Composing for the Australian screen

A public lecture by renowned Australian composer Mary Finsterer followed by a screening of the historical drama South Solitary (2010), directed by the award-winning Shirley Barrett, starring Miranda Otto, and with music by Finsterer.

In this lecture, Finsterer will speak to the collaborative nature of composing music for film and her personal experience of working on South Solitary, a unique Australian woman’s story set in in the wake of World War 1 on a remote lighthouse island off the coast of Tasmania.

Very much ‘a women’s film’, South Solitary was produced by a team of women in key creative roles, including production, direction, script, editing, cinematography and music.

The lecture will be followed by a screening of the film and a Q and A with the composer.

Mary Finsterer is recognized as one of Australia’s most original orchestral composers.

Professor Mary Finsterer.

Professor Mary Finsterer.

Her work has won many international awards, including the prestigious Paul Lowin Orchestral Prize in 2009 for her work inspired by Jorge Luis Borges, In Praise of Darkness.

Finsterer has also composed for many electro–acoustic events and films, including composing alongside Marco Beltrami for the blockbuster movie Die Hard 4.

Mary Finsterer  is currently a Vice-Chancellor’s Professorial Fellow at Monash University.

The music for South Solitary has been released on the CD label, ABC Classics/Universal.

Further information

Cultural specificity in Indonesian film

 David Hanan writes of his work on Indonesian film

My work on Indonesian cinema has focused on cultural specificity.

In contrast to Karl Heider’s 1992 book I do not attempt to define a “national culture” but see Indonesia as a multi-ethnic, society where even filmmakers working in the early 1950s, making films after the achievement of independence at the end of 1949, saw themselves as also working at a sub-national level, and set out to address the specificity of regional societies and regional cultures.

In this short talk I will take two examples of films made in and about the matrilineal society of the Minangkabau in West Sumatra, Djayakusuma’s Harimau Tjampa (“The Tiger from Tjampa”, 1953) and Asrul Sani’s Para Perintis Kemerdekaan (Pioneers of Freedom, 1979), illustrating the way in which traditional cultural elements from the particular society are incorporated in the first film, and how regional history at a time of change in the society is projected in the second.

Both films address the issue of how dialogue and solidarity is achieved, even within a conflicted community, via pre-national local traditions, some of which were incorporated within state ideologies by Sukarno and others.


David Hanan.

David Hanan.

David Hanan pioneered the Film and Television Studies program at Monash, being the sole Lecturer in the area between 1978 and 1989.

Between 1990 and 1994 he was the Head of the growing FTV section, within the Department of Visual Arts, at the time of the appointment of two more lecturers.

He has researched film in Indonesia since 1983, and his work has included the subtitling of some fifteen Indonesian films, initially at the request of the Indonesian National Film Council, including seven films for screening in a retrospective at MOMA in New York in the mid 1990s, and a film screened in a retrospective at Cannes in 2012.

In 1985 he became Company Secretary of the new organisation formed to renew the Melbourne International Film Festival, and also its South East Asian consultant, and from this position he was involved in numerous cultural relations projects with Indonesian filmmakers, resulting in growing industry links with Australia.

In 1998 he was asked by SEAPAVAA (South East Asia Pacific Audio Visual Archive Association) to be the editor of a book in which local critics, archivists and film programmers would write about film in their own countries, and this resulted in the first book to address the history of filmmaking in the SE Asian region, Film in South East Asia: Views from the Region (Vietnam Film Institute, Hanoi, 2001).

At Monash over the last decade he has introduced the first video production unit, “From Film Theory to Video Practice”, and also established a DVD distribution centre in the Monash Asia Institute, which distributes Indonesian films internationally, to schools and to universities worldwide.

He has supervised 11 postgraduate research theses, a substantial number of them being PhDs by postgrads from Asian countries.

His students hold or have held lecturing positions in Film Studies at the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka, Jadavpur University in Calcutta, Shanghai University, Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang, the University of Kuala Lumpur, Universiti Teknologi Mara in KL and Griffith University in Brisbane.

He is currently completing a lengthy book on cultural specificity in Indonesian cinema.

