Death or Liberty tours in London, Dublin and Wales

Death or Liberty, a feature length documentary charts eight decades of oppression leading up to the British Empire’s colonialisation of Australia, the UK and America. It is adapted from the book Death or Liberty: rebels and radicals transported to Australia 1788-1868 by author, historian and Monash University Associate Professor Tony Moore.

Associate Professor Tony Moore.
Associate Professor Tony Moore.

After its premieres in Australia, Manchester and Scotland last year it has since garnered many awards and is now on its London, Dublin and Wales tour.

The documentary draws from the stories and experiences of the 3,600 political prisoners transported to Australia in 1788-1868, and sheds light on the leading rebels and champions of human rights amongst them.

Their fight secured the basic human rights and freedoms we know today from land reform to universal suffrage, freedom of speech and colonial self-determination.

Democracy wasn’t granted in the 1850s and late 19thcentury simply because some wise politicians granted it or Queen Victoria agreed to it. It’s because people sacrificed their lives and certainly their liberty for these causes in the United Kingdom, in Ireland, in North America, in Canada, all over the Empire, and did time in Australia.”

– Associate Professor Tony Moore

Original songs for Death or Liberty are performed by folk troubadours, Ireland’s Lisa O’Neill, England’s Billy Bragg and Australia’s Mick Thomas, filmed at Hobart’s convict-built Theatre Royal. It is dramatised with an Australian and Irish cast and is the result of an international collaboration between Monash Associate Professor Tony Moore, Tasmania’s Roar Film Ireland’s Tile Films and broadcasters the ABC, TG4 Ireland and SC4 Wales.

The documentary features London Chartist William Cuffay, son of a west Indian slave transported for agitating for workers’ suffrage who became a crusading Tasmanian union leader; Irish independence fighters Phillip Cunningham and Michael Dwyer who became champions for the rights of the oppressed Celtic minority in the infant colony; ‘Young Ireland’ revolutionary leader William Smith O’Brien, the aristocratic MP whose dignified martyrdom during solitary confinement on Maria Island led to an international campaign for his release and inspired the struggle for self-determination in Ireland and Australia, and many other lesser-known champions in the transnational history of the British Empire.Political prisoner, British MP and Young Ireland rebel leader William Smith O’Brien (played by Lochlann O’Mearain). Photo by Michael Rayner.[/caption]

“I am here to regret nothing I have already done, to retract nothing I have already said. I am here to crave, with no lying lip the life I consecrate to the liberty of my country ….to lift this island up to make her a benefactor to humanity instead of being the meanest beggar in the world – to restore to her, her native powers and her ancient constitution, this has been my ambition and this ambition has been my crime.”

– William Smith O’Brien

TOUR DETAILS

Dublin

The Dublin premiere is on Friday 18th November and is hosted by the Australian Ambassador to Ireland, Richard Andrews in association with the Australian Studies Centre, University College Dublin.

London

Billy Bragg, Musical Director of Death or Liberty
Billy Bragg, Musical Director of Death or Liberty

Celebrated singer/songwriter Billy Bragg will speak at the London premiere of Death or Libertyon Tuesday 22 November at Nash Theatre, Kings College London hosted by the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies (FREE but registration essential). He joins Associate Professor Tony Moore and UK based director Keith Farrell in introducing the documentary.

Bragg, who is a Musical Director for the film, told ABC Radio,

“They [The British government] were trying to get rid of these people and sent to the other side of the world where they couldn’t be heard any more, realising if they were hung, drawn and quartered for treason they’d become martyrs. I don’t think the Crown realised it was ceding the colonies with a bunch of crazy radicals. You can see links between what happened with transportation here in Tasmania and Eureka Stockade, the early achievement of democracy and universal suffrage ahead of what we had in the UK. Many of the people who were sent, the Chartists, the Welsh, Irish, French Canadians, Americans had an impact.”

South Wales

Chartist leader of Zephaniah Williams (played by Lion Williams) at Port Arthur. Photo by Michael Rayner.

The film’s final stop is at Shire Hall, Monmouth on Friday 25 November – in the very courtroom where in 1840, sentence of death was passed on John Frost, Zephaniah Williams and William Jones.  They were leaders of a popular uprising in 1839 on the South Wales coalfield. This punishment was commuted by royal decree and all three men were shipped out to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) and removed from British political life.

Next?

