Personal details

Dr Helen Berents
Senior Research Fellow
Faculty of CI, Education & Social Justice,
School of Justice
Senior Lecturer
Faculty of CI, Education & Social Justice,
School of Justice
Discipline *
Political Science, Sociology
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Identifiers and profiles
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Doctor of Philosophy (International Relations) (University of Queensland)

Professional memberships
and associations
  • International Studies Association (ISA)
  • Australian Political Science Association (AusPSA)
  • The Australian Sociology Association (TASA)
  • Association of Iberian and Latin American Studies Australasia (AILASA), Secretary (2020-2022)

peace and conflict, youth, children, feminist security studies, research ethics, digital media, youth political engagement, QUT Centre for Justice, civil society advocacy, violence

* Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008


Helen is currently an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow on the project Youth Leadership and the Future of Peace and Security examining youth advocacy and engagement in the context of the UN’s emergent Youth, Peace and Security Agenda.

Helen’s research is interested in children and youth, peace and conflict, and local responses to violence and insecurity. She has also developed research projects on the role of popular culture and social media in the representation and mediation of understandings of political crises and conflicts. Helen’s work draws on feminist theories, international relations, critical security studies, and sociology to explore these issues.

Much of Helen’s work is centrally concerned with representations of youth in political events, as well as genuine engagement with the lived experiences of violence-affected young people. More broadly, she is interested in questions of how people are rendered insecure by institutions of authority and power, how young people are politicised but not seen as political, and how feminist and narrative methodologies open space to find the everyday within these explorations.

Helen has a PhD (International Relations) and a BA (Honours, first class) from the University of Queensland. Her dissertation sought to better account for conflict-affected young people’s lived experiences of insecurity and violence and their contributions to peacebuilding in their everyday lives. This work was based on fieldwork conducted in Colombia with internally displaced youth. It has been revised and published as Young People and Everyday Peace in 2018.

Research Interests:

  • youth, peace and security
  • peacebuilding and forced migration
  • digital humanitarianism
  • feminist security studies
  • youth political engagement
  • Latin America, with focus on Colombia
  • research ethics
This information has been contributed by Dr Helen Berents.


Teaching responsibilities include:

  • JSN166 Justice Institutions
  • JSB178 Policy, Governance and Justice
  • JSB285 Political Violence and Terrorism
This information has been contributed by Dr Helen Berents.


For more publications by this staff member, visit QUT ePrints, the University's research repository.


Awards and recognition

Academic Honours, Prestigious Awards or Prizes
Reference year
I received the 2015 Cynthia Enloe Award from the International Feminist Journal of Politics for my article "Hashtagging Girlhood": #IAmMalala, #BringBackOurGirls and gendering representations of global politics". The award recognises exceptional quality in a paper submitted to IFJP by an emergent scholar. It is given annually in honor of Cynthia Enloe¿s pioneering feminist research into international politics and political economy, and her considerable contribution to building a more inclusive feminist scholarly community.
Academic Honours, Prestigious Awards or Prizes
Reference year
My dissertation was awarded the University of Queensland Dean's Award for Research Higher Degree Excellence in 2013. The award is given annually to no more than the top 10% of PhDs awarded across the university.

Research projects

Grants and projects (Category 1: Australian Competitive Grants only)

Youth Leadership and the Future of Peace and Security
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
Start year


Current supervisions

Completed supervisions (Doctorate)

Completed supervisions (Masters by Research)