Skip to Content

Student research

Masters and PhD students undertake research under the supervision of qualified staff in an array of disciplines through the School of Arts and Social Sciences. Here is a selection of current student research.

Equalisers: Sexism and Gender Imbalance in the Australian Entertainment Industry (Television Series script accompanied by an exegesis)

My research project aims, initially, to establish that there has been, and still is, sexism and gender imbalance in the Australian entertainment industry and will cover the period from the 1980s to present day. By highlighting the issue in a television series, I hope to encourage more women to enter, and stay in these fields, and to discover methods to improve conditions for them. The television series, about female sound engineers, and loosely based on personal memories, will be set in the 1980s.
Jennifer Baker (PhD)
Supervisors:
Dr Lisa Milner (P)
Dr Janie Conway-Herron (C)

Unsettling Pedagogical Spaces: Decolonisation and Social Justice in Higher Education

My thesis aims to understand what motivates university educators in 'settler states' such as Australia, Aotearoa/New Zealand and Canada to engage in processes of decolonisation, how they understand, theorise and conceptualise these processes, and how they pursue them in their pedagogical practice and within various institutional contexts. Although the interest of my project lies in the concept of intellectual decolonisation and its implications for epistemologies and pedagogies in higher education generally, a particular interest concerns how university educators in 'settler states' conceptualise decolonisation in regard to non-Indigenous (settler and migrant) students and staff. This is particularly important since 'settler' decolonisation, especially in a higher education context, has not been the subject of sustained scholarly scrutiny. This research project thus represents a timely, relevant and significant contribution to understanding what an inclusive twenty-first century 'settler' university might look like. soenke.biermann@scu.edu.au
Soenke Biermann (PhD)
Supervisors:
Prof. Baden Offord (P)
Dr Adele Wessell (C)

The Last Slave Ship

In an era of converging cross-media production, the notion of what constitutes a 'book' (as artefact) is mutating and continually evolving. What effect does working within an changing media landscape have on a work of fiction, when that altered world is a fundamental creative imperative from the outset, not merely a post-production commercial consideration? By writing/creating a narrative historical fiction based around the voyage of the final slave ship to leave Liverpool in 1809, I will be exploring and examining the creative possibilities of embedded cross-media via the production of a hybrid literary artefact. My research will examine both the 'book' (as artefact) and 'the novel' (as content) in the shifting arena of book consumption, working on the supposition that there is somewhere else for both 'the novel' and 'the book' to go, with the role of the artist (writer) altering in tandem to become that of a catalyst capable of operating between differing creative and technological platforms.
Martin Chatterton (PhD)
Supervisors:
Dr Moya Costello (P)
Dr Grayson Cooke (C)

Entanglement,

is a speculative fiction thesis that explores practices of non-wishful thinking and resilience on Illuminatae, the fictional 'First Ascendants' 'utopian' world. Its culture and ideals of collectivity, genderlessness and respect for all Sentience is progressively troubled by an underbelly of colonisation, genocide, and deceit. Through novel and exegesis, this work investigates possibilities for redemption and conciliation via systems of circulating power and emotional resilience, at critical internal, hereditary and prophetic junctures.
Gyps Curmi (PhD)
Supervisors:
Prof. Baden Offord (P)
Dr Lynda Hawryluk (C)

Giving Voice to Silence. Bertha Strehlow and the verse novel: An exploration of character in poetry

Giving voice to silence is a verse novel that explores the story of the historical figure Bertha Strehlow when she lived in Central Australia from 1936-1942. The creative work and an accompanying exegesis will explore issues of feminism, race relations and marriage in the post colonial experience of Central Australia in the years between the first and second world wars. Though based on historical events, the use of fiction in Giving voice to silence will give a mediated voice to Bertha, around whom there has been a significant historical silence despite her profound contribution to the work of her husband, prominent linguist and anthropologist, TGH (Ted) Strehlow.
Leni Shilton (PhD)
Supervisors:
Dr Lynda Hawryluk (P)
Dr Moya Costello (C)

