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Webb, Distinguished Prof. Jen

jen webb

Professor, Creative Practice
Faculty of Arts & Design

Bldg, Floor & Room: 20, C3
Telephone: (02) 6201 2321
Facsimile: (02) 6201 2649


Jen Webb studied in South Africa, New Zealand, Canada and Australia. She had an earlier career as a tax inspector, before moving into the field of artistic production. Jen has been working as an academic since the 1990s, and publishing her poetry and fiction since the 1980s. She also produces handmade books for exhibition.

Areas of Teaching

Jen is currently Director of the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research, and as such her teaching is focused almost entirely on supervising PhD candidates. She has taught a range of courses in short fiction, poetry, cultural research and cultural industries, at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Research Interests

Jen Webb's academic interests focus on the relationship between the field of artistic production and the wider social domain, including how representations are made in art, creative writing and other cultural texts. Previous projects have investigated the connections between creative practice and human rights; globalisation; and the links between creative practice and research.

This research has resulted in a variety of outputs, both creative and critical. Books include titles on the works of Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu, and on the topics of globalization, visual culture and representation, as well as the collection of poems, Proverbs from Sierra Leone (Five Islands Press, 2004) and the short story collection Ways of Getting By (Ginninderra Press, 2006). Her academic essays, articles and reviews, and her poems and short stories, have been widely published in Australia and overseas.  Jen is currently co-editing a book on creativity and research, and working on two Australia Research Council projects: one a case study of poetry as a site of creative excellence, and the second investigating how creative arts graduates build their creative vocations.

Current Research Projects

  • With Prof Justin O'Connor (Monash), Prof Shilian Shan (Shanghai Jiaotong University), and Asst Prof Scott Brook (University of Canberra):  the research investigates how graduates of creative arts programs in Australia and China build creative vocations in two United Nations-recognised Creative Cities: Melbourne and Shanghai (funded by the ARC, DP150101477).
  • With Professor Michael Biggs (University of Hertfordshire), Professor Kevin Brophy (University of Melbourne), and Assoc Prof Paul Magee (UC): this research takes poetry as a case study for creative excellence, and investigates the contexts, conditions and practices of contemporary poets (funded by the ARC, DP130100402).
  • Creative research practice: working with Paul Hetherington, Paul Munden and Lorraine Webb, this multi-faceted project involves experiments into ways of writing and presenting poetry that aim to unpack the relationship between seeing, being and knowing.

Jen is also editor (with Assoc Prof Paul Hetherington, UC) of the journal Axon: Creative Explorations; and (with Tony Schirato, Victoria University, Wellington) of the Sage book series Understanding Contemporary Culture.

Qualifications Obtained

  • BA (Hons) in cultural theory
  • PhD in cultural theory (art and society, CQU)
  • DCA in writing (creativity and embodiment, UTS)
  • Master of Research Management and Commercialisation (QUT)

Recent Publications


  • C Turner and J Webb (2015) Art and Human Rights: Contemporary Asian Contexts, Manchester: Manchester University Press
  • J Webb (2015) Researching Creative Writing, Cambridge: Frontinus Press
  • G Danaher, T Schirato and Webb, J. (2012) Foucault: a Critical Introduction, Allen & Unwin: Sydney and London: Sage; xxviii+208pp
  • Webb, J. (2009) Understanding Representation, London: Sage; viii+164pp
  • T Schirato and Webb, J. (2008) Reading the Visual; in Korean translation, Hannarae Publishing, Seoul

