Stuart C. Carr, First Humanitarian Work Psychologist

What is your current job/role and how is it related to HWP?

My current job/role is to occupy a personal Chair as Professor of Psychology in the Industrial and Organisational Psychology Programme at Massey University in New Zealand/Aotearoa.  The job/role is related to HWP because most of what I now teach, research, and practice today is firmly, squarely and overtly focused on what enables Sustainable Livelihood, under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth, of the United Nations SDGs (2015-30).  Sustainable livelihoods span more than one job, one person, and one point in time. They enable people and their whanau/families and communities to withstand future shocks and to have and realise their aspirations for the future, for themselves and their offspring.

What inspired you to work in the HWP arena in the first place?

My first job was at the University of Malawi in Southern East Africa, and I am still trying to pay back, or rather pay forward, all the lessons Malawi kindly taught me. These were mainly about the importance of having access to a Sustainable Livelihood for the “eradication of poverty, in all its forms, everywhere” (SDG-1 – Poverty Eradication).  Poverties of opportunity in the work domain, or “working poverty,” is at the heart of poverty eradication, whether in Malawi or in New Zealand/Aotearoa. Unfortunately working poverty knows no borders.  But more recently, what keeps me going in HWP is you guys – especially students and early career Psychologists, who have tons of energy and vision, professional commitment, and aspiration for the future of work. You inspire me to work in the HWP arena, then and now, and in the future – your future, and ours, across the whole of humanity.

What other HWP activities (if any) have you been engaged in during the recent past (e.g., volunteer work, committees, etc.)? 

Recently, I have Chaired SIOP’s International Affairs Committee, Edited Division 52’s flagship journal, International Relations in Psychology (IPP), and co-Chaired the APA’s Committee on International Relations in Psychology (CIRP). I guess you could say that this shows my professional commitment to international collaboration and to the international SDGs!

What publications are you currently or recently working on?

My main research focus these days and for the foreseeable future is on the role of living wages in sustaining decent work and a sustainable livelihood. All these publications are team-based, in this case mainly within Project GLOW (Global Living Organisational Wage). With crucial support from SIOP, and more recently EAWOP, GLOW is committed to publishing responsive research that informs the global debate about the role of living wages in decent work and economic development, in all its forms, everywhere.  Our current papers in the Auckland hub of GLOW are focused on how personal wages combine with household income and numbers of household dependents to enable decent qualities of life and work life. This research is enabled by the Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Fund, and draws heavily from, and hopefully contributes to, the wider network of expertise and capability to inform policy, contained within GLOW.

Which associations/organizations are you a member of/active in?

Apart from GLOW, I am a member and Fellow of SIOP, the Royal Society of New Zealand, and the New Zealand Psychological Society. I am also closely linked with Division 52 – International Psychology, through the Editorial role with IPP. At Massey University, I work in the End Poverty and Inequality Cluster (EPIC), which sits within the School of Psychology. Professionally, I normally identify first and foremost as a Humanitarian Work Psychologist.

What’s something that would surprise people about your day-to-day?

I love being out on the water, mucking about on boats, even when they are moored in the harbour. Currently, in a berth is a safer place to be than out on the water, as my apprenticeship in boat-craft is only just beginning. A former bagpipe player, I love the skirl of the pipes, and very much would like to play them again – one day, perhaps!

What advice would you give to those new to HWP?

Hold the vision, stay the course, this is a long-term commitment and the times are on (y)our side to see it through to the end. The world is at many crossroads, environmental, societal and occupational, and everything – everything – is still in play. Without access to decent work, and decent work conditions, humanity will not sustain. Extinction rebellion is right. We need an IO equivalent, we need to move from support group to movement, without losing sight of all the good work – amazing in so many ways – that IO has already done, and achieved. Finding our way into the policy arena is where the future of the planet and the species will be decided. I am counting on you being there.