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Award: Best Paper – Social Marketing – Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference






The following paper was awarded Best Paper in the Social Marketing Category of the Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference.  

Re-imagining issue framing: The Women’s Butterfly Project

Rebekah Russell-Bennett*a, Melissa Bulla, Nick Kellya, Kate Letherena, Joy Parkinsonb, and Jinglan Zhanga

a Queensland University of Technology

b Griffith University


While social marketers typically research and practice on topics such as homelessness, obesity and domestic violence, the negative framing of these social issues can undermine and restrict the solutions that can be designed. There is significant evidence to demonstrate that a strengths-based rather deficit approach to social issue framing is more effective; however, there is little guidance on how to move from negative framing of a social issue (deficit-approach) to positive framing of a social issue (strengths-based). Using service design and reflexivity, this research involved a cross-discipline team of 15 researchers, 15 expert-proxies and women of lived experience, 11 early responders and 13 user-testers to co-design a digital portal prototype to prevent homelessness for mature women. The findings identified four project features that require focus for a strengths-based approach. This research also developed a checklist for reframing a social issue as positive using a strength-based approach.

Keywords: strengths-based, co-design, homelessness

The Women’s Butterfly Project, which includes QUT Centre for Justice Director, Professor Melissa Bull, as a CI, is a project designed by QUT and Griffith University which aims to empower mature women (aged 55+) to maintain secure housing when experiencing a change of circumstance, by equipping non-traditional early responders (a professional source of support who is not directly associated with homeless services) for conversations and support with mature women. We aim to combine high touch approaches (conversations) with high tech flexibility (digital support) through a digital hub for women and a toolkit for early responders. This project has involved co-design with mature women with lived experience of homelessness and expert proxies who work with women who have experienced homelessness. Of note is the strengths-based approach to women experiencing vulnerability which leverages and empowers, with solutions designed WITH them not FOR them.

More information on the project can be found here.



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