Book Chapters

  • J Webb and A Melrose, 'Writers Inc: Writing and Collaborative Practice', in Alexandria Peary and Tom C. Hunley (eds), Creative Writing Studies: An Introduction to Its Pedagogies, Carbondale Ill: Southern Illinois University Press (in production, forthcoming August 2015; contract dated 2 May 2014)
  • J Webb, DL Brien and S Burr, 'Examining doctoral writing in the creative arts', Doctoral Writing (eds. Louise Ravelli, Brian Paltridge & Sue Starfield), Faringdon, OX: Libri Publishing (in production, forthcoming 2015, contract dated 4 March 2013)
  • J Webb and M Rosen (2014) 'Poetry Meets Pedagogy: Conversations in/about Classrooms', in Inna Semetsky and Andrew Stables (eds), Pedagogy and Edusemiotics: Theoretical Challenges/ Practical Opportunities, Rotterdam: Sense Publishers: 19–34
  • P Hetherington and J Webb (2014) 'Circles and Intersections: a practice-led exploration into poetry and visual affect', in S Strange, P Hetherington and J Webb (eds), Creative Manoeuvres, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholarly Publishing: 19–32
  • J Webb (2013) 'Fiction and Testimony in Don DeLillo's Falling Man', in Paul Longley Arthur (ed), International Life Writing: Memory and Identity in Global Context, London: Routledge: 91–105
  • J Webb (2012) 'Books without pages: Anzac Parade and some stories of war', in N Starck (ed), Legacies of war, Australian Scholarly Press, Melbourne: 203–217
  • Webb, J. (2012) 'Creativity and the marketplace', in D Hecq (ed), The creativity market: creative writing in the 21st century, Multilingual Matters, Bristol: 40-53
  • Webb, J. and DL Brien (2011) 'Resolving the ancient quarrel: Creative writing as research', invited essay for Michael Biggs & Henrik Karlsson (eds), The Routledge Companion to Research in the Arts, Routledge, London: 186-203
  • T Schirato and Webb, J. (2010), 'Inside/outside: ways of seeing the world', invited essay for Emma Waterton and Steve Watson (eds), Culture, Heritage and Representations: Perspectives on Visuality and the Past, Ashgate, Farnham: 19-37
  • DL Brien and Webb, J. (2008) 'Envisioning change: Quality and creative arts in Australian universities' in J McConachie, M Singh, P Danaher, F Nouwens and G Danaher (eds), Changing University Learning and Teaching: Engaging and Mobilising Leadership, Quality and Technology, Post Pressed, Teneriffe: 167-86

Journal Articles

  • J Webb and J Williams (2014) 'Canberra: ideal city, imagined city', Continuum, DOI 10.1080/10304312.2014.986055
  • P Collis and J Webb (2014) 'The visible and the invisible: Legacies of violence in contemporary Australian Aboriginal contexts', Journal of Australian Studies 38.4: 490–503
  • J Webb and L Lochhead (2014) 'When language catches fire: a conversation', Axon 4.1 (July)
  • J Webb and A Melrose (2014) 'Understanding the value and the impact of the 'shock': examining the creative writing doctorate', New Writing 11.1 (January): 134–48
  • J Webb and Cath Raby (2013) 'A conversation: Research Higher Degrees examination administration', TEXT Special Issue 22: Examination (October)
  • J Webb, D Brien and S Burr (2013) '"Fail better": doctoral examination and the creative field', TEXT Special Issue 22: Examination (October)
  • J Webb and V Harbour (2013) 'Between the body and the world; cooking, writing and not-eating', in D Brien and A Wessel (eds), The Cookbook Book: Sources for Reading and Writing Cookbooks: TEXT Special Issue 24 (October)
  • J Webb and I Wedde (2013) 'Slipperiness of being: A conversation', in Axon 3.1 (October)
  • J Webb and L Webb (2013) 'Making Worlds: Art, Words and Worlds', Journal of Humanities Research XIX.2: 61–80
  • P Hetherington and J Webb (2012) 'Cretan analogues: restorying ancient mythology', in Creative Writing as Research II: TEXT Special Issue #15
  • J Webb (2012) 'The logic of practice? Art, the academy, and fish out of water' in Beyond Practice-led Research: TEXT Special Issue #14
  • Webb, J. and D Traub (2012) 'Art, design and the domestic. David Traub in conversation with Jen Webb', Axon 3
  • J Kroll and Webb, J. (2012) 'Policies and Practicalities: Examining the Creative Writing Doctorate', New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing 9.2: 166-78
  • Webb, J. (2012) 'Seeing, doing, knowing: Poetry and the pursuit of knowledge', Creativity: Cognitive, social and cultural perspectives TEXT Special Issue 13 (April)
  • Webb, J. and M Rosen (2012) 'Killing the conceptual: Knowing, research, and poetry for children. A conversation between Michael Rosen and Jen Webb', TEXT 16.1
  • D Brien, M Freiman, J Kroll, Webb, J. (2011), 'The Australasian Association of Writing Programs 1996–2011', New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing. Special Issue Making Connections: Creative Writing in the 21st Century: 238-63
  • Webb, J., D Brien and S Burr (2011), 'Leading the leaders: enhancing the examination of creative arts doctoral degrees', Leadership in the Creative Arts in the Academy: TEXT Special Issue 12 (October)
  • A Melrose and Webb, J. (2011) 'Intimacy and the Icarus Effect', Axon: creative explorations 1.1 (August)
  • P Gross and Webb, J. (2011) 'Poetry and knowledge: a conversation', Axon: creative explorations 1.1 (August)
  • Webb, J. (2011) 'Fiction and Testimony in Don DeLillo's Falling Man', Life Writing 8.1: 53-67
  • D Brien, S Burr and Webb, J. (2010) '"Dispirited, often ineffectual, and in some respects corrupt"?: Re-assessing 'the invisible hand' of peer review', Creative and practice-led research: current status, future plans: TEXT Special Issue 8, October
  • Webb, J. (2010) 'Writing a menu: the politics of food choice', in Re-writing the Menu: the cultural dynamics of contemporary food choices, TEXT Special Issue 9
  • Webb, J. (2010) 'Thinking about Icarus', TEXT Special Issue 7, October
  • Webb, J. (2010) 'Distant context, local colour: Australian "post September 11" fiction', in JASAL Special Issue: Common Readers and Cultural Critics
  • Webb, J. (2009) 'The book objects: writing and performance', Journal of Writing in Creative Practice 2.1: 27-44 (new journal; unranked)
  • Webb, J. (2009) 'Who is Kevin and why do we need to talk about him? Lionel Shriver, Kevin and the problem of representation', Australian Literary Studies Special Issue: Manifesting Literary Feminisms 24.3: 133-43 (ERA rank A)
  • Webb, J. (2009) 'Sentences from the archives', Performance Paradigm #5.1 (May) (ERA rank A)

