We have continued to improve our methods in communicating research findings to a wide range of audiences, including policy makers, practitioners, other researchers and the general public.
Communicating our research is a key AIFS function. We do this through releasing research publications, both in short and long form, through our information exchange services, such as CFCA, by researchers presenting at conferences and events, and in our webinars. The Institute’s research is widely reported in the media and promoted through our websites, newsletters and social media.
The Institute increases its public engagement by hosting its conference and other events. As previously mentioned, the biggest event to take place in the 2018/19 financial year was our 15th biennial AIFS 2018 Conference, held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on 25–27 July 2018. Headlining the conference program were keynote speakers Nora Spinks (Vanier Institute of the Family, Canada), Professor Brigid Featherstone (University of Huddersfield, UK) and Dr David Halpern (Behavioural Insights Team, UK). A total of 211 oral presentations, 41 poster presentations and three plenary panel sessions were presented. The event also attracted a record 22 different sponsors, which highlights that the conference is a highly valued event for networking and brand exposure.
Significant planning was also undertaken in 2018/19 for our next conference to be held from 9–12 June 2020 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Our 2020 Conference theme is: What is a good life for families? And how do we get there?
Another key event for us this year was a special panel discussion on the Australian Law Reform Commission’s (ALRC) review of the family law system. The event, held on Thursday 6 June 2019, was facilitated by ABC Journalist Damien Carrick, with panellists Angela Lynch AM (Women’s Legal Service, Qld), Wendy Kayler-Thomson (Forte Family Lawyers) and Anne Hollonds (AIFS). The event also featured an introductory speech by the Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, The Honourable William Alstegren. The discussion was recorded by the ABC and aired on Radio National’s Law Report the following week. The invitation-only event, which was a full house, was the first of its kind for AIFS in our new building. We plan to host similar events in the future.
We also hosted a Policy Design Masterclass, delivered by Christian Bason, Chief Executive Officer of the Danish Design Centre. This invitation-only workshop gave our senior researchers and key policy advisors from the Department of Social Services and Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet exposure to innovative methods around the co-creation of policy and citizen engagement, and the promotion of ‘professional empathy’ as a skill in government.
Our regular webinars for CFCA, Emerging Minds and the Families and Children Expert Panel have been hugely popular, with more that 12,000 participants tuning in through the year. They are yet another way in which we support family wellbeing through innovative knowledge translation and communication.
We continued to publish high quality research into the wellbeing of Australian families, with 68 project reports and papers produced, and more than 4.2 million publications viewed or downloaded from our websites. We also produced a host of short articles, news pieces, infographics, fact sheets, social media posts and practice resources. In the past year, publishing highlights included authoritative reports on:
- empowering migrant and refugee women
- stay-at-home fathers
- foster and relative/kinship carers
- children and young people in separated families
- challenging misconceptions about sexual offending
- low income and childhood poverty dynamics
- the association between family, neighbourhood and school level disadvantage and children’s cognitive and social outcomes.