Transgender Representation in Mainstream & Independent Films

This research project examines the strategies of self-identification that are evident in independent transgender films as a contra to the tropes (devices, motifs, metaphors, cliches), negative story arcs and disembodied projections that are presented in mainstream & Hollywood films dealing with transgender subjects. Gender-binary and gender queer representations will be examined. Independent films/filmmakers and the 'Trans New Wave' of cinema will be a focus. The project will include the development and documentation of a comprehensive chronology/timeline of transgender films; the role of classification systems and censorship (and self-censorship) on the images/representation of transgender people and the requirement for films to fit within industry and government 'ratings' systems in order to attract third-party distribution and screening at a cinema. The role and place of film festivals in presenting alternative cultural, social and political representations of gender and sexuality, which disrupt dominant (gender-normative) paradigms will also be examined. Contact: a.ford.30@student.scu.edu.au
Akkadia Ford (PhD)
Supervisors:
Prof. Baden Offord (P)
Dr Erika Kerruish (C)

Non-living artefacts

narrate this experimental, nonlinear, space-time- traversing, auto/biographical novel. The critical component explores the role of the writing-self as (re)teller of histories (realities), and as discoverer and inventor through creative practice.
Ashley Haywood (PhD)
Supervisors:
Dr Moya Costello (P)
Dr Rosemary Webb (C)

An auto-ethnographic study into the influence of the marketing planning process on the product development and marketing of an independent singer-songwriter releasing a full length album in the digital age

Since the explosion of digital downloading and the piracy of compressed sound files (MP3's) that arrived with the Napster online music service in early 2000, the music industry and all its participants have faced the fastest and arguably most significant transformation in the consumption practices of music consumers. The ubiquitous spread of the internet and smart phone technologies combined with the impact of social media has seen the packaging and promotion of recorded music move increasingly from a tangible to an intangible format demanding a rethinking of traditional music marketing approaches. In the context of this complexity lies the independent musician who whilst having access to affordable technologies to produce professional sound recordings must also navigate the myriad of marketing options available to get the music out into the digital marketplace. Furthermore many independent musicians struggle with the effort, motivation and skill set required to market their products effectively despite these new possibilities. This thesis will explore the issues that face independent musicians in this new industry context. Specifically it will examine the decision making process of releasing an album in the digital age of the music industry. An auto-ethnographic study of an independent singer- songwriter will be conducted that examines this psychological process producing a dissertation as well as the associated artefacts including an album and its key promotional materials.
Shane Murphy (Masters)
Supervisors:
Professor Phil Hayward (P)
Dr Barry Hill (C)
Dr Simon Pervan (C)

Relational anarchy with Art: Textual escapades in theory, practice, form and content

Extensively read in Australia during 1910s-1960s, Arthur Mee's Children's Encyclopedia positioned Australian children and their educators within an Anglo-centric worldview, communicating dominant norms of Empire, whiteness and masculinity. My thesis takes words, graphemes and image fragments from the ten-volume Children's Encyclopedia (circa 1932-1939) and reassembles them as fictocritical montages about Relational Anarchy (RA), an emergent mode of relationship practice. RA advances non- hierarchical, egalitarian relationships grounded in honesty, autonomy and freedom. In constructing new works from the Children's Encyclopedia, I engage with Australia's legacy of white invasion while exploring the relationship between destruction and creation. My thesis seeks a multi-layered, situated exploration of RA as both prefigurative utopian vision and practical mode of social change. Employing an interdisciplinary approach, my thesis embodies methodological anarchism, in which theory and creative arts practice, and additionally form and content, play equal and inter-related roles.
Nollie Nahrung (PhD)
Supervisors:
Dr Adele Wessell (P)
Dr Janie Conway-Herron (C)

Phoenixes, Mockinjays and Chameleons: Child abuse and re-empowerment in contemporary fantasy and speculative YA Literature

My thesis will examine the domestic and institutionalised child abuse in contemporary fantasy and speculative young adult fiction, and the genre conventions (such as magic, science and era-specific weaponry) used to create a transition for the fictional victim from a position of disempowerment to a position of power. This analysis will involve three contemporary young adult series: the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling; The Hunger Games trilogy by Stephanie Collins; and The Hunchback Assignments series by Arthur Slade.
Jessica Seymour (PhD)
Supervisors:
Dr Adele Wessell (P)
Dr Janie Conway-Herron (C)
Dr Liz Reimer (C)

Releasing the Unreleased: An historical case study of a female family member's insanity in Victoria, Australia: 1920-1936