While in Ireland and Britain, Tony Moore will present to archive institutions and others about a digital humanities ARC Linkage project being developed, that builds on  the documentary and book, entitled ‘Conviction Politics’. Professor Moore states:

“The next stage will be new digital archive research into the convict origins of collective resistance and democratic movements in Australia, visualised through an online ‘transmedia hub’ about and for the researchers, students and the public, connecting the book and elements of the documentary with international archives holdings, heritage groups and sites, a travelling digital exhibition and portals for community participation.”

Death or Liberty has been awarded and shortlisted for: Finalist in the 2016 ATOM (Australian Teachers of Media) Awards in the category Best History DocumentaryAward for Excellence for documentary history/biography at the US based Accolade Global Film Competition; selected to screen in Balinale: the Bali International Film Festival; and Platinum Award ‘truly remarkable films’ at the Spotlight Documentary Film Awards 2016, USA.

Death or Liberty will be released on DVD with CD soundtrack by the ABC in early 2017.

More information

 

Music survey: investigating the value of music exports

Associate Professor Shane Homan.
Associate Professor Shane Homan.

At a time when Australian pop, rock, country and hip hop acts are finding new international markets in unprecedented numbers, a team of researchers begin the first phase of their study of national and global music export markets.

Monash University’s Associate Professor Shane Homan (School of Media, Film and Journalism) is collaborating with Professor Richard Vella and Professor Stephen Chen (University of Newcastle) and Millie Millgate (Sounds Australia) to investigate the cultural and economic value of music exports.

Click here for the Australian Music Exports Survey

Funded by the Australian Research Council, APRA AMCOS and the Australia Council for the Arts, the research project is an exciting collaboration between the music industry and academics from the University of Newcastle and Monash University.

Stage One of the research includes assessment of the scope and depth of Australian music activity. The project team are calling on Australian artists and businesses (including managers, record labels, booking agents, music producers and promoters) who have engaged in music exports to complete a detailed survey that canvases the full scope of the Australian music ecosystem.

“This survey is vital to capture in detail the domestic and international extent of our musicians’ work across different sectors and platforms,” says Associate Professor Homan.

“As a net importer of cultural trade, our music industries can provide valuable insight into what is required to improve the global visibility and revenues of our cultural industries”.

Music export offices are increasingly evident as nations realise the value of targeted support of key acts.

“The music industry survey is an important first step to measuring the economic contribution of exports,” said Associate Professor Homan.

“It is part of a wider investigation of how and where assistance can be provided to open up new territories for Australian artists”.

The Australian Music Exports Survey is open from 2 November to 2 December 2016.

Click here for the survey

 Further enquiries: contact Associate Professor Shane Homan on 0449 500 667.

 

Mambo: Art Irritates Life

hero-shot-1-reg-mombassa-1024x683
Reg Mombassa.
Interview with Monash academic Associate Professor Tony Moore

 “A recognition of the distinctness of cultural production – its involvement of genuinely different values – is not the end of sociological enquiry, but the beginning, leading us to examine the social interests in which it is inscribed. […] How do position-takings within the field define new genres, styles or aesthetic sensibilities? How do creative innovations establish differences between schools or tendencies, marking out new spaces of possibilities? How do they make claims on artistic ‘truth’, ‘beauty’ or insight into the human condition?”

– Associate Professor Mark Gibson & Associate Professor Tony Moore

Mambo: Arts Irritates Life is available on iView after the documentary is shown.

How did Mambo go from being a team of irreverent surf culture enthusiasts, artists and rockers in a tiny shed, to the multimillion dollar company it is today? A new documentary, Mambo: Art Irritates Life (premiering Tuesday 9 November at 9.30pm, ABC), explores the evolution of the Mambo phenomenon and features Monash academic Associate Professor Tony Moore. We talked to Tony about his research into the mechanisms behind the irreverent art movement that became the iconic label for the masses in the 80s and 90s, and the wider questions on what policy-makers, emerging artists and people shaping our creative ecologies can learn from its transformation.

How did Mambo start? Who were its founders and why did they start it?

Mambo emerged in 1984 and it came out of a kind of a subversion to the established surfwear industry – which originally came out of hippy surfing and surf culture in the 60s and 70s. Mambo was clearly aimed at surfwear/beachwear, but it came out of post-punk music and kind of agit-pop leftie Sydney tradition of graphic art – subversive but overtly political graphic design built on Andy Warhol pop art aesthetic but also playful irreverent Australian traditions.

