Pg 1 – Bio

Dr Indigo Willing is skateboarding a ledge doing a trick called a nose slappy

Dr Indigo Willing is a sociologist, skateboarder and has an established profile in research and community work. Photo: Mid nose slappy onto ledge.

Dr Indigo Willing is a sociologist, lecturer and consultant whose theoretical and empirical work examines issues of power, marginalisation, social change and representation for various minority groups. 

Indigo has an established profile in transnational adoption studies and also writes about broader issues of migration, adoption, multi-racial families and transnationalism. She also publishes on the topics of the sociology of youth and subcultures, gender and violence, multi-generational participation in lifestyle sports, skateboarding studies and film research. As a lecturer, she teaches in the areas of sociology, criminology, creative industries and qualitative research methods.

Breaking boundaries and stereotypes, Indigo is also a dedicated skateboarder, and is a co-founder of the Girls Skate Brisbane skateboarding network (now We Skate QLD) and Consent is Rad, an international campaign promoting cultures of consent. She has also co-chaired several film festivals and video-making workshops for multicultural youth projects and is the co-founder of the Asian Australian Film, Forum and Network. 

With a strong focus on community volunteering and engagement, she was also awarded a Medal in the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2006 for creating the Adopted Vietnamese International (AVI) network for adoptees from the worldwide Vietnamese community and war refugee generation. She returned her OAM in 2021 as a stance of support for LGBTIQ+ community and First Nations Peoples.


  • PhD, Sociology – UQ
  • MA by Thesis – UTS
  • Grad Diploma, Social Research – UQ
  • BA, Communication (Film and Media Arts Major) – UTS
  • Diploma in Journalism
  • HSC, School of Performing Arts Graduate

Fellowships, Memberships and Awards

  • Affiliate Member, Sport and Gender Equity Network (SAGE) at Griffith University, 2019 – current
  • Research Member, Gender and Research Network (GERN) at Griffith University, 2019 – current
  • Member, The Sociological Association of Australia, 2005 – Current
  • Adjunct Research Fellow at The Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research (GCSCR), Griffith University, 2016 – Current
  • Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project Research Fellow at The Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research (GCSCR), Griffith University, 2013 – 2015
  • Traveling Fellowship Grant from The Australian Academy of the Humanities to do research in Sweden
  • GCSCR travel grant to do research with the Finnish Youth Research Network, Helskinki, Finland
  • Recipient of a Medal in the Order of Australia (OAM)* for volunteer work with the Vietnamese community in 2006. Returned as a stance of support for LGBTQ+ communities and First Nations in 2021
  • Rockefeller Research Fellow in the Humanities at The William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences, UMASS, Boston, USA
  • Elizabeth Usher Memorial Grant from the University of Queensland Alumni to present research in Pittsburg, USA
  • Diversity Week Grant awarded by the University of Queensland (UQ) Equity Office to produce the Asian Australian Occasion Film Festival in partnership with the UQ Humanities and Social Sciences Library
  • Australian Post-Graduate Scholarship Award, Australian Federal Government, a highly competitive grant to conduct 3 years PhD research
  • Selected workshop participant, Harvard Project for Asia and International Relations (HPAIR)
  • International Travel Grant from Yale University to co-present research with Linh Song at the inaugural SEAS Conference, New Haven, USA.


Representative studies cover three main areas:-

  1. Youth Studies, Sports, Subcultures and Social Inclusion – focusing on youth cultures, lifestyle sports, skateboarding and the participation of minority populations. She also studies gender and themes of violence and consent.
  2. Migration, Multiculturalism and Transnationalism – including research on Vietnamese, Asian and African diasporas, theories of transnationalism and cosmopolitanism, transnational adoption from various nations, ‘celebrity’ adoptions, adoptive parents and sociological frameworks for the study of forced migrations, typically to ‘Western’ countries with recognition many are on unceded First Nations Land.
  3. The Vietnam War – including war orphans, Vietnamese adoption, and in upcoming research, how music, films and documentaries associated with conflicts like the Vietnam War has an impact on people’s attitudes and emotional responses towards ‘sending troops overseas’ in both past and contemporary times.

NOTE: Some of my intended research has been postponed or adapted following March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic placing people into lock down, general social distancing and various other restrictions and adaptions required during this global pandemic. This includes visiting musicals such as the Rolling Thunder show, a The Sapphires tribute and Good Morning Vietnam show in 2021. The health of the ageing population involved with the Vietnam War and especially veterans is also a priority. Fieldwork is currently moved to 2022.


Recent teaching includes:

Lecturer and Convener: Qualitative Social Research Methods (Honours Research Degree level students) in T1 at Griffith University. Since 2016 – current.

Lecturer: Graduate Research 1 and 2, Concept Design and Pre-Production Proposal Planning, Master of Creative Industries Course, JMC Academy. March 2020 – March 2021.

Academic Advisor: Community Internship Program, Griffith College and Community Partnerships, Griffith University. Winter T2. 2020.

Lecturer: Introduction to Social Problems (First year course) at the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice (CCJ). Griffith University. 2018 – 2019.

Tutor and Instructor: The Sociology of Youth (Second year course) at the School of Languages, Humanities and Social Science (LHS). Griffith University.  On campus in T2 and online in T1 and T3. Since 2018 – Current.

Prior roles include various lecturing positions (First year to Post-Graduate courses) in Sociology and tutoring in The Sociology of Sport at The University of Queensland during my PhD and Post-Doctoral Fellowship years.

Community Engagement

Volunteer work and community engagement includes being a co-founder and researcher in residence at We Skate QLD (formerly Girls Skate Brisbane 2016 to April 2020), co-founder and lead facilitator of Consent is Rad International Campaign, co-founder of the Asian Australian Films, Forum and Network, and founder and convener of the Adopted Vietnamese International network as well as other community focused projects.

For links to publications, talks and more in each area visit the options in the menu.

*Dr Willing announced she will return her OAM in 2021 as a stance of support for LGBTIQ+ community regarding protests against Margaret Court AC receiving the nation’s highest honour, and in relation to the date of the awards conflicting with Invasion Day on 26 January, an Indigenous day of mourning. She joins others taking this stance. Read her letter and other statements of protest by scholars and relevant individuals from the community here.