Further information

B is for Bad Cinema

Cover-image-Monash University’s Film and Screen Studies experts, Dr Claire Perkins and Associate Professor Con Verevis, have co-edited a new book, B is for Bad Cinema: Aesthetics, Politics and Cultural Value.

SUNY Press has released the 274-page book, which is available in hard copy and electronic copy.


What counts as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ in cinema? How should film studies approach and understand a film that is ‘bad’ to some people and ‘good’ to others?

Can there be an objective component in determinations of ‘bad’ and ‘good’, or are such judgements entirely subjective and impressionistic?

How do ‘badness’ and ‘goodness’ collide, converge, supplement each other, complement each other, or perhaps annihilate each other in particular films or groups of films?

The chapters in this book spring from such questions around taste and value to consider unworthy cinema – that is, aesthetically and/or morally disreputable film work – and mark out the broad contours of bad cinema.

Editors’ profiles

Dr Claire Perkins.

Dr Claire Perkins.

Claire Perkins is Lecturer in Film and Television Studies at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

She is the author of American Smart Cinema and the coeditor (with Verevis) of Film Trilogies: New Critical Approaches

Constantine Verevis is Associate Professor in Film and Television Studies at Monash University.

Associate Professor Con Verevis

Associate Professor Con Verevis

His previous books include Australian Film Theory and Criticism, Volume 1: Critical Positions(coauthored with Noel King and Deane Williams); Second Takes: Critical Approaches to the Film Sequel(coedited with Carolyn Jess-Cooke), also published by SUNY Press; and Film Remakes.

For more information on B is for Bad Cinema: Aesthetics, Politics and Cultural Value, click here.

Further information

Wigs, tans, boobs: American hustling for Oscars

By Dr Claire Perkins

Dr Claire Perkins.

Dr Claire Perkins.

“Some of this actually happened.” So reads the non-committal title card that precedes the opening scene of David O’Russell’s sixth feature, American Hustle (2013) – a film nominated for 10 Oscars at the 2014 Academy Awards.

The title card indicates how the bones of American Hustle’s plot lie in the FBI anti-corruption operation known as Abscamthat ran between 1978 and 1980. In this highly racist scheme, the FBI enlisted the assistance of a well-known conman in employing fake Arab sheiks to dupe US congressmen and senators into accepting money for various illegal activities. Those officials were later arrested on bribery and conspiracy charges.

Unsurprisingly, O’Russell has opted to gloss over the bureaucratic facts of this operation in favour of a focus on five strong characters in a painstakingly recreated New York and New Jersey of the late 1970s. For numerous commentators the result is too slight an achievement to bear the weight of being the most nominated film in the 2014 Academy Award season.

American Hustle is seen merely as a group of big name stars flaunting their costumed bodies, as College Humor’s Honest Titles for 2014’s Oscar-nominated Movies poster neatly sums up.

But why should such a spectacle not be award-worthy? The Oscars is an institution that values performance above everything, and American Hustle is a film whose very essence lies in the performative.

In O’Russell’s hands the Abscam operation becomes an ethical meditation on how to survive in a world where one’s options are limited, and to this end each character reinvents his or her self in a performed role that is founded upon behaving illicitly towards others.

To hustle is to survive, and everyone is hustling someone — whether by assuming an aristocratic British identity to lure desperate people into fake loan agreements (Amy Adams as Sydney Prosser/ Lady Edith Greensly) or by threatening to expose a husband’s illegal operations if he tries to divorce you (Jennifer Lawrence as Rosalyn Rosenfeld).

The drama of the narrative is based on the cracks that start to open up between these brash roles and the “real” humans beneath, and is situated most emphatically in the guilt that central conman Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) feels upon developing a genuine friendship with the New Jersey mayor (Jeremy Renner) who is the main pawn in the FBI operation.

For each character, one persona is constantly visible in another, and the slippage between them casts the film as a strong character piece – more than just a “comedy caper”.

But the real achievement of American Hustle lies in the way this interest with personal transformation and reinvention is matched by the performance of the five lead actors, who all visibly put on their roles as though dressing in drag.