It also drew very early on from post-punk post-modern artists like Reg Mombassa (Chris O’Doherty) who was in a band called ‘Mental as Anything’ and people like him who were associated with the youth subcultures of the early 80s in inner cities particularly inner Sydney.

So you’ve got this kind of punk, thumbing your nose at authority, you’ve got a post-modern sampling, a kind of retro irony of the experience of the beach, and surfing, and suburbia and you had this larrikin Australian comedic tradition which is one of my case studies in Fringe to Famous. This tradition, that I term  the “larrikin carnivalesque” mobilises your Aussie Ocker and other working class types as an anti-authoritarian symbol which uses humour and vulgarity and profanity  to mock and destabilise – and these all flowed into Mambo.

Mambo: Arts Irritates Life is available on iView after the documentary is shown.

Mambo’s genesis was in the Phantom Records store in the late 70s / early 80s that sold import records and signed up and recorded punk, post-punk bands, what we now call indie, and also sold rock’n’roll t-shirts. Phantom Record’s founder Dare Jennings was at the centre of this shop, so was involved in the printing of these shirts and also liked surfing and he was the entrepreneur – what we call the “Cultural Entrepreneur” someone who is an intermediary with these emerging youth subcultures (in his case the music and surf scenes). He came to adulthood in the Whitlam era, an era of possibility, taking after the streets and streets to the art. He was basically unhappy with the status quo in Australian streetwear and the hippie aesthetic of fake spiritualism, sort of bland dropping out ethos, and he takes that on.

He (Jennings) was the entrepreneur – what we call the “Cultural Entrepreneur” someone who is an intermediary with these emerging youth subcultures (in his case the music scene). He came to adulthood in the Whitlam era, an era of possibility, taking after the streets and streets to the art. He was basically unhappy with the status quo in Australian streetwear and the hippie aesthetic of fake spiritualism, sort of bland, and he takes that on.

People forget that British punks claimed to despise hippies as much as they hated Thatcher, even though punk is a counterculture and so are hippies – like a little rebellion within countercultures if you like, just like the way post-modern owes as much to the modern, punk is a reaction to but related to hippiedom.

In our research we draw on the work of sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, who looks at how within the avant-garde, in the underground, indie scenes, new players often pick a fight with those just a bit older than them or the established players – it’s a game really. So punks against the hippies or the Angry Penguins group around Heide versus the established Impressionist painters, the Heidelberg School grown old.

This is a perennial thing and I explore this over a 150 year period in a history of Australian bohemia Dancing with Empty Pockets, on which Fringe to Famous builds on, examining the fertile cross-over between indie/underground/avant-garde fringe scenes and mainstream popular culture from  the 1980s till the present. The case studies are rock music, comedy, digital games, screen fiction, and of course Mambo, which is being researched by our ANU colleague Professor Chris McAuliffe.

Were there conditions specific to that period of time that enabled the rise of Mambo?

There was a generational stoush in the late 70s/ early 80s around punk, new social movements, new identities, youth subcultures and new theories and in a way Mambo is part of that. What it comes up with is an irreverent, ironic, somewhat subversive and vulgar style of surfwear which both celebrates and mocks white Australian suburbia’s surf life and the kind of yobbo elements in that.

In the 1960s the staff at Oz Magazine, including its co-founder Richard Neville, were arrested for obscenity in Australia and went to jail briefly for among other things, doing a surf satire that played on all the booze, drugs, vulgarity and the sex of the surf scene. That was a satirical act that was considered beyond the pale.

Mambo: Arts Irritates Life is available on iView after the documentary is shown.

Then 20 years later Mambo is delivering this aesthetic on our board shorts, our surfwear, our beach towels and Hawaiian shirts that is a mockery but also a wry, ironic, and I would argue, liberatory art form. It is both art and a commodity. It is taking art out of the tin sheds, silk screen workshops, galleries and the small places where the artists exhibited and had us wearing our art on our sleeve. And I think that was great for Australian iconography to the point where they grow from a very small outfit in selected surf shops to taking on the establishment and become a bigger company, eventually exporting globally, but with an indie aesthetic.

In the 1960s the staff at Oz Magazine, including its co-founder Richard Neville, were arrested for obscenity in Australia and went to jail briefly for doing a surf satire […]  Then 20 years later Mambo is delivering this aesthetic on our board shorts, our surfwear, our beach towels …

Another such company was a small record label called Virgin – I remember when Virgin was sold out of the back of a boot in Camden Rd by a guy called Richard Branson. When does that indie company become a mainstream big company? I suspect with Virgin it’s when they have a transatlantic airfleet. With Mambo I guess it’s when they’re finally sold to a multinational.

