Dr Erin Dr Erin O'Brien (class of 1998) has a PhD in Political Science from the University of Queensland, a MA in Social Policy from the University of Durham, UK, and a BA (Honours) in International Relations from the University of Queensland.
Prior to entering academia, Dr O’Brien worked in strategic communications in the government and not-for-profit sectors in Australia and the United Kingdom.
Dr O’Brien is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology’s Faculty of Law, School of Justice. She has authored two books on human slavery and justice, and is a media commentator on human trafficking, modern slavery and gun laws among other contemporary justice issues.
Dr O’Brien’s current research examines political activism and emerging technology-facilitated advocacy strategies in response to human rights issues including human trafficking, migration, and modern slavery. Her research examines the spectrum of political activism and the interplay between activists and the state, in the construction of knowledge and formation of policy.
Dr O’Brien is the leader of the Activism and Social Change research group at the Crime, Justice and Social Democracy Research Centre, and coordinates the Policy and Governance Major in the Bachelor of Justice Degree.
Currently supervising PhD projects on civil society activism, human trafficking, sex work, migration, and environmentalism – Dr O’Brien also works on a panel that is examining human slavery in the fashion industry.
Her research interests include political activism and resistance, tactics and influence of political interest groups, ethical consumerism and corporate social responsibility, human trafficking and modern slavery and migration policy and discourse.
The Somerville community looks forward to welcoming her back to celebrate 120 years of girls’ education at the inaugural birthday lunch, on the 12th of October. Tickets are available here.