Poppy is a Research Fellow with the University of Melbourne on the ARC Discovery project "From Members to Leaders? Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Participation in Political Parties" and an Adjunct Research Fellow with the Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research at Griffith University in Brisbane, where she is currently based. She also collaborates with colleagues in the School of Arts and Media at the University of NSW, where she contributes to political listening and media justice projects.
With a background in critical media and cultural studies, visual culture research, community cultural development and digital storytelling practice, both her practice and research in recent years have focused on the aesthetics, ethics and politics of 'voice' and listening. Her PhD, Beyond Voice Poverty: New economies of voice and the frontiers of speech, listening and recognition (2015) explored this terrain in depth, informed by critical theory and feminist thought, and these questions remain at the heart of both her critical and creative inquiry. Her theoretical contributions intervene in a range of important debates and has broad implications for scholars, activists and practitioners concerned with voice poverty, media justice, narrative violence, informational self-determination and political listening in the age of digital media.
As an early career researcher, Poppy has build a research trajectory that connects her interests to a community of scholars committed to collaborative, interdisciplinary and intercultural work. She has experience in academic research and teaching environments and, since 2012, has collaborated with dynamic interdisciplinary teams on ARC Linkage, Discovery, Future Fellowship and Faculty funded research with colleagues at the University of Melbourne, the University of Wollongong, Charles Sturt University, Griffith University and the University of NSW on projects that engage with communities 'on the margins' to develop and document alternative methods of representation, measurements of value, models of engagement or critical interventions at the intersection of culture, politics and power. Poppy has used participatory video in community settings and collaborative video-based methodologies in research (process video); has conducted collections policy analysis and program evaluation; interviewed community stakeholders and project partners in the arts and cultural sector; and has teaching experience at postgraduate level. Her Masters thesis examined the role of arts-based and creative interventions in contributing to peace building, capacity building and resilience in post-conflict communities internationally.
Before embarking on her PhD in 2010, Poppy worked in Canberra with archival and cultural institutions as a collections-based curator, researcher and writer: first, as Archival Curator at the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) on the Australian Screen Online (ASO) project – a curated digital resource for accessing Australia’s moving image heritage online; and subsequently as a freelance Educational Writer for The Learning Federation’s (TLF) Federation’s National Digital Learning Resources Network, producing written content about photographic, printed and moving image materials selected from several national collections. She has facilitated digital storytelling workshops in community-based arts settings on and off since 2008, collaborating with culturally diverse communities to co-create multimedia stories about their histories, identities and cultures.
Poppy holds a BA (Fine Arts and English Literature), Sydney University, 1997; a Master of Arts and Cultural Management (Moving Image), Melbourne University, 2006; and an interdisciplinary PhD, Melbourne University, 2015.
Poppy is of Serani (Eurasian) and Anglo-Australian heritage, with maternal roots in Penang , in the Straits of Malacca, where her mother was born. Her surname, de Souza, is her maternal grandmother’s. Poppy was born on Yorta Yorta country (Shepparton), and lives and works on the unceded lands of the Jagara/Yuggera people in Brisbane, Australia.