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Thematic Groups

TASA Executive introduced Thematic Groups in 2005. The groups are designed to facilitate communication and collaboration between TASA members working in similar areas. They are also intended to provide a vehicle for the organisation of the annual conferences. Since 2005 twenty-nine Thematic Groups have been established with 27 groups currently in operation. More information about the Executive’s original discussion and design of TGs can be found in Nexus March 2005 (Vol. 17, No. 1.)

The aims of Thematic Groups:

  • facilitate communication and collaboration between members working in similar areas
  • provide a basis for streams within conference programs
  • have a designated time slot at the annual conference (thematic group sessions will be scheduled concurrently at the Conference)
  • be recognised for three years (groups can then be reformed, or restructured where appropriate)
  • have a designated chair/convenor and
  • have a presence on TASAweb.

TASA Executive Portfolio Leader

2015/2016 Thematic Group Portfolio Leader
Dr Karen Soldatic

Karen Soldatic colour






Karen Soldatic is the National Director of Teaching for the Centre for Social Impact based at the UNSW Australia, Kensington Campus. Karen’s research interests consolidate around the issue of disability. How is disability defined and valued in social policy? Who decides who gets what resources and how they should be distributed? And how do differing civil society actors advocate for policy change? In considering these questions, Karen’s research traverses critical issues of social categorization and practices of value-oriented identity formation, attempting to capture their ambiguity, fragility and opacity.

2013/2014 Convener
Associate Professor Grazyna Zajdow






Grazyna Zajdow is Associate Professor of Sociology at Deakin University. She teaches at all levels of sociology from first year to honours. Her research interests include the experience of living with drug and alcohol affected people and public policy related to drugs and alcohol. She also researches the experiences of older women and the paid workforce. Grazyna is also a co-editor of Arena Magazine.

Grazyna has been a TASA member for over 25 years and has previously been an executive member as well as Treasurer.

2011/2012 Convener
Associate Professor Julie Matthews





Associate Professor Julie Matthews has a background in sociology, anthropology, education, and cultural studies. Her research addresses issues of sustainability and education; cultural diversity; the education of minority, refugee and international students; diaspora, globalisation and transnationalism; critical pedagogy and postcolonial, Foucaldian and feminist theory. She is involved in the South East Queensland Climate Adaptation Research Initiative (SEQ CARI) and ARC-funded projects include studies of Indigenous governance, refugee education, and reconciliation and education. She is currently Director of Research in the Faculty of Social Sciences, and teaches honours and masters research methods. She is also Associate Director of the Sustainability Research Centre. Prior to entering the university sector she was a high school teacher of Sociology, Integrated Humanities, English as a Second Language and World Studies

Established Groups

Thematic Groups (TG) are allocated a page on TASAweb, which contains:
  • thematic group aims and objectives;
  • convener/s contact details;
  • a list of current members.

Thematic Groups pages can also contain:

  • information about upcoming events;
  • photos from previous events;
  • calls for paper submissions;
  • links.

Content on these pages can be tailored to suit the needs of each thematic group. Thematic Group conveners can request for content to be added or removed from their respective TG page by sending all the details to TASA Executive Officer.TASA members can join up to 4 thematic groups . When you become a member of a TG, your name will automatically appear in the members’ list on the respective, thematic group TASA web page. Please email your name and email address to the convener of the thematic group/s you have joined.

To access information about current Thematic Groups, please click on the ‘Established Groups’ tab at the top of this page. Alternatively, click here.


The Thematic Group Support Scheme allows for groups to apply for up to $2,000 for activities that support their thematic area. A budget is allocated to this scheme in July for the following financial year. There are two submission rounds each year; March 1st (for activities between June 30th and December 31st of the same year) and September 1st (for activities between January 1st and June 30th the following year).

Grants may be used to fund costs such as postgraduate student attendance, fees for venue hire, advertising, and speaker travel and accommodation. Funding approval is dependent upon the merit of the application, the number of applications received and TASA’s financial position at the time of the application round.

Please note:

• Applications including a catering component need to include an attendee fee to cover the catering. Group organisers can arrange for the TASA Office to collect the attendance fees.

• Funding is not available for conference plenaries including paying travel costs for invited speakers. Conveners can approach the conference local organising committee directly to inquire about the availability of plenary funding.

Applications should be between 3-5 A4 pages. They should include:

1. Name of the thematic group
2. Name of convener(s)
4. Proposed activity
5. Evidence of support and/or involvement
6. Expected outcomes
7. Budget and justification
8. Timeline

Note that it is NOT necessary to provide a literature review in support of the proposed topic

Applications should be submitted as an email attachment to The Executive retains the right to deal with applications at other times if the applicants can convince the Executive of the need for this.

