The University of Newcastle, Australia

Faith Curtis is using her studies to help people from diverse backgrounds feel welcome and included in their communities.

After studying a Bachelor of Development Studies, Faith enjoyed it so much she decided to stay on for an additional Honours year before undertaking a PhD.

She has used her research and experience to co-create her own company, UP&UP, which draws on art to help people forge greater connections and engagement within their communities.

We spoke with Faith to find out more about the inspiration behind her research and starting her own company.

What is the subject of your PhD and what did your research involve?

My PhD research was looking at organisations and individuals in Newcastle, who support and welcome people from refugee backgrounds into the community.

I spent one year volunteering in refugee support organisations, and attending refugee support events, talking to people from both refugee and non-refugee backgrounds about their experiences in Newcastle.

It was important for me to tell a positive story about care-full intercultural encounters between people from refugee and other backgrounds.

What inspired you to pursue a PhD?

I had such a positive experience doing Development Studies (Honours) that I was inspired to continue with my studies and do a PhD. I was excited by being able to do my own research project, which enabled me to tell a different side to the refugee story in Australia.

How did your company UP&UP come about and what does it aim to achieve?

My partner and I co-created UP&UP a few years ago. Essentially, we are community engagement practitioners that use art (graffiti and street art) as a way of creating more inclusive and creative communities.

We forge connections and partnerships with various organisations, community groups, schools, local and state government, to facilitate community driven creative arts projects that aim to create more inclusive spaces and communities.

Our practice is based on Asset Based Community Development; the understanding that every person has their own unique strengths; as well as the belief that being creative has positive implications for individual and community wellbeing.

Study a Bachelor of Development Studies

Faith Curtis

Faith Curtis

Faith Curtis enjoyed her Development Studies degree so much she went on to complete a PhD.

I was excited by being able to do my own research project, which enabled me to tell a different side to the refugee story in Australia.