Australian television premiere of Death or Liberty

Documentary drama Death or Liberty will have its Australian television premier this month on ABC TV.

The documentary is based on Monash University academic Associate Professor Tony Moore’s book of the same name.

Between 1793 and 1867 the British Government banished its radicals, dissenters and rebels to harsh prison colonies at the very edge of the known world: Australia.

Death or Liberty_flyer.FINAL_Page_1The British Government thought that distance would silence these rabble-rousers, but instead they left an inspiring legacy.

Republicanism, trade unionism, responsible government, universal suffrage and free speech… all arrived on Australian shores shackled in chains.

The Death or Liberty documentary brings to life a forgotten history of these convict rebels, and features celebrated musicians, England’s Billy Bragg, Australia’s Mick Thomas and Tex Perkins (narrator) and Ireland’s Lisa O’Neill, as well as historians and experts headed up by authors Thomas Keneally and Monash’s Associate Professor Moore.

This is a seriously stylish film. The landscapes are stunning, the historical commentaries lively and well informed, and the music superb.

Author and Associate Professor Frank Bongiorno, ANU.


As the Republican debate is re-ignited in Australia, Death or Liberty promises to play an important role in the debate, a film that helps people understand that the rights we take for granted today were won for us by brave men and women … many of them transported because they stood up for what they believed in.

“For a republic to compete with the tradition and majesty of the British monarchy, it must first engage our imaginations, harnessing culture and history to an alternative dream of Australia — one that appeals to the heart as well as the head, the land as well as the law, past heroes as well as the future,” said Dr Moore (Independent Australia, 2011).

Associate Professor Moore’s book, Death or Liberty: rebels and radicals Transported to Australia 1788-1868, is being re-released by Allen and Unwin/Murdoch Books to coincide with the documentary.

Death or Liberty will be broadcast on January 14th at 9.30 pm, ABC1.

Find out more

Associate Professor Tony Moore
More about the Death or Liberty documentary
Study at Monash: Master of Communication and Media Studies


Australian television premiere of ‘Death or Liberty’

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Getting to know…Elizabeth Burns Coleman

Communications and Media Studies lecturer Dr Elizabeth Burns Coleman is currently working on two inter-related projects about incivility. One concerns regulation of the internet, and the other involves empirical research, mapping the use of space by migrants in Fitzroy.

Elizabeth Burns ColemanName: Elizabeth Burns Coleman

Title: Dr

Faculty/Division: Arts

Dept: Media Film and Journalism

Campus: Caulfield


How long have you worked at Monash?
Eight years now. My first position was as a postdoctoral position between the Philosophy program and Communication and Media Studies program.


Where did you work prior to starting at the University?
I was at Wollongong University, La Trobe University and Australian National University for brief periods between 2001 and 2007. In this time, I taught aesthetics, legal theory, ethics, and political philosophy. Prior to that I had a stint in the public service (in publications and public relations), and worked in the arts as coordinator of an arts magazine, organising festivals, painting murals, and as an artist’s model. I had a puppet show I took around the Northern Territory country shows one year. In my ancient history I was a cook on a mustering camp in the Central Desert, grape picker, deckhand on a barramundi fishing boat….


What do you like best about your role?
It’s fascinating. I get to read, write and lecture on topics that interest me, and that are important in terms of social justice.


Why did you choose your current career path?
I loved tutoring.


First job?
That’s prehistory. It was Woolworths, and I was what was known as a ‘check-out chick’.


Worst job?
That’s hard to say. There are down sides to all jobs.


What research/projects are you currently working on and what does it involve?
I have two inter-related projects about incivility. One concerns regulation of the internet, and the other involves empirical research, mapping the use of space by migrants in Fitzroy, and how it is related to semiotic ecologies and discourse.

I am also writing an encyclopedia entry on the anthropology of aesthetics. I’d like to build from this a typology connecting social aesthetics, folk art, popular culture and fine art.


What is your favourite place in the world and why?
My garden. It’s my ongoing ‘art’ project.


What is your favourite place to eat and why?
At the moment it’s Mario’s in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. The staff are always welcoming, and I bump into my neighbours there. I like the sense of community and history.


What is the best piece of advice you have received?
Don’t pull yourself down.


Tell us something about yourself that your colleagues wouldn’t know?
I cook a great curry.


