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Digital China Lab

Digital China Lab

The Digital China Lab is a program in the Centre for Culture and Technology (CCAT) within the Faculty of Humanities at Curtin University.

The Digital China Lab is an important initiative, acknowledging the central role that China plays in Australia’s future with both nations looking to secure new sustainable economic models and to break away from reliance on manufacturing and extractive industries respectively.

The Digital China Lab facilitate trans-disciplinary research collaboration in digital media and creative industries, journalism, creative writing and e-publishing, digital health services, digital design, data visualisation, and digitally enable learning technologies.

The Digital China Lab combines three modes of knowledge:

  • Scholarly research
  • Business engagement
  • Analysis of cultural and innovation policy;

The Digital China Lab draws upon experts in Chinese culture and digital media at Curtin University as well as an established network of local and international scholars.

Program leader

Professor Michael Keane

Michael’s key research interests are digital transformation in China; East Asian cultural and media policy; and creative industries and cultural export strategies in China and East Asia.


Dr. Susan Leong

Dr. Qian Gong

Professor John Hartley

Associate Professor Lucy Montgomery

Associate Professor Henry Siling Li

Associate Professor Tama Leaver

Associate Professor Mike Kent

Dr. Eleanor Sandry

Associate Professor Katie Ellis

Dr. Huan Wu

Visiting scholars and research students

Chen GUO (PhD candidate) September 2016 –

Shanshan LIU (PhD candidate) March 2015 –

Yaoxia ZHU (PhD Candidate) March 2015 –

Qing WANG (PhD candidate) Feb 2018 –

Xinyang ZHAO (PhD candidate) Feb 2018 –

Ying CHEN (visiting scholar Zhejiang University of Finance and Economics) Sept 2016 – Sept 2017

Shan Wang (visiting scholar Nanjing University) Sept 2017 – Nov 2018

Yao CAO (PhD Candidate) Feb 2018 –

Juan KONG (visiting scholar) December 2017 -February 2018

Monique Bolli (visiting scholar Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) March-April 2017

Guanhua SU (PhD candidate) Oct 2018 –

Jindan CHEN (visiting scholar) March 2018 – March 2019


We conduct research in collaboration with Chinese universities and with scholars globally. A list of our publications can be found below.

Topics of interest for aspiring PhD students include:

  • Digital connectivity and changing consumption practices;
  • The Internet of Things, maker cultures and digital innovation hubs;
  • Media collaborations in film, TV and games;
  • Emerging markets for creative content;
  • Challenges to traditional media;
  • Digital literature and publishing;
  • Digitisation of traditional cultural resources;
  • Digital technologies and disabled, minority or aging communities;
  • Crowdfunding and the sharing economy;
  • Online distribution and consumption of cultural artefacts;
  • Second screen culture, apps, and user communities;
  • Copyright and open source;
  • Big data and gamification. 

Download a bilingual introduction to the Digital China Lab.

Current research projects

Digital China: from Cultural Presence to Innovative Nation. ARC Discovery (2017-19). This project investigates the emergence, and global business challenges facing China’s internet communication companies, symbolised by Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent (BAT). It looks at how these businesses are internationalising in the Asia Pacific and how their success contributes to China’s national soft power. It uses social media analytics to construct a Chinese Cultural Power metric.  Chief investigator Prof Michael Keane (Curtin), Dr Brian Yecies (UoW), Dr Susan Leong (Curtin) and Dr Elaine Zhao (UNSW). Partner investigators Prof Anthony Fung (Chinese University of Hong Kong), Prof Ming Cheung (Auckland University of Technology). Prof Yahong Li (Hong KO(ng University)

Willing Collaborators: Negotiating change in East Asian Media Production. ARC Discovery (2014-16). The project investigates collaboration in media content and services: including coproduction, formats, and the provision of technical, human resources and consulting services in film, TV, documentary, animation and online content. Chief investigator Prof Michael Keane, Dr Brian Yecies (UoW), Prof Terry Flew (QUT), Prof Anthony Fung (Chinese University of Hong Kong), Prof Michael Curtin (University of California Santa Barbara).

Harnessing Australian-Chinese’s Cultural Fluency to Bridge the Export Gap. Australia-China Council 2016 -17. This project seeks to use Chinese-Australians’ cultural fluency to bridge the gap and boost Australian small and medium businesses’ ability to export to China. The main objective is to harness cultural capital already resident in Australia to aid its export ambitions: Investigators Dr Susan Leong, Prof Michael Keane (Curtin University), Dr Ling Deng (RMIT), Dr George Tan (University of Adelaide)


Feb 7-11, 2017 Summer School at Curtin University ‘Cultures of Knowledge: Creative Economy and China.

Nov 30 – Dec 1, 2015 Culture+ Symposium, held at Curtin University in collaboration with Beijing

Publications (2015- to date)


  1. Keane, M. (Ed.) (2016) Handbook of China’s Cultural and Creative Industries. Cheltenham Edward Elgar Publishing.
  2. Hartley, J. Wen, Wen, and Li, Henry (2015). Creative Economy and Culture: Challenges, Changes and Futures for the Creative Industries. London: Sage
  3. Keane, M. (2015) China’s Television Industries. London BFI, Palgrave.
  4. Hartley, J. and Qu, Weiguo (eds.) (2015) Re-Orientation: Translingual, Transcultural Transmedia Studies in Narrative, Language, Identity and Knowledge. Shanghai: Fudan University Press

Book chapters

  1. Leong, S. (2016). Provisional business migrants to Western Australia, social media and conditional belonging in Sun, Wanning and Sinclair, John (Eds.) in Media and Communication in the Chinese Diaspora: Rethinking Transnationalism. London: Routledge, pp. 190-209.
  2. Keane, M. (2016) ‘Unbundling precarious creativity in China’ In M. Curtin and K. Sanson (eds.) Precarious Creativity, Universality of California Press.
  3. Keane, M. and Zhao. E. (2016) ‘Television but not as we know it: Reimagining screen content in China.’ In L. Hjorth and O. Khoo (eds.) Routledge Handbook of New Media in Asia. London: Routledge.
  4. Keane, M and Ma, Xiaolu (2016) ‘Once more with feeling: Making formats that fit in China.’ In A. Moran (ed.) Global TV Formats. London: Intellect.
  5. Montgomery, L. and Priest, E. (2016), Copyright in China’s digital creative industries,’ In M. Keane (ed.), The Handbook of China’s Cultural and Creative Industries. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
  6. Keane, M. (2016) ‘The cultural and creative industries reconsidered’. In M. Keane (ed.), The Handbook of China’s Cultural and Creative Industries. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
  7. Keane, M. (2016) ‘The ten thousand things, the Chinese Dream and the creativeßà cultural industries.’ In M. Keane (ed.), The Handbook of China’s Cultural and Creative Industries. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
  8. Keane, M. and Juncheng Dai (2016) ‘Who plays knowledge keeper in the creative cluster?’ In M. Keane (ed.), The Handbook of China’s Cultural and Creative Industries. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
  9. Keane, M. (2016) ‘Advice to government, ideology and future challenges facing the cultural and creative industries,’ In M. Keane (ed.), The Handbook of China’s Cultural and Creative Industries. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
  10. Keane, M. (2016) ‘Traditional cultural and creative sectors in flux,’ In M. Keane (ed.), The Handbook of China’s Cultural and Creative Industries. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
  11. Keane, M. (2016) ‘Assessing digital lives, constructing creative futures.’ In M. Keane (ed.), The Handbook of China’s Cultural and Creative Industries. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
  12. Keane, M. (2016), ‘Recalibrating space, place and regional identity’, In M. Keane (ed.), The Handbook of China’s Cultural and Creative Industries. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
  13. Keane (2015) ‘The geographical clustering of Chinese media production’. In G. Rawnsley and M-Y Rawnsley (eds.) Routledge Handbook of China’s Media, London: Routledge.
  14. Montgomery, L. (2015). “Knowledge Unlatched: A Global Library Consortium Model for Funding Open Access Books.” In John Hartley and Weiguo Qu (Eds). Re-Orientation: Translingual Transcultural Transmedia. Studies in narrative, language, identity, and knowledge. Shanghai: Fudan University Press.
  15. Montgomery, L. & Ren, X (2015). “The changing role of copyright in China’s emergent media economy.” In Gary D. Rawnsley, Ming-Yeh T. Rawnsley (Eds). Routledge Handbook of Chinese Media. London: Routledge.
  16. Hartley, J. (2015) ‘Creative Cities as Cultural Brands’. Translated into Chinese by H.S. Li. Bluebook of Culture and Technology 2015. China: Social Sciences Academic Press, 63-82. ISBN: 978-7-5097-8222-4.
  17. Gong, Q. (2015). ‘Remolding heroes: the erasure of class discourse in Red Classics television dramas’ In Chinese Entertainment Television, ed. Ruoyun Bai and Geng Song, 158-171. New York: Routledge.
  18. Keane, M. and Joy Zhang (2016/7 in press), Formats, cultural trade and China’s going out policy. In A Esser and J Chalaby, Many Formats: One World, London: Intellect (in press)
  19. Keane, M. (2016-7 in press) ‘Before the gold rush: Culture without industry in China’. In A Fung (ed.) Global Games Industry and Cultural Policy, London: Palgrave (in press).

Journal articles

  1. Keane, M. (2016) ‘Internet+ China: Unleashing the Innovative Nation Strategy’, International Journal of Cultural and Creative Industries 3 (2): 68-74
  2. Keane, M. (2016) ‘Going global or going nowhere? Chinese media in a time of flux’, Media International Australia 159: 1-6
  3. Leong, S. (2016). Sinophone, Chinese and, PRC Internet: Chinese Overseas and the PRC Internet. Asiascape: Digital Asia, 3 (3), pp. 117-137.
  4. Yecies, B, Keane, M. and Flew, T. (2016) ‘East Asian audio-visual collaboration and the global expansion of Chinese media’, Media International Australia 159: 1-6
  5. Keane, M. and Ying Chen (2016), ‘Problematizing the cultural creative city in China, Geoforum (forthcoming)
  6. Keane, M. (2016), ‘Disconnecting, Connecting, Reconnecting: How Chinese television got out of the box’ International Journal of Communication (forthcoming);
  7. Keane M, and Joy Zhang (2016) ‘Where Are We Going? Parent-child television reality programmes in China’, Media Culture & Society (in press)
  8. Ren, X. & Montgomery, L. “Open Access and Soft Power: Chinese Voices in International Scholarship.” Media, Culture and Society, 37, 3 (2015): 394-408.
  9. Leong, S. (2015). Franchise nations: A framework for analysing the roles new media play in Chinese provisional business migration to Australia. Crossings: Journal of Migration and Culture, 6(1), pp. 103-119