It’s not just that Mambo becomes big, it’s that the world also changes with Nirvana, and that 90’s moment when indie culture also becomes mainstream. And I would also argue this has often occurred, within Australia’s smaller cultural market: think Barry Humphries, or in music people like Nick Cave, or in theatre people like Dave Williamson. Things that are prickly and avant-garde and transgressive and a bit disturbing are picked up and ultimately influence popular culture. Sometimes the artists, sometimes the people doing that moving themselves find ways to become mainstream, or sometimes it’s their ideas.

It’s not just that Mambo just becomes big, it’s that the world also changes with Nirvana, and that 90s moment when indie culture also becomes mainstream. And I would also argue this has often occurred […] Things that are prickly and avant-garde and transgressive and a bit disturbing are picked up and ultimately influence popular culture. Sometimes the artists, sometimes the people doing that moving themselves find ways to become mainstream, or sometimes it’s their ideas.

With Mambo it was quite quick as they took on an existing market for surfwear; I think at the point they took on department stores they became a big player and then comes more compromising than in surf shops. But then the energy saps in the 21st century when post-90s everything is a bit ‘alt’, nothing is shocking anymore. Like someone says in the doco (Mambo: Art Irritates Life), ‘when your fat Uncle’ is wearing this gear it’s become dad wear and a nostalgic thing. But there was a point where many of us who liked the beach would hunt out retro 60s Hawaiian shirts and things and suddenly there was this stuff being made but with this great post-punk art on it and it was a cutting edge thing. I guess there’s a point that comes when it’s not.

Mambo: Arts Irritates Life is available on iView after the documentary is shown.

In our research we’re interested in Australia, looking at the 1980s to the present, on what it is that enables innovative or transgressive cultural forms, aesthetics, ideas developed in the fringe to become popular. And we don’t see that as selling out, we see that as just a process of becoming more professional, increasing scale, actually have a sense of a bigger audience than when it’s just your mates, or peers, or a little niche. What enables creativity on the fringe to find a bigger market? How does economic value in our case studies relate to cultural value?

We’ve drawn on ideas of cultural entrepreneurship and the role of arts festivals and cultural entrepreneurs such as Dare Jennings and Baz Luhrmann who take and hybridise fringe aesthetics and turn it into something new and also manage to scale it up and actually smuggle it to a mainstream audience. I argue Barry Humphries work has always been transgressive and it took him a long time to find a global audience. Ditto with Mambo – it starts in Australia and then they have arrangements around the world and it becomes a global niche business. And the global niche is a really interesting thing.

It starts in Australia and then they have arrangements around the world and it becomes a global niche business. And the global niche is a really interesting thing.

What about the digital landscape, has that aided the game?

Digital and social media have delivered the tools to allow the making and distribution of art much more affordable, and within a range of many more people. At the same time there is so much more out there so there is an attention economy – fighting for attention.

Digital and social media have delivered the tools to allow the making and distribution of art much more affordable and within a range of many more people. At the same time there is so much more out there so there is an attention economy – fighting for attention.

We’ve interviewed a present day band (one of our case studies), based in Sydney called Royal Headache. I’ve never seen such passionate, wild audiences for a band and they’ve come from a punk aesthetic (they describe themselves as that) and sing about a city that does not care. The label that first signed them perceives that they’re a band that’s excluded from mainstream media. So even though people my age may feel all of that punk stuff became mainstream, for a new emerging person there’s still commercial radio, Nova and all of these things, even Triple J, that may seem like a closed door because they haven’t won in UnEarthed – and I think that UnEarthed is a great initiative – but there’s still going to be that kind of thing that’s on the edge.

If I can use Royal Headache as an example, they have in our couple of years of research found acclaim in America, acclaim in Britain as one of the best, really interesting guitar bands in the last ten years but we don’t know them in Australia the way we all in in my day knew Skyhooks or Sherbet or any other – it’s harder, people don’t fill the public space in the same way anymore. We either know about it or we don’t. It’s fragmented. And those spaces that curate and broadcast something we all know are few and far between. It’s easier in Australia still, if you’re an international act to gain that kind of coverage or you need to make it visibly overseas.

We don’t know them in Australia the way we all in my day knew Skyhooks or Sherbet or any other – it’s harder, people don’t fill the public space in the same way anymore.

