CCI news from the Director

Publication date: 
1 September 2011

New Deputy Director, thanks to Research Director

Jean Burgess has been confirmed by the ARC in the new position of Deputy Director. John Hartley has decided to step down from his role as Research Director to concentrate on his major project in the centre, Cultural Science, and also his continuing role in Risk and Representation.

Jean says this: “I am delighted to be taking on the role of Deputy Director at this moment in the Centre's history - a moment where our work is more relevant than ever, given the multiple national media and cultural policy reviews currently taking place against a backdrop of significant disruption centred around the digital media environment. It is also a moment which sees a number of new Chief Investigators and university nodes join the Centre, bringing with them new projects and new inputs to our forward research agenda, particularly in the digital media area. I am particularly committed to developing meaningful and productive collaborations across all the nodes of the centre, through sustained ongoing collaboration as well as strategic events like our regular Symposia and roundtables. I look forward to continuing the momentum that has been building among our outstanding Early Career Researchers. We have continued to receive very positive feedback from participants in our Emerging Scholars workshops, which have increasingly focused on providing opportunities for peer learning, collaboration and co-authorship. The sustained connections and relationships that are developing among our Early Career Researchers through the CCI have already led to new ideas and concrete collaborations; and will be an essential part of the legacy and future research agenda of the Centre.”

As we were able to do at July’s Symposium, this is again the place to acknowledge the tremendous role that John Hartley as Research Director has played throughout the life of the centre, and of course well before that in terms of the planning and work to make the original bid back in 2004. John’s thought leadership and exceptionally high standards of academic performance have set benchmarks that have lifted the centre and set its sights very high.

New partners

The centre has taken on an enhanced shape with the formal admission of UNSW, RMIT University and Deakin University as institutional partners. This means we can also warmly welcome new Chief Investigators Stephanie Donald and Larissa Hjorth (RMIT), Catharine Lumby (UNSW), and Deb Verhoeven (Deakin). Chief Investigator Denise Meredyth moves from Swinburne to RMIT as does Christoph Antons from Wollongong to Deakin. Our partnership with UNSW means that we will be holding our next symposium in Sydney from 16-18 November. We are currently finalising the symposium program which will be sent to all on our mailing list.

Our Advisory Board is also morphing. Farewell to Margaret Seares whose contributions to the board's deliberations have been characterised by great authority and value, particularly her role in urging us to develop a CCI ‘narrative’, the first draft of which is here: http://tiny.cc/5bstb. And welcome to Tony Bennett who has generously accepted our offer to join the Board, and will attend his first meeting in November. Tony joined UWS as Research Professor in Social and Cultural Theory at the Centre for Cultural Research in 2009, and is a member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. His influential work in the fields of literary theory, cultural studies, cultural sociology, and museum studies has been translated into many languages, and he has worked in a consulting or advisory capacity for a range of governmental organisations, including UNESCO and the Council of Europe, and conducted research collaborations with a wide range of cultural sector and government organisations in Australia and Britain.

CCI Symposium

Our symposium in late July, our tenth, was our best attended yet, with over 100 registrations for the main symposium and over 70 research higher degree students participating in the Emerging Scholars workshop. New QUT Creative Industries Executive Dean Rod Wissler welcomed delegates. The symposium opened with Advisory Board chair Terry Cutler addressing ‘The Big Picture: how socio-cultural research fits into the broader innovation framework’, proceeded by a panel on Policy Convergence featuring Malcolm Long, Terry Flew and Richard Eccles, leaders of current policy and review processes dealing with media and culture in Australia. There were also a number of international guests who featured as keynote speakers and discussion leaders around the symposium themes: policy convergence, social innovation and media ethnography—Yudhishthir (Raj) Isar, Professor of Global Communications and Jean Monnet Professor of Cultural Policy Studies at The American University of Paris; T.L. Taylor, renowned internet and games studies scholar based in the Center for Computer Games Research at the IT University of Copenhagen; and Arthur Grau, community manager and social network organiser for ‘Applications for Good’ at One Economy in the US.

Amongst much else, the symposium featured Benchmarker (see http://www.benchmarker.org.au/), a case study of policy- and industry-relevant research. The project got this notice from our Advisory Board Chair, Terry Cutler in a speech to Oracle Thought Leaders in August called Are we innovating enough?

