Print this page

2014 Seminars

1 Oct

The nexus between research and policy: where Government, researchers, institutions and 'the short answer' collide

Presenter: Stephen Cassidy
Location 5B55b
Time: 10.30-11.30am

Increasingly governments have looked more broadly than the public service for the ideas and evidence to develop policy. The public service has also become less and less able to undertake its own research as budget cuts and staff exits take their toll. Specialised research units within the public service have disappeared or become less important and a range of private think tanks have offered ideologically compatible sources of competing advice to government. In this context, there are various ways in which governments can source research and in which research can inform policy. This complex process should deliver strong evidence-based policy which ensures government acts effectively and transparently for maximum impact. Some of the challenges for government, researchers and research institutions and industry bodies in ensuring this occurs will be considered.
This presentation considered a range of mechanisms which have been used for arts and cultural research in the last decade or so, looking at the partnerships involved and some of the issues thrown up along the way. Examples will range widely but will draw upon the experience of the National Cultural Policy, the National Indigenous Languages Policy, the Indigenous Contemporary Music Action Plan and the Digital Content Industry Action Agenda.

Presenter Biography: Stephen Cassidy is a cultural researcher, writer and commentator who has worked across the Australian cultural sector for the last 35 years. This has spanned research, programs and policy in government, museums, community radio, publishing and community arts in four states and territories at local, state and national level. Most recently he spent over 13 years working for a range of Australian Government departments developing programs and policies to support Australian artists, cultural organisations and creative industries. This has encompassed work across a wide range of areas – creative industries and digital content, including contemporary music and literature – Indigenous culture and languages and intangible cultural heritage and traditional cultural expressions. He was Director of the Task Force set up to coordinate the development of the the National Cultural Policy, drafted the Indigenous Contemporary Music Action Plan and played an instrumental role in the adoption of Australia's first National Indigenous Languages Policy. Before this he was a Community Arts Officer in local government, Arts Officer for the ACTU, Development Manager at Community Radio Station 2SER-FM and Membership Manager for the Powerhouse Museum.
He blogs at and is on Twitter at

3 Sep

Naming and Shaming for Minor Crimes in Victoria

Presenter: Dr Lisa Waller
Location 5B55b
Time: 10.30-11.30am

This exploratory study examined the power of the news media to publically name and shame ordinary people who receive non-convictions for committing minor crimes. This is an issue of national importance because the news media can now impose relatively permanent public records in digital space. It is also topical in light of the 'Right to be forgotten' campaign stemming from Europe. The study focused on two regions in Victoria identified for having news outlets that regularly identify ordinary people who receive non-convictions. It sought a range of perspectives from those involved in the court reporting process, including newspaper editors, reporters, police prosecutors, defence lawyers, victims of crime, offenders and magistrates. Findings include geographically determined inequalities in the reporting of non-convictions; concerns about the impact of this reporting practice on people with mental illnesses; and evidence of a range of media-related practices shaping the judicial process.

Presenter Biography: Lisa Waller is a Senior Lecturer in Journalism and teaches at both undergraduate and postgraduate level in the School of Communication and Creative Arts at Deakin University. Her current research interests include Media and Indigenous Policy in Australia, research methodologies for journalism, media representation and the legal system, as well as regional and rural news media. She has previously worked as a senior journalist on metropolitan daily newspapers including The Australian Financial Review, The Australian and The Canberra Times.

28 Aug

Covering Traumatic Events

Presenter: Bruce Shapiro
Location 5B50
Time: 2.30-3.30pm

In this special N&MRC seminar, Bruce Shapiro will address the issues surrounding covering traumatic events without traumatising yourself or those you report on.

Presenter Biography: Bruce Shapiro is the Executive Director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. The Dart Center encourages innovative reporting on violence, conflict and tragedy worldwide from the Center's headquarters in New York City. An award-winning reporter on human rights, criminal justice and politics, Shapiro is a contributing editor at The Nation and U.S. correspondent for Late Night Live on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio National. He is also Senior Executive Director for Professional Programs at Columbia.

26 Aug

Working With The Crowd: Engaging Participation in Online Crowds and Communities

Presenter: Professor Caroline Haythornthwaite
Location The Ferguson Room, the National Library of Australia
Time: 5.30-7.00pm

The organization of work is changing. The change began with the first move to online communication and has accelerated with each new innovation in social media and social networking. The latest challenge entails harnessing the crowd – crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, crowd creativity, and more – to address work needs. This focus promises the contributory power of many without the obligation to plan for long-term maintenance of the workforce. The turn to the crowd represents a marked change from earlier attention to communities. What have we gained and lost in focusing on the crowd over the community? What do we know about each form of organizing that can help in matching tasks and goals to crowd and community options? How can we harness the power of crowds as well as the commitment of communities? This presentation outlines two models for design and analysis of contributory practice: a lightweight model that draws on a crowd perspective to address tasks and rewards from discrete contributors, and a heavyweight model that draws on a community perspective to address contributions from connected contributors. The future of crowdsourcing entails multiple models of contributory practice, some of which entail full commitment to the goals of the work, trust in the use of contributions, and payoffs – however near or far – for society, the environment, and the next generation.