It’s a different question now. Royal Headache are selling, having greater success than some of the bands that everyone knew in Australian in the 70s or 80s because they’re appealing via social media and pressed vinyl records – once you’re in the American, Britain, German or other alternative indie market it’s huge. So it’s a different way of configuring scale – so you don’t need to be a household name like Abba – so that has changed.

It’s a different question now. Royal Headache are selling, having greater success than some of the bands that everyone knew in Australian in the 70s or 80s […] it’s a different way of configuring scale – so you don’t need to be a household name like Abba – so that has changed.

Also, think of the Bondi Hipsters – they’ve come through Youtube, created their own audience, and organisations like the ABC and SBS, public broadcasters that have always been at the forefront of nurturing and doing outreach for comedy or music, in particular maybe subversive kinds of drama, and developing it. Now they go on Youtube to see who’s already got a following. So the Bondi Hipsters is a great example of that and UnEarthed on Triple J. But you’ll always have people who don’t want to play by those rules and Nick Cave was one such person until he wasn’t, or more consistently Melbourne punk era band the Primitive Calculators or Brisbane’s the GoBetweens, who opted to work experimentally to a smaller, more cult audience.

Think of the Bondi Hipsters – they’ve come through Youtube, created their own audience, and organisations like the ABC and SBS who have always been at the forefront of nurturing and doing outreach for comedy or music, in particular maybe subversive kinds of drama and developing it. Now they go on Youtube to see who’s already got a following. […] But you’ll always have people who don’t want to play by those rules …

So with those who don’t want to play by the rules, is this perhaps a perspective on “selling out”?

Ultimately over time the question we’re asking is how do you establish a longer-term career as opposed to being a flash in a pan? How do you maintain, if your initial burst is based on innovation/ transgression/ being different, how do you maintain that ‘street cred’? We’re interested in that, in moving between what you could call an avant-garde art market and popular culture, doing the two can help you maintain a sense of autonomy and freedom despite the inevitable compromises that are necessary in reaching a bigger audience. We don’t see them as necessarily negative compromises in our project, they can be, the trick is having a sense of an audience or a bigger audience can be a democratic thing and people are not necessarily conservative.

The question we’re asking is how do you establish a longer-term career as opposed to being a flash in a pan and how do you maintain, if your initial burst is based on innovation, transgression, being different? How do you maintain that street cred if you like?

Scorsese calls it smuggling things into the mainstream. Particularly when you’re dealing with free to air television that’s often the way it works, but online you don’t have to do that. You’re dealing with people who are up there for, I won’t call it extreme content, but stuff for a smaller group that share something, or people that share something in common that aren’t necessarily a small group but something that can go viral and establish a new market.

Is this the “global niche” concept you speak of?

Global niche is really interesting. In our interviews it was a proposition put by documentary maker Marcus Westbury in relation to Australian-made bespoke craft, and also by Nic Warnock, a young man responsible for  punk record label R.I.P. Society, associated with Royal Headache.

RIP presses records in Cleveland USA, is based in Newtown, started in the University of Western Sydney and a record shop in Penrith, and the principal comes from Cairns. You see that the college market who like vinyl is big in America so you press the records there, but you also provide the download link so people can get the digital file too, so it’s not like they don’t do all the other things but I guess compared to my day the bands don’t play as much.

We’ve seen the business models and the performance models change over the 30 or 40 year period. People used to have the idea going back to the Beatles, certainly in the early 70s, 80s, 90s, that as a band you perform all the time to earn money. Now people don’t do that, they’ll go on an overseas tour, do special gigs and festivals and make some money from that.

The bands are far more managing their own brand, being more like artists or authors, like a filmmaker, they don’t give up their day job to just be a rockstar because you won’t survive on that. So it’s certainly different and the art paradigm seems far more pronounced in what they do. Frankly people often always had another job but they were often the ones who didn’t become the big stars, but now I’m noticing most of the artists have another job.

Do these only exist because there is a “mainstream” so there’s something to be alternative “against”?

Some would say there is no mainstream anymore, just a delta – not one big river but lots of rivulets. Certainly that’s there, but I think that depends where you live and what your cultural capital is. I think everyone can be exposed to everything but not everyone is exposed to everything. And a certain cultural literacy is needed.

When I was young, there was a real art to finding out about things that were not mainstream. You’d go to that particular record store like Phantom where Mambo began, or you’d go to a special movie bookshop, and you’d find out the clues and become what you fancied was a connoisseur of these things or a bit indie to use current phrase.

