-being of migrant and refugee young people: A scoping review', Health Education Journal, vol. 77, pp. 735 - 748, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0017896917745568
    • Hall S;Lenette C;Murray S;Chan C;Flannery A;Vickery K, 2018, '#LetThemStay: Visual representations of protests and community mobilization for asylum seekers in Australia', Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis, vol. 7, pp. 38 - 55, https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/jctp/vol7/iss1/4/
    • Lenette C, 2018, 'Access to higher education: understanding global inequalities', HIGHER EDUCATION RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT, vol. 37, pp. 224 - 226, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2018.1403414
    • Curry O;Smedley C;Lenette C, 2018, 'What Is “Successful” Resettlement? Refugee Narratives From Regional New South Wales in Australia', Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, vol. 16, pp. 430 - 448, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15562948.2017.1358410
    • Lenette CD;Brough M;Schweitzer R;Correa-Velez I;Murray K;Vromans L, 2018, ''Better than a pill': Digital story telling as a narrative process for refugee women', Media Practice and Education, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/25741136.2018.1464740
    • Lenette C;Karan P;Chrysostomou D;Athanasopoulos A, 2017, 'What is it like living in detention? Insights from asylum seeker children’s drawings', Australian Journal of Human Rights, vol. 23, pp. 42 - 60, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1323238X.2017.1314805
    • Wright C;Lenette C;Lewis-Driver S;Larmar S, 2017, 'The revised 'Common Time' program as a strategy for student engagement and retention at university. A Practice Report', STUDENT SUCCESS, vol. 8, pp. 79 - 86, http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/ssj.v8i1.354
    • de Jager A;Fogarty A;Tewson A;Lenette C;Boydell KM, 2017, 'Digital storytelling in research: A systematic review', Qualitative Report, vol. 22, pp. 2548 - 2582
    • Vromans L;Schweitzer RD;Brough M;Correa-Velez I;Murray K;Lenette C, 2017, 'Contributions of Loss Events to Loss Distress and Trauma Symptoms in Recently Resettled Refugee Women at Risk', Journal of Loss and Trauma, vol. 22, pp. 357 - 370, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15325024.2017.1296302
    • Cooper S;Olejniczak E;Lenette C;Smedley C, 2017, 'Media coverage of refugees and asylum seekers in regional Australia: A critical discourse analysis', Media International Australia, vol. 162, pp. 78 - 89, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1329878X16667832
    • Sunderland N;Graham P;Lenette C, 2016, 'Epistemic communities: Extending the social justice outcomes of community music for asylum seekers and refugees in Australia', International Journal of Community Music, vol. 9, pp. 223 - 241, http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ijcm.9.3.223_1
    • Laney HM;Lenette C;Kellett AN;Smedley C;Karan P, 2016, 'The most brutal immigration regime in the developed world":1 International Media Responses to Australia's Asylum-Seeker Policy', Refuge, vol. 32, pp. 135 - 149
    • Jops P;Lenette C;Breckenridge J, 2016, 'A context of risk: Uncovering the lived experiences of chin refugee women negotiating a livelihood in Delhi', Refuge, vol. 32, pp. 84 - 94
    • Lenette C, 2016, 'University students from refugee backgrounds: why should we care?', Higher Education Research and Development, vol. 35, pp. 1311 - 1315, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2016.1190524
    • Weston D;Lenette C, 2016, 'Performing freedom: The role of music-making in creating a community in asylum seeker detention centres', International Journal of Community Music, vol. 9, pp. 121 - 134, http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ijcm.9.2.121_1
    • Cooper S;Olejniczak E;Lenette CD;Smedley C, 2016, 'Media coverage of refugees and asylum seekers in regional Australian press: A critical discourse analysis.', Media International Australia, pp. 1 - 12
    • Lenette CD;Cleland S, 2016, 'Changing faces: Visual representations of asylum seekers in times of crisis.', Creative Approaches to Research, vol. 9, pp. 68 - 83, http://creativeapproachestoresearch.net/wp-content/uploads/CAR9_1_Lenette_Cleland.pdf
    • Lenette C, 2016, 'Writing with light: An iconographic-iconologic approach to refugee photography', Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung, vol. 17