Presenter Biography: Caroline Haythornthwaite is the Director and Professor of Library, Archival and Information Studies at The iSchool at The University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada. Her research areas explore the way interaction, via computer media, supports and affects work, learning, and social interaction, primarily from a social-network-analysis perspective.

2 Jul

Crowdsourcing and Critique

Presenter: Associate Professor Mathieu O'Neil
Location pC25
Time: 10.30-11.30am

Online, the 'crowd' or 'multitude' of ordinary people produces or curates a wide array of cultural and technological artefacts. The proliferation of terms such as co-creation (whereby consumers actively contribute to product development alongside firms), prosumption, produsage, mass customization, peer production, user-generated content, wikinomics, and open innovation, to name a few, are symptomatic of the fact that when labor becomes immaterial, communication and production tend to converge. Drawing on recent research into distributed online projects such as free software, free culture, and virtual environments, this presentation examines several critiques of crowdsourcing. Starting with a utility perspective, I define the efficiency benefits and costs of crowdsourcing. I next consider sociological approaches, such as 'critical sociology', which aims to unveil exploitation and domination, and the 'sociology of critique', which focuses on the critiques formulated by people in everyday situations. I argue that these approaches should better account for the central characteristic of user-led crowdsourcing, the abjuration of exclusive property rights. I present a new taxonomy of crowdsourced organisations, defined by their ethical logic and modular structure, and conclude with a critique of information exceptionalism, as crowdsourcing begins to expand to the sphere of hardware production.

Presenter Biography: Mathieu joined the University of Canberra in October 2013. He is also an Adjunct Research Fellow at the Australian National University's Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute. Mathieu is a Graduate of the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Fontenay / St-Cloud. He previously lectured in American Society and Politics at the Université Stendhal - Grenoble 3, and has also worked as a magazine editor and exhibition curator.

18 Jun

Politics, Media and Democracy in Australia: Public and Producer Perceptions of the Australian Political Public Sphere

Presenter: Professor Terry Flew 
Location: 9C25
Time: 10.30-11.30am

This presentation will report on an Australian Research Council-funded project into the relationship between the political media and their publics in Australia. It will discuss three aspects of such a research initiative. First, it considers the relationship between theories of the 'political public sphere' and an empirical mapping of it in the Australian context. This brings to the fore debates about the relationship between 'hard news' formats, or those focused on established political institutions, with the proliferation of infotainment, participatory and satirical genres that have emerged to convey political news in new ways or to different audiences. Second, it will discuss focus group work being undertaken to gauge a cross-section of Australian community responses to different forms of political news, ranging from Insiders to Q&A to The Project, and Mad as Hell to Kitchen Cabinet to The Bolt Report. Finally, it discusses insights being developed from those closely involved with managing the media/politics relationship in Australia, including program producers, political advisers and strategists, and political journalists.

Presenter Biography: Terry Flew is Professor of Media and Communications in the Creative Industries Faculty at the Queensland University of Technology. He is the author of New Media: An Introduction (Oxford, 2014 - 4th Edition), Understanding Global Media (Palgrave, 2007), The Creative Industries, Culture and Policy (Sage, 2012), Global Creative Industries (Policy, 2013), and Media Economics Palgrave, 2014 (forthcoming)). Professor Flew is a member of the Australian Research Council College of Experts for Humanities and Creative Arts, and the Research Evaluation Committee (REC) Committee for Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA). During 2011-2012, Professor Flew was seconded to the Australian Law Reform Commission to chair the National Classification Scheme Review. He is a Chief Investigator on an Australian Research Council Discovery-Project (DP130100705) on Politics, media and democracy in Australia: public and producer perceptions of the political public sphere, with Brian McNair, Stephen Harrington, Adam Swift, Barbara Gligorijevic and Mimi Tsai.

4 Jun

Twitter as a decolonising agent for journalistic practice: some case studies

Presenter: Melissa Sweet and Luke Pearson
Location: 6C35 Time: 10.30-11.30am

In the first part of this presentation, Melissa Sweet will examine the role of Twitter in a decolonising methodology for journalistic practice, in particular its contribution to transformational learning, reflexivity and relationship-building. She will outline some case studies, including the recent Indigenous Health MayDay Twitter-fest (#IHMayDay) and the @WePublicHealth Twitter account, that are helping to inform her PhD's long-form work of journalism.

