Symposium: Social Disadvantage, Wellbeing and Place: How can we Improve Access to Opportunities in Place?

Social disadvantage accrues unevenly across places and over time. Highly disadvantaged communities include individuals and families experiencing deep and persistent disadvantage for sustained periods, sometimes over generations, and are often characterised by deeply impoverished opportunity structures in education, employment, housing, health and other services. Understanding the spatial distribution of disadvantage is important, in part, because it shifts attention beyond the level of the individual to the structural forces that plays a role in shaping and constraining opportunities.

Place is not a mark on a map, rather it is produced through social and cultural interactions, investment and disinvestment practices and the distribution of infrastructures and technologies. The boundaries of our life worlds are increasingly porous disrupting governmental ideas of people and place, and encouraging us to analyse the complex relationship between mobility, disadvantage and wellbeing.

This symposium draws attention to the multidimensional, often overlapping, cumulative and mutually reinforcing drivers of social disadvantage and wellbeing. Policies designed to reduce disadvantage and enhance wellbeing must therefore be based on deep understandings of the dynamic contexts of places and the multidimensionality of lived experiences in and across places that may enhance or limit opportunities.

The symposium is presented by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course (Life Course Centre). The Life Course Centre is funded to develop new knowledge, build new networks, evidence and capacity to benefit those living in, or at risk of, social disadvantage.

The symposium features presentations by one of our international Associate Investigators, Professor Kathryn Edin, (Princeton University) and her co-author, Timothy Nelson, (Princeton University), and Life Course Centre Research Fellows Brendan Kennedy (co-founder of Tati Tati Kaiejin and Principal Fellow, Cultural Economies and Sustainability, Life Course Centre) and Dr Sangeetha Chandrashekeran (Senior Research Fellow, Life Course Centre).

See here for further reading on The Injustice of Place by Kathryn J. Edin, H. Luke Shaefer, Timothy J. Nelson

Date & Time

Thu, 22 June, 2023

10:00 am – 1:30 pm (AEST)


    Melbourne, Australia




Life Course Centre