Top (left to right): Leonie Rutherford, Katya Johanson
Bottom (left to right): Andrew Singleton, Michelle McRae

About Us

We are a team of academic researchers, passionate about making sure that Australian teenagers have access to reading material that interests and challenges their learning and sense of identity.

We bring different disciplinary backgrounds to this research, including research into children’s and young adult media and literature, education and arts and cultural policy. Our wide-ranging experience is designed to ensure that the research is useful to stakeholders working in a range of sectors, including education, media and telecommunications, libraries and the cultural sector.

Most members of our team are based at Deakin University (Victoria, Australia). Along with our research assistant Ilona Urquhart, we are:

Dr Leonie Rutherford (Project Leader)

Leonie Rutherford (PhD, ANU) is an expert in media studies with a special focus on young people. She currently leads the Teenagers Reading and Digital Practices Research Group in the Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University. She has previously researched media practices of children and youth, television studies, multiplatform production, audience research, media policy, and, as an investigator on Australian Research Council grant projects, on influences of media on children’s digital literacy, health, and educational outcomes.

Dr Rutherford says this of her current research: ‘I’ve always been interested in questions of access, and the many barriers to (and enablers of) young people’s participation in media cultures. The Teen Reading in the Digital Era project is exciting because it allows us for the first time to see how different Australian teenagers are, and how their various geographical and social contexts impact on their reading and other aspects of their everyday lives.’

A/P Katya Johanson

A/P Andrew Singleton

Andrew Singleton (PhD, Monash) is a sociologist in the School of Social Sciences and Humanities at Deakin University, Australia. Andrew has a particular interest in surveys methods and quantitative data analysis. His research interests include contemporary teenagers, youth religion, religious change, personal belief and alternative religions.

AsPro Singleton has published extensively in these areas both nationally and internationally. He is author of Religion, Culture and Society: A Global Approach (SAGE 2014) and co-author (with Michael Mason and Ruth Webber) of The Spirit of Generation Y: Young People’s Spirituality in a Changing Australia (Garrett Publishing 2007), a book about the first national study of youth religion and spirituality in Australia.

Michelle McRae

Michelle McRae completed her PhD at Deakin University exploring the efficacy of modernist writing strategies to provoke deep reading in teenagers. Emerging from her experiences as a teacher, writer, and researcher, her research interests focus on creative writing and reading and the influence of these practices on young people.

Past Members

Dr Elizabeth Bullen (Doctorate by Research, Flinders) – Senior Lecturer in Writing and Literature at Deakin University.

Dr Margaret Merga (PhD, Edith Cowan) – Lecturer and researcher at Murdoch University in WA.

Dr Lisa Waller (PhD, Canberra) – Head of Academic Group (Communication) in the School of Communication and Creative Arts, Deakin University.