Conference Publications

  • J Webb, D Brien and S Burr (2013) '"Standards, not standardisation": examining the creative arts doctorate in Australia',in Jonathan Holmes (ed), The CALTN Papers: the refereed proceedings of the Creative Arts Learning and Teaching Network symposium, 36–60
  • J Webb (2012) 'The traces of certain collisions: contemporary writing and old tropes', The Encounters: Place, Situation, Context Papers, 17th AAWP conference
  • J Webb, D Brien and S Burr (2012) 'Facing the final hurdle: creative artsPhD programs and examination', The Encounters: Place, Situation, Context Papers, 17th AAWP conference
  • J Webb, D Brien and S Burr (2012) 'Research training in the creative disciplines: the "double doctorate", the "Clayton's PhD", or "a new kind of practice"?', in the proceedings of Creative Outposts: The changing function of art & design education within Diasporic cultures and borderless communities, ACUADS conference
  • D Brien, S Burr and Webb, J. (2011) 'Ethical examiners: authority, power and the ethics of examination', in the proceedings of Ethical Imaginations: Writing Worlds, 16th conference of the AAWP
  • Webb, J. (2011) 'Ethics, writing and splinters in the heart', in the proceedings of Ethical Imaginations: Writing Worlds, 16th conference of the AAWP
  • Webb, J. (2010) 'Good to think with': words, knowing and doing' in the proceedings of Strange Bedfellows or Perfect Partners: The role of Literary Studies in Creative Writing programs, 15th conference of the AAWP
  • Webb, J. (2010) 'Critical and creative tendencies: About Naucrate', in the proceedings of Strange Bedfellows or Perfect Partners: The role of Literary Studies in Creative Writing programs, 15th conference of the AAWP (contribution to an international panel titled 'Icarus Extended')
  • Webb, J. (2009) 'Poetry and knowing', Margins and Mainstreams: Refereed conference papers of the 14th Annual AAWP Conference

