Professor Deborah Warr

Professor Deborah Warr


Deborah is a sociologist whose research has addressed a breadth of health and social issues, including relationships between place and health, social determinants of health, the impacts of health and social policies and conditions of poverty in Australia. She has expertise in qualitative, visual and participatory methodologies and has collaborated with colleagues from epidemiology, biomedicine, political science and the arts on mixed-methods studies.

Prior to taking up a position at Charles Sturt University in early 2018 she was based in the School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne. Her positions were supported by a number of fellowships, including an ARC Future Fellowship (2013-17), a VicHealth Public Health Research Fellowship (2007-13) and a NHMRC post-doctoral fellowship (2002-5). At the University, she also led a cross-cutting program, Community-Engaged Research, in the Melbourne Social Equity Institute which was established to develop innovative research that addressed complex, contemporary social inequalities. She has strong interests in research ethics and has published on related topics, produced guidelines to promote ethical research in emerging methodologies (visual methods and digital data) and has served on university ethics committees.

In her new role in the Three Rivers University Department of Rural Health she is responsible for activating research investigating workforce, eHealth, community-based and other strategies and initiatives that aim to generate positive rural health impacts across the south-west region of New South Wales and beyond.

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Deborah has developed subjects for sociology and public health students, including ‘Doing Sociology’, ‘Critical Debates in Public Health’ and ‘Community: Theory and Practice’. She has delivered many guest lectures on various topics and research methods to students in education, the arts and allied health fields.

She has also developed and delivered research training modules in service- and community-based people. The objectives of this work have been build research capacity in diverse contexts and promote democratic access to research and its empowering potential for communities and individuals, including those with experiences of marginalsation.

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Deborah has recently completed projects focusing on:

  • Social infrastructure in settings of locational disadvantage (ARC FF)
  • Challenging the stigmatisation of poverty and place-based disadvantage (ARC DP, lead CI)
  • She is currently a Chief Investigator on an ARC Discovery Project, ‘Art-based social enterprise and marginalised young people’s transitions’ (led by RMIT).

Over recent years her research has focussed on a breadth of issues and settings, including family violence among immigrant women (funding by ANROWS), evaluating mental health initiatives, exploring client perspectives on the NDIS (a participatory project co-produced with community researchers living with disability), arts-based projects focussing on low-income neighbourhoods (collaborating with artist, Dr. Gretel Taylor), social network analyses and historical analyses.

Deborah is interested in developing and collaborating on new research projects that:

  • Focus on health and social issues in rural settings, or other community and place-based settings
  • Involve qualitative, participatory or visual methodologies.

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  • Committee Member of the International Visual Methods Association
  • Australian Sociology Association (TASA)

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Live, study, work in Rural Australia