Dr Irving works as a Senior Project Officer/Research Fellow at the Centre for Community Child Health, at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital. Before this she worked for 20 years as an academic at a number of universities teaching child development, family studies and sociology.
Her initial training as an anthropologist and then as a primary school teacher lead to a continuing interest in childhood as a social phenomenon, and an understanding of the different experiences of childhood in different cultures and historical periods. Her doctoral studies further examined the socio-historical perspective, with an analysis of changes in the concept of childhood and adult-child relations in the context of the political, social and intellectual life of twentieth century Australia.
Dr Irving has a particular interest in the impact of the media on childhood, and how changes in technology contribute to wider social changes that impact directly on children and childhood.
She is writer and editor of the journal Childcare and Children’s Health, contributes to policy briefs, trains professionals working with children and their families, and is involved in community-based project work.