By: millie.rooney | February 05, 2017

“We shall RISE!”

I keep hearing that phrase, keep hearing the powerful Alicia Keys and her Girl on Fire speech at the Women’s March on Washington.

Oh girl oh girl, there is a power awakening and we are unstoppable.


Like many women across the globe I have felt heartened and empowered and excited (excited!) by the turn out to the women’s marches around the world. I’m excited and in awe of the potential power that can be unleashed by our collective womanhood. I’m astonished at how simple this power might actually be, and that perhaps despite difference and despite the challenges that will come when push comes to shove and those of us with the privilege have to give some of it up, despite this, the type of power that women have gives me hope. B...

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By: millie.rooney | October 09, 2015

Sometimes the only thing that gets me out of bed and into work is the thought of the interesting characters that I may come across during the day. For me, an important aspect of connection is about taking the time to see and to appreciate people in all their individual and quirky glory. I’d like to make a space on this blog for some of these characters. To begin with, I give you David*.

The comments that I find in the margins of surveys, as I sit in my overheated office in a whirl of multi-project-partner administration, are often the highlight of my day. These comments can be read as small acts of defiance by participants, requiring that we respect them as individuals rather than ticked boxes and age statistics. I’ve had people write that t...

By: millie.rooney | August 16, 2015

I greedily reach for more both hands outstretch stuffing my face and gorging. Other people’s tears dribbling down my chin. Their lumps of sadness choking my throat and sitting heavily in my belly and yet still I reach for more. My hunger is not stopped by the bloating and the sleepless nights that will follow as I toss and turn in bed attempting to digest this glut of sadness (reflection journal, 2015).

I’m a sadness eater. A title I’ve only just come to own although it is a profession I’ve been practicing for years. I’ve invented the job title recently but my role and position description have always been quite clear.

In the world of universities and polite small talk prefaced by “and what do you do?” type questions, I’m Dr Millie Roone...

By: millie.rooney | August 02, 2015

The cup of sugar challenge was the first community challenge I ever undertook. It was a set up by a friend of mine who knew how much I was enjoying exploring the social barriers to neighbourly interaction. The text below is a modified version of what I wrote as a the prologue and epilogue bookends to my PhD.


It turned out to be a lot harder to ask for that sugar than the rose coloured visions of 1950s suburbia suggest.

At the beginning of 2013, I wrote in my research journal, about the intersection of this research and my own life in a suburban neighbourhood.

She handed me the tin with a hug. It was my birthday and people kept arriving with delicious looking cake. But Tessa had done something different. Rather than handing over a cake on a ...

By: millie.rooney | August 02, 2015

This is a  slightly modified version of a piece I originally published on a different blog in November 2013.

Recently The Conversation published a piece by Julian Burnside which resonated with me and the work that I do. While Burnside was writing in the context of the Australian response to asylum seekers, much of what he wrote about gets to the heart of what I think is an important contribution of my own work.

Burnside argues an increasing sense of disconnection, felt by an increasing number of people, is a major problem in contemporary Australian life. He writes:

People are disconnected so they are not heard, then they shout louder, and are still not heard, so they shout louder and louder until people become afraid of them and shun them...