Each plays against type, meaning against the star-image that has been constructed for them on the basis of their appearance in other roles and in extra-textual arenas such as interviews and gossip.

Thus Christian Bale’s slick, restrained image (composed largely in and by his turn as Batman in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy) is wholly subverted in his manifestation of the paunchy, balding and messily candid figure of Irving.

Similarly, Amy Adams gloriously shatters the image of the buttoned-up “good” woman that has enlivened her performances in roles such as Peggy Dodd in The Master (2012) and Julie Powell in Julie & Julia (2009).

As Sydney, Adams brings the quiet strength of these figures to a new and convincing dimension that is intensely racy, desperate and treacherous.

And the centrepiece of the film is the masterful rebellion that Jennifer Lawrence achieves against the image of The Hunger Games’ earnest teen warrior Katniss Everdeen.

As Rosalyn, Lawrence is sublime – a vampy, bored, hysterical wrecking ball that can and does bring the whole operation of the plot asunder.

The fascination that these characters hold can be illuminated by some of the concepts discussed by various film theorists on acting, stardom and performance.

James Naremore of Indiana University employs the notion of ostensiveness (meaning, broadly, demonstrativeness) to name the degree to which the work and skill of a performance is made visible to the audience. A performance that is obviously crafted and committed – the “great” performance that wins an Oscar – is an ostensive one.

A well-known paradox exists here. If the achievement of an individual performance is traditionally valued in terms of how completely a performer disappears into their role, the perception of this disappearance must inevitably be based upon keeping the performer’s star-image in mind, in order to appreciate how fully it is subordinated to the demands of characterisation.

A “good” performance must simultaneously be and not be ostensive.

One common critical position assumes that stardom in this way necessarily precludes a quality performance, for the star can never sufficiently eradicate their recognisable image.

This is an assumption that underpins much of the criticism of American Hustle as overrated, incoherent and superficial.

But I see instead a film that maintains a precise balance on this tenuous and mesmerising scale of ostensiveness, with key players that dwell within a liminal register where they show and obscure their performance in subtle and unpredictable rhythms.

As a period piece, the ostensive dimension of performance in American Hustle is matched by its production design, which emphatically foregrounds the aggressive taste of the era. The shock of the style is a constant reminder that nothing about this film is natural.

It enacts the mythic theme of reinvention with the critical distance of every film employing the prefix “American” in its title (American Gigolo [1980], American Beauty [1999], American Psycho [2000]…) — delivering a set piece that showcases not only the performances of its five leads, but the spectacle of performance itself.

See further Oscars 2014 coverage on The Conversation.

This article first appeared in The Conversation


Further information

Sinophone Cinemas rich in fascinating case studies

sinophone cinemas_book coverMonash University senior lecturer in Film and Screen Studies, Dr Olivia Khoo, has edited a newly published book, Sinophone Cinemas, with colleague  Audrey Yue.

Sinophone Cinemas considers a range of multilingual, multidialect and multi-accented cinemas produced in Chinese-language locations outside mainland China. 

Showcasing a variety of new and fascinating case studies from Britain, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Australia, and canvassing a range of formats including commercial co-productions, short films, documentaries and independent films, the book highlights the contemporary screen cultures of Chinese-language communities situated on the margins of China and Chineseness.

It engages new sites of localisation, multilingualism, and difference that have emerged in Chinese film studies, ones that are not easily contained by the notion of diaspora.

The chapters cover a number of historical periods, geographical locations, and critical and methodological perspectives, such as the political economy of Sinophone film production, distribution, consumption and regulation; cinematic practices of Chinese and non-Chinese language resistance, complicity and transformation; and Sinophone communities as sites of cultural production and visual economies.

“This volume is a valuable source of new insights by those committed to working in the area of Sinophone cinemas. The lucid presentation of the subject makes it a perfect choice for classroom use”. 

- Professor Gina Marchetti, University of Hong Kong

Sinophone Cinemas, edited by Audrey Yue and Olivia Khoo

Published by Palgrave Macmillan, January 2014

Further information

Student-centred learning seminar

Dr Matthew Piscioneri.