Creative Works

  • J Webb (2014) 'For a painting in a rented beach house', in Australian Poetry Members Anthology 3, December
  • J Webb (2013) 'All at sea', and 'Marking time', The Lake journal (December)
  • J Webb (2013) 'The widow's point of view', in Mark Tredennick (ed), Australian Love Poems 2013, Melbourne: Inkerman & Blunt, 306
  • J Webb (2013) 'Four cities', Mascara Literary Review 13 (June),
  • J Webb and Paul Hetherington (2014) 'Viscera', installation of poetry and altered books, exhibited at Manning Clark House, Canberra, November
  • J Webb and Paul Hetherington (2014) 'Ribbons and ruminations', installation of poems and photographs in the form of 30x1.3m banners, in Unruly Orchestrations, exhibition held at the Belconnen Art Centre, Canberra, June
  • J Webb and Paul Hetherington (2013) 'Circles and intersections', installation with cheese boxes, photographs and poems, in Imagine Canberra, exhibition held at the Belconnen Art Centre, Canberra, June-July
  • J Webb (2012) 'The tariff of love', installation with story board and boxes, and with video poetry, in Non, exhibition held at First Site Gallery, Melbourne, November
  • Webb, J. (2012) 'From: Four Cities: 3. On George Street', in J Tranter (ed), The Best Australian Poems 2012, Melbourne: Black Inc, p8 (poetry)
  • L Webb and Webb, J. (2011), curated exhibition with catalogue, Making worlds, at Edith Gallery, Whanganui New Zealand, June-July
  • Webb, J. (2006) Ways of Getting By, Canberra: Ginninderra Press [collection of short fictions]
  • Webb, J. (2011) 'Painting the room', in L Webb and Webb, J., Making Worlds (exhibition catalogue), Edith Gallery, Whanganui (poetry)
  • Webb, J. (2011) 'Skin and seeds', in Chaco Kato, Pulp fiction (catalogue and artist book with poetry), Craft Victoria 2011
  • Webb, J. (2011) 'What we forget', 7 handmade story-boxes with photos and text, and with catalogue/origami book, in Creative practice, Belconnen Arts Centre, July-August
  • Webb, J.  (2010) 'Outside Euclid's box', 'Wednesday morning', 'Bête á chagrin', Mascara Literary Review 8, (poetry)
  • Webb, J. (2009) 'A book of stones, a book of air', handmade 'books' with photos and text, in Down to Earth exhibition, Canberra, May; and in Signature, Australian National Capital Artists gallery, August
  • Webb, J. (2008) 'At the end of everything', handmade book with photos and text, in NARRATIVE exhibition, Design Gallery, Canberra, April


External research funding

  • 2015: Australian Research Council Discovery Grant DP150101477: 'Working the Field: Creative Graduates in Australia and China', with Prof Justin O'Connor (Monash), Prof Shilian Shan (Shanghai Jiaotong University), and Asst Prof Scott Brook (University of Canberra)
  • 2013: Australian Research Council Discovery Grant DP130100402: 'Understanding creative excellence: A case study in poetry', with Prof Michael Biggs (U Hertfordshire), Prof Kevin Brophy (Uni Melb) and Assoc Prof Paul Magee (UC)
  • 2011: ALTC Priority Projects: 'Examination of doctoral degrees in creative arts: process, practice and standards' (with Prof D Brien, CQU)
  • 2008: The Carrick Institute Competitive Grants Program: 'Australian Writing Programs Network'; (with DL Brien, UNE, and A Bruns, QUT)
  • 2004-2007: ARC International Linkage Grant 'Urban Imaginaries / Cultural Landscapes: Asia-Pacific Transnational and Cross-Cultural Research Collaboration' (with C Turner, I McCalman and A Shoemaker, ANU, and M Morris, Lingnan University)
  • 2004-2007: ARC Discovery Grant 'Art and Human Rights: the Limits of Tolerance' (with C Turner, ANU, P Hoffie, Griffith University, and M Neale, NMA)


  • Vice-Chancellor's Award for Research in the Humanities and Creative Arts (2012)
  • Vice-Chancellor's Award for Research in the Humanities and Creative Arts (2010)
  • Vice-Chancellor's Award for Research Excellence: Research Training (2009)