Facing Equality Photography Exhibition

Facing Up To The Challenges of Equality in our Time 

Implicit, not just explicit forms of bias are a major obstacle to the achievement of equality in Australia today. Yet social psychologists have shown that exposure to images of successful individuals form diverse backgrounds can help shift expressions of implicit bias. 

Exposure to diverse role models can also inspire students and other members of our community to imagine increased possibilities for themselves and others in their community for achieving change. 

By combining photographic portraits with thoughts and words from a diverse range of UNSW alumni, the project seeks to encourage all of us to face up to the challenge of equality in our time. 

Facing Equality is an initiative of the UNSW Grand Challenge on Inequality led by Professors Rosalind Dixon and Richard Holden. This project was also generously supported by Mr Bill Manos and Diane Macdonald as photographic and artistic director. 

Selection of Portraits from the Facing Equality Series

Nathan White

Squadron Leader Nathan White - BTECH, 2009

Pilot, Roral Australian Air Force

I am proud to be an aviator and an officer in the Australian Defence Force. I am equally proud to be openly gay in an organisation that respects its members regardless of race, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity. Being passionate about inclusion and the power of visible role models, I was open about my sexuality early in my career. I hope that my example allowed others the opportunity to bring their whole self to work.

Today, I am the President of DEFGLIS, an association and charity organisation that supports and represents Australian Defence Force LGBTI people and their families. We promote inclusion, justice, integrity and a sense of community for people with diverse sexual orientation and gender identity.

Kathryn Toohey

Major General Kathryn Toohey - BE (Hons), 1991

Head Land Capability, Australian Army

In my almost 35 years as an Army officer and an electrical engineer, I have witnessed many examples of outstanding leadership. The one trait that I’ve consistently seen in the leaders I admire is that of attention to diversity and inclusivity. That is - attention to ensure that all members of a team are given the opportunity to contribute, make a difference and to succeed.

Outstanding leaders seek alternate views, different ways of thinking and value multiple perspectives. Often, they influence organisational culture in quiet and subtle ways but always they are focused on that great Australian value of a ‘fair go for all’.

Vekram Sambavasim

Dr Vekram Sambasivam - MBBS, 2011

Emergency Doctor, NSW Aeromedical Retrieval

The calibre of UNSW medical students, selected from all walks of life, never ceased to amaze me - rubbing shoulders with them every day for six years got me to where I want to be.

Graeme Innes

Graeme Innes AM Hon - LLD 2017

Disability Discrimination Commissioner (2005-2014), Australian Human Rights Commission

Diversity is a part of me, and a part of the Australian society in which I live. My disability is part of me, but does not define me. I am a human rights practitioner, lawyer, company director, but mostly a husband and a dad. Our society is far stronger because of its diversity.

BJ Newton

BJ Newton

Research Associate, Social Policy Research Centre - BA, 2011 - BSW, 2011 - PhD, 2016

I believe that meaningful change happens when those who are silent have a voice. I am a proud Aboriginal woman and mum, and I am privileged to be able to use my position in one of the world’s leading universities, to advocate for social change for Indigenous families and communities.

Mehreen Faruqi

Senator Mehreen Faruqi - MEngSc, 1994 - PhD, 2000

Senator for NSW

My dad used to say, ‘Engineers can do anything and everything’. After all we are hardworking and creative problem solvers. For us substance always matters over spin. Let’s use our skills to influence political decisions that will shape the future. Let’s get involved in public debate to transform the world into a better place for all.

Rosemary Kayess

Rosemary Kayess - BSocSc/LLB, 2004

Visiting Fellow, UNSW Law

The recognition of disability as just one aspect of the human condition is a driving principle of my work; at the United Nations, in my teaching and academic research. It's about using the transformative potential in human rights as a catalyst for change, for an environment where all people can be accepted, participate and thrive.

Lily Wu

Lily Wu - BCom, 2018

Campus Launcher, APAC Expansion, NewCampus

I’m the Campus Launcher at NewCampus, partnering with Wework to launch co-learning spaces, a gym membership for the mind. It’s an intersection of trending industries taught by global entrepreneurs so people can learn about things other than their niche. Diversity comes in all shapes and sizes, from gender, culture to even learning diversity, the amalgamation of which ultimately makes us human.

Lali Wiratunga

Lali Wiratunga - MBA Executive, 2013

National Manager, Westpac Davidson Institute

I am passionate about creating and sustaining genuine partnerships that have a positive impact for the people in our community.I am an active board member of TAD, which helps change the lives of people living with a disability. I am proud of Westpac Davidson Institute’s commitment to helping people, including migrant and refugees, to build their financial confidence.

Behzad Ghafourian

Behzad Ghafourian - BOptom/BSc (Optometry), 2013

Optometrist, Private Practice

Growing up, I felt like a chameleon at the intersection of many different identities; Australian, Iranian, Muslim, Queer. In every situation, I would subdue certain shades of myself and amplify others in order to blend in. But over time I’ve learnt that if you show your true colours, you will command far more respect, you will get noticed and succeed.

Kataya Barrett

Kataya Barrett - BSc (Marine Science & Ecology), 2015

Marine Conservationist & Scientist

Our marine environment is in a fragile state. Being a coastal Indigenous woman, I feel a significant personal obligation to protect it. The Indigenous youth of Australia will inherit the ocean, in whatever state it is in. We need more Indigenous youth in marine conservation leading the way – to help heal and protect our oceans.

Jade Nottage and Cushla McFadden

Jade Mottage & Cushla McFadden - BIA, 2011

Directors, Tom Mark Henry

Diversity is important in every field. In design, which can be so subjective it is important that all the opinions are considered equal. The more people working together to solve a problem, the better the outcome. We encourage many voices to be heard during the design process to achieve the best possible resolution to a complex brief.