Churchill Fellowship


Hairdressers and barbers may seem like unlikely social change leaders. But for me they are a powerful untapped resource.

I was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2012 to visit and research social change hairdressing programs. In 2013 I visited sites in South Africa, United Kingdom, France, Switzerland and the USA.

The full report my trip, including best practice examples and policy recommendations, can be downloaded here.

I focused on how hairdressers and barbers are working with public health, community development and humanitarian disaster response organisations to help solve some of our biggest social justice challenges.

I visited programs addressing poverty abatement, livelihood development, health promotion, culturally competent care, HIV education and gender diversity.  This learning helped place the work I’ve done with Wilurarra Salon and Good Hair Days in an international context.

Churchill Fellowships aim “to reward proven achievement of talented and deserving Australians with further opportunity in their pursuit of excellence for the enrichment of Australian society”, through “an opportunity for Australians to travel overseas to conduct research in their chosen field that is not readily available in Australia”.

For me the Churchill Fellowship provide crucial insights into how work in the Australian context could learn and better connect to international practice as well as understanding the ways in which we have unique things to offer. This led into the extended focus of my Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship on social change hairdressing. It is a incredibly courageous program, and I strongly urge people to consider applying.