Dr Olivia Efthimiou
B.A. Sociology, Political Science (ANU); MLitt With Distinction, Visual Culture (CQU); PhD (Murdoch)

Honorary Postdoctoral Research Associate

About me

I am an Honorary Postdoctoral Research Associate in the School of Arts, Murdoch University, Perth,  Associate Researcher at the Australian National Academy of Screen and Sound Research Centre, and Affiliate at Murdoch’s Centre for Responsible Citizenship and Sustainability. My current research focuses on heroism science, self-leadership, sustainable development, social impact and community engagement, wellbeing, creative and innovative methods, and interdisciplinary research cultures. My past work has involved examining visual culture across various mediums (film, screen, art, television) as a lens for exploring the human condition utilising a range of perspectives, including social and political theory, consciousness studies, cybernetics, transpersonal psychology and queer theory.

Research areas

Heroism; Social Impact; Community Engagement; Not-for-Profits; Embodiment; Interdisciplinary Theory and Research; Well-Being; Philosophy of Science; Ethnographies/Qualitative Research; Career Identity and Graduate Employability; Visual Culture Analysis; Mindful, Creative and Mobile Play/Creative Spaces; Social and Political Theory

Current projects

Lead Editor, Heroism and Wellbeing in the 21st Century: Applied and Emerging Perspectives (2018). Co-Editors S. T. Allison and Z. Franco. New York: Routledge.

  • This book will showcase the continued presence of heroic ideas and action in contemporary societies from a broad range of settings, disciplines and perspectives – from business, to law, popular culture, economics, history and more. The book is an anthology of selected papers presented at the inaugural cross-disciplinary conference “The Rise and Future of Heroism Science” held in Perth in July 2016.

Website Creator and Administrator, Heroism Science – Promoting the Transdisciplinary Study of Heroism in the 21st Century.

  • This website is dedicated to promoting heroism and heroism science research. It is home to Heroism Science, the first international peer-refereed open source cross-disciplinary research journal dedicated to the exploration of heroism, and the blog commentary Heroism Today. More details about the website are available here.

Awards and grants

  • Co-Investigator, Restoring the social license to operate: Resolving an industry-community conflict in Western Australia. School of Business and Governance Small Research Grant 2016. Centre for Responsible Citizeship and Sustainability, Murdoch University.
  • Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) Scholarship and Murdoch Strategic Top-Up Award – 2014-2017

Events and speaking engagements

Klisanin, D., & Efthimiou, O. (Speakers). (2017). Episode 013 – Dana Klisanin and Olivia Efthimiou, The Hero Forge [Podcast]. https://www.theheroforge.org/podcast/2017/4/22/episode-013-olivia-ephimiou-dana-kilsanin

Speaker, The Hero Round Table, 21 November 2015, Deakin University, Geelong.

  • This is the world’s premier conference series on heroism promotion and education, attended by leading heroism experts including word-renowned psychologist Professor Philip Zimbardo.

Event Organiser and Speaker, The Rise and Future of Heroism Science – A Cross-Disciplinary Conference, 11-12 July 2016, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia.


Professional and community service

Guest Editor, Special Issue 2018, “The Art and Science of Heroism and Heroic Leadership“, Frontiers in Psychology (current).

Editor, Heroism Science (current). Heroism Science is the first international open source cross-disciplinary peer-refereed research journal dedicated to the exploration of heroism.

Managing Editor, Special Issue 2017, “Heroism and the Human Experience”, Journal of Humanistic Psychology (forthcoming).

Guest Editor, Special Issue 2016, Heroic Reflections: Heroism in Popular, Visual and Digital Cultures, and Creative Production, IM: Interactive Media, National Academy of Screen and Sound (Australia)

Member, Advisory Committee, Hero Town Geelong. As a committee member and consultant I provide guidance, mentorship and support to HTG trainers and team members as required, regarding research, theory, application, new partnerships, continued education and other matters. Hero Town Geelong is the first initiative in Australia that:
•    delivers existing heroism education and training in primary and secondary schools,  workplaces and community centres.
•    develops practical heroism education and training programs.
•    trains educators to deliver heroism educational programs.
•    organises educational programs and events to promote community education and engagement.

Research Associate (2014-2016), Australian Research Council Discovery Project: “The Game of Being Mobile: A study of mobile gaming cultures“. Chief Investigators: Professor Larissa Hjorth (RMIT), Associate Professor Ingrid Richardson (Murdoch).

  • A 3-year Australian ethnographic study of mobile gaming (and gaming in other platforms) and practices, technologies, gamification and creative play in domestic (primarily) and other everyday contexts. The Game of Being Mobile was the first Australian study to examine the social uses of mobile gaming, funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery grant (DP140104295) across five major cities (Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane). Through ethnographic methods over three years, The Game of Being Mobile explored how mobile game consumption is reflecting, and being shaped by, complex social and technological practices integral to contemporary life.

Project Manager, Australian Learning and Teaching Fellows (ALTF) (January 2014 – August 2015). The ALTF is a national network for the support of quality learning and teaching in Australian Higher Education, funded by the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching. Established in 2011 and hosted at Curtin University, the ALTF represents 84 scholars from 29 institutions and diverse discipline communities.


Journal articles (peer reviewed)

Efthimiou, O., & Franco, Z. E. (2017). Heroic intelligence: The hero’s journey as an evolutionary and existential blueprint. Journal of Genius and Eminence, 2(2): 33-44. doi:10.18536/jge.2017.