Now it’s easier to find out about everything, but that doesn’t mean everyone does. So there’s a role for curation and in music – today there’s things like Pitchfork, and in the classic period there was The New Music Express, and you’d wait for that to be imported from England or you’d go to the import record store and see what had been imported in. Nowadays you hear about something distributed by your friends on social media; I think there are limitations to the social network in that sometimes you just have confirmed what you already know. But there are people that are known to be tastemakers. But how do you get exposed to them?

Some would say there is no mainstream anymore, just a delta – not one big river but lots of rivulets. Certainly that’s there but I think that depends where you live and what your cultural capital is. I think everyone can be exposed to everything but not everyone is exposed to everything. And a certain cultural literacy is needed.

Nowadays you hear about something distributed by your friends on social mediaI think there are limitations to the social network in that sometimes you just have confirmed what you already know. But there are people that are known to be tastemakers. But how do you get exposed to them?

Yes! How do we get exposed to them? I feel like this question strikes at the core of your research for all parties in our creative ecologies. 

Is it that only hipsters who go to certain universities or move in particular scenes know about it? I discovered these things living in a working class suburb of Illawarra in the 70s but that was because Gough Whitlam had created Double J radio which beamed into Wollongong late at night. That was a public intervention to overcome scarcity, to provide an alternative. And I actually think Triple J being a national network backed up by the public radio network also created by that government, like Melbourne’s 3RRR, were during the whole period of our study but even more so now, really significant for exposing people to things.

And now it’s through their websites and streaming as much as FBI radio in Sydney. So we’re interested in those interventions in policy which are frequently within the public sector, or are public encouragements directed at the private sector,, to do outreach and to work with emerging talent to do these things, to scale up from small to large audiences.

So we’re interested in those interventions in policy which are frequently within the public sector, or are public encouragements directed at the private sector, to do outreach and to work with emerging talent to do these things, to scale up from small to large audiences. 

Double J went national as Triple J and took alternatives to regional areas. Youtube, Facebook etc are private concerns. Comedy in the 80s had outreach from commercial TV like Channel 7 and 10 and you don’t normally associate that with them but there were moments when Channel 10 has been the groovy youth station and has done that stuff and gone into the X-Files and Simpsons sensibilities in the 90s and early noughties. In the 80s it had Comedy Company and Channel 7 had Fast Forward, ABC had Degeneration, and out of Fast Forward came Kath and Kim.

So people that were emerging through the kind of underground theatre scene in Melbourne and the comedy scene in Melbourne and University Student Review got tapped and became the new generation of new wave comedy on the back of the punk cultural energy of inner city art initiatives, particularly from Melbourne. Though The Chaser in the later period came out of Sydney, Sydney University and the Revue scene.  Our study reveals an alternative narrative in defence of the ABC and SBS as agents of outreach that nurture emerging talent from the fringe, and connect it with popular audiences and bring a genuine innovation to our culture.

In our ARC Discovery Project we’re looking at the establishment of innovative units such as SBS Independent established by the Keating government in the mid 90s which gave SBS money to really tap independent drama, comedy, film initiatives.

So we got Eat Carpet – a series from 1989-2005 that ran dozens of short films. The ABC had the Aboriginal programs unit from the 1980s which has continued to thrive and all sorts of great people came out of that and did really innovative new aesthetics. SBS was tapping people of non-English speaking backgrounds and alternative styles doing really interesting things. You had Paul Fenech who came out of the Indigenous unit at the ABC and won a Tropfest under a hoax name Laura Feinstein with a short film featuring comedian Austen Tayshus. He made Pizza and then Housous and they have been phenomenally successfully yet vulgar and contemptuous of middle class good taste. We look at Paul Fenech’s work in the research and argue that it is extremely transgressive yet also inclusive and gives a great deal of agency to marginalised people. Barry Humphries has always done a bit of that too and Kath and Kim in a different way.

We’re interested in both the cultural value and economic value in this and we think in Australia they’ve not looked at the policy settings that enable creativity in the fringe or enables it to move into and be developed for a more popular audience. But it happens and we’ve tried to conceptualise and quantify it through extensive interviews with creative practitioners, cultural managers and entrepreneurs.

We’re interested in both the cultural value and economic value in this and we think in Australia they’ve not looked at the policy settings that enable creativity in the fringe or enables it to move into and be developed for a more popular audience. But it happens and we’ve tried to conceptualise and quantify it …

Associate Professor Tony Moore is in the School of Media, Film and Journalism at Monash University and is Program Director of the Communications and Media Studies Graduate Program.

