Narayan Gopalkrishnan holds the position of Senior Lecturer in Social Work in the College of Arts, Society and Education. Narayan has a thirty year career in Australia and overseas, working in universities, NGOs and the private sector.  This has included major development projects and large corporate entities in India and work in the not-for-profit sector and academia in Australia. Narayan brings extensive experience in international development in Asia and has managed significant research projects in rural development. Narayan has expertise in Participatory Methodologies and has used these in studies at village and district levels in Asia.


In Australia, Narayan has held senior leading roles in research and sector development.   He was the Founding Director of the Centre for Multicultural and Community Development, at the University of the Sunshine Coast, unique in Australia in bringing together the dual focus on cultural diversity and community development and undertaking groundbreaking work in research, development and training.  Narayan has also coordinated and taught in courses in community development, mental health, counselling, health, globalisation, social disadvantage, human rights and social justice, communication and thought, and social policy.  He has been a visiting scholar in different universities around the world including Africa and Asia.


Narayan is recognised nationally and internationally and is called upon to give keynote presentations at conferences and events.  He has extensive publications in scholarly journals relating to his research interests including publications for bodies such as UNESCO and UNU. Narayan is an engaged scholar.  He has worked in different settings in Australia such as the Australian Red Cross and other NGOs as well as in academia.   He has been one of the founding members of a major NGO, the Multicultural Development Association, the primary provider of settlement services in Brisbane and Toowoomba. He was a member of the Multicultural Community Ministerial Advisory Committee to the Minister of Disability Services and Multiculturalism, Queensland. He has written industry peer reviewed documents such as guides for community development workers on structural change and how government can better engage with citizens. 


Narayan has a deep passion for social justice and integrated and holistic approaches to human development and participation.   

  • WS2513: Community Work (Level 2; CNS)
  • WS4503: Social Work and Mental Health (Level 4; CNS & TSV)
  • Community Development Social Enterprise Cultural Diversity and Multiculturalism Mental Health Social Determinants of Health and Well Being Integrated Medicine Community and Ecological Sustainability
Research Disciplines
  • 2019 - Inclusive Practice Award, James Cook University
  • 2015 - Community Service Award: Australia and New Zealand Social Work and Welfare Education and Research
  • 2013 - The Cairns Institute, James Cook University

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Book Chapters

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 47+ research outputs authored by Dr Narayan Gopalkrishnan from 2006 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Torres Cape Indigenous Council Alliance Inc - Contract Research

TCICA Region Telecommunications and Digital Connectivity Strategy for the TCICA region.

Indicative Funding
$70,000 over 1 year
The strategy should identify options for the deployment of fibre, wifi, satellite and mobile technologies across the region to help boost economic growth, digital inclusion and deliver a range of social benefits including the more effective provision of local public services like health and education. It is also expected to support councils to develop their own digital strategies to achieve cost efficiencies and increase community access to council.
Hurriyet Babacan and Narayan Gopalkrishnan in collaboration with Jancy McHugh, Allan Dale and Amber Marshall (Cairns Institute, College of Arts, Society & Education and Queensland University of Technology)
Digital connectivity; Northern Australia

Centacare Cairns - Contract Research

3M Connect Project Evaluation

Indicative Funding
$30,000 over 3 years
The three suburbs of Manoora, Manunda and Mooroobool in Cairns West are among the most disadvantaged suburbs in Australia. The 3M Connect Project takes a localised approach to community development and seeks to build whole-of-community cohesion and connection through initiatives that are driven and designed by local communities. The project evaluation process will involve qulaity improvement as a continuous process that informs the development and implementation of the project and will incorporate participatory action research tools towards ensuring that the outcomes reflect the needs of all stakeholders especially the most disadvantaged.
Narayan Gopalkrishnan (College of Arts and Society & Education)
Community Development; Asset Based Community Development; Indigenous Communities; Community planning

Queensland Police Citizens Youth Welfare Association (PCYC) - PCYC (funded via Safer Communities Fund)

Peer Support Research Mentoring Project (Safer Communities)

Indicative Funding
$30,000 over 1 year
Queensland Police Citizens Youth Welfare Association (PCYC) is a registered charity which has been granted funds under the Commonwealth Government?s Safer Communities fund. The aim of the funding is early intervention crime prevention programs and activities for marginalised young people aged between 12 and 21 years old, and reduction in anti-social incidents for the same cohort. The program is being delivered at thirteen sites across Queensland, plus a management and coordination role based in Cairns. Twelve of the thirteen sites have a full time Safer Communities Coordinator (SCC). The Rockhampton SCC has commenced a pilot peer support mentoring (PSM) project with young people in School Term 3. A survey of young people?s knowledge of available services, and identifying effective ways to market these existing local services and activities to young people has commenced via peer action research methodology. A literature review has also been conducted. A separate agency-level social network analysis is also scheduled to be conducted in Rockhampton by March 2020. The research will be rolled out onto other sites in the following years. This project forms a partnership with Prof Babacan and Dr Gopalkrishnan to: 1. Provide expertise in the research as a `critical friend? to guide all aspects of the research 2. Support the development of the methodological frameworks for the evaluation research: review existing research data, prepare indicators and questions for research 3. Support data analysis and overview of final research reports 4. Build capacity of staff and peer researchers 5. Develop a framework for future collaboration with PCYC/JCU.
Hurriyet Babacan and Narayan Gopalkrishnan in collaboration with Shane Pointing (Cairns Institute and Queensland Police Citizens Youth Welfare Association (PCYC))
Safer Communities; Crime Prevention; Youth Development

Mareeba Community Housing Company - Contract Research

Crisis housing in Mareeba and the Atherton Tablelands: Needs, opportunities and innovation

Indicative Funding
$32,000 over 1 year
The overarching aim of this research is to evaluate the need for crisis accommodation in the Mareeba and Atherton Tablelands region and to explore potential models for crisis accommodation relevant to the unique needs and community context with the objective of developing a sustainable model of crisis housing.
Narayan Gopalkrishnan and Ann Carrington (Cairns Institute)
crisis housing; Social Enterprise; social housing; Homelessness; Innovation

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Understanding small business entrepreneurship among migrant African-Australian women in North Queensland: A feminist study of lived experience and learning. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • A Student Agency Approach to Classroom Engagement (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Familial suicides; learnings from families and kinship about the healing journey. (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • The Rise and Demise of the Mining Community in Australia: A Socio-cultural and Economic Investigation. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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