Section: Overview
Key publications
Research funding
Supervising & teaching

Key details

Areas of expertise

  • Sociology of childhood and youth studies
  • Identity and connectedness
  • Social inclusion
  • Community engagement & empowerment
  • Sociology of education

Available to supervise research students

Available for media queries

About Fiona MacDonald

Associate Professor Fiona MacDonald is a Senior Research Fellow in the Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities (ISILC), Victoria University. Fiona's research sits within the sociology discipline, focused on the sociology of education, childhood and youth studies. Her research interests include connectedness and belonging, identity, social justice, social inclusion, inequality and disadvantage, social geography, inclusive education, and gender.

Her research focuses on social and cultural structures of influence and investigating their impact on children and young people’s everyday negotiations of identity, connectedness and belonging. Fiona has a particular interest in understanding how children and young people make sense of our global world within local spaces and places—place-based in face-to-face environments and online.

Fiona works across disciplines, with colleagues and stakeholders who are collectively committed to research that has both a practical impact and makes a valuable contribution to knowledge. She has undertaken research investigating a range of contemporary issues for children and young people including; bushfire relief and recovery (with the Youth Affairs Council Victoria), building resilience and inclusive partnerships with emergency services, community engagement, education following custody in youth justice, disadvantage and hunger through school breakfast clubs, student wellbeing, safety and the effective communication, and uptake, of public health messaging.


  • PhD, Monash University, Australia, 2014
  • BA (Hons), Monash University, Australia, 2007

Key publications

Year Citation
2021 Macdonald, F. (210701). Evidence from Experience: young people's perspectives on the effectiveness of bushfire relief and recovery. Melbourne Victoria: Inspector General For Emergency Management.
2020 Macdonald, F., Te, Riele., White, J., Corcoran, T., Baker, A., Moylan, P., & Abdul, Manan. (200201). Educational Transition from Custody. Melbourne: Victoria University.

Year Citation
2023 MacDonald, F., Lanyon, C., Munnery, L., Ryan, D., Ellis, K., & Champion, S. (230301). Agents of change in bushfire recovery: Young people's acts of citizenship in a youth-focused, animal-welfare and environmental program. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 87 (103551-103551).

doi: 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2023.103551

2021 MacDonald, F., & Smith, D. (210101). Educating the children of returning foreign fighters: fear as the antithesis of inclusive education. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 25(2), (224-238).

doi: 10.1080/13603116.2019.1707305

2020 Jose, K., MacDonald, F., Vandenberg, M., Williams, J., Abbott-Chapman, J., Venn, A., & Smith, K. J. (200801). School Breakfast Club Programs in Australian Primary Schools, Not Just Addressing Food Insecurity: A Qualitative Study. Health Education and Behavior, 47(4), (619-630).

doi: 10.1177/1090198120920193

2019 MacDonald, F. J., Bottrell, D., & Johnson, B. (190601). Socially transformative wellbeing practices in flexible learning environments: Invoking an education of hope. Health Education Journal, 78(4), (377-387).

doi: 10.1177/0017896918777005

2017 MacDonald, F. (171102). Positioning young refugees in Australia: media discourse and social exclusion. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 21(11), (1182-1195).

doi: 10.1080/13603116.2017.1350324

2014 MacDonald, F. (140101). Negotiations of identity and belonging: Beyond the ordinary obviousness of tween girls' everyday practices. Girlhood Studies, 7(2), (44-60).

doi: 10.3167/ghs.2014.070204

Research funding for the past 5 years

Please note:

  • Funding is ordered by the year the project commenced and may continue over several years.
  • Funding amounts for contact research are not disclosed to maintain commercial confidentiality.
  • The order of investigators is not indicative of the role they played in the research project.

Youth Behavioural Change Program: Youth Junction
From: The Youth Junction Inc.,
Other investigators: Ms Ruth Liston
For period: 2022-2024
North West Safe Youth Project
From: The Youth Junction Inc.
For period: 2022-2024
Black summer bushfire grant YACVic Collective Impact Proposal
From: Youth Affairs Council of Victoria
Other investigators: Aspr Timothy Corney
For period: 2022-2024
eSmart Schools Framework Outcomes Evaluation  Stage 2
From: The Alannah and Madeline Foundation
Other investigators: Dr Melinda Van dyke
For period: 2022-2022
Not disclosed

Apprentice Transitions – Mentoring as Social Support. Proof of Concept
From: Victorian Higher Education Strategic Investment Fund
Other investigators: Aspr Timothy Corney
For period: 2021-2022

Educational Transition from Custody
From: Department of Education and Training, Victoria
Other investigators: Aspr Julie White, Dr Alison Baker
For period: 2019-2020
Not disclosed

Building Strength and Capability through Diversity
From: Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC Ltd, Victoria Institute of Strategic Economic Studies
Other investigators: Prof Bruce Rasmussen, Ms Celeste Young, Dr Joanne Pyke
For period: 2017-2021
Not disclosed

Evaluation of School Breakfast Club Program
From: Foodbank Victoria Grant
Other investigators: Dr Claire Brown
For period: 2016-2018
Not disclosed

Supervision of research students at VU

Available to supervise research students

Available for media queries

Currently supervised research students at VU

No. of students Study level Role
3 PhD Integrated Principal supervisor
2 PhD Principal supervisor

Currently supervised research students at VU

Students & level Role
PhD Integrated (3) Principal supervisor
PhD (2) Principal supervisor

Completed supervision of research students at VU

No. of students Study level Role
1 PhD Associate supervisor
1 PhD Principal supervisor

Completed supervision of research students at VU

Students & level Role
PhD (1) Associate supervisor
PhD (1) Principal supervisor


Details of this Researcher's career are currently unavailable.