Tay and Turner launch Television Histories in Asia

Emeritus Professor Graeme Turner, Dr Jinna Tay, Monash Dean of Arts Professor Rae Frances and Associate Professor Fran Martin celebrate the launch of Television Histories in Asia.

Monash University lecturer in Communication and Media Studies, Dr Jinna Tay,  launched her co-edited book, Television Histories in Asia,  at Monash’s Caulfield campus on September 17.

Dr Tay, who edited the book with Emeritus Professor Graeme Turner,  researches Asian media and cultures, history, national identities, and comparative Asian media studies.

Television Histories in Asia presents an analysis of television histories across India, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malaysia and Bhutan.

Emeritus Professor Graeme Turner.

Dr Tay said it was a ” lovely intimate book launch” and was appreciative of the presence and support of Media Comms colleagues from Melbourne University, Swinburne and RMIT.

“It was also fantastic that Prof Graeme Turner came down from University of Queensland to be here for the launch,” Dr Tay said.

9780415855365“Associate Professor Fran Martin gave a fantastic analysis of the book, and she cited how she think its a very important collection as it achieves many different aspect of goals.”

Dr Tay said she hoped the book would be read by scholars of media histories, Asian studies and of course, set in Media Studies and television courses.

“It’s really important to understand that by looking through the particular TV histories of each nation, we can understand its political, cultural and social motivations and formations – and that each of it is different,” she said.

“What television does in each nation can’t be generalised but we hope that for students of media, they can see how television studies can be done via so many different methodologies and paradigms.”



Getting to know … John Tebbutt

Dr John Tebbutt is passionate about teaching and researching, and been lecturing in Communications and Media Studies at Monash for the 18 months.

Getting to know…john

Name: John Tebbutt

Title: Dr.

Faculty/Division: Arts

Dept: Media, Film and Journalism

Campus: Caulfield


How long have you worked at Monash? 18 months.


Where did you work prior to starting at the University? La Trobe Univerity/Swinburne University.


What do you like best about your role? Students and libraries.


Why did you choose your current career path? To teach and research.


First job? Roof tiler.


Worst job? Roof tiler.


What research/projects are you currently working on and what does it involve? History of Radio National; interviews, archival research, writing.


What is your favourite place in the world and why? Granada, mountain view from main street and the Alahambra.


What is your favourite place to eat and why? Harts hotel, steak…


What is the best piece of advice you have received? Take it to the top, baby.


Tell us something about yourself that your colleagues wouldn’t know? I’m shy.


Virginia TV shootings: murder as a media event

By Dr Andy Ruddock

The macabre live murders of Alison Parker and Adam Ward in Virginia are a chilling watershed. Whatever the shooter’s motivations, the idea that journalists are targets for infamy seekers is now an idea in our culture.

Reports that the alleged shooter, Vester Flanagan, praised other rampage murderers connect this new outrage to an all-too-familiar theme. Here’s another example of gun crime as a media event. Murder as a script that murderers can easily act out for the world.

Dr Andy Ruddock’s commentary on ABC TV

At first blush, we might wonder what such screened outrages do to evil, alienated and vulnerable people. Fair enough. But what about journalists and their profession?

That Parker and Ward’s colleagues were forced to instantaneously cover the slaughter of their own friends was a cruel exemplar of a more mundane truth: in the digital age, news is a live performance. WDBJ7 TV anchors were mercilessly obliged to balance trauma and professionalism; staying calm while grieving friends, and perhaps wondering why local news had become mediatised terror.

Unfortunately, there are many reasons to think that this unimaginable situation reflects global realities in news production.

Beyond the shock of the ghastly crime, the talk among journalists is about the upping of an ethical ante in a profession already facing unprecedented pressures. Sky News UK discussed the ethics and pragmatics of dealing with the footage of the crime. Different organisations have said “cut” in different places. The Daily Star, for example, showed images that Sky eschewed.

Since these images were already circulating social media, the question “whither ethics?”, in a Twitter age, has been raised.

Today, there’s a terrible feeling that gates have been left open and horses have bolted over fields. If someone wants to create panic with a gun and a smartphone, they can. If journalists want to protect the public from disturbing images, they can’t. This is precisely why professional journalism is every bit as important as it has ever been.

So let’s appreciate that profession. Parker’s death poignantly illustrates one of the most significant findings of comparative journalism research – that journalism is a dangerous job, and those dangers often have a gender dimension.

