2018 Orientation for 1st Year Students

Family Welcome Event

Tue 06 Feb 6:00pm – 8:00pm – Room ATC101/AMDC301

The Faculty of Health, Arts and Design warmly invites new students and their families to this special welcome event. This welcome event is for students within the arts, social sciences and humanities study areas. Learn about the Swinburne experience, your faculty and the services available to students. It’s a great opportunity to meet fellow students, their families and key academic staff.

Parents and Guardians are invited to meet in ATC101.
Students are invited to meet in AMDC301.


Strategies for Success

Mon 12 Feb 10:00am – Fri 16 Feb 12:30pm – Room ATC101

The skills you need to succeed in your course within the Faculty of Health, Arts and Design. This 5 day program clarifies what to expect and provides some strategies to succeed at university. Lunch is provided. Please feel free to come along for as many sessions as you can.

12 Monday February 10am – 3pm
Transition to university
Getting and staying motivated

13 Tuesday February 10am – 3pm
Getting the most out of lectures
Information services

14 Wednesday February 10am – 3pm
Academic skills

15 Thursday February 10am – 3pm
Communication skills
Swinburne support services

16 Friday February 10am – 12.30pm
How to improve exam performance


Course Orientation Session

Wed 21 Feb 09:30am – 12:30pm – Room ATC101

At this orientation session, you will meet fellow Faculty of Health, Arts, and Design students and key academic and support staff. Learn more about your course within the Arts, Social Science or Humanities study areas and the resources and support available to you on campus.

Register for one or all events via https://www.swinburne.edu.au/orientation/plan-your-orientation/?search=true&s=arts&r=loc&sl=Undergraduate&course=Bachelor+of+Arts

Check out the Campus Map

Key Information for new students

Report on the European Union Study Tour: 17-30 November 2017

By Bruno Mascitelli

The tour involved 14 meetings across 5 countries in 6 cities. There were 17 enrolled students ranging from 18 years old to 76. The students came from across the university including engineering, social sciences, design, and business. The tour began in Prague, then went on to Berlin, Brussels, Paris, Luxembourg and finally Frankfurt. The meetings included 6 meetings with the European Union (Commission, Council, Parliament, Courts, Bank and Auditors). This involved every single institution of the European Union. The other meetings were primarily Australian Embassies (in Paris, Berlin and Brussels), Consulates (Prague) and Australian Trade Commission (Frankfurt). We also visited the OECD based in Paris and met the Italian Ambassador to the OECD.

The group was a very close-knit one and they all got on with each other really well. There was a contrast of experience and age and this allowed for mentoring and passing on experience. Each student was responsible for a meeting, which involved representing Swinburne, introducing the group to the organisation/speaker and closing the meeting with a thank you and gift to the speaker. This was a winning formula.  I was supported by Swinburne Abroad staff, Diana Gonzalez, who did a magnificent job, especially as I was required to be at a Jean Monnet conference for 2 days.

The tour was administratively well supported by Alastair De Rozario from Swinburne Abroad as well as by the travel agent (Leo Adams) who I discovered myself as our standard travel agents didn’t support the tour. Global Study turned out to be an ideal travel agent and certainly provided ongoing support throughout.

The assessment of the tour involved students using the meetings for their data collection for their final report. Also included in the assessment was pre-departure research and presentations (worth 25%), an on tour short test (25%) and the final report worth 50% (which will be submitted on 15 February 2018).  Most speakers made their presentations available and the Australian representatives provided excellent presentations aware that their audience was Australia.

From the evaluation of the tour which students completed on the last day of the tour there was an overall appreciation of the tour and that it was a lifelong learning experience. Students indicated their preferred meeting, city, hotel and other feedback relevant to the ongoing improvement of the tour.

All students completed the tour safe and sound. I was impressed with the performance and maturity of the group and their conduct and I am sure the academic results will also be testimony to this.

Vale Luke Gardiner

The Department of Social Sciences, Swinburne University, notes with deep sadness the death of one of our past students, Luke Gardiner. Luke was a wonderful, kind, and highly intelligent young man. Our sincere condolences go to his family and his friends. Luke’s funeral will be held tomorrow at Montsalvat, Eltham (Thursday 23 November) at 1 pm. As per the wishes of Luke’s family, the Department has made a small donation to the Peter McCallum Cancer Centre in his honour.

(Photo provided by Crystal Sharples).

Victorian Trades Hall Council: Paid Union Summer Placements Now Open

Applications for Union Summer (January intake) are now open.

Applications close November 10, 2018 at 5pm.

What is Union Summer?

Union Summer is a 3 week program run by the Victorian Trades Hall Council. It’s designed specifically to introduce young people to unionism, and give them first-hand experience of what unions do. It’s also an awesome opportunity for young people to contribute to building the union movement in Victoria, and to develop their campaigning and activist skills!