This thesis critically examines how a mother's insanity was constructed in Victoria, Australia, in an early twentieth century context. The work is based on a female family member's mental patient case files, Ada (a pseudonym) who was diagnosed with puerperal insanity, now known as post-natal depression or post-natal psychosis, and committed to a Victorian mental institution in 1936 when her second child was 14 days old. In the first years as a mental patient, Ada had periods of trial leave home with her family. Yet by 1942 her trial leave had ended and she spent the next thirty years in three mental institutions in Australia. As a feminist project this places Ada's story in history and reconnects me with my motherline.
Alison Watts (PhD)
Supervisors:
Dr Angela Coco (P)
Dr Catharine Coleborne (C)

Human Reproductive Cloning (HRC) in Australian public discourse: A critical exploration of attitudes and their justifications

A critical exploration of how medico-scientists experience personal difficulty in their work with human embryos in fields related to the potential for human reproductive cloning.
Robert Lingard (PhD)
Supervisors:
Dr Angela Coco (P)
Prof. Robert Weatherby (C)

Enchanting the Poetic Coast: The Confluence of Space, Place and Ecology

A body-landscape reverie in seven chapters dealing with forms of attention, modes of inquiry and modes of address. A self-reflexive higher degree research dissertation whose field of inquiry opens questions troubling design philosophy, research methodology and the practice of everyday life. My thesis is an investigation of the Anthropocene in the 21st Century; the work (a minor literature of place and avant-garde performance) thus concerns responses to the implications of exponential processes and their limitations for current and future generations.
Kim Satchell (PhD)
Supervisors:
Prof. Baden Offord (P)
Dr Janie Conway-Herron (C)

The Case for an Australian Folk Music Tradition

Despite more than 60 years of Australian 'folk revival' the vernacular or informal music once performed in literally every rural community, if not every home, remains unrepresented in contemporary Australia. The music is different from that of the invented 'Bush Band' format. 90% of the Australian field recordings have been made only since 1980. This thesis revisits the folk paradigm and the concept of an Australian Folk Music Tradition within the light of this new evidence.
Chris Sullivan (PhD)
Supervisors:
Prof. Phil Hayward (P)
Matt Hill (C)

Information Technology and Apocalypse - Science Fiction and the Cult of Apocalypse

The Apocalypse, or the 'Revelation', is often interpreted as a climactic end of time and space that pours forth from the Judgement Throne of an angry Deity, whose seat is surrounded by the nuclear, biological, environmental, demographic, and many other modes of destruction. With cult-like fervour, the propagators of Apocalypse seek a Deity's Judgement of their enemies, looking for a Messiah that will both save the believers and utterly destroy or oppress their opposition during a millenarian rule. Science fiction literature has taken these motifs and created a range of fiction that falls under an 'Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic' subgenre, often with disastrous results. In the creation of my own commercially viable post-apocalyptic science fiction novel, featuring strong elements of dystopic science fiction as well, I intend both to exemplify the genre as well as introduce a Jewish understanding of Apocalypse, which is redemptive of all rather than damning, unifying rather than segregatory, where climactic events bring rebirth rather than destruction, where time and space occur cyclically and non- cyclically, introducing these Eastern rather than Western motifs into a redefining of the Apocalyptic genre.
Marcos Fernandes (PhD)
Supervisors:
Dr Moya Costello (P)
Dr Grayson Cooke (C)

Creative work: Strange Tale from a Baisha Studio (Novel) and Exegesis: Poetics and Politics of Memory

A narrative exploration of the emerging political and psycho-geographical spaces (real and imaginary) within contemporary China; the protagonists within this 'strange tale' allow space for ontological and epistemological speculations on memory, place, language and transcultural experience. The novel argues for an expanded boundary of the narrative fiction genre, in regards to a reincorporation (through a process of 'creative reading'') of academic journal articles, photos and other 'f und objects' in the form of 'reimagined experiences'. The exegesis will examine the politics and poetics of writing memory in two parts: 'creating the authorial space as an outsider' and 'creating the memory space as poetics and politics'.
Bob Percival (PhD)
Supervisors:
Prof. Baden Offord (P)
Dr Janie Conway-Herron (C)