Funds will be allocated on a competitive basis, as judged by the TASA Executive. The Executive will disburse funds according to the merit of the applications with the intention of distributing the funds. It reserves the right to make no disbursement of funds if the applications are not of sufficient merit. Criteria will be as follows:

1. Viability of proposed activity
2. Contribution to the vitality of the thematic group
3. Potential for members of the group, and other TASA members, to participate and / or benefit from the activity
4. Contribution to sociological research and teaching
5. Generations of outcomes suitable for TASA publications
6. Extent of previous support

The following conditions will apply:

1. Grants will be made available in the form of payments on invoices from suppliers, or reimbursements of monies spent, after the event has occurred. Groups who are funded under the Support Scheme are strongly advised to discuss payment matters with the TASA Executive Officer to ensure that all statutory and taxation obligations are met;

2. Applications should identify a person responsible for compiling all funding claims. That person is required to submit a single claim, after the event, to the TASA Office, which can have several different recipients listed for reimbursement. Bank details of each reimbursement recipient need to be recorded on the claim form and submitted with the accompanying receipts being claimed;

3. If your funding is to be used for the expenses of an invited speaker/s, please advise the speaker/s, before they book their travel requirements, the limit of funding available to them (ie. if TASA have agreed to fund your group $400 for an invited speaker, inform the speaker that you will be able to arrange for the reimbursement of up to $400 on the presentations of their Tax Invoices and receipts etc). TASA will not reimburse amounts greater than those agreed to;

4. Postgraduate scholarships to attend Thematic Group events are only available to TASA members. It is the responsibility of the organisers to check the membership of scholarship applicants, via the TASA Office;

5. The support of TASA must be recognised on materials related to the activity (eg. advertising, brochures, programs etc.);

6. Permission must be sought from TASA for the use of the TASA logo and other registered material;

7. Events must meet requirements for disability access and participation;

8. Participants must be charged a fee to cover costs if catering is provided and funding is not available from other sources. This condition may be waived by the Executive for activities where students are the principal participants;

9. A report (1000 words) must be provided to the TASA Executive Officer within four weeks of the completion of the activity. This should be suitable for publication in Nexus;

10. If the proposed activity generates output in print, electronic or other forms, the copyright of such material remains with the authors/creators; and

12. All funds should be used within 12 months of notification.


As from July 2012, every group will be up for renewal at the same time. Groups will be renewed every 3 years with the next review in December, 2016.

How to become a member

The Executive have increased the number of groups you can join, from 3 to 4, for a 2 year trial period (2015-2016). You can join thematic groups via your ‘My Account’ section of your membership profile. Your selections can be amended at any time throughout the year.

Terms of Reference

1. Preamble

TASA Executive introduced TGs in 2005. They are designed to facilitate communication and collaboration between TASA members working in similar areas. They are also intended to provide a vehicle for the organisation of the annual conferences. More information about the Executive’s original discussion and design of TGs can be found in Nexus March 2005.

2. Establishment

The initiative for establishment of TGs lies with the TASA membership. Members usually canvas the establishment of TGs informally among their own networks, and then, if needed, through a Call for Expressions of Interest in the TASA e-list. Formal proposals are then submitted to the Executive. Proposals for TGs should include the following information:

  • TG title;
  • Brief description of aims and objectives (suitable for the website and other publicity);
  • Names of a Convener and any Co-Conveners;
  • Names of a minimum of 15 current financial TASA members (including Conveners), who endorse the proposed TG and propose to belong to it.

3. Membership

Rules for membership are as follows:

  • Membership of TGs is confined to current financial TASA members;
  • Membership of TGs must be maintained at a minimum of 15 current TASA members per year. TASA members may belong to a maximum of FOUR thematic groups (this maximum was increased from 3 to 4 groups for a 2 year trial period, 2015-2016);
  • New and existing TASA members who wish to join thematic groups do so through their TASA membership application/renewal form or through the ‘My Account’ section of their profile page in the members’ section of TASAweb;
  • The Executive Officer will provide Conveners with up-to-date membership lists upon request ( Depending on the level of contact, conveners are encouraged to request an updated list prior to each contact with members. Thematic group members who do not renew their TASA membership will automatically be removed from published membership lists, and Conveners must remove them from their personal mailing lists.

