minute read

Anti-racism banner on municipal building

The goal of the Anti-Racism Hallmark Research Initiative is to undertake and disseminate solutions-focused anti-racism research and interventions to combat racism at both the interpersonal and structural levels, in collaboration with government, community organisations and businesses.


Racism is a pressing social problem both globally and in Australia. Racism is the outcome of beliefs that one social group is superior to others. It manifests interpersonally and structurally, targeting racialised others. Racism is based on a variety of ascribed characteristics including appearance, Indigeneity, ethnicity, religion, caste and others. It is part of everyday life, shaping all aspects of our lives including our education system, health, workplaces, and criminal justice system. It results in differential distribution of power, resources, and opportunities to racialised groups. Racism is a ‘wicked problem’: one which is multi-faceted, constantly changing, and very difficult to solve. While racism shares features around the world, it has locally specific manifestations, making an Australian approach to anti-racism essential.

The Anti-Racism Hallmark Research Initiative responds to this imperative. Our goal is to undertake and disseminate solutions-focused anti-racism research and interventions to combat racism at both the interpersonal and structural levels. We will do this in collaboration with government, community organisations and businesses.

The Anti-Racism HRI spans Indigenous and migration scholarship, which have historically been separate, creating new links between researchers in these fields. We also bring together students, graduate researchers, early-career researchers and senior scholars from a wide range of disciplines including business, health, sociology, education, cultural studies, psychology, legal studies, and economics. Through our community partnerships and interdisciplinary capacity-building activities and research projects, we aim to:

  • Build the knowledge base about anti-racism.
  • Build capacity and collaborations for successfully undertaking anti-racism research.
  • Translate new knowledge into effective interventions, policies, and practices and work towards developing a set of assets that can be used to support change into the future.

While our research focus will be elaborated and refined in conjunction with our partners and based on our early research, preliminary research themes identified to date include:

  • A focus on disrupting and challenging structural racism.
  • Addressing legacies of colonialism including those within the University of Melbourne.
  • Addressing anti-racism in the digital space.


The following activities and projects are planned to achieve our engagement, capacity building and research objectives:

Stock-take project: In our first year, we will be undertaking a stock-take of current anti-racism initiatives to ascertain what already exists and their impacts. This foundational mapping will inform our program of research for the life of the Hallmark Research Initiative and beyond.

Research Incubator workshops: Yearly workshops will engage students and researchers from across the career spectrum to foster interdisciplinary links, further inform research priorities, and stimulate creative ideas for seed-funding and other research proposals.

Public seminars: Monthly seminars will feature leading scholars and representative of community organisations undertaking anti-racism research or activities. Seminars will be open to University of Melbourne staff and students, academics and students from other Universities, and community members and stakeholders and support links and engagement between these groups.

Seed-funding grant scheme: Seed-funding grants will be offered in years one and two and will provide opportunities for University of Melbourne researchers to undertake anti-racism research. Funded proposals will include early-career researchers and partnerships with community organisations, government and business.

Symposia: A one-day conference in years two and three will showcase seed-funded projects and others undertaken by our range of internal and external stakeholders.

Research experience program: Undergraduates will be invited to apply for a research experience program stipend which will give them the opportunity to work as research assistants over summer and winter breaks on the stocktake project in year one and on additional HRI-funded anti-racism projects in years two and three.



Karen Farquharson and Karen Block

Initiative chair

Professor Karen Farquharson
Social and Political Sciences

Academic Convenor

Dr Karen Block
Senior Research Fellow
Melbourne School of Population and Global Health

Contact us

To get in touch with the Anti-Racism Hallmark Initiative team please contact academic convenor Karen Block by email to: