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Seeking survey participants: Supporting students with disabilities to succeed in and after higher education

NCSEHE (National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education) Equity Fellow Tim Pitman is currently seeking survey respondents for his 2020 project on supporting students with disabilities to succeed in and after higher education.
This project is being conducted by Tim Pitman (Curtin University) and is funded by a grant from the NCSEHE.

Tim is investigating how Australian universities can best support students with disabilities, during their studies and beyond.

He would like to know what barriers students with disability face, both at university and when getting the work they want after graduation.

Tim wants to hear from students with disability as well as staff working in higher education institutions, regardless of whether or not their job role involves supporting students with disability.

Students completing the student survey will be eligible for entry into a prize draw. There will be ten winners, each receiving a $100 Amazon gift voucher.

Follow this link to the NCSEHE website to do the survey.

image of  Crystal Abidin and Martin Arvebro
Crystal Abidin and Martin Arvebro on youtube

Influencers & COVID-19

Follow this youtube link to watch Martin Arvebro (MA) and Crystal Abidin (PhD) discuss how the influencer business is handling the Covid-19 pandemic? How is information about the virus spread through social media? How can we make use of the quarantine and self-isolation time to reevaluate what it means to be an influencer?
Dr. Crystal Abidin is an anthropologist and ethnographer of Internet cultures, a senior researcher at Curtin University in Perth, Australia 
Recent work: “Somewhere between here and there” Negotiating Researcher Visibility in a Digital Ethnography of the Influencer Industry:…
“Private messages from the field” Confessions on digital ethnography and its discomforts:…
“Hanging Out at Home as a Lifestyle” YouTube Home Tour Vlogs in East Asia:…
Martin Arvebro  has made youtube videos since 2006, and vlogged since 1999. You can find videos about Norse Mythology, my deep-talk series Good Talk (which now has its own channel) and other info about Sweden and Swedish culture.
Facebook: ‪
Good Talk:…
Instagram: TheSwedishLad
Instagram: TheSwedishLanguage
Outro graphics by Oliver Holmgren & Erica Svejderud.

John Hartley
John Hartley


Bloomsbury Academic have offered a contract for a new book, On the Digital Semiosphere: Juri Lotman Meets the Anthropocene, by John Hartley, Indrek Ibrus and Maarja Ojamaa. This is the third volume in a ‘cultural science’ series, following Cultural Science: A Natural  History of Stories, Demes, Knowledge and Innovation (John Hartley and Jason Potts, 2014); and How We Use Stories and Why That Matters: Cultural Science in Action (John Hartley, 2020). The latest volume is complete and ready for production, so should be published later in 2020.

These are three substantial monographs, working through the intellectual/analytical issues. It seems that there never was a better time to theorise the digital semiosphere than now, when humans must at last confront the realities of ‘one planet, one species’.

Here’s the good bit: Bloomsbury Collections is free and open for general access. Both of the already-published books are available on this platform gratis: Cultural Science; How We Use Stories.

Discovery Project funding awarded

In collaboration with Nigel Rothfels (University of Wisconsin Milwaukee) and Nelly Mäekivi (University of Tartu), Matthew Chrulew (WCS, CCAT) has been awarded $201,786 in the latest round of Discovery Project funding for the project “Rethinking Zoo Biology: The Histories, Effects and Futures of Captivity”. The three-year project aims to transform our understanding of the captive management of wild animals using interdisciplinary approaches to the intersection of human and animal lives

Moving Pictures

Raising dementia awareness in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities

In Australia, limited awareness of dementia in people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds often results in delayed diagnosis, poorer prognosis, and a higher burden of care on families and health systems.

Moving Pictures, an innovative multi-media project, aims to change this through the production of 15 short films co-produced with people from Hindi-, Tamil-, Mandarin-, Cantonese and Arabic-speaking communities. For each language, there are three films: Detection and Diagnosis, Navigating Care, and the Carer Journey. These films are based on the stories and lived experiences of carers of people living with dementia, and the expert views of key service providers.

Researchers from the National Ageing Research Institute and Curtin University have collaborated closely to recruit and video interview 57 carers and 19 Key Service Providers across Australia, develop the films, a hard copy resource for each of the communities, and the Moving Pictures website ( which is mobile-optimised and will host the films, the hard copy resources and provide links to essential services and organizations for CALD families and carers. The final products of the project will be officially launched at an event to be held in March 2019.

For further information please email Lynda Durack at Curtin University

Being Digital
2019 U40 China-Australia Summer School and Symposium

• Digital Disadvantage (Ageing; Disability)
• Gaming and Young People
• Digital Design
• Smart Cities and Communities.

Dates: 20 – 22 February 2019
Venue: Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia

Organiser: Centre for Culture and Technology (CCAT), School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry, Curtin University

Co-sponsors: Tencent Research Centre, Confucius Institute (UWA), School of Design, Curtin University

Format: The 2019 China-Australia U40 Summer School and Conference will be held at Curtin University from February 20 – 22. The theme of this year’s event is Being Digital. Sub-themes include: Digital Disadvantage (Ageing; Disability), Gaming and Young People, Digital Design, and Smart Cities and Communities.

The 3-day program provides post-graduate students and emerging scholars from China and Australia with a valuable opportunity to share ideas with leading experts in the fields of digital culture, gaming and design. Opportunities to present research; and to participate in focussed workshops; as well as to be mentored by experts in specific fields form part of the program. Accommodation and lunch will be provided to our participants during the summer school.

Submissions from Masters and PhD students; and from Early Career Researchers, carrying out research related to one of the themes of the workshop are welcomed.

Applications should include:
• A CV
• A 300 to 500 words abstract relating to new and unpublished research
• All applications should be in English, and use the abstract template, which is available for download here:

Note: Successful applicants will be required to submit a research plan (long abstract) within 1,000 words and report the research plan at the summer school.

Important Dates
Abstract due: 10 December 2018
Acceptance notification: 17 December 2018
Full paper/Short paper due: 30 January 2019

Abstract submission and summer school enquiries: Qing Wang,
Other enquiries: Dr Huan Wu,

John Kinsella receiving Niall Lucy Award

2018 Niall Lucy Award

October 25, 2018

 CCAT is proud to congratulate John Kinsella on winning the 2018 Niall Lucy Award for his book Polysituatedness: A Poetics of Displacement.

The Niall Lucy Award, which includes a $5000 prize, recognizes excellence in publication in any area of Critical and Cultural Theory; Media Scholarship or Popular Music Scholarship. The award, which is sponsored by the school of Media, Culture and Creative Arts, was created in 2015 in memory of CCAT co-founder Professor Niall Lucy

John Kinsella’s book Polysituatedness: A Poetics of Displacement. Published in Manchester University Press’s Angelaki Humanities series, this volume collects a diverse range of Kinsella’s texts that together offer a new theory of place. Expanding his theory of international regionalism, Kinsella develops the concept of polysituatedness to capture the complex way we are situated in multiple relationships to local and global fields of life and language. Kinsella explores the polyvalence of place through a variety of modes: through reflection on his own poetic writing practice and its relationships to place, whether at his home in Jam Tree Gully in the West Australian wheatbelt or from the Cambridgeshire fens; through critical engagement with the writing of others, including the reinterpretation of canonical English literature and the renewed exploration of indigenous and non-indigenous Australian poetry; and through theoretical and philosophical argument. With characteristic verve, Kinsella engages deeply with political and ecological issues of migration and settlement, land rights and mining, restoration and animal life. Through various practices of writing and reading that deepen our understanding of emplacement and displacement, Kinsella makes an original contribution not only to literary fields such as ecopoetics and environmental criticism but also to critical theory and the philosophy of place.


Graduation photo
From L to R - A/Prof Henry Siling Li, A/Prof Lucy Montgomery, Dr He Zhang, Prof John Hartley

Graduation – Dr He Zhang

Congratulations to CCAT’s latest PhD graduate Dr He Zhang (Jan Zhang)! Dr Zhang’s PhD dissertation topic was: Self-representation of Chinese Migrants Using Digital Storytelling for Social inclusion. To celebrate the conferral of her Doctoral degree we asked Dr Zhang a few questions:    

1. Why did you decide to do a PhD?

I developed the interest in research during my postgraduate study. However, I was not sure about doing a PhD until I worked as a news editor in Shanghai for a year. At that time, I found the area that I was keen to doing research in – digital culture. The Chinese society was and still is going through a series of transformations due to people’s take-up of digital technology in many aspects of everyday life. The speed of technology upgrade and people’s adoption is unbelievable. As time went, the picture of doing a PhD in this area became clearer and clearer in my mind. So, when the opportunity eventually appeared, I didn’t hesitate to accept it.

2. What did you find most challenging about the PhD process?

I think the most challenging part is to make the materials I collected ‘speak’ to me. As a researcher, my assumptions are always challenged by the collected materials. That is when I need to be focused, patient, open-minded and honest in order to quiet down the assumptions and discover through data.

It was also challenging to figure out what we want to do in a PhD. Although we need advice from supervisors, it is important we figure this out on our own first. Otherwise the communication with supervisors can be ineffective, even confusing sometimes.

3. What did you enjoy the most?

The numerous moments of thinking through a point after discussing with supervisors, attending a seminar or walking on the campus. Sometimes they led to completion of a paragraph or a chapter, but most times they did not. In spite of this, this enjoyment of thinking and ‘tinkering’ makes me believe I have chosen the right path.

But they cannot compete with thesis submission, of course.

4. What advice would you give to students beginning their PhD journey?

My advice: do not hasten to make conclusions about what you may find through a PhD topic. It is natural that your understanding changes along the journey. The change is also a good sign – you have kept yourself well-informed about what you are researching.

Candidacy presentation by Qing Wang

Women starting-up in the digital creative industries in China

Throughout history technology is associated with pioneers, and most of these pioneers have been male. It’s not well known, however, that Ada Lovelace (1815 – 1852), the daughter of the English poet Lord Byron was a pioneer of computing technology. The interesting connection to note here is her relationship with culture, namely, the refined world of the arts. In this project I look at the relationship between culture and technology (or, culture + technology) as it applies to female practitioners in China.

The creative industries are used to be considered as ‘lying at the crossroads between the arts, business and technology’[1]; and as technological elements have increasingly come to the fore we have seen a shift to focus on so-called ‘digital creative industries’. This merging of culture and technology levels the playing field between genders and different income groups. We now see many people, especially younger generations, embracing creativity, digitalization, and entrepreneurism. Research on working patterns in creative sectors also has identified a close relationship between creative industries and entrepreneurship (see also: Baines & Robson, 2001; Higgs & Cunningham, 2008). Entrepreneurs are the key agents in the creative industries, and the quality of entrepreneurship affects the dynamics of this sector(Hartley et al., 2013, pp. 92-93).

This study chooses China as the research site. As a sector characterized by artistic, creative, innovative, and cultural, creative industries in China have grown rapidly over the past few years. What’s more important is that China is experiencing a digital transformation, whose speed, scope, and scale of growth and development receive much attention from the world. In order to take advantage of the increasing grassroots innovation in the digital age, for instance the popular Maker Movement, the Chinese government is promoting ‘Mass entrepreneurship and innovation’, trying to develop an entrepreneurial ethos and attract broad participation to gain robust dynamics.

In this context, and in response to United Nation’s development goal to ‘achieve gender quality and empower all women and girls’, I look at the female participation in digital creative start-ups and the emergence of female entrepreneurs in creative sectors, to identify their practices. This thesis will thus make a contribution to the knowledge of the creative industries, and will advance our understanding of the dynamics and structures that allow gender diversity, an innovative culture and entrepreneurial skills to develop.

Person presenting with PowerPoint in the background

Open Knowledge Institutions: Reinventing Universities book went live

‘This book advocates for universities to become Open Knowledge Institutions which Institutionalise our world’s creative diversity to contribute to the stock of human knowledge’

This book is available in Open Access via an interactive commentary platform developed by MIT Media Lab run by MIT Press.

Can 13 authors, from the USA, Germany, Australia, China and South Africa, many previously unknown to one another, get together and, from scratch, write a 150-page book –– on a topic none of them has tackled before –– in 5 days?

If the group in question is committed to the same goals as MIT’s PubPub platform, to “socialize the process of knowledge creation”; and if the process they use is a Book Sprint, a professionally facilitated “collaborative process that captures the knowledge of a group of experts in a single book,“ then the answer is yes.

What drew our diverse group together is “open knowledge.” By this we mean not just the technical specifics of open access publishing or open source computing, and not just a general commitment to an open society, open government or open science, but a need to understand how these technical and social possibilities can be brought together in open knowledge institutions.

Specifically, how can the most long-lasting, successful and expanding version of a knowledge institution –– the university –– face the mounting challenges of global, digital and contested knowledge systems, in order to transform universities into Open Knowledge Institutions?

We present the results of our work here to the wider community for annotation, commentary, constructive criticism and engagement, with a view to extending the collaborative spirit further. We want the book to gain further analytical richness and precision from crowd-sourced expertise. You are invited to join us as we work through some of the issues that may enable or stand in the way of socialising knowledge itself.

Visit the London School of Economics and Political Science blog site for further information.

Also featured on the European Commission’s Responsible Research and Innovation Toolkit.


Person watching television

Australian TV well behind in accessibility for vision impaired

August, 2018

More than 453,000 Australians are known to live with blindness or vision impairment. Despite this substantial number, Australia remains the only English-speaking OECD country in the world that doesn’t require its broadcasters or streaming services to provide audio description.

Most English-speaking countries introduced such mandatory legislation at least 10 years ago. In addition, according to Article 30 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – Australia is required to ensure people with disabilities can “enjoy access to television programmes, films … and other cultural activities, in accessible formats”.

Why is Australia so far behind?

“We really missed opportunities when we transitioned from analogue to digital television,” says Associate Professor Mike Kent, the Acting Head of Curtin’s School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Enquiry. Read the full interview.

For more information visit Audio Description Discussion in Australia website.


1970s televisions stacked on one another

Ground-breaking TV studies book turns 40

July 18, 2018

In 1978, humanities scholars worldwide were profoundly affected by the release of Reading Television, a book by UK Professors John Hartley and John Fiske, who had drawn on the new sciences of semiotics and linguistics to analyse how TV was playing such an important role in Western culture.

The book challenged the dominant thought of scholars at the time – that TV was not worthy of cultural study – and went on to have an astonishing impact, catapulting both professors to research fame and helping to establish television studies as a new field of research.

In celebration of Reading Television’s 40th anniversary, we chatted to Professor Hartley, now the cultural science program leader for Curtin’s Centre for Culture and Technology, a Member of the Order of Australia and a John Curtin Distinguished Professor, about his memories of writing the book, his thoughts on its impact and his current research. To read the full interview follow this link.



Our very own Cultural Science Journal has been re-launched!

Cultural Science Journal is an interdisciplinary journal, taking advantage of recent advances in evolutionary and complexity sciences, to investigate cultural systems at micro (agent), meso (institution) and macro (network) scale. We are interested in the production of new ideas and knowledge, especially across disputed borders between systems, groups and identities.

Call for papers!

Cultural Science Journal is delighted to announce its successful migration to the Ubiquity Press platform. We are now ready to receive submissions and look forward to publishing our first volume with Ubiquity Press (volume 10) in 2018.

New project for CCAT Adjunct Burcu Simsek

CCAT Adjunct Researcher A/Prof Burcu Simsek started working as a media expert and researcher in the “Inclusive Early Childhood Education for Children with Disabilities” Project that is a European Union Funded research and implementation project that will be conducted by UNICEF in cooperation with Ministry of Education in Turkey in 2017-2020.

Lucy and Xiang

Do Books have a Future? Research Workshop on Automated Knowledge and Autonomous Publishing Infrastructure

On 2-3 November 2017, CCAT Director Lucy Montgomery delivered a well-received research seminar at ACIAC, Western Sydney University.  She was joined by CCAT Adjunct Xiang Ren on a panel discussing open knowledge and publising.  Full article here.

Tama and Katie

2017 Humanities Research Celebration

Congratulations to all for a wonderful afternoon celebrating our research.  A special congratulations to our CCAT Researchers, who were awarded the following prizes:

Book of the Year – General (joint winner)
Katie Ellis (MCCA) Disability Media Work: Opportunities and Obstacles

Journal Article of the Year – General
Tama Leaver with Tim Highfield (MCCA) Instagrammatics and Digital Methods: Studying Visual Social Media, from Selfies and GIFs to Memes and Emoji.

There was also a HDR Research Poster competition, where prizes were awarded for the poster that best showcased aspects of a Higher-Degree Research Project.  CCAT’s PhD student Shanshan Liu won the People’s Choice Award, with her poster titled “Visual Social Media Vernacular Responses to the environmental Issues in China”.

Well done Katie, Tama and Shanshan!

Group photo

CCAT Adjunct Crystal Abidin Guest Professor in Denmark

From 31 July to 11 August 2017, CCAT Adjunct Research Fellow Dr Crystal Abidin was invited to be Guest Professor at the “Digital Living: Identities and Complexities” Summer School at Aarhus University in Denmark. As an interdisciplinary course open to students in Aarhus University and abroad, Crystal drew on her expertise to run seminars and give lectures on topics including Internet Celebrity, Internet Antagonisms, and Internet Paralanguages, among other digital media topics. The course was well received by 27 international students and future collaborations with the School of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University are in the works.


Field Philosophy and Other Experiements – 23/24 June 2017

In June the École normale supérieure in Paris hosted the symposium Field Philosophy and Other Experiments. The symposium drew on contemporary work in the environmental humanities, multispecies studies and philosophical ethology to ask what “field philosophy” might be or become. Participants included Dominique Lestel, Isabelle Stengers, Vinciane Despret, Thom van Dooren, Michelle Bastian, Hugo Reinert, and CCAT’s own Matthew Chrulew and Anna-Katharina Laboissière. Organised by Brett Buchanan with help from Dr Chrulew and others, and supported by CCAT, the Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network and Laurentian University, Field Philosophy was a productive opportunity for interdisciplinary exchange and experimentation. A journal issue arising from the symposium is being edited by Drs Buchanan, Chrulew and Bastian.