Following the invasion of Iraq in 2003, job opportunities for local journalists abounded, largely because the role was too dangerous for those who had other options. Between 2003 and 2009, 139 journalists were killed in the Iraqi conflict, of whom 117 were Iraqis.

Things were especially grim for women: attracted to journalism by high pay and high unemployment, they were threatened by the “double dip” risks of being Iraqi and female.

Naturally there’s a world of difference between reporting on Fallujah and telling a local news story about tourism. Except, in both cases, the stories are told by people who have to negotiate a complex maze of technical skills and professional attributes in competitive markets where, in the end, the difference between good and bad depends on the skill of the person on the spot.

Seen this way, the dilemma the WDBJ7 news team faced was a savagely amplified version of the “problem” that journalists always face in stories that matter. Common sense dictates objectivity as the bottom line of good journalism. But evidence contrarily identifies subjectivity as the cornerstone of reporting excellence. A study of Pulitzer Prize-winning writers revealed the ability to infuse stories with personality and emotion as a common trait.

We want our news to come from people who care about things, and know how to show it.

In a way, these “live” murders aren’t an aberration, in terms of the news processes. Forty years ago, media academics were keen to discover how journalism worked behind the scenes. Today, it happens on our screens; news teams struggle to edit and make sense of events as they happen, and stay cool as social media users break whatever story they want to break. Threats to journalistic integrity are legion.

Which is why good journalists matter so much. When you let us all tell our own stories, we screw things up. Critics say we live in a “post-truth” culture. Stories matter more than truth, and technology ensures that everybody’s got one. And can tell it. Everything gets reduced to screen images, so when we see the image of a murderer captured on a fallen camera, we think about The Blair Witch Project, not the death of a person.

Inevitably the days that follow will be filled with stories about copycat fears and gun culture. In this, let’s not forget the effects on journalists and the difficulties they face in protecting a job that isn’t just another kind of storytelling.

This commentary first appeared on The Conversation


Australian music exports under the microscope

Associate Professor Shane Homan.
Associate Professor Shane Homan.

Monash University’s Associate Professor Shane Homan will work with Professors Richard Vella and Stephen Chen at Newcastle University to examine the economic and cultural value of Australian music exports.

The four-year ARC Linkage grant of $226,000 will allow the project team to examine the effectiveness of Australia’s primary export scheme, Sounds Australia, compared with similar schemes in Canada, Scandinavia and Europe.

The team will look at strategies for improving the audibility and visibility of Australian music in globalised networks of digital production and consumption.

“Australia is currently experiencing its most successful music export success in its popular music history,” Associate Professor Homan said, who teaches media and cultural studies.

“Acts as diverse as Tame Impala, Sia, Gotye and Courtney Barnett have found willing concert and broadcasting audiences in key international markets. So it’s a good time to properly investigate the role of the state in promotional discourses and strategies.”

Associate Professor Homan said: “We will look at the flows of cultural and economic capital, and the increasingly sophisticated ways in which nations showcase particular genres and artists.”

“Apart from economic modelling of the costs and benefits of investment, we will also adopt particular artists as case studies and follow them through the export scheme process,” he said.

“At a macro level, it’s a good opportunity to compare different strategies and types of cultural nationalism associated with other countries.”

The research team includes the Executive Producer of Sounds Australia, Millie Millgate, with financial and in-kind support from the Australia Council and Australia’s primary copyright body, APRA, the Australasian Performing Right Association.


Bohemian Melbourne exhibition wins award

Bohemian Melbourne exhibition entrance. Photo: Patrick Rodriguez

Bohemian Melbourne exhibition entrance. Photo: Patrick Rodriguez

The Bohemian Melbourne exhibition, held during the 2014-2015 summer season at the State Library Victoria, recently received a Highly Commended honour at the Museum Australia (Victoria) Awards.

The 2015 Victorian Museum Awards were held on Thursday 6 August in the Clemenger auditorium at the National Gallery of Victoria to celebrate the achievements of the museum and gallery sector. 

The exhibition relied on the help of Monash’s Dr Tony Moore as a specialist adviser. Dr Moore’s book Dancing with Empty Pockets: Australia’s Bohemians Since 1860 helped inspire the exhibioin itself.

Bohemian Melbourne showcased Melbourne’s many subversive artists, poets, performers and musicians, including Marcus Clarke, the Lindsays, Barry Humphries, Vali Myers and Nick Cave.