The program combines training, run by the Young Worker team from Trades Hall with guest presenters from a variety of unions, and placement at various host unions.

Participants are also expected to complete a research project during their time with their host union.

What happens in a placement?

Many of the unions who host Union Summer participants will want to involve you in their day-to-day activities as much as possible – therefore, every participants experience will vary a little bit! That said, most of the people who do Union Summer will:

  • Visit a work site
  • Learn how to have an organising conversation
  • Attend a hearing at Fair Work
  • Meet with an employer
  • Participate in a campaign event
  • Meet delegates and rank & file members
  • Be given an overview of union’s organisational and structure, including its rules

Participants also spend several days with the rest of their Union Summer cohort and the Young Workers team at Trades Hall.

Research project

As part of the Union Summer program, participants complete a research project. This is a compulsory part of the program.

Projects are completed over the duration of the program, with presentation occurring on the final day.

Participants have the freedom to choose their own topic based on their experiences with their host Union. Previous ideas have included:

  • Recruitment of casual employees.
  • Approaches to online communication.
  • Organising apprentices around OHS.
  • Activating and engaging trainees and apprentices at TAFE.
  • Developing youth committees in unions.
  • Organising young workers in call centres.

Projects are flexible and will be discussed with participants before the commencement of the program.


When: January 29 to February 16, 2018

All participants will be paid the full adult minimum wage.

Who should apply?

This program has been specifically designed to develop the skills and abilities of young people, and equip young people with the knowledge they need to make real changes in their schools, workplaces, and communities.

While there are no specific pre-requisites for applying, a proven interest in social justice and workplace issues is always beneficial.

Click here to apply for Union Summer January 2018

Applications close November 10, 2018 at 5pm.

Due to the popularity of the program, we cannot accept any late applications.

For more info contact Young Workers organisers Dylan Goldsworthy and Carlos Castro on 9659 3588 or via email youth@vthc.org.au


End of Semester Drinks

Join us to celebrate the end of semester. Toast yourselves, your friends, and our local Swinburne Nobel Peace Prize laureate! Friday 27 October, from 4pm at the Hawthorn Hotel. All students and staff from the Department of Social Science (Politics, History, International Studies, Philosophy, Sociology, Environmental Studies, Languages, and Indigenous Studies) are welcome to attend. Please let us know if you are coming via our Facebook page.

When: from 4pm, Friday 27 October

Where: The Hawthorn Hotel, 481 Burwood Road, Hawthorn.

Hawthorn Hotel

RSVP: Please let us know if you are coming via our Facebook page.


Think you can’t make a difference? How Melbourne activists launched a campaign for nuclear disarmament and won a Nobel prize

Dimity Hawkins, a PhD student at Swinburne University, together with Tilman Ruff from Melbourne University, are both founding members of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Here they write about the creation of ICAN, which last week was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. First published in The Conversation, this article it is republished here with permission.


How Melbourne activists launched a campaign for nuclear disarmament and won a Nobel prize

File 20171009 25775 2y6e5s
Tilman Ruff (back centre) and a group of ICAN campaigners protest outside Australia’s permanent mission to the UN at Geneva. Tim Wright, ICAN, Author provided.

Tilman Ruff, University of Melbourne and Dimity Hawkins, Swinburne University of Technology

On Friday, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize, “for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons”.

The prize comes after ICAN played a pivotal role in an historic UN treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. The treaty was adopted in July by an overwhelming vote of 122 to one. ICAN was the driving force behind it, working closely with governments to get it over the line.

The treaty’s significance lies in its power to influence governments: those that actually support nuclear disarmament will sign it; those that don’t will be shown to be insincere in their disarmament rhetoric.

From little things…

Malaysian obstetrician and former co-president of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) Ron McCoy first proposed the idea of ICAN in 2005.

McCoy put out a call to colleagues through IPPNW advocating “lateral thinking and a new approach to nuclear disarmament”. He wrote:

We can call it an International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, with the acronym ICAN. Let’s start working on this right now.

The idea struck a deep chord in Melbourne among colleagues active in the medical, peace and nuclear-free movements.

We hatched a plan to build a broad campaign coalition of diverse partner organisations around the world with a clear compelling goal – one that is working for biological and chemical weapons, cluster munitions and landmines: a comprehensive, binding treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons and provide for their elimination.

We knew that it needed to be global, to engage young people, and to be rooted in the unacceptability of nuclear weapons – the catastrophic indiscriminate consequences that would inevitably follow any use.

We needed to include and provide a platform for the courageous voices of survivors of nuclear weapons use and testing. They tell the human story of lived transgenerational suffering of people under the mushroom cloud, and they are the most compelling advocates that what happened to them must never again happen to anyone, anywhere.