Dr Matthew Piscioneri.

A seminar on student-centred learning – contemporary Malaysian and Australian perspective will be held on Monday, March 10 at Monash University’s Clayton campus.

The event is supported by the Monash Malaysian Studies Centre and Associate Dean Education Office from the Faculty of Arts.

For event flyer, click here

Seminar Program:




Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nurahimah Mohd. Yusoff 

Student-Centred Learning in Malaysia: A case study 

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ahmad Jelani and 

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Abdul Malek Abdul Karim 

Assessing 21st Century Learning Using Digital 


Dr. Noor Hashima Abdul Aziz, Dr. Hamida Bee Bi Abdul Karim and Dr. Rafisah Osman 

Issues and Challenges in Learning and Teaching in Malaysian Education 




Dr. Matthew Piscioneri 

The Problem with Problem-Based Learning (especially in a Blended Learning Environment) 

Dr. Lynette Pretorius 

Student-centred learning in an online environment: Learning to critically evaluate sources through self-discovery. 

Marta Spes-Skrbis & Jim Koutsuokos 

Engaging students in extra and co-curricula activities which promote learning skills and personal and critical development of an individual. 


Light lunch provided

Further information

MFJ equips students for fast-changing world

Associate Professor Mia Lindgren.

Associate Professor Mia Lindgren.

Welcome to the new School of Media, Film and Journalism, part of the Arts Faculty at Monash University.

MFJ is located at the Caulfield campus in Melbourne.

The school offers a comprehensive approach to learning and engaging with contemporary societies through Media and Communications, Film and Screen Studies and Journalism.

Our new school attracts outstanding and award-winning staff and students by combining cutting-edge media practice with the world-class research environment of a prestigious Group of Eight (Go8) university.

Our students graduate with a broad range of communication skills, critical thinking skills and agility that equip them to participate and thrive in a fast-changing world.

 Associate Professor Mia Lindgren
Head of Media, Film and Journalism

Further information

Joel Lazar wins Monash University Prize for Poetry

The School of English, Communications and Performance Studies would like to congratulate Joel Lazar on winning the 2012 Monash Poetry Prize with his poem As Far As I Can Go which was selected from over 150 entries.

As Far As I Can Go

Going to water

Is my act of repentance

Swimming is my penance

The chest I beat

When the sin becomes

Too blue and deep

When I confess that I am

An estranged lover

Separated from myself

Then I go to water

That is as far as I can go

When I insist

That You, I and It

Are different

I flee the chapel

Leaving it to burn

And when I reach the forest

My breath becomes the

Space between the leaves

That is as far as I can go

Until the swirling vacuum

The black hole in the water

Where nothing lives

That is where I will be

That is as far as I can go

And when you see from afar

The anchor shoot skyward

That is my firework of iron

That is my mocking and rebellion

Against whoever stole my choice

To be atom or atomized

To leave home proper

Or spend my years building a new one

Only for the tide’s palm

To smash and erase it

Then creep away laughing

Holding hands with the wind

Into the horizon where they both live

That is as far as I can go

Making a space for myself

Between the silk sheets of the swells

Is my returning to

The Great Searched-For

The Great Run-From

The everlasting scar tissue of the world

Because the sea is mnemonic by Design

Catching me out when

I begin telling my children

That this is as far as we can go

Then I will remember

Grown men have waded further

When the waves fold

Then I will remember

That all towers will fall

Then I will remember

That the quicksilver of dreams

Lets us slip through the cracks

Of dam walls

And swim to the sand’s edge

That is as far as I can go

Where I’ll begin

And lie down to sleep

Not where my tears collect

But from where they come

From where I come

Where water begins

And lies down to sleep

Where it goes to cry


Special mentions also go to Caitlin Murphy for Alphabet, Sarah Holley for 6 months on and Kristen Richards for The Whooping Hollow.