4. Governance

Rules for governance of TGs are intended to strike a balance between autonomy and democracy, as follows:

  • No person can remain Convener for longer than three consecutive years
  • If a convener needs to step down from the role, during their 3 year term, all TG members need to be consulted and a volunteer/s replacement needs to be sought.
  • The position of Convener will automatically fall vacant at the time of review (see Clause 7), and is subject to review;
  • Conveners are to be determined by the membership of TGs, either through meetings at the TASA Annual Conference or through email communication with all TG members;

5. Obligations

TGs have the following obligations to TASA:

  • To maintain a presence on TASA Some groups also establish their own websites. Where this is the case, TGs should place the following statement: ‘The information provided on this site does not imply any official endorsement by The Australian Sociological Association or the opinions, ideas or information contained therein, nor guarantee the validity, completeness or utility of the information provided. Reference herein to any products, services, processes, hypertext links to third parties or other information does not necessarily constitute or imply endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation.’;
  • The support of TASA should be acknowledged on materials relating to all activities where funds are disbursed; and
  • Groups who receive funding from TASA for activities must provide a brief report of the activity that was funded and account for monies received. This report is to be sent to the TASA Executive Officer within one month of the activity.

6. Disestablishment

TGs may be disestablished by the Executive in the following circumstances:

  • Where the membership falls below 15 persons at 1 April of any year and is not raised to 15 persons by 1 April of the following year.
  • Where there are serious concerns about the conduct of the TG.
  • Where the current Convener has served a three-year term and no other person is willing to take on that role.
  • Where the current Convener needs to step down and no other person is willing to take on that role.

Groups that are disestablished have the right to appeal through TASA grievance procedures.

7. Review

TGs are subject to review by the TASA Executive every 3rd year (2013, 2016, 2019 etc). Renewal is not automatic. It is contingent upon the following:

  • .Adherence to the terms of reference (including membership), as specified in this document
  • Application to the Executive for renewal.

The Role of Thematic Group Conveners

The role of thematic group conveners is to facilitate communications within the group and between the group and the TASA Executive. Conveners also arrange for group members to referee relevant papers and organise session schedules for the TASA conference. Prior to the TASA conference each year, thematic group conveners will receive a list of refereed paper submissions. Conveners are responsible for organising blind referring submissions. Blind referring involves a) forwarding submissions to two referees with appropriate experience and expertise, b) sending Refereeing guidelines and Referees Review Form‘ to referees and c) forwarding referees reports to conference organisers.

Conveners can facilitate group communications by:

• using a group email list to keep members informed of activities, events, conferences, workshops, publications and calls for papers;

• organising group meetings or dinners at the TASA conference;

• putting up a plenary panel at the TASA conference;

• contributing to an issue of Nexus;

• developing a group website and or/blog within TASAweb;

• applying for group funding to run workshops, seminars and mini conferences of relevance to the group (see Major Support Scheme heading below);

• providing Nexus editor with a report/feedback about the TASA funded activities of the thematic group.

Formal Recognition of the Convener Role

Thematic Group Conveners are welcome to request a written itemisation of their role and responsibilities at the end of their term. Please send your request with the following details to the TASA Thematic Group Portfolio Leader; name of group, length of term, and tasks conducted.

Conveners' EManual

In 2015, Karen Soldatic created a electronic manual for thematic group conveners. The eManual is a work in progress and conveners are encouraged to email suggested changes/requirements to the TASA Office for inclusion.


Establishing Groups & Formation Submissions

TASA members are invited to submit proposals for new Thematic Groups. Proposals must:

1. specify a thematic group’s title;

2. have a short description of the group’s aims and objectives (suitable for the website and other publicity);

3. list the names of a Convener and any Co-Conveners;

4. identify a minimum of 15 TASA members (including the convenors) who are members of the groups;

5. be endorsed by all members of the proposed thematic group.

Submissions will be considered at Executive Committee meetings. Please email them to the TASA Office.

The TASA executive make decisions regarding Thematic Group formation at their quarterly meetings. For consideration in the first-round decisions, please have your application submitted by February 28th. Subsequent deadlines are June 29th, September 20th, & November 8th.


• Media (2005 – early 2011) Details from the Media TASAweb page are available in Word (16.2kb) and Pdf (29.4kb) (The Media Thematic Group was revived in mid 2011)

• Science, Technology and Knowledge ( 2008 – June 2010) Details from the Science, Technology and Knowledge TASAweb page are available in Word (113kb) and Pdf (87.8kb)

• Mobilities (2007 – September 2010) Details from the Mobilities TASAweb page are available in Word (14kb ) and Pdf (25kb ). A 2008 Mobilities annual report can also be viewed.