Ordinary Girl in an Extraordinary World

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This month has been really busy and it has been really lovely to be asked by various media to talk and share about things I love, live and breath. This includes skateboarding, which has numerous social benefits and intriguing sociological dimensions. A really treasured connection I made recently was with Norma Ibarra at Pushing Boarders. Norma is a skater and photographer from Mexico who is part of the Skate Witches and many more great projects. She recently did a photo series with Yeah Girl Media and I was stoked to be included with a group of amazing girls, women and non binary individuals from the skateboarding world of various age ranges, nationalities and backgrounds. Thanks so much Norma and Yeah Girl Media run by Sarah Huston for all you two do. I am currently writing a longer 3 part feature about Pushing Boarders with interviews with a range of skaters and more photos by Norma which will be available soon. Meanwhile check out Norma’s amazing photo series here: https://yeahgirlmedia.com/highlights-and-takeaways-from-the-womxn-at-pushing-boarders/ 

There’s also been media coverage of my research and community work thanks to the wonderful communications team at Griffith University, who have been enthusiastically supporting my research and recognise the rising status of skateboarding as a tool for social change and increasing popular global phenomenon (which will increase once it makes its debut in 2020 Olympics). Much appreciation for The Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research too where I have been a post-doctoral researcher and am currently an adjunct fellow. 

Recent stories include in the ‘Ordinary People’ section of Q Weekend News, The Courier Mail QLD’s major newspaper. Interviewed by Melanie Burgess, I talked about how the Vietnam War has impacted on my life forever, founding the volunteer network Adopted Vietnamese International (AVI) which has been running for almost 20 years, doing a PhD, working in academia, co-running a girls skateboarding network and other community and research things in that area too. In many ways the article captures exactly who I am, an ordinary kid from an orphanage in Vietnam who keeps ending up in extraordinary worlds, including academia, the skateboarding scene in Brisbane, Australia and the recent Pushing Boarders skateboarding conference in Malmo Sweden, which I talk about in that interview as well. An event bringing together skaters who wish to change the world, it was such an honour to hear everyone’s stories, views and hopes, as well as meeting many wonderful new friends and collaborators.


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Racism, Sport & Genders: Moving Together & Beyond Binaries Inaugural Event

Photos from the debut of the ‘Racism, Sport & Genders: Moving Together & Beyond Binaries’ public lecture, Yugambeh and Komburmerri Land, Gold Coast Campus, Griffith University, Australia. 

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On 20th of September 2019 we held the very first free Public Lecture and Workshop: ‘Racism, Sport & Genders: Moving Together & Beyond Binaries’. The event had five speakers and showed trailers for the films The Australian Dream (written by Professor Stan Grant about AFL star Adam Goodes), The Mystery of Now (by Audrey Buchanan and Douglas Miles about Apache Skateboards) and Carving Space (Queer skateboarding documentary), and included a workshop where attendees reflected on event themes and talked about their own road maps, responses and goals for the future. A report will be written up with various resources available and distributed at a later date. 

A Prof Sandy O’Sullivan (they/them) Wiradjuri Nation

Dr Adele Pavlidis (she/her) Greek Australian heritage
Dr Laura RodríguezCastro (she/her) Colombian heritage
Dr Diti Bhattacharya (she/her) Indian heritage
Dr Indigo Willing OAM (she/her) Vietnamese-Chinese-Ango-German heritage
See bios here
Sponsored by The Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research Public Lecture Co-hosts Dr Indigo Willing OAM and Dr Adele Pavlidis.
Followed the Women in Sport III symposium org by Adele and with Prof Simone Fullagar Program of full day of events including this free lecture and bios of the speakers above: https://www.griffith.edu.au/griffith-centre-social-cultural-research/women-in-sport-symposium
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Vent City Podcast Interview with Ryan Lay recorded at Pushing Boarders

🐶🛹 VENT CITY PODCAST:  I’ve never really been on a pod cast and somehow I was on one in a recent interview by Ryan Lay @ryan_lay on Vent City @vent.city recorded at the Pushing Boarders conference. Subscribe to support the show and listen. Currently has interviews with two skate academics Dr Thom Challan @chomtallan (a super cool one) & me (not at all cool one) talking research, Betsy Gordon @swellesleygrl from the Smithsonian, Mimi Knoop @mimiknoop a leading voice for women in sport, @hooplaskate founder, and former vert pro skater, and Rick McCrank @mccranker the kickass skater & doco maker (Abandoned & Post Radical). The interview with Mimi Knoop can be accessed for free 🎉

I cover a bit of sociology and some unlikely tangents, from mums skating in their 40s, affectionate memories of crusty skate bowls that can give you tetanus but you’d say ‘hell yeah’ to now anyway, skaters caring about the environment and for each other more, and my new research project on The New Ethics of Skateboarding. The topics kind of roll along like fluffy clouds in a Gus Van Sant movie. They don’t perfectly blend or match, but they mean no harm and just do their thing while possibly providing a humble and interesting view or two.