2016 ARC Success

8 February 2017

CCAT Members have been incredibly successful over the past year receiving the following National Teaching and ARC grants:

  • ARC DECRA – $363,592 – Dr Matthew Chrulew – Philosophical Ethology – commenced May 2016
  • ARC Linkage – $263,762 – Prof Dawn Bennett – Making Music Work – 2016-18
  • OLT Senior National Teaching Fellowship – $250,000 – Prof Dawn Bennett – 2017-18
  • ARC Discovery – $187,222 – Dr Katie Ellis & Dr Mike Kent – Navigating urban spaces – funding for 2017
  • ARC Discovery – $249,500 – Prof Michael Keane –Digital China: from cultural presence to innovative nation – funding for 2017
  • ARC Indigenous Discovery – $312,400 – Prof Kim Scott – Mobilising song archives to nourish an endangered indigenous language – Sydney University – 2017-19.

Congratulations to all involved on an amazing effort!

Sean Gorman

2016 Niall Lucy Award

September 15, 2016

CCAT is proud to congratulate Dr Sean Gorman on winning the 2016 Niall Lucy Award for his work on racism in Australian sport.

The Niall Lucy Award, which includes a $5000 prize, recognizes excellence in publication in any area of Critical and Cultural Theory; Media Scholarship or Popular Music Scholarship. The award, which is sponsored by the school of Media, Culture and Creative Arts, was created in 2015 in memory of CCAT co-founder Professor Niall Lucy.

Dr Gorman authored a Special Issue of Sports in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics with Dean Lusher and Keir Reeves, titled “The Biggest Game in Town: An Analysis of the AFL’s Vilification Policy”. The special issue is one of the outputs of an Australian Research Council Linkage project examining Indigenous and multicultural diversity and masculinity in the Australian Football League: a project that has provided the AFL with key recommendations for improving the quality of education programs dealing with diversity across the sport.

In 2015, the Award was won by Dr Matthew Chrulew for his outstanding contribution to the field of philosophical ethology.

Katie Ellis and Eleanor Sandry

CCAT Researchers Shine in Curtin Humanities Research Awards

September 6, 2016

Once again CCAT Researchers stole the show at the annual Humanities Research celebration! Their wins are testament to their energy, commitment and talent – and we couldn’t be prouder.

Dr Katie Ellis took home the prize for Book of the Year for Disability and Popular Culture (Routledge, 2015).

Dr Eleanor Sandry’s book Robots and Communication (Palgrave, 2015) won the faculty’s award for Best Book by an Early Career Researcher.

Dr Sandry also took home the prize for Best Journal Article by an Early Career Researcher for her article “Re-evaluating the form and communication of social robots: the benefits of collaborating with machinelike robots”.

Dr Matthew Chrulew took home the award for Best Book Chapter by an Early Career Researcher for “Genealogies of the Secular”.

He also won the prize for Minor Creative Work of the Year (Early Career Researcher Category) for his short story “The Mamontogist’s Tale”.

Congratulations to all!

QUT Summer School

Digital Method Summer School

July 28, 2016

On 15 February 2016, Alkim Ozaygen and Shanshan Liu joined the 2016 Digital Method Summer School hosted by Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) Digital Media Research Centre at Brisbane.  It was a week-long programme and provided an opportunity to learn vital research skills and develop networks with others in the social media research field. Both enjoyed exchanging opinions and sharing knowledge with people from different countries during the week.

Gorman book

Book Launch:  The Biggest Game in Town: An analysis of the AFL’s Vilification Policy

June 30, 2016

Dr Sean Gorman’s latest publication The Biggest Game in Town was launched at Deakin Edge in Melbourne’s Federation Square on the 25 May 2016. The, book, which was co-authored with Dean Lusher and Keir Reeves, reports on the findings of an Australian Research Council ‘Linkage’ project led by Dr Gorman. The project examined the Australian Football League’s Rule 35: the first code of conduct in the world to be introduced by an elite sporting organization to deal with racial, religious and sexual vilification. The book begins by exploring Australian social and sporting history, before going on to present case studies of nine complete AFL clubs.

The MC for the launch event was well known sports writer and historian John Harms. Speakers included  Brett Johnson, the general manager of player development at the Australian Football Players Association and Mr Chin Tan, Director of Multicultural engagement at Swinburne University.