Making a Difference: How Does Social Change Happen?

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Policymakers confront growing challenges in areas as diverse—and often interrelated—as climate change, social inequality, artificial intelligence, work, migration, declining biodiversity, and new threats to public health. Responses require changes or modifications to deeply entrenched social and economic structures. Consequently, reform attempts often generate conflict and resistance from those with a real or perceived interest in those structures. How can such conflict be managed to deliver urgently needed reforms? This question is central to social scientists, whose work is vital to both the implementation of effective policy, and to understanding the societal implications of policy choices.

A panel of six leading social scientists will analyse foundations and strategies of policy change in their areas of expertise—including some of the biggest, most difficult and pressing global and national challenges. This panel will highlight the breadth, diversity, and interrelationships within and between, social scientific and other disciplines, and their central importance to addressing these challenges.

Each panellist will address three thematic questions: What is the central conflict or problem inherent to their research topic? How can this be managed or overcome? What skills or insights enable social science to make a difference to public policy—and debate thereof—in their research field? Panel presentations will be accompanied by opportunities for questions and debate from the audience.

The panel’s aims include to help widen knowledge of the range of social science-related employment opportunities across a variety of dynamic fields and sectors of the economy and society. The panel may be especially helpful for secondary school teachers of social sciences, seeking to encourage and inspire future social scientists so critical to finding policy solutions to complex problems.


Introduction: Emeritus Professor Geoff Gallop, University of Sydney, Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, and former Premier of Western Australia (2001-2006).

Associate-Professor Katie Attwell, University of Western Australia: ‘Tackling Vaccine Hesitancy and Refusal in a Polarising World.’

Dr Jacqui Baker, Murdoch University: ‘Police Reform and Conflict in Indonesia: How and Why it Has Failed.’

Professor Loretta Baldassar, Edith Cowan University: ‘Social Science and the Future of Ageing.’

Professor Mark Griffin, Curtin University: ‘Uncertainty and Change: Threats and Opportunities.’

Dr Kelly Gerard, University of Western Australia: ‘The (Social) Science of Gender Equality: How Institutions Change.’

Dr Tobias Ide, Senior Lecturer, Murdoch University, ‘Security Implications of Climate Change.’


Emeritus Professor Garry Rodan and Professor Kanishka Jayasuriya, Murdoch University, WA Fellows of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia.

Where and When

State Library Theatre, Perth Cultural Centre, 25 Francis Street, Perth.

Wednesday 6th September 2023, 9.00 am—12.00 pm AWST.

Register Now


6 September 2023
9:00 am - 12:00 pm AWST
Event Category:
Event Tags:
, , , ,


Academy of Social Sciences in Australia
(02) 6249 1788
View Organiser Website