MEGAN H. MACKENZIE

Professor of Gender and War. University of Sydney.

Pop Up Research Lab Focuses on Media Coverage of Military Sexual Assault

Media Coverage of Military Sexual Assault – Pop Up Research Lab

From July 12th-26th I will be hosting a ‘pop up research lab,’ funded by the University of Sydney Social Sciences Advanced Research Centre (SSSHARC). A pop up lab is ‘a three-week intensive program of research on a problem of real-world and theoretical significance.’ In short, it is unique funding source, that allows researchers to organise a series of events over the course of three weeks, with the aim of making major advances on a research project. This pop up lab is focused on media coverage of military sexual violence (MSV) in Canada, Australia, and the US.

The flexibility of the funding allowed for the lab to contain two key elements: first, I’ve gathered some of the world’s top experts on MSV, military culture, and media at the University of Sydney to work with me and participate in a Sydney Ideas public talk. (bios of international guests below). Second, a team of researchers will work together to code and analyse 30 years of media coverage on this topic across the three countries. As a result of the funding, and the use of SSSHARC’s beautiful lab space, it possible to conduct ‘group coding’ under the guidance of these world experts. It’s like a media analysis boot camp…but, more fun!

The ultimate goals of the lab are to track media coverage of this important issue over time, and across the three countries, in order to answer the following questions:

1. How is MSV is framed by the media now and what framing trends exist over time and across international cases?

2. Are there particular gendered myths, biases, or stereotypes perpetuated in media coverage?

3. How do military and political leaders respond to MSV ‘scandals’ and what can we learn from scandal coverage?

To learn more and follow the lab find us on twitter at #MSVPopUpLab


Samantha Crompvoets, Rapid Context

Samantha is a Director at Rapid Context and has 20 years of experience in the design, implementation, analysis and reporting of strategic and academic research. Samantha began her career as an academic specialising in Sociology of Health before starting her own consulting business, which has taken on major research projects related to military culture and gender integration.

Eda Gunaydin, University of Sydney

Eda (BA Hons I, Medal) is a graduate student in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney. Her key research interests are in the areas of identity, and postcolonial and discourse theory in international relations. She has worked as a researcher in the Department since 2015, and is the lead researcher of the military sexual violence project headed by Professor Megan MacKenzie.

Ellen Haring, Service Women’s Action Network

Ellen is the Chief Executive Officer at the Service Women’s Action Network. She is also a senior fellow at Women in International Security where she directs the Combat Integration Initiative project. Her research and work focuses on women and gender in the military. Haring is a West Point graduate, a retired Army colonel, and an adjunct associate professor at Georgetown University where she teaches courses on Human Security and Women, Peace and Security.

Shannon Sampert, University of Winnipeg

Shannon is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Winnipeg and Director and Editor-in-chief of Evidence Network.ca, an organisation that works with policy researchers in the dissemination of their research through Canadian media. Recently, she also took a leave from academia to work as the first female Op-ed Editor in the Winnipeg Free Press’s 140-year history. Her research focuses on Canadian politics, media and gender.

Antonieta Rico, Women in International Security

Antonieta is the former Director of Communications and Policy at the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) and an advocate for military women and women veterans. She served in the U.S. Army and has deployed to Iraq, where she embedded with infantry units during day-to-day missions and combat operations. She is a Fellow at Women in International Security, has worked as a deputy news editor at Army Times, and has written for TIME about the military’s sexual assault epidemic and the #MeToo movement.

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