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EASP – European Association of Social Psychology

Travel Grant Report by Stefano Ciaffoni

26.09.2023, by Media Account in grant report

Visit to the University of Queensland, Australia

Stefano Ciaffoni Travel Grant
Stefano Ciaffoni Travel Grant

I'm extremely grateful to EASP for the Travel Grant that contributed to fund my 7-month research visit to the University of Queensland. Working under the guidance and mentorship of Professor Jolanda Jetten was a transformative experience, as we delved into the realm of women's responses to gender inequalities through the lens of social identity theory. The intellectual and personal growth I gained from this opportunity fills me with immense pride, particularly when receiving positive feedback from Jolanda and the other exceptional researchers in her lab.

Throughout this time, I have been focused on three primary areas: research, dissemination, and networking. Research-wise, we deepened the line of research exploring women's identification with feminism as a response to gender inequality. The results of these studies are promising, reflecting the importance of perceptions of gender inequalities in predicting social identification and support for social change. This lab visit also allowed me to follow up by employing different methodologies and instruments, such as physiological instrumentations, experimental designs and qualitative data.

Regarding the dissemination of results, I have enthusiastically presented my work to the Social Identity and Groups Network (SIGN) group, at the Centre for Research in Social Psychology (CRISP), and at the annual meeting of the Society of Australasian Social Psychologists (SASP), where I also chaired a symposium bringing together excellent work on the topic of gender inequality. I would also like to express my gratitude to Michelle Ryan and Tegan Cruyws, who extended their kind invitation for a brief lab visit at the Australian National University in Canberra, granting me another invaluable opportunity to present my research.

Deeply convinced that ideas are social products and that relationships are a blessing, I tried to seize every chance to connect with researchers whom I admired at the University of Queensland, across Australia and with the many scholars who visited UQ. While it would be unnecessary to drop names, I gleaned invaluable insights from some of the most prominent figures in my field and established meaningful relationships that have since blossomed into collaborations, mentorships, and, ultimately, a cherished academic family.

The experience at the University of Queensland was a key chapter in my academic and personal education. I am grateful for the challenges faced, the successes achieved, and the meaningful relationships I made during my time there. I look forward to continuing to cultivate these connections and apply the knowledge gained to actively contribute to the development of research in the field of gender inequality and social psychology. However, it is essential to acknowledge that my visit to UQ encompasses a broader narrative, one that extends beyond what is already told.

Let’s face it. Academia too, despite commendable progress, carries the burden of a history marked by abuses of power, ranging from sexual harassment and exclusion to denigration, scientific sabotage, as well as verbal and physical threats (Ellemers, 2023). These dark aspects have rendered academia an unsafe and disheartening environment. Yet, in the face of these harsh realities, Jolanda and her exceptional colleagues have created a space where individuals can find solace, support, and the strength to challenge inequality and dismantle a system that we can no longer tolerate. This vital lesson of change and inclusivity, championed by remarkable individuals like Jolanda, will forever remain ingrained in my academic and personal journey. Thanks, Jolanda, thanks SIGN group for giving me so much, and for helping me envision a better future! And thanks, EASP, for supporting this experience!

Ellemers, N. (2023, June 30 – July 4). Who we are and what we stand for: A social identity approach to social safety in academia. [Symposium: Nothing Is So Practical as Social Identity Theory: Lessons From Real-World Collaboration and Application]. 19th General Meeting of the European Association of Social Psychology (EASP), Krakow (Poland).