Digital participation and inclusion

Facilitating cross-community dialogue.

This program works to facilitate cross-community dialogue and access to community services. We develop opportunities to enable diverse communities to interact - for example about health and other political issues.

Led by Associate Professor Anthony McCosker, research in this program includes:

  • develops technologies that facilitate cross-community dialogue and allow services and businesses to consult and obtain feedback from consumers and communities
  • explores gamification and behavioural techniques and their technology applications
  • considers the relative roles of humans and technologies in participation
  • increases participation of hardly reached groups, e.g. people from rural areas, people living with a disability, and disenfranchised communities.


Current projects

Mapping humanitarian action (with Australian Red Cross)

Every day, people undertake many different kinds of voluntary service and humanitarian action. This might involve fundraising and charity work, giving time, helping or inspiring others, or promoting causes. However, because so much of the research on volunteering and humanitarian action focuses on formal activities along with large-scale campaigns and global crisis events, we know very little about what people are doing informally and in their local community.

Humanitarianism is changing with the digital age and with new modes of networked communication and interaction. Working hand in hand with the Australian Red Cross, and using  Instagram as a novel data source, the research carried out in this project offers new insights into the way people engage with humanitarian activities in their local contexts and everyday lives.


60+ Online: Engaging seniors through social media and digital stories. ‌Older Australians and digital technologies (with Telstra, Knox City Council and City of Boroondara)

Many older Australians are embracing digital technologies for health and social life. But many people still have limited understanding and access. Our researchers, led by Associate Professor Anthony McCosker, partnered with Telstra, City of Boroondara and Knox City Council to engage with older people to learn in ways they like.

The 60+ Online project developed ways to improve and sustain seniors’ use of digital technologies. It used problem-based, creative digital storytelling and social media workshops. Participants interacted on a closed Facebook group, where they learned, safely, how to manage social accounts and experiment.

Keeping up with digital developments

A project evaluation found many seniors already had rich interconnected lives, using digital media technologies, but they worried about keeping up with developments. Content creation and managed social media sharing helped people to develop digital skills and explore internet safety, security and privacy. Peer mentoring and support, facilitated by a closed social media group created an environment of shared skills development and problem-solving.


Participants reported enhanced social connectedness and reduced feelings of isolation, improved skills and confidence with digital technologies, and better social interaction through digital channels with community groups, and health services.

The future of 60+ Online

The 60+ Online model is rolling out across Victoria, to improve digital inclusion and participation wherever it is needed most.


Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement in Disability Services

Indigenous Australians are at substantially higher risk of experiencing a disability or restrictive long-term health condition compared to non-Indigenous Australians. Yooralla disability services has partnered with the Social Innovation Research Institute to discover how they can more effectively and respectfully engage and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders living with a disability.

This Indigenous-led multidisciplinary team, working with the First Peoples Disability Network, aims to gain a better understanding of the barriers to accessing disability services experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The goal of this collaboration is to positively impact the efforts of disability service providers and advocacy groups in their pursuit of innovative solutions that can support and empower Indigenous Australians living with a disability in Victoria.

Contact the Social Innovation Research Institute

There are many ways to engage with us. If your organisation is dealing with a complex problem, then get in touch to discuss how we can work together to provide solutions.

Call +61 (03) 9214 8180