Further information

PhD Top-up scholarship opportunity: Assessing the Impact of MONA on the Local and Regional Cultural Economy

PhD Top-up scholarship opportunity: Assessing the Impact of MONA on the Local and Regional Cultural Economy

Faculty/School: School of English, Communications and Performance Studies, Faculty of Arts
Location: Caulfield Campus
Scholarship tenure: 3 years full time
Scholarship Value: $10,000 per annum
(Stipend & travel expenses)
Closing Date: 31 October 2012

ARC Linkage Project – Creating the Bilbao Effect: MONA and the Social and Cultural Coordinates of Urban Regeneration Through Arts Tourism.
This opportunity is for applicants’ applying for a scholarship in the Faculty of Arts.This is an exciting opportunity to conduct research within a major ARC Linkage Project and receive a top up award to your scholarship.

You will be working with a team of leading researchers and three other PhD students. You will be investigating the impact of the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) on the local and regional cultural economy of Hobart, Tasmania.

You will therefore be working within an established investigative and methodological framework, with experienced supervision, a teamwork environment, and active partnership with leading local arts and policy organisations.

Supervision/Project Team

The research will be conducted by an experienced and collaborative team comprising of the following Chief Investigators:
• Adrian Franklin (University of Tasmania)
• Justin O’Connor (Monash University)
• Nikos Papastergiadis (University of Melbourne)
• Industry partners are MONA itself, Hobart City Council, Glenorchy City Council and the Tasmanian Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Arts.

Project Description and Aims

Since opening in January 2011, MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), has attracted very high visitor numbers and praise from the international art community. This project will assist the cities of Hobart and Glenorchy and the state of Tasmania to address its falling visitor numbers and faltering economy by planning and developing supportive infrastructure for MONA that will maximise its potential to attract tourists and consolidate earnings from art tourism (a Bilbao Effect).

The research will analyse why this innovative and unorthodox gallery is so successful, how this knowledge can be used to reorder and grow a peripheral ring of creative industries and tourism, and how a Bilbao Effect can be embedded as part of local governance.

• To situate MONA within a wider museological and curatorial shift from pedagogy and chronology to experience and theatricality.
• To determine what kind of publics are being attracted to MONA, and to critically analyse what kinds of experience the gallery provides, drawing on conceptual models from cultural tourism to address its twin themes of sex and death, its creation of liminal spaces and its ritualised choreography of visitor engagement.
• To probe MONA’s wider economic, social and cultural impact and to assess its potential for growth.
• Based on these findings, to develop a strategic framework within which to organise city and state marketing, visitor experience (cultural and other events and facilities), arts and creative industry development, and other
major infrastructural projects. In sum, to determine how governance structures and communities might sustainably adapt the Bilbao effect to their specific requirements.

Candidate Requirements
The successful student will have an excellent academic track record and demonstrated capacity for humanities research. S/he should also have knowledge of academic and policy debates around urban cultural policy, cultural and creative industries and/ or arts-led urban regeneration. They would be expected to conduct research under Aim Three above, but bring their own perspective, interests and experience to the project.
The top-up scholarship will be contingent on the candidate successfully applying for an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) or Monash Graduate Scholarship (MGS) ( International students should note that the scholarship does not cover foreign-student tuition fees. However, for outstanding applicants there is opportunity to apply for additional tuition-fee scholarships. Interested applicants are strongly advised to refer to website below for more information. Candidates will be required to meet Monash entry requirements which may include English language skills.

To apply, please submit your application for a scholarship and candidature online,

Then email your CV, research proposal and a brief statement of practical and academic suitability for the project to Associate Professor Shane Homan,

For further information please find the scholarship information PDF.

Further information

  • B is for Bad Cinema

    Monash University’s Film and Screen Studies experts, Dr Claire Perkins and Associate Professor Con Verevis,…

  • Wigs, tans, boobs: American hustling for Oscars

    “Some of this actually happened.” So reads the non-committal title card that precedes the opening scene of David O’Russell’s sixth feature, American Hustle (2013) – a film nominated for 10 Oscars at the 2014 Academy Awards.

Teaching Program


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.


All information links to the Monash University Handbook and the Monash University Course Finder.

Our school offers honours programs in:

For further course and unit information about honours please contact the School of Media, Film and Journalism.

Postgraduate coursework

All information links to the Monash University Handbook and the Monash University Course Finder.

