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My research investigates the relationships between thinking and doing in performance, training and everyday life. I draw on detailed case studies from real-world situations like riding bikes down rock gardens in the jungle, performing at height on the trapeze, and learning to navigate the daily challenges of living with chronic pain. I am especially interested in the remarkable ways people flexibly and intelligently adjust their actions in response to challenge, pressure or unpredictability, and what this reveals about human capacities for coping and excelling in high-risk, high-pressure situations.

My academic work is unusually interdisciplinary, drawing on ethnographic methods to expand on research in cognitive science, philosophy, psychology, performance studies, cultural studies and sports science. By placing these different perspectives in conversation with one another, my work consistently reveals new insights into the theoretical debates explored and the activities investigated.

Considering how people make sense of experiences in sport and physical performance reveals new ways of thinking about other situations where attention, focus and memory are important for guiding movement and collaborative processes. These range from aesthetic practices such as theatre and dance, to job-specific expertise like performing surgery or flying a plane, to supporting memory and communication processes as we age, and to day-to-day activities where we don’t think about every step of an action in order to carry it out. My research expertise also translates to equipment consultation, product testing, media and advocacy work.

I have worked part-time at Macquarie University since 2014, in the Discipline of Anthropology and in the Department of Cognitive Science. I have also worked for more than a decade as a freelance journalist for Australian and international sports media. I am an associate member of the Centre for Elite Performance, Expertise and Training (CEPET) and member of the Centre for Ageing, Cognition and Wellbeing (CACW).


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