Meet the project researchers

Dr Heather Fraser

meg and shelbyHas been a social work educator for two decades. Since 2009 she has worked as a Senior Lecturer at Flinders University in South Australia, teaching topics such as Social Work with Diverse Populations, Reasons for Social Work, Ethics and Critical Reflexivity, Understanding Addictions and Human Rights Social Work Practice. Heather’s current research projects relate to: a) understanding violence and abuse from an anti-oppressive practice perspective (with a book manuscript currently being written with Michele Jarldorn, for Fernwood Press, Winnipeg); b) the meanings people attribute to their companion animals; c) working class women’s experiences of university; and d) helping alliances with marginalised community members, particularly those facing problems with poverty, trauma, violence and substance use. Heather is the author of the book In the Name of Love, Women’s Narratives of Love and Abuse (2008, Women’s Press, Toronto) and identifies as a narrative feminist and critical social worker. She is primary supervisor to four PhD students and secondary supervisor to one PhD student and welcomes contact from prospective students who approach the study of animals from a critical and/or feminist perspective.

More about Heather at her Flinders webpage here.

Associate Professor Nik Taylor

nik and lokiNik received her Ph.D in Sociology from Manchester Metropolitan University in 1999, titled ‘Human-Animal Relations: A Sociological Respecification’.  Now an Associate Professor in Sociology at Flinders University, Nik maintains this focus on various aspects of human-animal interaction.  She is the Managing Editor (Social Sciences) of Society & Animals; a charter scholar of the Animals and Society Institute; a member of the Human Animal Research Group at the University of Adelaide; a member of the Human-Animal Studies Executive Committee at the Animals & Society Institute; a participant in the Australian Animals Study Group, and an Associate Member of the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies at the University of Canterbury.  Nik is also an editorial board member of Anthrozoos.  She has published numerous books and articles on human-animal relations, the latest of which include Humans, Animals and Society: An Introduction to Human-Animal Studies (Lantern Books, 2013); Animals at Work: Identity, Politics and Culture in work with Animals (Brill Academic, 2013). Nik has held grantsfrom various funding bodies including Voiceless and the William and Charlotte Parks Foundation to enable her research into human-animal relations.

More about Nik at her Flinders webpage here.  Follow her on Twitter @animalsociology. Find many of her publications for download at