Course/unit title Course and unit information Fees, admission, career and eligibility information
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (Research) Handbook entry Course Finder entry
Specific to the School of English, Communications and Performance Studies
Master of Cultural Arts Handbook entry Course Finder entry

For further information about postgraduate coursework please contact the Faculty of Arts.

Graduate research

All information links to the Monash University Handbook and the Monash University Course Finder.

Our school offers supervision in the following areas of study:

For further course and unit information about Higher Degree by Research please contact the Faculty of Arts.

Higher Degree by Research (HDR) within the Faculty of Arts is a postgraduate degree comprising of either 66% or 100% research.

100% research

The research degree is presented and assessed as a thesis. 100% research PhD and Masters degrees in the School of English, Communications and Performance Studies are available in:

66% research

The research degree is presented and assessed as a thesis combined with coursework. 66% research PhD and Masters degrees in the School of English, Communications and Performance Studies are available in:


Why Study Film & Screen

Academic excellence

Academics in Film and Screen Studies enjoy strong national and international profiles and pursue global interests. The independent enquiry of the Film Culture and Theory research unit informs our teaching program, so that subject matter is always up to the minute, and at the forefront of thinking in this domain.

International opportunities

Our teaching programs have numerous formal and informal alliances with peer institutions across the developed and developing world, and Film and Screen Studies is no exception.

There are opportunities for student exchanges and internships, for international scholarships and study trips (for instance, to Film Festivals around the world). Students wishing to explore opportunities abroad are supported and encouraged.

Teaching environment

Our teaching environment is welcoming and team-focused, with a united passion for film, television and new media culture. We run a well-regarded seminar series for ‘ideas in progress’ (named Under Construction) and frequent special screenings of rare material. There are regular special guest speakers and special events, such as book launches. We host yearly discussions (symposia) and, every second year, a major conference.

There are programs at Monash University’s Caulfield, Clayton and Berwick campuses. We have a cinema at its Clayton campus, and excellent teaching and screening facilities at the other campuses.

Careers in Film and Screen

Students of Film and Screen become professionals in the cultural and creative sphere. They work as film and television producers, film critics and reviewers or curators of film festivals, television programmers or film distributors. They become educators, in industry and academia. They organise film and television exhibitions. They are employed as film archivists or as marketeers of film and television, or join television networks.

Our graduates know how to think critically, research independently, and communicate ideas effectively. They develop advanced critical and writing skills and can demonstrate to potential employers highly desirable interpersonal and communication abilities. They master a huge variety of writing styles and media formats, from sound bites to online articles to academic essays.

Film and Television Studies has strong industry links, including partnerships with ACMI, Shell Australia and the Salvation Army.

How to apply

Links to Monash University and Faculty of Arts ‘how to apply’ information

Further information

Faculty of Arts

Faculty of Arts future students

Monash University

Monash University future students

Home – introduction

Film and Screen Studies at Monash involves historical, textual and critical approaches to film and television.

We cover Australian, Asian and European national cinemas, earlier and contemporary popular Hollywood, alternative film and video, documentary film, Australian television, popular television genres and video practice.

Our school emphasises the variety of historical and critical modes of analysing film and television, and we encourage students to combine their film and television studies with other relevant and compatible units within the Faculty of Arts.

Transcultural. Transnational. Transformation. seeing, writing and reading performance across cultures 2011

Australasian Association for Theatre, Drama and Performance Studies Conference

28 June – 1 July 2011, Monash University, Clayton Campus

The 2011 Australasian Association for Theatre, Drama and Performance Studies (ADSA) conference seeks to act as a forum to explore, bring together and/or set in opposition inter-, intra- and cross-cultural performances, performativities, receptions of performance, visions, borrowings, understandings, practices, theories and ethical ponderings about performance.

ADSA is the peak academic association promsoting the study of drama in any performing medium throughout the region. ADSA represents members of staff and postgraduate students of Australasian institutions of tertiary education who are engaged in teaching, research and practice in theatre, drama and performance studies. Directors of associated theatres and members of the theatrical profession are also active members.