Breaking the Silence,

which takes the form of a novel and an exegesis, aims to give voice to an underrepresented figure in Australian literature; the female convict. The novel will explore the historical institutionalisation of women as seen through the lens of one convict woman's life. The narrative follows her inner experience as she journeys through various institutions including a brothel, a convict ship, marriage and ultimately, an asylum. Hers is a life that is representative of so many women of that time, as it is apparently bound by class and gender. Yet through her journey I will examine how women subverted those boundaries from within. I will also explore the fact that regardless of the external realities, there is an inner space within humans that remains untouchable. Factual research shall underpin the narrative, which will also be informed by the disciplines of feminism, philosophy and psychology. Historical documentation will be embedded in the text to situate this imagined life within a specific time and place.
Michella Lunare (PhD)
Supervisors:
Dr Lynda Hawryluk (P)
Dr Adele Wessell (C)

Journeys from Burma: the role of food in regional refugee settlement

This study will focus on the food experiences of former refugees (settlers) from Burma who now reside in Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia, in order to provide meaningful insights into the complexity of promoting and providing access to sustainable and culturally appropriate food systems. This research explores two key questions: What social and cultural factors influence food choices for settlers from Burma in regional Australia? And how can visual research methods (documentary) be utilised to benefit the research participants, as well as educate and engage stakeholders and the wider community? This research is significant because previous studies on refugees and food choices have focused mainly on African communities and there are few studies depicting Burmese experiences. Furthermore, many of these studies come from health sciences and rely mainly on quantitative data. This study will use qualitative methods to document the participants' food settlement experiences. It is hoped that this research will be widely accessible and will lead to further investment in appropriate community education and community development programs. The sensory medium of video will also facilitate 'thick' and multilayered representations of the foodways of different groups of people from Burma.
Amanda Hughes (PhD)
Supervisors:
Dr Angela Coco (P)
Dr Lisa Milner

Past Students

Below is a selection of thesis projects by students who have now graduated.

Different Voice, Different Perspective: a visual arts enquiry into understanding suicide through original voice narratives

The aim of creating artworks that re-present original voice narratives, is to push beyond the taboos and stigma of suicide, beyond the stereotypes, distortions, and the malignant silence that pervades societal understanding and reaction to the phenomena. The difficulty for me as an artist/researcher, and as someone who has attempted suicide, is how to express individual narratives in such a way as to present an underlying sense of humanity that is empathic, considered and is above all, an honest representation of this trauma.
Michael Eales (PhD)
Supervisors:
Dr Adele Wessell (P)
Dr Janie Conway-Herron (C)
Dr Alexandra Cutcher (C)

'Inaudible Visions'

is a PhD inquiry that aims to evaluate the influence of sonic 'man'-made surroundings on humans and, by extension, on the physical dimensions of cultural practices. Using cinema sound as a reflective device, this research provides ways to examine the range of audio frequencies used by cinema sound designers who live and work in Australia. An exegesis associated with an artistic practice constitutes this qualitative inquiry. Contact: id@inaudible-visions.net. Web: www.inaudible- visions.net
Isabelle Delmotte (PhD)
Supervisors:
Dr Adele Wessell (P)
Dr Grayson Cooke (C)

TV's Adaptable Women: Postfeminist Nostalgia and Hollywood Film

This thesis examines representations of women and femininity in television shows from the late 1960s to early 1980s and their contemporary Hollywood film adaptations. Case studies of Bewitched and Charlie's Angels demonstrate that the updated film texts employ nostalgia and postfeminism in a dialogue between the past and present, providing a space in which competing gender ideals are negotiated.
Lisa Hill (PhD)
Supervisors:
Prof. Baden Offord (P)
Dr Lisa Milner (C)

Heaven and Hell at the Paradise Motel

A novel about nothing in particular and everything in general. The story will be structured around the four seasons and will be woven through with mini narratives, fictions, dreams, fantasies. Key themes will include narrative, the landscape, art and noir philosophy.
Tessa Chudy (PhD)
Supervisors:
Dr Moya Costello (P)
Dr Janie Conway-Herron(C)

Plants and power: Imperial science, colonial agriculture and the culture of hemp

My thesis explores the relationship between plants and power in the British imperial world of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in terms of science, agriculture and political economy. The narrative follows the journeys of natural philosophers on a mission to promote the cultivation of hemp, using evidence drawn from Australasia, North America and India. Events in Europe provide the backdrop. I examine the causes behind the project's failure and its consequences for the management of environmental resources within a world economy.
Nick Mattingly (PhD)

Supervisors:
Dr Adele Wessel (P)
Dr Sue Evans (C)(Health)