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The Ethics of Engagement, Participation and Representation

Research ethics is a central concern and ongoing challenge for many sociologists studying young people. The sociology of youth has historically been deeply implicated in ethical concerns due to its engagement with groups that are by default seen as ‘vulnerable’. More recently, as youth sociologists have been at the forefront of developing digital, participatory and creative methods in their research with young people, new sets of ethical questions have arisen. For these reasons, youth researchers often face challenges and setbacks when engaging with university or organisation-based ethics committees. Besides this formal side of research ethics, ethical challenges also constantly arise in research practice, through the ‘ethically important moments’ (Guillemin & Gillam 2004) that occur during the course of the research and when presenting our findings. Such moments have always been part of empirical (qualitative) research, but new challenges occur with the emergence of new methods.

This symposium engages with research ethics across the full spectrum of the research process: from engagement, to participation, through to representation. We ask presenters to engage with the intersecting ethical challenges and imperatives that they encounter within their own research. In so doing, the symposium aims to push forward both debate and practice in relation to emerging frontiers of research ethics, and to revitalise the enduring ethical imperatives that characterise youth research. By bringing together researchers at differing career stages, and using differing methods, the event will promote generative discussion of how research ethics can be embedded within every stage of the research process, and can be navigated in the context of everyday practice.

We have invited a number of speakers to address some of these questions and stimulate discussion:

  • Professor Marilys Guillemin, University of Melbourne
  • Professor Helen Cahill, University of Melbourne
  • Senior Lecturer Bronwyn Wood, University of Wellington
  • Senior Lecturer Steven Threadgold, University of Newcastle
  • Dr Joni Meenagh, RMIT University

These speakers will be joined by several presenters who will be selected via a competitive call for papers. For details please see:'


Thursday 21st February 2019.  9am - 5:30pm (drinks afterwards).



  1. $20 for postgraduates and unwaged/precariously employed academics (TASA members only)
  2. $35 for waged TASA members
  3. $40 for non-TASA members




University of Melbourne

Graduate School of Education

Lecture theatre Q219

234 Queensberry st


Contact Details

Julia Cook & Signe Ravn