Read more: Bikini islanders still deal with fallout of US nuclear tests, 70 years later

And we needed money. At the first meeting with the Poola Foundation in early 2006 in Leicester Street, Carlton, they could see merit in an idea that seemed wildly optimistic to many, and their confidence in us was empowering.

Our co-founder, Bill Williams, sadly passed away before he could celebrate the wonderful developments of this year with us. But it was Williams who so eloquently summed up our brief, saying:

We need a determined worldwide movement to outlaw and abolish nukes. To get there in this generation, we need to build the wave of public opinion into a mighty crescendo: a massive, surging, irresistible force which carries us all the way to absolutely zero nukes. Without it, even the most inspirational of leaders will falter on the way.

Bill Williams speaking at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl just prior to the launch of ICAN.

Building a movement from the ground up

From the outset we were up against the harsh reality that none of the nuclear-armed countries were serious about fulfilling their binding obligation to disarm. In fact, they were doing the opposite.

Many of these countries were arguing that conditions were not right to disarm, and they were investing more than US$100 billion per year in modernising their nuclear arsenals, making them more accurate, deadly and “usable”.

So, a game-changing breakthrough needed to come from the countries without the weapons. Most of them were despairing and frustrated about being indefinitely held under a nuclear threat by governments that refused to fulfil a legally binding disarmament commitment they made under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which had been in force since 1970.

Governments that don’t possess nuclear weapons can’t eliminate them. So what’s the most feasible significant step they could take? Fill the legal gap that sees the worst of all weapons, the only ones that pose an existential threat to all humanity, the only weapons of mass destruction not yet outlawed.

Read more: Australia must sign the prohibition on nuclear weapons: here’s why

With or without nuclear-armed and dependent countries, they could ban nuclear weapons under international law. Thus, by 2010, ICAN strategy had sharpened around a nuclear weapons ban treaty as the next best step that could be taken.

Taking it to Europe and beyond

Towards the end of 2010, an office was established in Oslo. In the same year ICAN secured an initial grant from the Norwegian government to establish an international campaign office in Geneva, reaching out to the Middle East and Africa.

Through ICAN and partners across the globe, survivors’ voices were joined by the many voices of those who would not have their suffering happen again – medicos, scientists, legal experts, artists, witnesses, thinkers, campaigners, spiritual leaders and defence experts.

When a majority of the world’s governments came together earlier this year to negotiate the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, ICAN campaigners across the globe stood strong alongside the International Red Cross and the Red Crescent movement and other partners to ensure the formation of the strongest treaty possible.

The signing ceremony for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
at UN headquarters in New York.

Darren Ornitz/ICAN, Author provided

When that treaty opened for signature on September 20, 2017, many of us here in Australia sat up late into the night watching the ceremony live-streamed from the UN. And now, just weeks later, the announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize has swept the work into high profile and sharp focus.

The work of ICAN isn’t over

ICAN was always intended to be a coalescing, not a reinvention. From the first use of nuclear weapons in 1945 to today, millions of people have worked to eliminate them.

The hard work of pushing for the elimination of nuclear weapons must not only continue but ramp up. The new treaty provides a powerful tool in this work, and the opposition of the nuclear-armed and dependent countries to the treaty is the strongest evidence that the treaty matters and cannot be ignored.

The Nobel Peace Prize shines a bright light on the urgent unfinished business of getting nuclear weapons off the table. It is a huge shot in the arm, and encouragement for governments to sign and ratify the treaty and then implement it, and for people around the world to press their governments to do so.

The ConversationIt could not have come at a better or more urgent time.

ICAN campaigners in front of the Central Park skyline in New York.
ICAN/Ralf Schlesener, Author provided

Tilman Ruff, Associate Professor, International Education and Learning Unit, Nossal Institute for Global Health, School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne and Dimity Hawkins, PhD Candidate, Swinburne University of Technology

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Call for Expressions of Interest for the 2017 Victorian Parliamentary Internship Program

Swinburne University of Technology – Applied Political Research, Semester 2, 2017 

In 2017 Swinburne University of Technology will again participate in the prestigious Victorian Parliamentary Internship Program (VPIP). Established in 1990, the program has seen over 1,000 interns complete placements with members of the Victorian Parliament.  It provides students with an outstanding opportunity to observe and contribute to parliamentary, political and public policy processes and debates and to develop knowledge, skills and networks directly relevant to their post-study employment. A number of former interns, including the current Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, have gone on to become Members themselves, with many others developing careers as parliamentary officers, journalists, and public and private sector leaders. In 2016 six students from Swinburne took part in the program and successfully completed research projects exploring issues such as youth homelessness and social entrepreneurship; the provision of education programs for primary school-aged refugees; reform options for current self-defense laws; and the potential value of community-based anti-extremism strategies.

What does it involve?

