Melanie Baak


Melanie is currently working as a Research Associate on the ARC funded Behaviour at School Study exploring productive and unproductive student behaviours in South Australian schools. She has also just received a DRPF grant with Assoc Prof Peter Gale to explore the motivators and outcomes of volunteering for local and international volunteers. Melanie is the convenor of the UniSA Refugee and Migration Research Network , a member of the leadership of the Human Rights and Security Cluster , a member of the Multiliteracies and Global Englishes Research Group , and a member of the Centre for Postcolonial and Globalisation Studies at the Hawke Research Institute. She completed her PhD in 2012. Her research explored the negotiations for belonging for six Dinka women (Diäärjäng) utilising narrative, ethnographic and autoethnographic approaches. She graduated from the University of South Australia in 2007 with a Bachelor of Education with Honours. Her Honours research considered the educational experiences of children from Sudanese backgrounds in countries of initial asylum in Africa and then in Australia. Mel spent time in 2007, 2008 and 2012 living in South Sudan with her husband and his family where she experienced the challenges of living a subsistence lifestyle in a country recovering from the devastation of two prolonged post-colonial civil wars. Mel has also spent time living in a number of other African countries including Kenya, Uganda and South Africa.




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A case study of two Catholic schools
16 Mar 2018

While this project was based on two case study schools, the practices described in the framework can be used by all schools supporting students from refugee backgrounds who are undertaking their senior secondary school certificate of education.


31 May 2016

The schooling experiences of refugee background students prior to being resettled in Australia significantly shape their transitions into Australian schools. This chapter presents a case study of six young people from Sudanese refugee backgrounds. With a focus on discipline and student-teacher relationships, I argue that...

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