Our People

Professor Karen Fisher


BA/LLB (Hons) Auck., MEc Macq. PhD, UNSW

Social Policy Research Centre


+61 2 9385 7813
+61 2 9385 7838
210 Goodsell Building
Kensington Campus
Fields: Social Policy, Social Program Evaluation, Counselling, Welfare and Community Services
Tags: Mental Health Services, Structure, Delivery and Financing of Community Services, Children's/Youth Services and Childcare, Families and Family Services, Ability and Disability, Comparative Structure and Development of Community Services

Karen Fisher is a Professor at the Social Policy Research Centre. Her research interests are the organisation of social services in Australia and China; disability and mental health policy; inclusive research and evaluation; and social policy process. Karen applies mixed methodology and adopts inclusive research methods with people with disability, families, policy officials and services providers.


Teaching and Supervision

HDR Supervision. Professor Karen Fisher is keen to supervise higher degree research students and visiting scholars in the organisation of social services with an interest in Australia and China, including disability and mental health services and community care; inclusive evaluation methodology; and social policy process.

  • PhD Joint Supervisor for Erin Whittle 'Access to mental health care: the double disadvantage of intellectual disability and gender'
  • PhD Joint Supervisor for Bronwyn Newman 'Information about mental health for people with intellectual disability:impact on equality'
  • PhD Co-supervisor for Danielle Notara 'The ethics of participation for young people with cognitive disability'
  • PhD Joint supervisor for Deborah Lutz 'Friend or worker? A qualitative transnational approach to understanding relationships between support workers and people with intellectual disabilities utilising individualised funding’
  • PhD Joint Supervisor for Quanchai Kerddaen 'Disability, Income Security and Social Protection: Understanding the Experiences of Visually Impaired Street Musicians in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region'
  • PhD Joint Supervisor for Janelle Weise 'The delivery of accessible mental health services to people with intellectual disability: a workforce perspective'
  • PhD Joint Supervisor forSally-Anne Moad'Exploring lifelong learning experiences for adults with intellectual disabilities- focussing on the barriers to, and successes in, accessing adult learning'


  • PhD Joint Supervisor for Emma Partridge ‘Understanding the use of evidence in Indigenous policy’
  • PhD Co-Adviser for Randall Owen, University of Illinois, Disability Studies, ‘Disability Rights, Employment and Workfare: people with disabilities in liberal welfare states’

Honours and prizes

Outstanding Postgraduate Research Supervisor Award, Arc Postgraduate Council UNSW 2018

Visiting Fellow, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics 2014
Endeavour Australia Cheung Kong Research Fellowship 2005, 2009

Engagement and Professional contributions

Australasian Evaluation Society
Australian Social Policy Society
East Asian Social Policy Network
People With Disability Australia
Disability Innovation Institute at UNSW, Interim Team 2017
Centre for Applied Disability Research (CADR), Advisory Board Member 2015 -
A&SS Equity Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Gender Champion, 2017 -
UNSW Women in Research Network (WIRN), Co-Chair 2016, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Representative 2015 - 17
SPRC Communication and Engagement Committee, Chair 2015
Editorial Board,Research and Practice in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities 2014-
Review Board,Review of Disability Studies, 2013 - 16
Neami Research Advisory Committee 2013 - 18
Centre for Disability Studies, University of Sydney, Board Member2012 - 17
SPRC Disability Research Program, Leader 2011 -
ARC Expert Assessor 2008 -
Partners in Recovery (PIR), South East Sydney Medicare Local, Advisory Committee2013 - 14
Official Visitor Mental Health NSW 2006-12
Community Visitor Disability Accommodation Services 1995-2000

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