People and Expertise

The Timor-Leste Research Program is comprised of senior researchers and emerging scholars based at the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. Our expertise spans a wide number of interrelated disciplines, including, community development, conflict and violence, gender studies, governance, global studies, human security and security studies, international development, international relations, justice and legal studies, peace and reconciliation, and peacebuilding. We also draw in external expertise by working collaboratively with a wide range of partner organisations, networks and communities.  

Here we profile a number of our RMIT based contributors along with their expertise.



Damian Grenfell

Damian Grenfell is an Associate Professor of Global Studies with the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University and Manager of the Timor-Leste Research Program. 


Drawing together fieldwork, social policy and social theory, Damian has published widely and worked on research projects ranging from Australian Research Council Discovery Projects through to consultancies in rural communities in Timor-Leste. Damian teaches at both an undergraduate and postgraduate level in the Global Studies discipline at RMIT University on courses in Security, Interventions, Peace and Social Theory, and can supervise in a range of related areas.

The common basis for Damian's research is an interest in social change and transformation in the context of conflict, resistance and resolution. His research currently focuses on social change–particularly the impacts of modernization on identity and social integration in war-affected societies, as well as maintaining an ongoing interest in social movement contestation and the state, as well as security and globalization. He has worked as a consultant and
in research partnership with a large range of funder, government and civil society organisations, as well as with communities, on issues of gender and violence, security and reconciliation.

To learn more about Damian's work, including a list of key research projects and publications, please click here



Anne Brown

Associate Professor M. Anne Brown is a Principal Research Fellow with in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University. Anne also teaches into the International Development program offered by the School.


Anne Brown's work has focused on the intersection of conflict, development and governance—three core themes for the Timor-Leste Research Program. In addition to her distinguished academic career, which included a senior posting with the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Queensland, Anne possesses a wealth of diplomatic experience and expertise, having worked for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in China for over a decade. Anne has also worked extensively in sites such as Ghana, Liberia, Vanuatu, and of course, Timor-Leste.

Anne works in the field of peace and conflict studies and critical international studies. Her work has a strong focus on research and practice in the areas of dialogue processes, cross-cultural interchange and building political community, particularly across historically difficult boundaries and around issues of violence. This work engages questions of what social inclusion and participation, security and justice, human rights, peace and conflict transformation might mean in different cultural contexts, how they can be addressed across significant cultural and other boundaries, and how they might be configured in different social institutional arrangements.

To learn more about Anne’s work, including a list of key research projects and publications, please click here.  


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Sam Carroll-Bell

Sam Carroll-Bell is a PhD Candidate, Academic Tutor and Occasional Lecturer with the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University.


Sam's PhD research examines the worldviews and knowledge-based constructs of international development workers operating in Timor-Leste. This innovative project seeks to deepen our understanding of international development workers and the ways in which they conceptualise their work by examining the language, behaviours and interactive processes associated with their everyday occupational activities in Timor-Leste. This work builds on earlier research undertaken with the support of the Timor-Leste Research Program.

In addition to his research Sam teaches into both the Bachelor of Arts International Studies (BAIS) and Master of International Development (MID) programs at RMIT. Sam's most recent long-form article 'Development Alternatives in Timor-Leste: Recasting Modes for Local Engagement' was published by the internationally renowned Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia (10.1163/22134379-17102006).

To read more about Sam’s research and get a list of his publications, please click here



Bronwyn Winch

Bronwyn Winch is a PhD Candidate with the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University.


Bronwyn’s PhD research examines the role that the spiritual landscape plays in establishing physical security and livelihoods in Timor-Leste. This research is situated within a broader overarching argument that security studies must be reconfigured to give analytical focus to the different worldviews informing how security is experienced and produced. It argues that in Timor-Leste, the spiritual landscape is pivotal to the ways in which people secure their physical security and livelihoods. This argument is demonstrated by focusing on four key aspects of relationships with the spiritual landscape: (i): connection to place; (ii) access to knowledge; (iii) exchange and reciprocity; and (iv) materiality.

Bronwyn's most recent article ‘La iha fiar, la iha seguransa’: the spiritual landscape and feeling secure in Timor-Leste' was published by the internationally renowned Third World Thematics: A Third World Quarterly Journal (

To learn more about Bronwyn’s research and get a list of her publications, please click here.