The exhibition showcased paintings, photographs, costumes and film, as well as a range of public events including panel talks, a cabaret performance, a film festival called ‘Screening Bohemia’ and a series of Bohemian Melbourne walking tours.

Find out more:


Melbourne Dura’s tales of ‘intrigue and wonder’

DuraMonash University senior lecturer Dr Tony Moore has contributed to the first issue of the Melbourne Dura, a unique print magazine  that presents historical “Melbourne tales of intrigue and wonder”.

Dr Moore wrote about Melbourne bohemian writer Marcus Clarke, who is well known for his novel For the Term of His Natural Life

Dr Moore received an Honorary Creative Fellowship award from the State Library Victoria in 2012 to research and script a television documentary, Marcus Clarke: An Unnatural Life, which is currently in development.

The eccentric author and journalist Clarke also featured in Dr Moore’s monograph Dancing with Empty Pockets, and in the recent Bohemian Melbourne exhibition at the State Library, for which he was specialist advisor.

The Melbourne Dura has earned critical praise from Melbourne journalists.

The Saturday Age writer Richard Cornish described the Melbourne Dura as “one of the most irreverent, distinctive magazines in the nation”.

“The Dura combines scathing social criticism with long-form storytelling and truly creative and engaging advertising,” Mr Cornish wrote.

Melbourne novellist Marcus Clarke in 1866. Picture: Wikipedia - State Library of Victoria.
Melbourne novellist Marcus Clarke in 1866. Picture: Wikipedia – State Library of Victoria.

It’s as if The Monthly had been taken over by hoodlums who then focus on history, culture and society.”

Melbourne Dura editor in chief and design, Harry Rekas, said the Dura was a reincarnation of the “magazine” in the traditional sense using Melbourne’s history as a focus – creating a visual and literary extravaganza that can only be experienced in print.

“Produced in large format (A3) black & white the magazine also includes contemporary themes, long-form storytelling, nostalgia, satire, current commentary, socio- political cartoons and photography,” Mr Rekas said.

“First published in rural Victoria (Mildura) 2013, it is now Melbourne based.

“The main aim of the magazine is to re-present history in an arresting and exiting way- leading the reader back through the maze of time to the beginnings of old Melbourne.”

The Melbourne Dura will be formally launched in Melbourne soon.


On Happiness and Aussie larrikins

Dr Tony Moore.
Dr Tony Moore.

An essay on Australian comedic subversion by Monash academic Dr Tony Moore is one of selected chapters of a new book, On Happiness.

Dr Moore, senior lecturer in Communications and Media Studies with the School of Media, Film and Journalism, is one of the featured authors in the book, which will be launched 23 June in Sydney.

The book is a collection of sixteen essays looking at the ‘common sense’ understanding of happiness in the West and examining the strategies devised to obtain it.

Dr Moore’s chapter looks at an Australian style of comedic subversion which he refers to as the ‘larrikin carnivalesque’.

“You could see the ‘larrikin carnivalesque’ as a form of cultural disruption where rabble rousing lefties meet a style of libertarianism that can also be associated with right leaning contrarians,” Dr Moore said.

“It has a long pedigree in the arts, stretching from groups of bohemian writers, journalists and cartoonists gathered around the early Bulletin in the late nineteenth century, to Kath and Kim, The Chaser, Pizza and prankster John Safran in this century.”

The chapter comes out of an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project, Fringe to Famous, led by Dr Moore and Associate Professor Mark Gibson, also of the School of Media, Film and Journalism, which explores cultural innovation in Australia from the 1980s to the present. As well as comedy, it also delves into music, film, design and digital gaming.

Dr Moore said the essay presents a style of happiness that is subversive, raucous, and “derived from transgressive art and ‘art of the self’”.

“My contribution to this book is to critique the idea of happiness as quiescence, contentment, acceptance of social norms and conformity to the status quo. In contrast I look at happiness as liberation, as comedic disruption to conformity that destabilises complacent authority, producing new ways of seeing and being,” Dr Moore said.

Dr Tony Moore joined the Communications and Media Studies Program in February 2009 and was Director of the National Centre for Australian Studies from 2010 to 2013, following careers in book publishing and as a program maker at ABC Television.

Dr Moore completed his doctorate in Australian cultural history at the University of Sydney, and writes regularly on communications, history and politics in the press and scholarly publications.

