Cat is a Research Fellow with the Social Ageing (SAGE) Futures Lab in the ECU School of Arts and Humanities. She has expertise in the sociology and anthropology of migration, ageing, aged care and care workforce issues, and in Chinese Studies. Her current research, funded by the Forrest Research Foundation, addresses some critical challenges faced by the Australian aged care sector. This project focuses on workforce issues, which requires forging new pathways of knowledge, in particular the pressing need for comprehensive understanding of the experiences and perspectives of the workers themselves, especially those from migrant backgrounds.
This work builds on her expertise in labour migration and migration policy. Her PhD in Anthropology and Sociology, completed at UWA in 2020, is an ethnography of recent trade-skilled migration from China to Perth titled Unlikely settlers in exceptional times that explores how social class shapes opportunities, choices, and trajectories through the migration process. In 2021 this dissertation received the Jean Martin Award from The Australian Sociological Association (TASA) and was also awarded runner up in the Chinese Studies Association of Australian Best PhD Thesis Prize.
Cat’s other research interests include transnational ageing and caregiving, and abuse of the older person. Her interest in transnational caregiving arose when working on the ARC Discovery Ageing, and New Media led by Baldassar and Wilding (Latrobe), responsible for the China-born sample. Cat currently collaborates on the Decentering Migration Knowledge (DEMIKNOW) project, which brings together four research entities in Canada, India, China and Australia, to create new knowledge about migration scholars from the Global South and North. DEMIKNOW research compares family migration decision making in these four contexts with a focus in Australian on transnational grandparenting. In 2020-22 Cat led research funded by the WA Department of Communities into responses to the abuse of older people in Western Australia. She a CI on the No More Shame project led by Professor Bianca Brijnath at the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI). This NHMRC-funded study aims to remove stigmas and improve the recognition of, and response to, elder abuse by health providers. that will trial an elder abuse screening instrument in 2023-25.
She is active in supporting the work of the newly established ECU TRACS Migration Research Network, and the WA Migration and Mobilities Update conference. In 2017 Cat co-convened TASA national conference titled ‘Belonging in a Mobile World, and she is currently the TASA Migration, Ethnicity and Migration Thematic Group co-convenor (2021-23).