About

Helen Sullivan is a policy studies researcher and teacher at The Australian National University.

As far back as she can remember Helen preferred the edges to the middle of things and she is fascinated by what happens when boundaries are navigated, crossed or collapsed. Her academic degrees are either combinations of disciplines e.g. modern history and political science, or interdisciplinary studies e.g. women’s studies, policy studies (from the Universities of Birmingham and York). She is as interested in practice as she is in scholarship and in the 1990s worked in public service and local government in the UK. Fortunately policy studies is a field forgiving of those with a penchant for borders, hybrids, gaps, and bricolage, though in some parts of the academy this is tolerated less than it once was.

Helen’s research and teaching explores the changing nature of state-society relationships including the theory and practice of governance and collaboration, innovative forms of democratic participation, new thinking about public policy and the practice of public service reform.

She has published widely on public policy, public governance and public service reform in leading academic journals as well as practitioner media. She is author of a number of books, all written collaboratively, including Working Across Boundaries (2002) Power, Participation and Political Renewal (2007) and Hybrid Governance in European Cities: Neighbourhood, Migration and Democracy’ (2013).

Helen’s work reflects a long-term commitment to finding new ways to bridge the gap between research and policy; a contribution acknowledged in 2014 by the award of a Fellowship from the Institute of Public Administration Australia (Victoria) where she was also an Executive Board Member (2012-16).

In 2012 Helen founded the Melbourne School of Government (MSoG). MSoG is an interdisciplinary graduate school that brings together academics from a range of disciplines with policy makers and practitioners working in and with government to research and develop workable solutions to pressing governance and policy problems.

Helen began her latest adventure in January 2017 as Director of  Crawford School of Public Policy at the  Australian National University. This is her biggest boundary challenge to date and provides her with a theory and practice workout on a daily basis.

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