The launch of On Happiness: New ideas for the Twenty-First Century will be held Tuesday 23 June, 6pm at Dymocks, 424 George St, Sydney 2000. More information is available on the event Facebook page.

The book also launches at the Melbourne Writers Festival 26 August, 5.30-6.30pm.

On Happiness is published by UWA Publishing.


Dani wins Herb Thomas Memorial Trust award

daniDani Rothwell has won the Herb Thomas Memorial Trust award as the most outstanding journalism student in the Bachelor of Professional Communication degree at Monash University.

Dani, who was presented with her award at a function in Pakenham on May 5, has been awarded with prize money to help pursue her career within the industry.

Dr Paul Atkinson represented Monash University’s School of Media, Film and Journalism at the awards night.

“Members of the interview panel lauded Dani’s involvement with local community groups and her commitment to highlighting the challenges faced by young people in the region,” Dr Atkinson said.

“The award is managed by the Berwick, Pakenham and Narre Warren Rotary clubs and is presented in honour of Herb Thomas, a respected journalist and newspaper proprietor of the Pakenham Gazette.”


Dani said she believed the ability to create lasting change within a community relied on being able to effectively communicate.

“Like many others, I share the desire to create change and leave the world a better place,” she said.

“As clichéd as it is, over my years of community involvement, I have found a key difference between people who achieve their desire and those who do not.”

Dani said change started with identifying a problem and creating a great solution.

“For me, the problem within my local community was that young people were killing themselves. Young people were left alone, and had nowhere to turn,” she said.

“I understand that these are generalisations and that many other factors were at play, but the bottom-line is that young people were dying unnecessarily.

“As a passionate believer in the power of young people as change agents, this left me heartbroken. After a period of grief and negativity, I embraced this as an identified problem that needed a long lasting solution. This is when I realised the power of investigative communication.”

Dani, who is president of the Monash Union of Berwick Students,  hopes to be a national political reporter in the future.


Reading group: Aesthetics, Media & Cultural studies

School of Media, Film and Journalism academics Elizabeth Coleman, Justin O’Connor, and Paul Atkinson have established a new reading group – Aesthetics, Media and Cultural studies.

Description of the Field

Cultural and Media Studies in Australia and the UK emerged as much from older literary and artistic disciplines as from sociology, communications and other social sciences.

Juno Ludovisi.
Juno Ludovisi.

Indeed, much of the power of CMS came out of its conceptual critique of aesthetic theory and its historical and methodological critique of art as social practice (cf. Paul Willis in the reading list).

Rather than disappearing, in the last thirty years aesthetics and art history/ theory have undergone some radical transformations.

Many of older works in art and aesthetics have been revisited as pertinent to the contemporary cultural and media scene (Dewey, Read, Marcuse, Adorno) and many new approaches, coming out of post-structuralist (Lyotard, Deleuze, Rancière) and contemporary sociological thought (Habermas, Bourdieu, Luhmann), have suggested a possible rapprochement between aesthetics and cultural and media studies.

In many respects “art” and “cultural and media studies” have remained two distinct, though highly proximate worlds.

In addition, the current crisis in cultural policy – where the value of culture has been radically undermined by the discourse and technologies of economic innovation and efficiency – has also required a return to aesthetic history and theory.

In order to explore these issues, the Communications and Media Studies section of MFJ will be hosting four seminars, which will be based around one or two set readings.

Participants are welcome to suggest supplementary readings, however the discussion will be conducted under the assumption that the core texts have been read. Participation is open to all.

Reading List

The readings can be accessed online through the library website.

First Session

Wednesday, April 15, 12pm – 1pm, T2.26/7,  Caulfield Campus

rules-art-pierre-bourdieu-paperback-cover-artIn this seminar we will be reading sections of Jacques Rancière’s latest book Aisthesis: Scenes from the Aesthetic Regime of Art and Pierre Bourdieu’s The Rules of Art.

In addition we will be looking at Tony Bennett’s trenchant critique of Rancière in “Guided Freedom: Aesthetics, Tutelage and the Interpretation of Art” in Making Culture, Changing Society. London Routledge.

Second Session

Wednesday, April 29, 12pm – 1pm, T2.26/7, Caulfield Campus

In this seminar we will read through the opening chapter of John Dewey’s Art as Experience, “The Live Creature” pp. 1-19, where he discusses the importance of quotidian experience in the generation and evaluation of art.