In the second part of the presentation, Luke Pearson will reflect upon his experience in establishing the successful rotated, curated Twitter account, @IndigenousX, as a case-study of community-led digital innovation (Sweet et al, 2013). He will also discuss the role of initiatives such as the NCIE's Community of Excellence, an online forum for Indigenous youth. 

Presenter Biography: Melissa Sweet is a freelance journalist and health writer and an adjunct senior lecturer in the Sydney School of Public Health at the University of Sydney. She is currently undertaking her PhD in the Faculty of Arts and Design.

Luke Pearson is a Gamilaroi man and the creator of social media project @IndigenousX and is also an experienced educator, mentor, facilitator and public speaker. Luke created @IndigenousX as a space for Indigenous people from all walks of life to tell their stories. An online forum for Indigenous youth, the Community of Excellence, is among the projects he works on at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence, based in Redfern, Sydney.

21 May

kaupapa Maori ethics in the media

Presenter: Dr Andrew Dickson, Massey University
Location: 9C25
Time: 10.30-11.30am

Weight is a contested concept, one that inspires particular interest in the news media. News media coverage of body weight and related issues remains fairly uniform, tending towards sensationalism often despite evidence that presents a far more mundane reality.The impact of this sensationalism is clearly evident when looking at the New Zealand news media coverage of Maori health generally (smoking, drinking cancer and others) (Nairn et al, 2006) and Maori weight specifically (Burrows, 2009).
In this seminar we 'weigh in' on this topic using a discursive framework drawn from the psychoanalytic theory of Jacques Lacan (Lacan, 2007). In particular we examine how cases where Maori health 'subjected to science' through health interventions have become re-presented in the news media. By applying Lacan's theory of discourses we will rethink the ethical impact of scientific colonialism via the news media on indigenous conceptualisations of health and Wellness.

Presenter Biography: Andrew Dickson is lecturer in organization studies at Massey University, New Zealand. He is a graduate of biochemistry and business. His PhD was a Lacanian autoethnography of the weight-loss industry. His research interests involve applying a psychoanalytic lens to topics in the wider 'health' industry including; the impact of managerialism; gender relations; and embodied alienation in the sport sector.

7 May

'Little Data': Personal analytics, affective knowledge and the networked 'body work' of fitness apps

Presenter: Assistant Professor Glen Fuller
Location: 9C25
Time: 10.30-11.30am

Practices of self-documentation have long been a part of fitness and weight-loss oriented activity. There has been an increase over the last five or six years in the use of smartphone and web-based 'apps', combined with a localised network of sensors, to enable the personal tracking of activity. 'Tracking' has become a buzzword that refers to practices of self-documentation and it is these practices that produce the 'Little Data' that you may see shared on social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Google+) from activity-oriented platforms (RunKeeper, Strava, MyFitnessPal and many others). The goal is to explore personal analytics from the perspective of 'Little Data'. 'Little Data' is the representational framing of analytics information produced by a personalised parsing of a 'Big Data' aggregate (produced by anonymised tracking of all other relevant users' activities). Guiding questions include: How do people make sense of this information? How is it incorporated into their ongoing activity? What new cultural practices and cultural values have emerged in the era of 'collective intelligence' and app-based personal tracking?

Presenter Biography: Dr Glen Fuller completed his PhD in 2007. It investigated the relation between enthusiasm and niche or specialist media through fieldwork and a 30 year history of the scene of modified-car culture in Australia. From 2008-2011 he worked in the magazine industry in a number of different positions and has worked freelance since 2002. He has taught across a number of universities.

2 Apr

Problematising digital public engagement: the politics of academics going online

Presenter: Professor Deborah Lupton
Location: 9C25

Abstract: In this presentation I will discuss the importance of adopting a reflexive and critical approach to engaging as a digital academic. Using digital tools to establish an online presence offers many benefits for academics. But we also need to be aware of the potential negative aspects of this type of professional activity, or what I have entitled 'the politics of digital public engagement'. I will draw upon some findings from my recent online survey of over 700 academics globally who use social media as part of their work in discussing the potential and pitfalls of these practices as well as some of the theoretical perspectives discussed in a chapter on this topic that will appear in my forthcoming book Digital Sociology.

Presenter Biography: Deborah Lupton joined the university in early 2014 as a Centenary Research Professor associated with the News & Media Research Centre in the Faculty of Arts & Design. Her research and teaching is multidisciplinary, incorporating sociology, media and communication and cultural studies. She is the author of 13 books and over 130 journal articles and book chapters. She is an advocate of using social media for academic research and engagement, including Twitter (@DALupton) and her blog This Sociological Life.