"Another outstanding example of the value of granular sectoral data is the Creative Business Benchmarker developed by the Centre for Creative Industries and Innovation for the Queensland Government. This is a unique business tool that allows firms to compare their own performance to similar firms in Queensland, measuring firm productivity, profitability, growth and exports. For individual firms it provides a practical performance tracking and diagnostic tool, for industry associations it provides an authoritative and dynamic situation analysis, and for Government it provides, almost uniquely, a tool to track the impact of industry development initiatives and the return on investment. The greater deployment of such granular performance measurement tools would greatly enhance the evaluation of how innovation is working on the ground, and help to better focus the efforts of all parties."

The symposium also saw the launch of five books written or edited by Centre staff: Copyright Future Copyright Freedom edited by Brian Fitzgerald and Benedict Atkinson; Communication, Cultural and Media Studies: The Key Concepts (Fourth Edition) by John Hartley; Creative Industries and Economic Evolution by Jason Potts; China’s Creative Industries by Lucy Montgomery; and The Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights: Comparative Perspectives from the Asia-Pacific Region edited by Christoph Antons. The centre’s incredibly productive researchers continue to produce core academic outputs of high relevance and quality.

The feedback we have received from those who attended has been overwhelmingly positive, and we look forward to continuing the momentum and dialogue at our next symposium from 16-18 November at UNSW. Video and images of the July Symposium are now available at http://t.co/aXtyco4.

Our brilliant early career researchers!

CCI Senior Research Associate Mark Ryan played a key role in QUT’s purchase of one of the nation's largest collections of ozploitation and art house films. The titles were amongst 20,000 videos and DVDs put on the market after the closure of Brisbane’s much-loved cult film rental shop Trash Video. Over 500 zombie flicks and Ozploitation reels like Alvin Purple, The Adventures of Barry McKenzie and Mad Dog Morgan are now firmly ensconced in the university's archives at Kelvin Grove. The story was widely reported in the media including the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Screen Hub.

CCI PhD candidate Sonja Vivienne participated in The Oxford Internet Institute’s Summer Doctoral Programme this July, joining a multidisciplinary assortment of PHD researchers and presenters from around the world, discussing themes of ‘privacy’ ‘participation’ and ‘representation’ from computer science, social science, political, legal and cultural perspectives via a range of qualitative, quantitative and hybrid research methodologies. Sonja has blogged about her experiences at http://www.cciresearchspace.org/

Kylie Pappalardo, PhD Candidate in CCI and QUT’s School of Law, undertook the Master of Laws Program at Georgetown University in Washington DC From August 2010 to May 2011. Kylie graduated on the Dean's List and with the Thomas B. Chetwood S.J. Prize for the student with the best GPA in the LLM General Program. She shares her experience in her blog at http://www.cciresearchspace.org/ ‘One year in Washington DC’.

Policy developments in Australia

The CCI has been active in contributing to several inquiries and policy development processes happening this year. As reported to you last newsletter, Terry Flew is chair of a comprehensive review for the Federal Government into the classification of television, film, music, online content, video games and advertising. Recently CCI and Swinburne partner the Institute for Social Research (ISR), hosted the Content Crisis and Convergence Roundtable, which was attended by over 80 people at UNSW’s downtown campus. The Roundtable sought to provide a platform for those interested in what the research tells us about convergence, and how researchers and citizens can make a positive contribution at this important moment in Australian public policy. The event program and audio are available at http://tiny.cc/k3hxn (program) and http://tiny.cc/20zug (audio). The CCI’s substantial submission to the Convergence Review by Ben Goldsmith, Stuart Cunningham and Julian Thomas is available at http://tiny.cc/3tonq. A supplementary submission to the convergence review was prepared by Ben Goldsmith and Stuart Cunningham and is available at http://tiny.cc/l5jkc. And in his capacity as CHASS board member, Stuart Cunningham chaired a National Cultural Policy Workshop in Sydney in August. CCI is currently preparing a substantial submission to the National Cultural Policy process, after last year making a submission in the consultation phase (available at http://tiny.cc/x1s0f).