Building our foundations
On behalf of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child, I am pleased to present our 2021 Annual Report.
2021 was the Centre’s first year – our establishment year to build the solid foundations for a Centre of Excellence to deliver high-quality research and high-impact outcomes. It was also a year of uncertainties and disruptions as the world continued to grapple with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Establishing a new Centre is challenging at the best of times. The added obstacles only served to bring out our strength and resilience, to unite our members across borders and oceans, and to fuel a determination to connect and collaborate with researchers, partners and stakeholders. The establishment plans occurred within the development of a Centre research culture of excellence that explicitly values the practices of intellectual rigor and equity, in tandem with a culture of generosity and respect of diverse expertise, collaboration, and values of inclusivity.
A generous, nurturing research culture of excellence, and an ethos of mutual support and collegiality, and cooperative and sharing environments.
We are delighted to report the establishment of the Centre Advisory Committee. Drawn from academia, government and community, the respected members of the Advisory Committee provide strategic direction for the Centre, with a key focus on how to equitably support children from all Australian contexts in a digital age. These directions are embedded within the Strategic Plan 2021 – 2027, produced through excellent Centre-wide conversations with members to encapsulate the Centre’s vision, priorities and actions.
It’s for these reasons I look back on the Centre’s 2021 achievements with immense pride and respect for our members, partners and collaborators, who all contributed in their own ways. These key achievements include:
- welcoming 97 members to the Centre
- establishing the Centre Advisory Committee: Taryn Marks (Chair), Professor Barbara Comber AM, Emeritus Professor Paul Chandler and Megan Mitchell AM
- establishing four committees (Executive, Research, Data Management and Advisory Committees)
- developing our Strategic Plan, facilitated by Mark Douglas (Ethos Consulting) in wide collaboration with all members and partners
- establishing 19 research projects that demonstrate our strong transdisciplinary and cross-nodal focus
- making a commitment to positively embed and advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and voices across our research and activities with the appointment of an Indigenous Advisor
- securing a $544,400 Office of the eSafety Commissioner’s grant, a Centre partner
- celebrating Children’s Week with a series of public and internal events
- launching the Digital Child Seminar Series with five public seminars on the topic of socio-materiality in a digital age
- building a research culture that is inclusive, collaborative, supportive and respectful, including the establishment of three Centre Clubs and weekly online catchups
These achievements form part of the foundation to deliver evidence-based transdisciplinary research related to children and digital technologies over the next seven years. There’s much more to do, and we are on track to deliver research to enhance public understanding, inform policymakers, and provide guidance for families, educators and others working with children, including technology creators, to support children growing up in a rapidly changing digital world.
We’re excited that you’ve joined us at the beginning of our journey. We can’t wait to show you what’s ahead.
Professor Susan Danby FASSA
Director, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child