Section: Overview
Key publications
Research funding
Supervising & teaching

Key details

Areas of expertise

  • Sociology of childhood and youth studies
  • Young people and disasters
  • Social Justice
  • Youth justice and early crime intervention
  • Sociology of education

Available to supervise research students

Available for media queries

About Fiona MacDonald

Associate Professor Fiona MacDonald is Principal Research Fellow in the Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities.

Fiona’s research sits within the sociology discipline, focused on children and young people. Her research focuses on the social and cultural influences in contemporary society and their impact on children and young people’s:

  • identities
  • connectedness
  • health and wellbeing.

Fiona takes a social justice, equity and inclusion viewpoint that aims to address social rights, inequity and disadvantage. She has a particular interest in understanding how children and young people make sense of global challenges and issues within their local spaces and places.

Fiona takes a multidisciplinary, applied approach to research, working with community and industry partners to address contemporary issues and challenges. Fiona is lead researcher on the Future Proof: young people, disaster recovery and (re)building communities project. The VU research team are partners in this Federal Government funded project alongside Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) and 12 regional partners. The research aims to investigate how young people and youth workers can be trained and upskilled to take active and meaningful roles in disaster management and community resilience building in their local communities.

Fiona is also researching early prevention programs in youth justice, youth crime, adolescent family violence and an animal empathy program in youth alcohol and drug intervention. Other areas of focus include:

  • education in youth justice
  • inclusive education
  • bullying and cyberbullying
  • social determinants of health and wellbeing.


  • PhD, Monash University, Australia, 2014
  • BA (Hons), Monash University, Australia, 2007
  • Foundations in Recovery: Understanding impacts to people and communities, The University of Melbourne, Short Course, May 2023

Key publications

Year Citation
2023 te, Riele., Corcoran, T., MacDonald, F., Baker, A., & White, J. (230101). Incarcerated Young People, Education and Social Justice.

doi: 10.1007/978-3-031-23129-2

2016 MacDonald, F. (160101). Childhood and Tween Girl Culture Family, Media and Locality.

Year Citation
2023 Macdonald, F., Corney, T., Woods, B., Law, A., & Liston, R. (230213). Apprenticeship Support Structures for Young People. Melbourne: Victoria University.
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.
2021 MacDonald, F. (210101). Young People and the Emergency Services: Working Towards Inclusive Partnerships. Melbourne, Australia: Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC.

doi: 10.26196/enwx-dn60

Year Citation
2023 MacDonald, F., Woods, B., Hall, C., Corney, T., & Ryan, D. (231001). Joining the dots to reimagine community resilience: empowering young people. October 2023, 10.47389/38(No 4), (85-89).

doi: 10.47389/38.4.85

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

doi: 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2023.103551

2023 Van, Dyke., MacDonald, F., Bajayo, R., Nguyen, C. D., Leung, C., & Francis, S. (230101). Development and Initial Validation of a School Self-assessment Tool to Measure the Extent to Which Schools are Prepared to Prevent and Respond to Cyberbullying and Other Challenges to the School Social Environment. International Journal of Bullying Prevention,

doi: 10.1007/s42380-023-00179-5

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

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

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
Future Proof: Young People, Disaster Recovery and (Re)building Communities
From: Youth Affairs Council of Victoria
Other investigators: Prof Timothy Corney
For period: 2022-2025
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: Prof Timothy Corney
For period: 2021-2022

Educational Transition from Custody
From: Department of Education and Training, Victoria
Other investigators: Aspr Julie White, Aspr 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

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
2 PhD Integrated Principal supervisor
2 PhD Principal supervisor

Currently supervised research students at VU

Students & level Role
PhD Integrated (2) 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
1 PhD Integrated Principal supervisor
1 Master of Research Principal supervisor

Completed supervision of research students at VU

Students & level Role
PhD (1) Associate supervisor
PhD (1) Principal supervisor
PhD Integrated (1) Principal supervisor
Master of Research (1) Principal supervisor


Details of this Researcher's career are currently unavailable.