CCCS Seed Funding 2021 Winning Projects

PhD Publication Grant Winners

  • Hong Jiang (School of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences) Paper(s) on ‘Contemporary river channel change processes under multiple, interacting, human-impacts in the Han River, China’

Grant: $ 2,000

Project introduction:

Hong’s thesis has been exploring the 2000-year history of interactions between humans and the Han River, one of the great rivers of China.  It is divided into two parts: the ancient history of change from 221 BC to 1967, and modern changes to the channel of the Han River since construction of the mega-dam at Danjiangkou in 1967.  The CCCS PhD Publication Project will be used to support preparing two manuscripts from the work on the modern river.  The first one describes a remote sensing methodology, which uses free satellite data to reconstruct the depth of the full riverbed of large rivers annually, while researchers were normally restricted to reconstructing channel change from a series of cross-sections.  The second one is on geomorphic change processes in the river, which reveals that the interactions between different river modifications, including mega-dams, groynes, and sediment mining practices, could cause unintentional consequences, while existing studies looked at the impact of multiple modifications more collectively than interactively.


Hong Jiang

Hong Jiang is a final year PhD student, a physical geographer in the School of Geography, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences.  She is interested in the earth surface processes shaped and reshaped by humans.  Currently, her focus is on understanding environmental changes and the impacts involved in the river-related resource exploitation and management, using remote-sensing techniques.

  • Junxian Chen (Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning) Paper on ‘The Chinese way to greenways: implementation processes and outcomes of four cases in the Central Zhejiang City-Region’

Grant: $2,000

Project introduction:

China has recently seen a boom in greenway projects as an urban sustainability fix. This paper evaluates different greenway implementation outcomes across jurisdictional boundaries, and explains the institutional reasons behind the differences. A greenway assessment framework was proposed linking ecological, social and economic goals to a set of indicators. Through the spatial analysis of four greenways in the Central Zhejiang City-Region, each of which led by a unique actor (i.e., a township government, a county department, a cross-agency department or a state-owned company), this paper reveals that the greenway led by a cross-agency department performs better than others in terms of cultural promotion, regional integration and habitat connectivity improvement, and that the SOE-led greenway is oriented towards rural tourism. Findings from this comparative study will have implications for the efficient delivery of green infrastructure (GI) projects in China and around the world.


Junxian Chen

Junxian Chen is currently a PhD candidate in urban planning at the University of Melbourne. Prior to starting her PhD journey, Junxian got a BA in Urban Management from Renmin University (China) and a MA in urban and regional planning from Peking University (China). She has published papers on the topics of regional governance, transportation policies, and environmental planning in SSCI journals including Habitat International, Transport Policy and International Development Planning Review.

  • Wendi Li (Department of Media and Communication, School of culture and communication) Paper on ‘Youth Climate Activism Beyond the Internet: Constructing a Youth-driven Global Climate Public Sphere in Hong Kong’

Grant: $ 2,000

Project introduction:

Since the end of 2018, a youth-led global climate public sphere is taking shape with the rise of global youth climate activism. This represents a new concept within the communication of climate change activism and policy impacts, focusing on how like-minded young individuals build communities of their own rather than joining mainstream environmental non-governmental NGOs. These youth-led, community-based environmental organisations play an increasingly significant role in leading collective climate actions and campaigns, focusing on everyday and policy changes, in a local-global nexus across national borders. This paper draws on interview data with five members of Bye Bye Plastic Bags Hong Kong (BBPB HK), the Hong Kong chapter of a global youth-led environmental initiative, supported by observations of their social media use and participation in both online and offline climate activities. In adopting BBPB HK as a case study, this paper argues that a youth-driven global climate public sphere is under construction with these young people becoming the pillar of today’s climate activism.


Wendi Li

Wendi Li is a PhD candidate at the School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne. In her PhD project, she researches young people’s communication experiences and identity formation in relation to climate change in Hong Kong and Melbourne. Her research interests lie in the intersection of civic agency, global cities, and comparative approaches in the context of globalisation and climate emergency.