Willson, M., Tye, M. Gorman, S., Ely-Harper, K., Leaver, T., Creagh, R., Magladry, M., & Efthimiou, O. (2017). Framing the women’s AFL: Contested spaces and emerging narratives of hope and opportunity for women in sport. Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics. doi:10.1080/17430437.2017.1409727. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17430437.2017.1409727

Efthimiou, O. (2017). Heroic ecologies: Embodied heroic leadership and sustainable futures. Sustainability, Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, 8(4): 489-511. doi:10.1108/SAMPJ-08-2015-0074. http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1108/SAMPJ-08-2015-0074

Efthimiou, O., & Allison, S. T. (2017). Heroism science: Frameworks for an emerging field. Journal of Humanistic Psychology. 1-15. doi:10.1177/0022167817708063 http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0022167817708063?journalCode=jhpa

Efthimiou, O. (2016). Breaking disciplinary boundaries: Heroism studies and contemporary research practices. Limina: A Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies, 22(1): 19-33. http://www.limina.arts.uwa.edu.au/volumes/volume-22.1-2016/article-Efthimiou

Efthimiou, O. (2016). Heroic play: Heroism in mindful, creative and playful participation. IM: Interactive Media, 11: 1-28. http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/32455/1/IM11-heroism-article-efthimiou.pdf

Efthimiou, O. (2012). Becoming the monstrous-feminine: Sex, death and transcendence in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan. IM: Interactive Media, 8: 1-30. http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/14075/1/IM8-masculine-feminine-article-03-efthimiou.pdf


Efthimiou, O., Allison, S. T., & Franco, Z. E. (Eds.) (2018). Heroism and wellbeing in the 21st century: Applied and emerging perspectives. New York: Routledge.

Book chapters (peer reviewed)

Efthimiou, O., Bennett, D., & Allison, S. T. (2018). The role of heroic creativity and leadership in creative work. In L. Kong & A. de Dios. Geographies of creativity. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Allison, S. T., & Efthimiou, O. (2018). Heroic leadership in The Walking Dead’s post-apocalyptic universe: The restoration and regeneration of society as a hero organism. In J. K. Beggan & S. T. Allison. Leadership and sexuality: Power, principles, and processes. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.

Efthimiou, O., Allison, S. T., & Franco, Z. E. (2018). Heroism in the 21st century: Recognising and reconciling with our personal heroic imperative. In O. Efthimiou, S. T. Allison & Z. E. Franco. Heroism and wellbeing in the 21st century: Applied and emerging perspectives. New York: Routledge.

Efthimiou, O., Allison, S. T., & Franco, Z. E. (2018). Definition, synthesis and applications of heroic wellbeing. In O. Efthimiou, S. T. Allison & Z. E. Franco. Heroism and wellbeing in the 21st century: Applied and emerging perspectives. New York: Routledge.

Efthimiou, O. (2017). The hero organism: Advancing the embodiment of heroism thesis in the 21st century. In S. T. Allison, G. R. Goethals & R. M. Kramer (Eds.), Handbook of heroism and heroic leadership (pp. 139-162). New York: Routledge.

Franco, Z. E., Efthimiou, O., & Zimbardo, P. G. (2016). Heroism and eudaimonia: Sublime actualization through the embodiment of virtue. In J. Vittersø (Ed.), Handbook of eudaimonic well-being (pp. 337-348). Switzerland: Springer.

Journal articles (non peer reviewed)

Efthimiou, O. (2017). The hero organism and heroism science: A new frontier of human consciousness. Heroism Science, 2(1), 1-7. https://heroismscience.wordpress.com/journal/heroism-science-volume-2-2017/the-hero-organism-and-heroism-science-a-new-frontier-of-human-consciousness/

Efthimiou, O. (2015). The search for a hero gene: Fact or fiction? Heroism Science, 1(1): 1-6. http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/27951/

Efthimiou, O. (2013). A.I., Cyborgs, shamans and transcendence: Configuring the ISO and the mythopoeic sacred in Tron: Legacy. Journal of Conscious Evolution, 9: 1-16. http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/14077/

Efthimiou, O. (2012). Shifting realities: Tron cyberspace and the “New” consciousness in 21st Century technoscapes. Journal of Conscious Evolution, 8: 1-17. http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/14076/

Conference papers

Efthimiou, O., Magladry, M., Allison, S. T., Klisanin, D. (2017). “#EverydayHero”: Re-imagining the self through heroic identity, branding and activism. Accepted abstract for conference Bridging Gaps: National Identity in Persona, Branding and Activism, Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, December 8-10, 2017.

Efthimiou, O. (2017). Designing sustainable futures: Transforming community and business practices through heroic leadership in social innovation. Presented at 4th International Conference on CSR, Sustainability, Ethics & Governance, Perth, Australia, 26 July 2017.

Efthimiou, O., Bennett, D., & Allison, S. T. (2016). The influence of heroic leadership on career identity: A transdisciplinary perspective. Presented at The Rise and Future of Heroism Science: A Cross-Disciplinary Conference, Perth, Australia, 11-12 July 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OC5a6od1Lnc

Efthimiou, O. (2015). The hero organism and heroism science: A new frontier of human consciousness. Presented at The Hero Round Table Australia, Geelong, 21 November 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hn1uXuPnscI&t=1s


Efthimiou, O. (2017) Understanding heroism: Transdisciplinary perspectives. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

Efthimiou, O. (2012). Dreaming the posthuman in cyberspace: war of the worlds and the return of the un/real in Tron: Legacy. Master of Letters thesis, CQUniversity.


Efthimiou, O. (2016). Editorial: Heroic reflections: Heroism in popular, visual and digital cultures, and creative production. IM: Interactive Media, 11. http://imjournal.murdoch.edu.au/im-issue-11-2016-editorial/

Efthimiou, O. (2015, August 21). The problem of heroism [Blog post]. Heroism Today. https://heroismscience.wordpress.com/2015/08/21/the-problem-of-heroism/