FEATURE4 July 2022

Dr Clifford Lewis – Research Hero

Features People

The Market Research Society launched the Research Heroes programme to celebrate the sector’s unsung heroes. Dr Clifford Lewis has joined the cadre of Research Heroes 2022.

Dr Clifford Lewis, Marketing Academic, Charles Sturt University 


Clifford Lewis, PhD (he/him/his) is a marketing academic at Charles Sturt. His research focuses on inclusive marketing and research practice focusing on LGBTQIA+ people. Aligning with his belief that academic research should contribute to the betterment of society, he is passionate about using research to make the world more inclusive. Prior to academia, Clifford worked as a senior consultant in market research consulting on projects related to regional tourism experience and campaign development.

Clifford was nominated for calling for “a more nuanced and sensitive approach to research which considers the diversity encapsulated under the LGBTQIA+ acronym”. 


What is the biggest challenge you have faced during your career?
My biggest challenge has been developing confidence in myself and my ability, and seeing value in what I can contribute. As a queer person of colour, I believed being different meant I had to work harder so I was not left behind, and so that I could be taken seriously in the meeting room. Growing older, I have learnt being different is what makes my experience worth considering.  

What will be the next big trend or development in the research industry, and why?
I believe the next big trend in research will be the challenge of how to capture unique and diverse voices in an authentic and considered way. We are moving to a world with a greater awareness of social sustainability, and justice. Capturing unique and diverse voices in a sensitive way will be essential to seeking their participation, and developing products, policies and practices that can help diverse communities.

Who inspires you as a researcher?
My research largely looks at the lived experiences of LGBTQIA+ people. I am inspired by those that participate in my research – who choose to share a part of themselves with me. I recently interviewed a participant who wanted to be included in the study. They had a disability and were not out to their family and could not risk coming out in case they did not accept them. They were dependent on their family for support and care because of their disability. But they wanted to contribute. The courage this participant demonstrated reminded me of why I do this work – with the hope of creating a future where being born LGBTQIA+ is not a thing to hide. 

View the full list of Research Heroes for 2022