He is in the final year as lead Chief Investigator on an ARC Discovery project entitled Fringe to Famous: Contemporary Australian Culture as an Innovation System, with collaborating CIs Associate Professor Mark Gibson at Monash’s School of Media, Film and Journalism, and Professor Chris McAuliffe, art historian, former director of the Ian Potter Museum and a Professor at ANU.

Emerging out of Associate Professor Moore’s book on Australian bohemia, Dancing with Empty Pockets, Fringe to Famous examines the crossover between ‘alternative’ and ‘mainstream’ cultural production in Australia, identifying ways in which a hybridisation between the avant garde and the popular has promoted the development of cultural industries since the 1980s.

One of the five case studies in this research is Mambo, helmed by Professor McAuliffe.

Mambo: Art Irritates Life premieres Tuesday 9 November at 9.30pm on ABC.

This is available on iView after the documentary is shown.

 

Ruddock launches Youth and Media book in Serbia

Monash University’s senior lecturer in communications & media Studies, Dr Andy Ruddock, recently launched the Serbian version of his book, Youth and Media.

Dr Ruddock, who is based at Monash’s Caulfield campus, gave public lectures at the Serbian universities of Novi Sad and Nis to mark the release of the book’s Serbian version.

Dr Ruddock delivered a lecture on the theme, youth and media. Read more here.

Dr Andy Ruddock.
Dr Andy Ruddock.

Dr Ruddock also spoke at the headquarters of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Novi Pazar, and was keynote speaker at a forum on Youth and Digital Media in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia.

His book, Youth and Media, addresses key issues in politics, technology, celebrity, advertising, gender and globalization.

Video of Dr Andy Ruddock on youth and media

Clio Publishing Company founder and editor-in-chief, Zoran Hamovic, said the relationship between youth and media was one the most important topics in the contemporary world.

“Media education of young people represents unique and significant challenge for us,” Mr Hamovic said.

“The book Youth and Media is the latest among many that we have published in the book collection called multimedia.

Dr Andy Ruddock delivers a keynote on youth and media issues in Serbia.

“It is the unique book collection in the south-eastern Europe that gathers foreign and domestic authors in the field of media theory, history and criticism and aims to improve the level of media literacy in Serbia, as well as in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Croatia.”

Mr Hamovic said during the last 20 years, his company’s mission had been to improve the knowledge of media experts, students, teachers and professors, as well as that of journalists and other media professionals.

“The visits of different authors, lectures, debates, seminars, conferences and round tables have all been part of this mission,” Mr Hamovic said.

“Professor Andy Ruddock and his book Youth and Media have offered global media research experience to our readers. College students in Novi Sad and Niš, as well as highschool students in Novi Pazar, have all accepted his lectures with great interest.

Dr Andy Ruddock is interviewed on Serbian television about youth and media issues.

“In Belgrade, his opening lecture at the conference Media in Serbia in the Digital Age caused exceptional reactions of Serbian media experts community.

“Besides the invitation to cooperate with the magazine of the Faculty of Political Science, he was also offered to cooperate with other media colleges and experts, which was one of the subjects of our conversation with the Australian Ambassador, her Excellency Julia Feeney.”

Mr Hamovic said all participants of these events found great benefit in Dr Ruddock’s visit, including the employees in Clio Publishing Company, professors and students who attended his lectures, journalists who interviewed him and our partners from the Ministry of Culture and Information and OSCE Mission in Serbia.

Dr Andy Ruddock answers questions during a media forum in Belgrade, Serbia.

According to Sage Publishing,  Dr Ruddock offers a “fascinating introduction to how media define the identities and social imaginations of young people”.

“The result is a systematic guide to how the notion of media influence ‘works’ when daily life compels young people to act out their relationships through media content and technologies,” Sage Publishing writes.

Question and answer interview of Dr Andy Ruddock in Serbia

Youth and Media features helpful chapter guides, summaries and lively case studies drawn from a truly global context.

“Youth and Media is an engaging and accessible introduction to how the media shape our lives,” Sage Publishing writes.

Dr Andy Ruddock presented ideas on the power of the media. Read more here.

The book’s audience includes students of media studies, communication studies and sociology.

Media’s influence on society: Dr Andy Ruddock

 

 

Monash University launches innovative media lab

12049734_753154911478532_2802245520664928415_n-1
The Monash Media Lab’s news room for journalism students.

