Associate Professor Rob Cover

Started at UWA: 2012

Social and media researcher contributing to saving lives and making lives better

What I love most about my research is that I get to help find new ways of tackling important life and death problems, and I work with people of all ages who, despite being new to this area of research, find incredibly creative solutions to real-world problems. Associate Professor Rob Cover

Associate Professor Rob Cover is a social and media researcher who works on the relationship between culture, representation and belonging. He focuses on minorities (gender, sexual and migrant) and young people, examining the underlying social conditions and identity formations that result in physical and mental health implications for different people.

Dr Cover has worked across Australia and New Zealand, both in universities and as a strategic communication consultant and principal planning officer with the Queensland government. Now at UWA, his research focuses on understanding the relationship between identity, social belonging, (digital) media cultures, audience practices, and healthy lives and liveability. Working with communities, policy advocates, and health and education service providers, Dr Cover aims to not only contribute a scholarly view, but to have an impact on everyday perspectives.


  • BA (Hons)
  • PhD Monash

Positions held:

  • Deputy Head of the School of Social Sciences (Community and Engagement), UWA
  • Executive, Cultural Studies Association of Australasia
  • Board Member, Association for Cultural Studies

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Awarded the first ever ARC award for work on gender and sexuality in media, 2017

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UWA Teaching Award High Commendation, 2015

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UWA Teaching Fellowship Award: $20,000 project fund, 2014


Dr Cover has received research funding from various sources. Most recently, these include:

  • Australian Research Council Discovery Project schemes DP15 (2015-18) and DP18 (2018-20)
  • Worldwide Universities Network Research Development Fund (2018-19)
  • Consultancy funds for projects investigating the present and future public understanding and awareness or health information in Australia, and for organisations in the United Kingdom and elsewhere

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Queer Generations: belonging and sexual citizenship among gender and sexual minority youth

In the context of well-documented threats to the mental health and wellbeing of minority young people, this Australian Research Council Discovery project (2015-18) examines the experiences of two different generations of Australian minority youth and the health, educational, media and peer sources of support found to be most useful.

Gender and Sexual Diversity on Australian Screens

This Australian Research Discovery project (2018-20) investigates the cultural, health and identity impact of gender/sexually diverse characters, themes and narratives in Australian film and television (1990 to present). Providing the first comprehensive account of Australian media production’s contribution to sexual minority representation, it generates new knowledge for health service providers, educators and the film/television creative artists by understanding the importance of this media for health identities, as well as for social change, acceptance of diversity, and social harmony in Australia.

Communicating Good Health and Wellbeing

In implementing the United Nations’ sustainable development goal, ‘Good Health and Wellbeing’, it is important for health promotion, service provision and advocacy to address how changing communication methods (e.g. digital networks) and new social attitudes (e.g. populism) contribute to a problematic anti-expert, anti-medical and anti-vaccination discourse. This is gaining popularity and has substantial negative health impacts on individuals and communities. At the same time, narrow health solutions (such as some pharmaceutical solutions) discourage patients and the general population from embracing an educated, embodied, whole-of-life-course approach to health and wellbeing.

Led by UWA and funded by the Worldwide Universities Network Research Development Fund (2018-19), this project brings together scholars, health service providers and policy advocates from eight countries to develop frameworks for responding to health communication crises.


Education should never be about just content delivery. It should be working together with students on projects that have real-world meaning and that enhance future prospects; those are things I strive for in every class I teach. Associate Professor Rob Cover

Supervisor opportunities

Dr Cover has supervised PhD students since 2008, covering topics such as:

  • LGBTQ, gender and sexual diversity in relation to media, health, society and politics
  • Migrant representation in the media
  • Philosophic and ethical approaches to addressing the detention of refugees and asylum seekers
  • Fan fiction and digital media
  • Health, bodies and exercise among contemporary young people and media.

Dr Cover welcomes expressions of interest from prospective postgraduate students in any area of his research, particularly those areas related to health communication, gender and sexuality, sociology, and ethics. Contact Dr Cover using the details below to discuss further.

Contact Associate Professor Rob Cover

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Research Repository

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