    • Weston D;Lenette CD, 2016, 'Performing freedom: Accidental communities and cultural spaces in detention', International Journal of Community Music
    • Lenette C;Sunderland N, 2016, '“Will there be music for us?” Mapping the health and well-being potential of participatory music practice with asylum seekers and refugees across contexts of conflict and refuge', Arts and Health, vol. 8, pp. 32 - 49, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17533015.2014.961943
    • Lenette CD;Procopis B, 2016, '‘They change us’: The social and emotional impacts on music facilitators of engaging in music and singing with asylum seekers.', Music and Arts in Action, vol. 5, pp. 55 - 68, http://musicandartsinaction.net/index.php/maia/article/view/theychangeus
    • Lenette C;Weston D;Wise P;Sunderland N;Bristed H, 2016, 'Where words fail, music speaks: the impact of participatory music on the mental health and wellbeing of asylum seekers', Arts and Health, vol. 8, pp. 125 - 139, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17533015.2015.1037317
    • Sawrikar P;Lenette C;McDonald D;Fowler J, 2015, 'Don’t Silence “the Dinosaurs”: Keeping Caution Alive With Regard to Social Work Distance Education', Journal of Teaching in Social Work, vol. 35, pp. 343 - 364, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08841233.2015.1068262
    • Sunderland N;Istvandity L;Lakhani A;Lenette CD;Procopis B;Caballero P, 2015, ''They [do more than] interrupt us from sadness': Exploring the impact of participatory music making on social determinants of health and wellbeing for refugees in Australia.', Health, Culture and Society, vol. 8, http://dx.doi.org/10.5195/hcs.2015.195
    • Lenette C;Cox L;Brough M, 2015, 'Digital storytelling as a social work tool: Learning from ethnographic research with women from refugee backgrounds', British Journal of Social Work, vol. 45, pp. 988 - 1005, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bct184
    • Lenette C;Ingamells A, 2015, 'Mind the Gap! The growing chasm between funding-driven agencies, and social and community knowledge and practice', Community Development Journal, vol. 50, pp. 88 - 103, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cdj/bsu024
    • Lenette C, 2014, 'Teaching cultural diversity in first year human services and social work: The impetus for embedding a cultural safety framework. A Practice Report', INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF THE FIRST YEAR IN HIGHER EDUCATION, vol. 5, pp. 117 - 123, http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/intjfyhe.v5i1.196
    • Lenette C, 2014, ''I am a widow, mother and refugee': Narratives of two refugee widows resettled to Australia', Journal of Refugee Studies, vol. 27, pp. 403 - 421, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jrs/fet045
    • Lenette C;McDonald D;Fowler JL, 2014, ''Newstart' or 'Stop-Start'? The implications of recent welfare reforms on undergraduate students who are sole parents', Higher Education Research and Development, vol. 33, pp. 627 - 630, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2014.881767
    • Lenette C;Sunderland N, 2014, '“Will there be music for us?” Mapping the health and well-being potential of participatory music practice with asylum seekers and refugees across contexts of conflict and refuge', Arts and Health, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17533015.2014.961943
    • Lenette C, 2013, 'Refugee women: beyond gender versus culture', GENDER PLACE AND CULTURE, vol. 20, pp. 553 - 554, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0966369X.2013.795724
    • Lenette C, 2013, 'Mistrust and refugee women who are lone parents in resettlement contexts', Qualitative Social Work, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1473325013517924
    • Lenette C;Ingamells, 2013, '‘From ‘chopping up chicken’ to ‘cap and gown’: A university initiative to increase migrant and refugee pathways to employment', Advances in Social Work and Welfare Education
    • Lenette C;Brough M;Cox L, 2013, 'Everyday resilience: Narratives of single refugee women with children', Qualitative Social Work, vol. 12, pp. 637 - 653, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1473325012449684
    • Lenette C;Boddy J, 2013, 'Visual ethnography and refugee women: Nuanced understandings of lived experiences', Qualitative Research Journal, vol. 13, pp. 72 - 89, http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14439881311314621


