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Senior Lecturer in Sociology, University of Tasmania

Dr Peta Cook (she/her/they) is a Senior Lecturer of Sociology located in the School of Social Sciences. She is a sociologist with a specific focus on ageing, disability, medical science, and health and illness. Her research is primarily concerned with what forms of knowledge count and why; how this knowledge is produced; and personal mean-making and experiences of ageing, disability, and health and illness. Peta's contributions to sociological scholarship have focused on addressing pressing social issues and problems raised by controversial medical sciences, widely experienced health conditions, and ageing. This includes examining how knowledge production affects medical practices and decision-making, what makes people's lives meaningful, and on understanding and empowering individuals in their healthcare choices and experiences, and their ageing.

Peta received the 2018 Vice Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Community Engagement, was a 2019 Finalist in the Tasmanian Community Achievement Awards, and was the 2020 recipient of the Sociology in Action award from the Australian Sociological Association (TASA). These awards emerged from her community-based projects and research engagement focusing on age-friendly communities, addressing ageism, and increasing social awareness of the needs and wants of older Australians.

Peta has expertise in researching delicate and sensitive topics, which she manages with sensitivity, compassion and care. This has included working with people who have chronic and life-threatening illnesses. She has extensive experience in arts-based research methods as well as semi-structured and unstructured in-depth interviewing, having conducted well over 300 interviews with a diversity of individuals and population groups.

Peta has wide expertise in qualitative research methods, including interviews, focus groups, observation, discourse analysis, and photography. Experienced at sole and collaborative research, Peta frequently works in disciplinary and cross-disciplinary teams. Peta's current research projects focus on ageism, ableism, elder abuse, age friendly societies, and traumatic brain injury.


  • 2014–present
    Senior Lecturer of Sociology, University of Tasmania
  • 2009–2014
    Lecturer of Sociology, University of Tasmania
  • 2007–2008
    Associate Lecturer of Sociology, Queensland University of Technology


  • 2013 
    University of Tasmania, Graduate Certificate of University Learning and Teaching
  • 2008 
    Queensland University of Technology, Doctor of Philosophy
  • 2004 
    Queensland University of Technology, Bachelor of Social Science (Sociology ) (Hons)
  • 2003 
    Queensland University of Technology, Bachelor of Social Science (Sociology)
  • 1997 
    Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Bachelor of Photography

Research Areas

  • Sociology (1608)
  • Social Theory (160806)
  • Sociology And Social Studies Of Science And Technology (160808)
  • Sociology Not Elsewhere Classified (160899)
  • Aged Health Care (111702)