A quick Q&A with Dr Adele Pavlidis


Dr Adele Pavlidis

Dr Adele Pavlidis

Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dr Adele Pavlidis discusses her career, the rise of roller derby and women’s AFL.

1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I went through a few things: psychologist, chemist, sportswoman. Interestingly, my strongest desire was to do a PhD and study philosophy! So I’ve ended up not that far from that goal.

2. Tell us about a previous job (work experience/volunteer work) that you’ve had.
I worked for about three years as a drug and alcohol worker at a residential rehabilitation facility. That time in my life taught me so much about compassion, boundaries, and effective communication. I met so many wonderful people who I still sometimes bump into. It was a privilege to watch residents’ change from complete hopelessness and despair to excitement and happiness about life. There was plenty of grief, but mostly joy and satisfaction.

3. Which 3 apps do you use the most on your mobile device?
Instagram, Facebook, and email. I am doing some research at the moment looking at the use of social media by sportswomen so some of my time on these apps is justified as work.

4. Which 5 celebrities would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?

  • Madonna – childhood favourite. She symbolised freedom and female independence to me. And she’s an amazing dancer.
  • Rosi Braidotti – contemporary feminist theorist. Her work is so cutting edge, but without being ridiculously inaccessible.
  • Tina Fey – her comedy is brilliant.
  • Lili Tomlin – brilliant comedian and actress. She made a huge impression on me as an 8-year-old when I watched Big Business
  • Bette Midler – such a star. Also in the 1988 film Big Business!

5. What’s the best thing about your current role?
I have time to think carefully about the types of projects that fulfil my curiosity and deliver a broader social benefit. I also love the flexibility and autonomy. Even though academic work can be demanding and stressful, it really is one of the most privileged jobs I can think of. There are not many occupations where you get to decide what you will spend your intellectual energy on, as well as decide on start times, etc.

6. What sparked your interest in sociology?
Working in the drug and alcohol field certainly sparked my interest in sociology. The more I learnt about the discipline in my undergraduate degree, the more I wanted to delve deeper and develop concepts for myself.

7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I would hope to be tenured, working on international collaborations, travelling between Australia and a couple of other countries where my collaborators are situated. I see myself still working in the sport and leisure field, hopefully contributing towards policy debates to support more inclusive and just societies.

8. What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
So many! Having my first book, Sport, Gender and Power: The Rise of Roller Derby, published just after finishing my PhD was pretty exciting. Securing funding to travel to Beijing, China to meet with academics working in the field of sport and gender, and talking with women playing roller derby over there was pretty amazing too. Also, traveling to Helsinki, Finland for an intensive summer school with the Finnish Youth Research Network was a highlight.

9. Tell us about your current research.
I am currently working on a suite of publications and data collection related to women in sport and feminism. Specifically, I am starting a one-year project focused on the AFL Women’s competition. It’s the very first year a professional women’s AFL competition is being held, and this means that there are lots of questions and challenges to overcome. Historically, AFL and many contact sports have been for men only. So, to have women play on network television (for some of the games), and get paid, is a huge change to the landscape of sport in Australia.

10. What wise advice do you have for new researchers?
Get great mentors. This doesn’t always mean the top researchers (though sometimes it does), but rather people who care about you and your career, people who have an ethics that they abide to, and people who maintain professionalism.

11. What’s the best resource you’ve discovered in your Griffith University Library?
I’ve always loved the library. I still love hardcopy books. Griffith library has a great collection of sociological, feminist and sport related books and I always have a pile of books checked out.

12. Can you give us your 3 best research tips?

  • Read a lot, but keep writing – don’t put off writing! Don’t wait until your ideas are ‘perfect’ before writing. Try out ideas in a research journal, take notes while you read.
  • Say yes to opportunities. It’s amazing what you can do with your time if you try. Organisation is one of my strongest skills, but do what you can to get organised and fit things in.
  • Collaborate. Working with others is one of the great things about academic work. When you meet people who are enthusiastic, whose work you really like, think about whether you could collaborate on something.


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