Keynote Speakers

‘Let the Games Begin’: Pageants, Protests, lndigeneity

Helen Gilbert

Helen Gilbert

Professor Helen Gilbert

What are the chief pleasures and tensions embedded in the circulation of indigenous performances as global commodities made available for ‘reading across cultures?’ To probe this question, my paper focuses on the Olympic Games as a potent, if highly controversial, stimulus for the expression — and consumption — of indigenity in the neo-liberal marketplace. While the signal events for my analysis are the Sydney, Salt Lake City and Vancouver Olympics, all in the first decade of the twenty-first century, a longer historical view will help to weigh the exoticising effects of spectacle against the argued benefits of national and global visibility. Specific pageants and protests are discussed as constituent parts of performance clusters intricately connected to each other by the spatial, economic and conceptual structures of individual host cities. Conceptually, the argument draws from recent work in cultural geography and urban studies as well as in performance theory. The overall aim is to begin a comparative materialist analysis of pro- and anti-Games performances of indigeneity while offering some grounded theoretical insights into the ways in which such ‘inhabitations’ map into local and translocal commodity cultures.

podcast icon Download a recording of this paper in MP3 format

‘That primitive box space’ – transculturalism and black modern dance

Rachel Fensham

Rachel Fensham

Professor Rachel Fensham

This paper considers the choreography and work of New York ‘black dance’ artist Eleo Pomare in the Netherlands and Australia during the 1960s and 1970s. With the ‘double consciousness’ of black subjects from the transatlantic (Gilroy), Pomare helped to create a radical dance aesthetics based on observation of everyday life, poetic expression, and social commentary. However, this ‘angry dancer’ adopted a position outside cultural hierarchies, by leading an integrated dance company and challenging black and white stereotypes. In discussing Pomare’s history, I will consider his role in challenging racial segregation in the Australian cultural establishment through the discourses of black power and modern dance embodiment;; strategies which have been adopted subsequently by indigenous dance practices.

podcast icon Download a recording of this paper in MP3 format

Mondialisation or World Forming in The Flying Circus Project


Ong Keng Sen

In The Creation Of The World, Jean Luc Nancy introduces the termmondialization or world forming, the making of a world. He prefers this to the term globalization for a variety of reasons. Mondialization evokes, for him, an expanding process throughout the expanse of human beings, cultures and nations. This is unlike globalization that seems to him to be the undifferentiated sphere of a unitotality. Nancy discusses globalization as “the suppression of all world-forming of the world”, as “an unprecedented geopolitical, economic, and ecological castastrophe”. Globalization leads to the opposite of an inhabitable world, to the un-world [immonde]. His primary concern is to create a world that is “the contrary of a global injustice against the backdrop of general equivalence”.

I would like to discuss The Flying Circus (FCP), an artist laboratory that takes place in different sites in Asia, as an instance of intercultural performance, through a close reading of Nancy. The FOP can be said to have occurred due to the increased mobility in a globalized world. It was initiated in 1996 when the art world exploded with cultural and artistic exchanges, its artists were both self-confident and hungry to experience the world. Since 2004, most of these artists come from city centers or art metropolises; they are often trained in universities in Europe or the US; they are acutely aware of the speed of world economy and the power of information revolution in its electronic forms; they participate with savvy in the contemporary art market; they embrace hybrid identities, multiplicities as often they come from diasporic backgrounds; they are actively engaged in creation, expression and art in their communities of choice. Despite all this, I would like to argue that the FOP is a study of world forming, closer to mondialization rather than globalization.

podcast icon Download a recording of this paper in MP3 format

Ong Keng Sen

Ong Keng Sen

Biographies for keynote speakers.


The Conference is spread over four days. This year the main conference will be preceded by a special event specifically designed to cater for Early Career Researchers and Postgraduate students.

