Project Working title: Freedom on a Thread: living in limbo as part of the “asylum legacy caseload”

Supervisors: Dr Jenny Munro (Anthropology) and Professor Greg Marston (Sociology)

Abstract: This project documents the lives of “unauthorised maritime arrivals” living within Australian communities, whose claims for refugee processing were frozen from August 2012. Frozen in asylum-seeker limbo, they are all now known in Australian policy and law as the “asylum legacy caseload”.

The study uses an intersectional approach to analyse government policy, and specifically focuses on the “fast track” processing introduced by law in 2014 to recognise refugee claims, which has much of the United Nations Refugee Convention removed from its processes. “Fast-track” processing and associated policy has not yet been the object of in-depth, academic analysis. This study documents the framing of policy, the processing of asylum seekers into refugees on temporary visas, and the necropolitical effects of ongoing indefinite asylum seeker and refugee status. In examining the effects of policy, the study looks for the spaces in which diverse asylum-seeking people can negotiate their way to continue to stay in safety.



My research is on asylum seekers living in Australian communities, and how they deal with the new “fast track” refugee processing for “unauthorised maritime arrivals”.

More broadly, I am interested in the dialogue of rights, the intersectional, gendered effects of government refugee policy; the phenomenon of citizenship conditionality as part of a post-colonial national imaginary; and issues regarding access to training, education and work for refugees on temporary visas.

I am keen to see Anthropology utilised more broadly across society, beyond its applied and academic fields.



2013 – 14         Graduate Certificate of Conflict Resolution and Mediation, University of Queensland (UQ)

2006 – 13        Masters of Development Practice (Community Development, International Relations), UQ

1997–98          Graduate Diploma of Education, University of New England; registered teacher, QCT #781067

1982–87          Bachelor of Arts (1st Class Hons, Anthropology), University of Sydney




Tutor School of Education, UQ, Semester 1, Masters of Education, Global Issues & Social Justice EDUC6700


Guest lecturer: 1st year Criminology, Griffith University – human rights asylum seekers, and refugees in Australia

Curriculum writer: Criminology and human rights: 1st year Criminology, University of Southern Queensland

Tutor School of Social Science, UQ, Semester 2, 1st year Anthropology introductory course, ANTH1008

Tutor School of Education, UQ, Semester 1, Masters of Education, Global Issues & Social Justice EDUC6700

Tutor School of Social Science, UQ, Semester 1, undergrad 1st year course, Intro to Sociology SOCY1050

Tutor- ITAR indigenous one-on-one tutoring, UQ, Semester 1, SOSC1000


April - June 2018 & Oct - Nov 2018: AusAID Tutor UQ / Feb - June: ITAR Tutor UQ

Nov 2016 – Jan 2017: Research officer, Anthropology Outreach Committee, School of Social Science, UQ

2007-2008: Tutor ANTH1010, School of Social Science, UQ

2006 – 2018:  Public servant, Department of Education, Queensland

1999 – 2006: Primary and high school teaching, Department of Education, Queensland

1988 – 1998: At-home parent, co-director of family business

1986-1988: Research assistant, tutor, University of Sydney



  • 2020: Postgraduate representative on the Refugee Education Special Interest Group (RE SIG), under the auspices of the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA)
  • 2020: President, ANSA – Australian Network of Student Anthropologists.
  • 2017: Postgraduate student representative, Postgraduate Studies Committee, School of Social Science, UQ
  • 2017 & 2016: Postgraduate Conference Organising Committee, School of Social Science PG Conference, UQ
  • September 2013-2020 (ongoing): Paralegal and other asylum seeker support & advocacy services, Brisbane
  • July - Nov 2013: Masters of Development Practice Conference Organising Committee, Inaugural student-led conference “Development Practice: Where are we going? Where should we go? UQ 12 Dec 2013
  • 2007 – 2013: Moderator for online Development Practice Yahoo Group Devpracnet


Conference Papers


“Exploring the Value of Emotions and Distress in Fieldwork” – co-presentation with Romy Listo, Australian Anthropological Society, (AAS), 2-5 December 2019 ANU, Canberra

“Creating Welcome within Policies of Confinement: how an asylum-seeker form-filling clinic fills the ‘fast-track’ gap” 2nd Australian and New Zealand Refugee Trauma Recovery in Resettlement Conference, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre hosted by Federal Association of Support to Survivors of Torture and Trauma (FASSTT), 27-29 March 2019, Brisbane Qld.


“Degraded asylum in Australia: an intersectional analysis of boat-arriving asylum-seeking women’s experiences” AAS (Australian Anthropological Association) 2018: Life in the Age of Death 4-7 Dec 2018, JCU, Cairns Qld.

“Beyond Precarity: interactions between boat-arriving asylum-seekers & civil society in the face of confinement”TASA (The Australian Sociological Association) Conference 2018: Precarity, Rights & Resistance, Deakin University, 19-22 Nov 2018.

“Women’s lives as asylum-seekers, in limbo, in Australia”, Refugee and Asylum Seeker Interdisciplinary Conference, University of Melbourne, 15 Nov, 2018, Melbourne Vic.

"Being Like a State": the narrative of refugee policy in Australia. Analysing legislation and policy confining refugees of the "Asylum Legacy Caseload" EASA (European Association of Social Anthropologists), Stockholms Universitet 14-17 Aug 2018.


“Afghan women & refugee-ship: a back-story”, Anthropology Symposium, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 17 Oct 2017


Pecha Kucha slide presentation (7 slides in 7 minutes): Treading Water While Seeking Safety: waiting for “fast track” refugee status in Qld Communities, School of Social Science Postgraduate Conference, UQ, 4 November 2016



“Representations of Women Through Some of the Rewritings on Widow-Burning”, The Australian Journal of Anthropology (TAJA) 1992 3:3 Special Issue # 4 Politics of Ritual. (Published as Hanne Georgeson)

Grey Literature

“Contributions to the History of Anthropology in Australia. Part V: Postscript: Research and Scholarship at The University of Sydney, Department of Anthropology up to the Sixties” in The Australian Anthropological Society Newsletter No 116, Dec 2009

“Contributions to the History of Anthropology in Australia. Part IV: Shifting Paradigms and Spheres of Power” in The Australian Anthropological Society Newsletter No 115, Sept 2009

Redcliffe: Older Person’s Needs Assessment co-authored with 21 other students from the Masters of Development Practice Course, University of Queensland, supervised by Sue Goodwin June 2007 Published jointly by UQ & Redcliffe City Council (Published as Hanne Georgeson)

“Contributions to the History of Anthropology in Australia. Part 1: Foundation of the Chair of Anthropology at the University of Sydney in 1926” in The Australian Anthropological Society Newsletter No 73, Sept 1998 (Published as Hanne Georgeson)

Community Talks

Refugee Association of Logan: state of play for asylum seekers wanting to undertake tertiary access in Queensland. February 2019

Mums for Refugees: what is happening with asylum-seekers living in the community? January 2017