Students who participate in the VPIP are placed in the office of a current member of the Victorian Parliament for one day per week and complete a significant research project jointly supervised by the MP and academic staff from Swinburne.  The internship runs across the full semester and is equivalent to a 25-credit point unit (ie. two normal units of study).  Students are required to attend induction and research seminars throughout the semester; to keep a journal; write a 2,000 word reflective essay; and submit a 6,000 word research report which, after assessment, will be filed in the Victorian Parliamentary Library.


Entry to the VPIP is highly competitive.  Eligibility is normally limited to students studying at third year level in their year of placement with a distinction average across units in their Politics and International Relations, History, International Studies or Security and Counter Terrorism majors.  In 2017, two of the seven places will be reserved for second year students as the program will not run in 2018 because of the Victorian state election scheduled for November.  Normal scheduling and eligibility criteria will apply in 2019.


How do I apply?

Students meeting the selection criteria who are interested in completing the internship are invited to submit an Expression of Interest to the Unit Convenor comprising a brief cover letter outlining their reasons for undertaking the placement (250 words); a transcript of their grades; a CV; and a sample of their writing (eg. an essay or paper).  Applications should be emailed to Dr Damon Alexander at dtalexander@swin.edu.au by 5pm Friday 24th March.  Short-listed applicants will then be asked to sit an interview as part of the selection process.

Further information

For further information on the Victorian Parliamentary Internship Program please visit the program’s website at: http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/about/parliamentary-internship-program

For information on the application process please contact Dr Damon Alexander (Unit Convenor) at dtalexander@swin.edu.au or on (03) 92145798.

Details about the 2016 intake can be seen here.


Please note that the parliamentary internship program will not run in 2018 due to the Victorian state election.  As a result, students currently in their second year of studies will be eligible to participate in the program in 2017.  We are in the process of developing alternative internship options for 2018 and will provide further information as soon as possible.  The parliamentary internship program will return to normal scheduling in 2019.


Politics and History Group BBQ


Welcome/Welcome Back BBQ!

Friday 3 March, 12-2.30pm at Central Gardens (Henry St, Hawthorn)

All Politics, History, International Studies, and Indigenous Studies students and staff welcome to attend.

Food and drink provided.  Bring a picnic rug!

RSVP essential! Please let us know if you are coming via our Facebook page

Training and Grants for Oral History Students

Oral History Victoria training workshops start in March, with full details and online booking (for the March and April workshops) via these OHV website links. All the workshops are on Saturdays at Emerald Hill Library in South Melbourne, 10-4, with a student concession fee:

OHV Conference Grants for presenters at the Oral History Australia Conference in Sydney, 13-16 September. The deadline for submissions to present a paper is 28 February. The deadline for OHV conference grant applications is 1 May (two grants of up to $500, including at least one for a student oral historian).

New support group for Victorian oral historians: an Oral History Victoria Ideas and Skills Exchange (OHVISE = advice), will meet every second Tuesday, every second month, at the Moat café (176 Lonsdale St, Melbourne, by the State Library). A skilled OHV facilitator will be available to discuss oral history concerns and excitements with students and members. Starting Tuesday, 9 May, 5.30-6.30pm (with Al Thomson facilitating). Further details shortly via OHV website.

Oral History in a Digital Age – OHV Annual Symposium, Saturday 10 June, Museo Italiano, Carlton. A Call for Presenters will be issued shortly – but pencil in that date.

Australian Historical Association Conference – Australasian Oral History strand – Newcastle, 3-7 July. Presentation proposals must be submitted by 1 March 2017.

La Trobe and Swinburne Students: Parliamentary Internships


A graduation ceremony has been held at Parliament House for the 2nd semester of the Victorian Parliamentary Internship Program.

Now in its 26th year, the program included students from La Trobe University and Swinburne University of Technology for the first time this year.

Parliamentary interns prepare a research report for members of parliament.

The Presiding Officers’ Prize for most outstanding intern report during the 2nd semester was awarded to Declan Gleeson from La Trobe University.

2016 Interns2016 Interns

His research report, prepared for Mary Wooldridge MP, examined traffic congestion in the Eltham electorate, including causes, costs and solutions.

The inclusion of La Trobe and Swinburne in the program brings the total to five participating universities.

Students from Melbourne, Monash and Victoria universities participated in the first semester of the program.

2016 Interns

More information on the internship program is available here.

Source: Vic Parliament

In 2017 Swinburne University of Technology will again participate in the prestigious Victorian Parliamentary Internship Program (VPIP). 

For further information on the Victorian Parliamentary Internship Program please visit the program’s website at: http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/about/parliamentary-internship-program

For information on the application process at Swinburne University, please contact Dr Damon Alexander (Unit Convenor) at dtalexander@swin.edu.au or on (03) 92145798.