Dr Indigo Willing (she/her) is a sociologist, lecturer and community volunteer whose theoretical and empirical work examines issues of power, social change and representation. Her research and community work also creates bridges and spans a number of social worlds that reflect her own diverse background and lived experiences as a Vietnam War orphan, adoptee, Asian Australian creative and academic, and a dedicated skateboarder.
Indigo currently lives in Meanjin on the land of the Jagera and Turrbal Peoples. She began life in a Vietnamese orphanage before being adopted to an Australian family during the Vietnam War and exists within a unique group in the diaspora that falls between the 1st and 1.5 Vietnamese refugee generation. As an adult, she now has an established academic profile in transnational adoption studies and also writes about broader issues of migration, adoption, multi-racial families and transnationalism. She was also awarded a Medal in the Order of Australia (OAM)* in 2006 for her volunteer work with the adopted Vietnamese community before returning it as a stance of support with LGBTQ+ and First Nations communities in 2021. Also in 2021 Indigo joined a team of Vietnamese Australians and adoptees to create a Go Fund campaign to assist fellow Vietnamese adoptee My Huong Le to buy food packages in Vietnam for locals in her area during covid-19 lockdowns and the recovery periods.
With a drive to push open boundaries and to defy stereotypes, Indigo is also an active skateboarder and volunteer in the skate community. She is a co-founder of the We Skate QLD skateboarding network from 2016 (previously Girls Skate Brisbane) and the project leader and co-founder of Consent is Rad, an international campaign that she launched in 2019 at the Pushing Boarders skate conference in Malmo, Sweden. Consent is Rad focuses on promoting cultures of consent and resources on sexual violence prevention in skateboarding scenes globally.
Indigo also does research on skateboarding and has published articles in both peer reviewed international academic journals and more accessible, free to access online skate media. Within this body of research she combines insights from the sociology of youth cultures and subcultures, multi-generational participation in lifestyle sports, gender and violence prevention, and film research.
Drawing upon her earlier years as a performing arts graduate and studies in communications and film, Indigo has also co-chaired several film festivals and video-making workshops for adoptees, multicultural and Asian Australian communities, and is the co-founder of the Asian Australian Films, Forum and Network which has been running since 2011.
Indigo was awarded a PhD in sociology from The University of Queensland and is a former Rockefeller Fellow, UMASS, Boston, recipient of a Yale University SEAS conference travel grant, an Australian Academy of the Humanities Traveling Fellow scholarship recipient to Sweden and was a Post-Doctoral Fellow for an Australian Research Council Discovery Project. As a lecturer, she teaches in the areas of sociology, criminology, creative industries and qualitative research methods.