    Theses / Dissertations

    • Jops PT, 2017, Negotiating Survival: Uncovering the Lived Experiences of Chin Refugee Women in Delhi, India who Engage in Risky Livelihoods

    Conference Presentations

    • Lenette CD;Schweitzer R;Brough M;Murray K;Correa-Velez I, 2016, 'Digital narratives: A transformative storytelling process for refugee women in Australia', presented at Contemporary Ethnography Across Disciplines, South Africa, 16 - 18 November 2016
    • Botfield J;Newman CE;Lenette C;Albury K;Zwi A, 2016, 'Using digital storytelling to promote healthy relationships and sexual health among young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds in Australia: A scoping review', presented at Youth, Health and Practical Justice: An Interdisciplinary Conference, Sydney, 04 - 05 December 2016
    • Sunderland N;Isvandity L;Lakhani A;Lenette CD, 2015, 'They [do more than] Interrupt us from Sadness: Exploring the impact of participatory music making on social determinants of health and wellbeing for refugees in Australia', presented at Conference in Ethnomusicology and Anthropology of Music, Spain, 01 - 03 July 2015
    • Lenette CD;Ingamells A, 2012, 'Migrant and refugee pathways to employment: a university initiative', presented at AASWWE Symposium, Celebrating Diversity: navigating the challenges of inclusivity, 27 - 28 September 2012
    • Lenette CD, 2012, 'The everyday resilience of refugee women', presented at Australian Anthropological Society conference, 25 - 28 September 2012
    • Lenette CD, 2011, 'Narratives of widowhood among refugee women.', presented at Social Participation: Knowledge, Policy and Practice, 28 - 29 November 2011

    Creative Written Works

    • Lenette CD, 2012, From this time forward I pledge., Griffith Review 36: What Is Australia For? Some provocations.
    • Lenette C, 2012, The dishes can wait: a young mother’s reflection post-PhD, Advances in Social Work and Welfare Education, Healy K, (ed.)

    Recorded / Rendered Creative Works

    • Sunderland N;Lenette CD;Bartleet B-L, 2015, Health and wellbeing outcomes of participatory music for asylum seekers and refugees., Editor(s): Monsour L

Teaching and Supervision

  • SRAP3002 Social Science and Policy Project
  • SRAP5101 Research Methods
  • SRAP5102 Project Design
  • SRAP5103 Research Report

Honours and prizes

2017 European Union - Durham University Co-fund International Senior Research Fellowship in Research and Enterprise: Centre for Social Justice and Community Action, Durham University, UK.

2014 Endeavour Executive Fellowship ($19,500) – Visiting Scholar: Centre for Refugee Studies, York University, Canada.

Shortlisted - FASS Dean’s Research Award for Achievement as ECR (2016)

Griffith Health Dean’s Commendation for Outstanding Teaching (2011)

Bachelor of Human Services Medallist, Griffith University (2003)

Engagement and Professional contributions

Forced Migration Research Network, UNSW

Kaldor Centre Emerging Scholars Network, UNSW

Gendered Violence Research Network, UNSW

  • Australian NGO delegate, UNHCR-NGO annual consultations, Geneva (2016)

Related news

Other information

Supervision -PhD:1.Mr Oscar Curry (2018, Joint-Principal): Domestic migration of refugee populations in Australia.2.Ms Amelia Wheeler (2015, Joint-Principal):Bringing the child’s perspective into family dispute resolution: a critical analysis of policy and legislation related to Australian post-separation family dispute resolution practices.Masters:Ms Catherine Clark (2018):Enabling Pathways for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Higher Education.Ms Grace Thomas:Women’s narratives and the #MeToo movement.

Completions - PhD: Dr R. Jurczyczyn (Associate): Higher education and young people in care (2014);DrPaulaJops(Secondary):Negotiating Survival: Experiences of Urban Refugee Women in Delhi, India Who Engage in "Risky" Livelihoods(2017).Dr Annabel Dulhunty (Co-Principal):Gender and Development: Worth the Hype for the most marginalised?The impact on lower caste women in West Bengal, India. Honours: Mr Luke Upton (2015): Evidence-based refugee policy; Ms Hannah Zeb (2016): Visual representations of asylum seekers and terrorism.Ms Rachel Lui (2017):Narrative therapy and trauma among refugee women.