Sandy is a social researcher and communication management specialist. Working primarily in the social dimensions of extractive industries, her research interests include social risks and impacts, risk governance, First Nations' governance of development on their traditional territories, social aspects of mine closure and energy transition, sustainable development, risk communication, knowledge boundaries, boundary objects and organisations, and framing theory.

She is also interested in multidisciplinary, multi-actor approaches to problem solving.

Sandy’s doctoral research examined how coal mining project teams in Australia construct and assess social risk.


Sandy has 25+ years' experience in the mineral resources sector - on site, in government, in a corporate environment and in consulting. She has worked as a sessional academic at UQ, predominantly in the schools of Mechanical and Mining Engineering, and Communication and Arts.

Key Publications

Kemp, D., Worden, S., and Owen, J.R. (2016). Differentiated social risk: Rebound dynamics and sustainability performance in mining, Resources Policy, 50: 19-26.

Is the mining industry misdiagnosing social risk? Risk and Resilience Mining Solutions 2016, Vancouver, Canada, 14-16 November, 2016.

Assessing the social risk of coal mining projects, 3rd ISA Forum of Sociology, The Futures We Want: Global Sociology and the Struggle for a Better World, Vienna, 19-14 July 2016.


Sandy’s research has been supported through a combination of university funding and industry-university commissioned projects. In December 2019, she was awarded a University of Queensland Early Career Researcher grant to investigate Canadian First Nations’ governance of development on their traditional territories.