New Project Grant Winners

  • Dr Jun Fu (Melbourne Graduate School of Education) with team members Wenjing Zhang (School of Geography), Dr Ke Lin (Faculty of Education, Beijing Normal University) and A/Prof Hernan Cuervo (Melbourne Graduate School of Education) on Project ‘Everyday Citizenship and Belonging of Mobile Chinese Students in Melbourne and Beijing’

Grant: $ 4,000

Project introduction:

Student mobility has been a prominent phenomenon in China’s modernisation and globalisation. This project aims to identify the personal and structural resources that contribute to mobile students’ positive experiences of social citizenship and belonging in host societies before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes: a) understanding the barriers that hinder their economic, social and cultural participation in the host society; and, b) identifying the resources needed to build meaningful social connections and practices of citizenships in mobile contexts. Data will be collected from mobile Chinese students in Melbourne and Beijing through online/telephone interview.

This research will generate much-needed knowledge about the life experiences of domestic and international mobile Chinese students through a comparative approach. It will inform the making of relevant policies and the improvement of university education in a post pandemic world to support students’ positive learning experience, meaningful social and cultural engagement, and constructive citizenship practices.


Jun Fu

Dr Jun Fu is a Research Fellow at the Youth Research Collective, Melbourne Graduate School of Education. His research interests include citizenship practices of young people, digital media, and digital literacy education.

Lin Ke

Dr Lin Ke is a lecturer at the Faculty of Education, Beijing Normal University. She is also a researcher at the Centre for Citizenship and Moral Education, and the Associate Editor of Beijing International Review of Education. Her research interests include citizenship and moral education, media/digital literacy education, and youth media culture.

Wenjing Zhang

Dr Wenjing Zhang is an Urban geographer. PhD Candidate in geography at the University of Melbourne, Early career development fellow-lecturer at the geospatial department of RMIT University. Currently working on water sustainability, environmental governance and ecological water of Chinese northern cities.

Hernan Cuervo

Hernan Cuervo is an Associate Professor in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne. His research interests are located in the fields of sociology of youth, education studies, rural education and theory of justice. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Applied Youth Studies.

  • A/Prof Fran Martin (School of Culture and Communication) with team member Dr Sylvia Ang (Asia Institute) on Project ‘Pandemic politics and the rise of immigration: Attitudes toward ‘westerners’ and the West among youths in China’ ($ 5,000)

Grant: $ 5,000

Project introduction:

This project will unpack discourses of race and racisms associated with ‘white’ foreign residents in China amid pandemic politics. China’s recent proposal to loosen visa regulations for foreigners has sparked racist and nationalistic sentiments online, which may be linked to pandemic politics. Contrary to western speculations, many Chinese believe the virus has western origins, and many are also unhappy with the ‘special treatment’ foreigners demand during quarantine in China. Anti-foreigner sentiments are at a new high, and not only against African migrants, who have been the focus of most studies. ‘White’ foreigners are increasingly targeted, as more and more youths in China, including returned graduates of western universities, display growing disdain for the West and westerners. Our project seeks to understand:

  1. What are the dominant discourses of race and racisms regarding ‘white’ foreign residents among youths in China?
  2. How are youths’ attitudes regarding ‘white’ foreign residents shaped by pandemic politics?

To answer these questions, we will conduct a series of online interviews with returned graduates, as well as social media analysis.


Fran Martin

A/Prof Fran Martin: Fran has published widely on youth cultures and popular media in the Sinophone world, specializing in cultures of gender and sexuality. Her current ARC Future Fellowship project explores the experiences of young women from China studying in Australia. The resulting book, titled Dreams of Flight: The Lives of Chinese Women Students in the West, is forthcoming from Duke University Press (2021).

Sylvia Ang

Dr Sylvia Ang: Sylvia’s research interests lie at the intersection of race and migration, including racism, co-ethnicity and Chineseness. She has published in various journals including the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies and Gender, Place and Culture. She is currently developing her PhD dissertation into a book preliminarily titled Contesting Chineseness: Ethnicity, Class, Gender and New Chinese migrants.