The luxury of time
Winning an Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Fellowship has given Dr Nicole Oke the most wonderful of luxuries of the modern academic milieu – time.
“It is usually difficult to find time to develop a research project and write articles in between a normal teaching schedule,” Dr Oke said.
“What winning an Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Fellowship has given me is the opportunity to focus full-time on my research for 18 months.
“So getting the fellowship has been both an honour and a real boost for me.
“I have been able to write two articles to be published soon and while working with my supervisors, Professors Fethi Mansouri and Sue Kenny, have really been able to focus on developing an application for an ARC Discovery Grant.”
The Discovery Grant application seeks to look at the impact of temporary migration on migrants in Australia.
“We have had big change away from permanent migration to temporary migration here in Australia, with people coming here on 457 visas and through other categories,” Dr Oke said.
“The shift to temporary migration has important implications for the rights of these migrants and their inclusion in the Australian community.
“While these individuals may work for many years in Australia there is no guarantee that they will be able to stay in the country and gain citizenship.
“So an important issue is how do we make sure that people have access to their full rights, and can also play a meaningful role in contributing to the community.
“I am looking at these issues and also the ways unions and NGOs are responding to the issues temporary migration presents.
“Temporary migrants are very vulnerable in a lot of areas and trade unions and NGOs play a critical role in supporting temporary workers in Australia, around their rights in Australia and often in terms of accessing citizenship.
“In Australia we have not worked out yet how to make sure they can all play their part in our society and eventually move towards becoming Australian citizens.”
Dr Oke did her PhD at La Trobe University and since joining Deakin last year has been a lively contributor to research at the Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation.
“She has been very active within the ICG,” said the head of the Institute, Professor Mansouri.
“She joined us in 2008 as an Alfred Deakin post doc fellow to do this project on transnational temporary work and the consequent issues of social inclusion and citizenship rights.
“Nicole has already presented preliminary findings on this project.
“She has also done other valuable work including co-ordinating our seminar this year.
“We are currently working with Nicole on a number
of research submissions that will build on her ground-breaking
“The post doc opportunity at Deakin has definitely
allowed Nicole to develop as an emerging scholar with a great potential
to contribute successfully not only to the ICG’s growing breadth and
depth of research programs but also to Deakin's goal to be a Top Third