In doing so, he critiques those aesthetic approaches that place art within museums for the purpose of disinterested aesthetic contemplation.

Susanne Langer.
Susanne Langer.

We will also read through chapter three “The Symbol of Feeling” pp. 24-41 of Susanne Langer’s Feeling and Form, in which she critiques Dewey and proposes her own definition of art as “significant form.”

Third Session

Wednesday 20th May 12pm – 1pm, T2.26/7, Caulfield Campus

Cultural studies and cultural economy approaches to the study of arts practices frequently rely on institutional theories of art and art worlds, such as those associated with Howard Becker and Pierre Bourdieu.

One weakness of institutional theories is that they cannot account for the value of art as a practice, or distinguish between aesthetic value and other values of arts.

artful_species (1)In the “The nature of art” (from his book The Artful Species), Stephen Davies critiques some of the arguments for the institutional theory, and in “Dissanayake’s evolutionary aesthetic” he critiques an alternative, evolutionary account of art and its value.

In “What Philosophers say the arts do,” Hans van Maanen explores the different kinds of value ascribed to art in order to articulate a framework for thinking about value in empirical studies of art practices and institutions.

Fourth Session

Readings and date to be announced.


Bohemian Melbourne celebrates city’s history with film festival and lecture series

This summer, the State Library Victoria has showcased Melbourne’s vibrant bohemian history with an exhibition on Melburnian characters and their contribution to the city’s art, music and literary scene.

As part of this series, SLV, with the help of academic adviser and Monash scholar Dr Tony Moore, are hosting a film festival and a series of public lectures to accompany the exhibition.

Screening Bohemians

A two day film festival, Screening Bohemians, will be held at the Village Roadshow Theatrette (at the State Library) on the 6th and 7th of February.

The festival will showcase Melbourne’s bohemian film culture and feature screenings of films, documentaries and shorts, curated with the help of academic adviser Dr. Tony Moore, who, as author of Dancing with Empty Pockets: Australia’s Bohemians, and a documentary maker himself, will participate in a panel discussion and introduce some of the films.

Highlights include: Ruth Cullen’s portrait of Vali Myers, The Painted Lady; Tim Burstall’s Stork; Richard Lowenstein’s Dog’s in Space and We’re Living on Dog Food; Ken Cameron’s Monkey Grip, Sue Davis and Tony Stephen’s Punkline; Head On, Anna Kokkinos’ film of Christos Tsiolkas’ novel Loaded; Darius Devas This City Speaks to Me series of shorts about young Melbourne artists; and Barry Humphries’ Comfort Station, a rare 1966 personal journey through Melbourne together with Edna Everage’s once banned performance of ‘True British Spunk’ on TDT, a spoof on the follies of empire.

Bookings are essential and available on the State Library Vic website.

Bohemian Like You? Panel Discussion

Mick Conway, Elizabeth Gilliam, 1989, State Library of Victoria
Mick Conway, Elizabeth Gilliam, 1989, State Library of Victoria

What does it mean to be bohemian today? Join Dr Tony Moore, Jane Clifton and Noel Tovey, with char Richard Watts, for a discussion on Melbourne’s bohemian past as well as its future – what it means to be ‘bohemian’ in today’s world.

Date: 5th February

Time: 6:00-7:15 pm

Where: Village Roadshow Theatrette

Bookings are essential and available on the State Library Vic Website.

Bohemian Melbourne, a celebration of counter-culture

Alongside the exhibition, which will be open until February 22nd, Bohemian Melbourne will also include a cabaret, pop-up performances, walking tours and curator tours of the exhibition. A full listing of events are available on the State Library Victoria website.

Find out more:


Our Staff

Associate Professor Mark Gibson Head of Program
Dr Dan Black  Honours Coordinator (Section and School)
Dr Elizabeth Burns Coleman
Associate Professor Kevin Foster  Deputy Head of School – Finance and Planning
Associate Professor Gil-Soo Han Undergraduate Program Coordinator
Dr David Holmes
Associate Professor Shane Homan
Associate Professor Brett Hutchins Australian Research Council Future Fellow
Dr Tony Moore  Coordinator – Master of Communications and Media
Professor Justin O’Connor  Co-Director, Research Unit of Media Studies (RUMS); Coordinator, Master  of Cultural Economy
Dr Andy Ruddock Film, Media and Communications Postgraduate Program Director
Dr Jinna Tay  Co-Director, RUMS
Dr John Tebbutt

Master of Communications and Media Studies

Further your understanding of communications and media systems both locally and globally, and focus on the challenges posed by the emergence of digital media, globalisation and increasing levels of cross-cultural exchange.