#pushingboarders#pushingboardersmalmo #ventcity#girlsskatebrisbaneVent City podcast

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‘Racism, Sport and Genders: Moving Together and Beyond Binaries


Busy times. Including co-running the below free event. Please share and come along if you’re on the Gold Coast in Australia.

Register here

Racism, Sport and Genders: Moving Together Beyond Binaries

Public Lecture and Workshop

Co-Convened by Dr Indigo Willing OAM and Dr Adele Pavlidis

Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research

Photo by Emy Lee. Board by The Killing Floor.

Friday 20th September – 4pm to 5pm

Registration 3.30pm

Griffith University Library G11 4.29 Gold Coast Campus

Aboriginal Land / Yugambeh and Kombumerri Nations


  • Associate Professor Sandy O’Sullivan
  • Dr Adele Pavlidis
  • Dr Laura Rodriguez Castro
  • Dr Diti Bhattacharya
  • Dr Indigo Willing OAM


The Australian Dream  

 The Mystery of Now

Griffith University acknowledges the people who are the traditional custodians of the land, pays respect to the Elders, past and present, and extends that respect to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 

More collaborative workshop than lecture, this special event will incorporate insights from various individuals working in the areas of sport, diversity and inclusion, Indigenous Studies, critical race theory and themes of intersectionality.  A small groups discussion session between speakers and attendees is also included. Public are welcome to participate in an interactive discussion of skills sharing and brainstorming to further strengthen stratergies and resources that address issues of racism in sport from women’s and non-binary individuals perspectives.

Enormous thanks to our sponsor: The Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research, Griffith University, and all the collaborators/speakers (listed above), Centre Director Professor Susan Forde and Acting Director A/Prof Halim Rane, Prof Simone Fullagar plus GU event, PR and communication staff including Amy Wallace and Kim Podger. We will be looking for more funding to invite more local speakers plus interstate and overseas guests next round, next year. Fingers crossed 🙂



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Excited to be promoting amazing individuals’ stories as a contributor at Yeah Girl Media

Super stoked to join the Yeah Girl Media team of contributors in 2019. Stories will include features on various people, issues and events in skateboarding. The next one will share some of the insights, goals and fun had by panelists and attendees from the Pushing Boarders conference. Thank you Yeah Girl founder Sarah Huston for being the most rad editor a writer could ever have! A writer might write up to 100 drafts before they are even slightly satisfied with how something looks. And, even after 100 proof reads, there will always be typos to trip you up and awkward expressions requiring a quick hug then make over to look their best 🙂

It was an honour to interview Navajo Nation skater Di’orr Greenwood of Apache Skateboards, LasChicAZ and Propel Skateboarding where she shares some of her wisdom and stoke for skateboarding. Article is now live at Yeah Girl Skateboarding with photos Linnea Bullion.  Read here

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Other articles for Yeah Girl include an interview with powerhouse agent Yulin Olliver  Photos by Sarah Huston. Both a visionary and sharply focused on outcomes, Olliver shares some of the gains she’s achieved in collaboration with the top skateboarders she represents, and where next generation skateboarders might see their own careers heading in the future. Real Talk. Real Change! Read here

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People, thoughts, passionate skaters in Huck by Hannah Bailey

Screen Shot 2019-08-30 at 10.59.47 amWas such a sincere and deep learning experience. May the many brave conversations and acts skaters were pushing forward at the conference continue to be supported 🛹❤️

Some words by skaters and photography by Hannah Bailey from Neon Stash here

And yes, I always hug my skateboard like a teddy bear when I’m nervous and feel like a bit doofus amongst people way cooler, smarter and better at skating than me, which is often, if not always. Thanks Pushing Boarders for being so welcoming.

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Thank you Griffith University News

Thank you Griffith University News for supporting research on contemporary cultures and issues such as skateboarding.  Article about my trip to be a part of the Pushing Boarders conference 15-18th August 2019 in Malmo, Sweden hosted by Reverb Skateboarding, Skate Pal, Skateism, Long Live South Bank, Skate Malmo, Bryggeriet Skate Park and High School and many wonderful, hard working others.

Full article here

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