The life patterns of two generations of young Australians: what we have learned, how we have learned it and how this has impacted on thinking about young people

Youth Research Centre Seminar Series 2015

Professor Johanna Wyn & Dr Hernan Cuervo, Youth Research Centre, MGSE and Dr Dan Woodman, School of Social and Political Sciences, Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne

The Life Patterns research program of the Youth Research Centre has been running for almost as long as the Centre itself (24 years). The research program consists of two panel cohort studies, one initiated with Victorian school leavers in 1991 and one with Year 11 students in 2005. They have been surveyed and interviewed almost every year to provide a rich data base on the nature and experience of Australian youth, their transitions through education and work and their wellbeing, wider life experiences and relationships. In this seminar, members of the Life Patterns team discuss what has been learned about Australian youth who have navigated their way through significant historical events, including two global recessions, the emergence of tertiary education as the new mass education sector, the introduction of fees for education, the deregulation of labour markets and the rise of precarious work. The seminar highlights the approaches used in the research to keep a balance between the continuity of questions needed for comparative analysis and the introduction of new questions that enable the study to remain relevant. Over the quarter of a century that this project has been running, it has made significant contributions to youth policies and to the field of youth studies. The seminar provides an opportunity to reflect on these contributions and their impact.


Professor Johanna Wyn

8344 9643 Prof Johanna Wyn

Professor Johanna Wyn is Director of the Youth Research Centre located in the University of Melbourne's Graduate School of Education and a member of the Academy of Social Sciences Australia.

She leads the ARC funded Life Patterns longitudinal research program and Building Futures for Young Australians project. Her work is directed at contributing to the formation of policies that recognise young people as practicing citizens, cultural creators and active agents in learning and wellbeing.

Dr Hernán Cuervo

8344 9533 Dr Hernán Cuervo

Dr Hernán Cuervo is a senior researcher at the Youth Research Centre, the University of Melbourne.

He works in the two-decade longitudinal research program Life Patterns. Hernán is also a lecturer in the Master of Education and Master of Teaching at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. His research interests are youth transitions, theory of justice, education and rural studies.

Dr Dan Woodman

8344 9081 Dr Dan Woodman

Dan Woodman is Discipline Chair and TR Ashworth Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Melbourne.

His work focuses on the sociology of young adulthood and of generations. Dan is Associate Editor of the Journal of Youth Studies and on the Expert Advisory Board of the Journal of Sociology. He is the Vice President (for Oceania) of the Research Committee for the Sociology of Youth within the International Sociological Association and Vice President of The Australian Sociological Association.