Master of Cultural Economy

Develop your expertise in the independent arts and creative/cultural industries and working in cultural policy, governance and community development.



Links below refer to the Monash University Handbook and the Monash University Course Finder.

Our school offers honours programs in many areas:




Our school offers individual units, major and minor sequences in following areas of study:

For further course and unit information about undergraduate degrees please contact the Faculty of Arts.


Our love-hate relationship with Facebook

 David Holmes and Anna Matwijiw

More than 50% of young Australians have seriously considered shutting down their Facebook accounts, even while many of them check the site compulsively through the day.

While Facebook grew exponentially since launching in 2004, especially in its first three years, recent research has found many users fatigued and wanting a break.

And this trend has only been exacerbated by the appearance of articles and blogs including a list of reasons to leave Facebookwhy leaving Facebook improves lifewhy teenagers no longer care for Facebook, and how Facebook makes you feel bad about yourself.

A recent Pew Research survey found that 61% of Facebook users in the US have taken a voluntary break from using the site and 27% plan to spend less time on the site this coming year.

Notably, young adults aged 19 to 29 were the most likely anticipators of decreased engagement, with 38% expecting to spend less time on Facebook this year.

The Pew study did not try to determine how many users actually deactivated accounts as opposed to “taking breaks,” nor did it examine non-American user trends. It is unclear whether the incidence of deactivation is a growing trend in Australia as, up until now, no conclusive research has been conducted on the topic and Facebook refuses to release the data.

But a new study of 19 to 29 year old Facebook users in Australia gives us a much clearer picture of Facebook attachment in Australia. The survey was divided into a student sample and a non-student sample.

Whilst 75.5% of respondents reported checking their Facebook feed over five times per day, indicating a substantial attachment to Facebook, 56.3% reported having seriously considered deactivating their accounts.

And 25.9% had deactivated their account at some point in the last twelve months. Nearly 40% had deactivated their account at least once in the last seven years.


Why deactivate?

Fifteen students were also asked to give longer answers on their views on deactivation.

Of these, 5 had deactivated in the past 12 months, 5 were seriously considering deactivating and 5 had never seriously considered deactivating.

The study showed a consistent trend across all three of these interviewees, that users started off with active status posting but increasingly became silent lurkers. In fact, the usage of facebook actually increased in terms of how often they logged in to the point where many felt it to be an unhealthy addiction. One respondent reported checking their facebook account: “10 x an hour, 18 hours a day, so like 175 – 190 [time a day]”. The more addictive behaviour was attributed to having Facebook as a mobile app, where there was no log in and it enabled continual short bursts of updates all day.

Interviewees also reported the ambient nature of facebook, the sense of always needing to be connected to it on their phone or computer. This constant pressure that users felt from facebook had negative consequences on mood: summed up by one participant who said:

I think interacting with people on a platform like that is so performative that it’s almost like being in one of the worst social situations but constantly being there, like you can’t leave. Like a terrible club where you can’t talk to anyone and they’re all there and they all look fantastic and they’re all really drunk but no-one is really saying anything to one another.

Time-wasting was another source of frustration leading to thoughts of deactivation:

[People deactivate because] it’s actually sucking life out of them, in the sense that they don’t get anything from Facebook. It’s not a social media that enriched your life. You just realise that your reading all this stuff about people who you don’t care about and I think a lot of people, when they realise that they don’t actually care about any of those people and that it’s a waste of their time, then they deactivate.

But while there is pressure to deactivate, there is the validation that some users get out of Facebook, and a high level of FoMo: fear of missing out.

Every time I deactivate there are things I don’t get invited to and people are like, why didn’t you come to that or whatever, which is kinda bad because people are so fully reliant on it.

The study has revealed a paradox in current Facebook use. Although people are checking it more frequently, they are simultaneously becoming more passive in their use. The more passive the use, the more intense are the feelings of isolation, and the more the user will agonise over whether to deactivate.

You can read the analysis piece on this study here.

This article first appeared in The Conversation