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Associate Professor Brian Bishop


Curtin University, Western Australia.




Country of birth: Australian
Ethnicity: Caucasian
Languages spoken: English

Academic and Employment History:
1974-1992 Curtin University
1993-1996 CSIRO
1997-2006 Curtin
2007-2008 CSIRO
2009-on Curtin

What initially attracted you to community psychology?
Need to create change. Recognising inequality in society. Conceptual understanding of people in Community Psychology much more sophisticated than in general psychology.

Please describe your current position.
Associate professor in psychology. I teach community psychology, cross-cultural psychology and community practice of psychology. I have numerous community psychology students.

What other work have you been involved in as a community psychologist?
At CSIRO I was involved in a number of projects relating to rural community development and social and agricultural practice change. I was also involved in the general issue of social aspects of climate change. I have also been involved in self-help groups.

What tertiary training (if any) do you have in community psychology?

What are the most valuable things you learnt in your community psychology training?
Respect for other people. Taking the obvious seriously. Understanding worldviews.

Please list your academic qualifications.
BSc (Hons), PhD (UNSW).

What are the most important things you learnt in the field (or in an academic setting) about community psychology?

  • Developing a thick skin as community psychology concepts are not well accepted by colleagues, especially those who have made 'impressive' careers in meaningless and vacuous mainstream research.
  • Being able to tolerate ambiguity and uncertainty, and learning that Aristotle understood this need as well.
  • Understanding what Seymour Sarason meant when he wrote that those who create new settings always want to do something new, usually unaware that they are armed with, and subsequently be disarmed by, categories of thought which help produce the conditions the new settings hopes to remedy (The creation of settings and future societies, 1974, New York: Josey Bass).
  • The importance of being able to frame questions that are based in the community. This approach means that theory is only important to the extent to which it can contribute to working with people.

In what other ways do you use your community psychology training and skills?
Community psychology frees us of the need to justify using qualitative methods and the grounded nature of the discipline requires us to use approaches that are appropriate to the issues at hand.

What are your research interests?
Social justice and change, Indigenous issues, climate change, self-help.

Please list any professional memberships.
Fellow of SCRA and APS.