Get to know PhD Student -Yianni Carteldge


In this month’s newsletter, we would like to introduce PhD student, Yianni Carteldge from the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

Yianni’s recently submitted thesis, “Aegean Islander Migration to the United Kingdom and Australia, 1815-1945: Emigration, Settlement, Community Building, and Integration” received outstanding results from the examiners.

We asked Yianni to share what led him to a Phd and why it is important, the most enjoyable and hardest parts of a PhD journey and what the future holds.

What was your research about?

My research ultimately explored two case studies – Greek islanders from Chios who migrated to London (1815-1900) and Greek islanders from Ikaria who migrated to South Australia (1900-1945). Both case studies, although having similar origins, had very different contexts (including socio-economic, class, gender, demographic, familial, migratory, etc.), which led to a comparative approach being used in my thesis. Ultimately, despite their different contexts and time periods, they exhibited many similarities in the ways in which their diasporas emigrated, settled, built communities, integrated into their societies, and maintained localised islander identities.

What was the topic of your PhD and why was it important to you?

My thesis title was: ‘Aegean Islander Migration to the United Kingdom and Australia, 1815-1945: Emigration, Settlement, Community Building, and Integration’. This topic was important to me as I had personal links with some of the material (as I have ancestral origins in the Aegean Islands). It was also important, however, as I could see an evident gap in the historical record when it came to Aegean Islander migrants and the pre-World War 2 time period, which is what my research aimed to explore.

What is your educational/professional background? What led you to undertake a PhD? What inspired or motivated you? 

I am a registered teacher (with the Department for Education), an adjunct (associate lecturer) at Flinders, a registered graduate historian, and now a PhD graduate. I have also lectured, taught, and tutored (both History and Modern Greek language) in other educational settings (primary, secondary, tertiary, and adult education). Following the PhD path combined my interest in history with my education and humanities background strengths. Additionally, I was motivated by my own connections to the topic, but also the satisfaction of uncovering new stories that hadn’t been explored before. There is a sense of discovery when undertaking a PhD, which helps to keep you inspired and focused.

What was been one of the hardest parts of the journey?

The hardest part was COVID. I began my candidate in March 2020 – as the pandemic hit Australia. Due to lockdowns and library and archive closures, it took my some time to access my needed archival material. I was also not able to travel for field research. Due to this, I had to apply for many grants – some I won, some I didn’t – which helped me cover the costs of archive digitisations. Thankfully, I was able to get everything I needed in the end, especially as COVID restrictions began to slow down worldwide.

What was a highlight of your student life at Flinders?

The highlight of my student life was having the flexibility to be able to follow a research path that was both meaningful to me, and relevant to wider academia. This is a dream that not many people get to fulfil, and I feel very fortunate.

How did your supervisors support you during your candidature?

My supervisors were very supportive. They helped me every step of the way – from offering constructive feedback, to supporting my applications for funding, to counselling me when I hit snags and cross-roads in my studies. I was very lucky to have a strong and supportive supervisory team, who helped shape my research, and I can’t thank them enough.

What advice would you give to those who are about to undertake a PhD?  

Make sure to get the most out of the PhD experience – supervisors especially are a wealth of knowledge, as are other professors/lecturers, and colleagues. Get involved in as many activities as you can, including relevant industry organisations and conferences, as they are a great place to learn and grow. I guess my advice would be to ‘immerse yourself’, as you only get to do this once!

What have you been doing since you completed?

Since completing my PhD I have continued to teach and research. I currently teach at both Flinders University and at the Department for Education, and am working on various upcoming projects.

How has your PhD helped you in the role you are in now?

My PhD has given me strong written, analytical, critical thinking, and research-minded skills. These are ideal for teaching and future research projects. It is still early days, but I envision that these skills will help me going forward into my future endeavours.

Have you published anything?

I have been fortunate enough to publish frequently during my candidature (often with my supervisor Prof Andrekos Varnava). See links below to a select few:


Edited Book

Dictionary Entry

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