A state-of-the-art media lab will be officially launched at Monash University’s Caulfield campus on April 7.

Waleed Aly, well-known journalist and Monash University academic, will launch the lab, which is part of the Faculty of Arts’ School of Media, Film and Journalism.

The Monash Media Lab will provide a unique environment that will transform the way students learn, giving them the skills to navigate a new, high-tech world of media

Waleed Aly.
The Project’s presenter Waleed Aly.

Waleed’s opening talk will highlight what can be achieved when ideas and media professionalism come together.

The lunchtime launch will be followed by a mini film festival in the Media Lab’s theatrette and an evening panel chaired by the ABC’s Virginia Trioli.

The evening panel, featuring industry professionals and former students, will focus on the rapidly changing media environment and what it means for future careers.

The session will explore the role of technology and media literacy in educating students with the skills they need to be industry ready when they graduate.

12065722_753154914811865_868254725502896781_n
The Monash Media Lab’s newsroom and conference room.

Many scholars working in the School of Media, Film and Journalism are journalists and film-makers with significant industry experience.

As part of the launch, a mini film festival will highlight recent works by Dr Romaine Moreton and Associate Professor Tony Moore.

Dr Moreton’s critically acclaimed short films The Farm (2009) and The Oysterman (2013) will be shown as well as Assoc Prof Moore’s feature length documentary Death or Liberty.

The documentary is based on the book co-written by Moore and was broadcast in Ireland in 2015 and on ABC television in early 2016.

Click here for picture gallery of the Monash Media Lab

The media lab features equipment and facilities that will transform the way journalism, film and media are taught and learnt. The facilities include:

• Two radio/sound production studios with an adjacent control-room/audio production and teaching suite;

• An open-plan newsroom;

• Broadcast TV and video production studio announcer/guest desk for six people with mobile tripod mounted cameras, overhead lighting grid and full sound and vision cabling and graphics screen;

• A control room/vision mixing production and teaching suite; and

• Two laboratories, each with 24 student computer terminals, e-lecterns, interactive screens and optical fibre cabling for synchronous and asynchronous blended teaching and learning activities.

The media lab will also provide the means to demonstrate and develop MFJ’s industry engagement and research impact in the community through radio, TV, and online current affairs journalism, documentaries and short films.

For more information contact Assoc Professor Mia Lindgren mia.lindgren@monash.edu or Monash Media & Communications + 61 3 9903 4840 or media@monash.edu

Newsroom Panorama
Students are enjoying state-of-the-art facilities in the new Monash Media Lab.

 

New book explores popular music & cultural policy

What is the proper role of government in shaping how we produce, consume and regulate music?

Three researchers from Australia, New Zealand and Scotland have explored the different roles of the state in national and global music markets.

Shane-Homan-bookAssociate Professor Shane Homan (Monash University), Professor Martin Cloonan (University of Glasgow) and Dr Jen Cattermole (University of Otago) interviewed over 70 key industry and policy figures in each nation for Popular music industries and the state: policy notes, part of the new Routledge series in Popular Music studies.

“Popular music remains at the forefront of key issues confronting the cultural industries, such as globalisation, and changes to intellectual property policies and industrial promotional strategies,” said Associate Professor Homan.

“We were interested in the different local contexts facing each nation, and also how relatively small music trading nations construct policies to compete with larger music trading blocs in the US and Europe”.

The book offers insight into how different sectors and arms of government are dealing with intellectual property law, and the legal, political and cultural consequences for industry sectors and nations.

Popular music industries and the state also examines the increasing importance of urban policies and the rise of the ‘music city’ as a branding tool for national and global consumption.

For Associate Professor Shane Homan, the current ‘lockout law’ debates in Sydney reinforce the role of music in wider night-time economies. “We looked at Melbourne, Wellington and Glasgow as three different case studies in which popular music has led the charge to reinvigorate local cultural industries, especially through live music”, he said. “Tensions still remain between city governments wanting to sell a ‘vibrant’ night-time music economy, and what that really means for city soundscapes”.

Book Launch

A book launch will be held on Tuesday, 22 March at 7.30 pm at the Tote hotel, Collingwood. Helen Marcou and Quincy McLean, owners of Bakehouse Studios and organisers of the Save Live Australian Music rally in 2010, will launch the book. The band Small Town Romance and a pub BBQ will also be part of the launch activities.

Find out more:

 

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’

redirecting to faculty news post

 

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

IMG_1589c
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.

IMG_1519
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.

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