Special Event
Tuesday 28 June
  1. Special Early Career Researcher (ECR) and Postgraduate Workshop.
    Following the success of the inaugural ECR/Postgraduate session at the ADSA Canberra Conference 2010, organisers are once again offering a special event for postgraduate students and researchers.
    Morning & afternoon tea and lunch will be provided.
  2. Opening Night.
    Welcome to Country and Official Opening of the Conference.
    Drinks and Light Refreshments will be provided.
Day One
Wednesday 29 June
  1. First Keynote Address
  2. Papers from attending delegates.
  3. Workshops
    Morning & afternoon tea and lunch will be provided.
Day Two
Thursday 30 June
  1. Second Keynote Address
  2. Papers from attending delegates.
  3. Workshops
    Morning & afternoon tea and lunch will be provided.
Day Three
Friday 1 July
  1. Third Keynote Address
  2. Papers from attending delegates.
  3. Workshops
    Morning & afternoon tea and lunch will be provided.
  4. Conference Dinner

Delegates will need to book for the Conference Dinner. The Conference Dinner is not included as part of the registration cost.

Day Four
Saturday 2 July
  1. Performance as Research Colloquium
    Light Lunch and tea and coffee will be provided.

While the lunch and attendance at the seminar is free, we ask that you register your intention to attend via the conference website.

*Delegates: If you have any amendments to the schedule you wish to be made, please contact Cheyney Caddy.

Program and Abstracts

Conference program (PDF)

Conference abstracts (PDF)


Dr. Maryrose Casey
Director Performance Research Unit
Centre for Theatre and Performance Studies
Building 68, Monash University, Clayton Campus VIC 3800.
Phone: (+61 3) 9905 2970

Dr. William Peterson
Senior Lecturer and Director
Centre for Theatre and Performance Studies
Building 68, Monash University, Clayton Campus VIC 3800.
Phone: (+61 3) 9905 9351

Further information

From Sappho to… X: Classics, performance, reception

Dr Jane Montgomery Griffiths

Dr Jane Montgomery Griffiths. Photo: Garth Oriander

To coincide with Malthouse Theatre’s staging of the play Sappho…in 9 fragments, Monash University, Malthouse threate and the Australasian Classical Reception Studies Network are hosting a three day interdisciplinary conference on the relationship between performance and the Classics. The conference will bring together Classical scholarship, theatre studies, translation studies and cultural studies to investigate how performance manipulates and embodies our understanding of the classical world.

Using the figure of Sappho as a metaphor for the many gaps we have to fill as we grapple with the otherness of the ancient world, the conference will explore how readers, translators, performers and spectators endlessly recreate the Classics in our imaginations and our embodiments.


20–22 August 2010


  • Malthouse Theatre, Sturt Street


Keynote speakers

  • Professor Andrew Benjamin (Monash University)
  • Professor Page Du Bois (University of California, San Diego)
  • Professor Simon Goldhill (University of Cambridge)
  • Dr Margaret Reynolds (Queen Mary’s College, University of London)
  • Professor Peter Snow (Monash University)

Invited presenters

  • Helen Eastman (Artistic Director, Onassis Programme, University of Oxford)
  • The creative team of Sappho…in 9 fragments.


Titles of papers link directly to mp3 files. If you require a transcription please contact the School of English, Communications and Performance Studies.

Speaker Title of paper mp3 file size
Giulia Torello Reconstructing Sappho for the Italian Stage Podcast icon9.8 mb
Panel Discussion Sappho Conference | Group Discussion Podcast icon14.6 mb
Smiljana Glisovic Performing the Invisible Podcast icon10.2 mb
Simon Goldhill The Solitude of Sappho: a One-Woman Show Podcast icon22.5 mb
Sue Tweg ‘Giving Voice to Macaria’ Podcast icon15.6 mb
KO Chong-Gossard ‘Setting Sappho to Music: Philology and Text Setting’ Podcast icon15.5 mb
Ika Willis Loving Vergil: Writing, Reading, and History’s Queer Touch Podcast icon8.7 mb
Leni Johnson An Isolation Embedded in Sexuality Podcast icon5.0 mb
Marguerite Johnson Saint Sappho Podcast icon13.0 mb
Andrew Benjamin Hegel’s Other Woman: The Figure of Niobe in Hegel’s Aesthetics Podcast icon24.3 mb
Rachel Kirk ‘Rethinking Plautus: Theatre Translation and Performability’ Podcast icon6.7 mb
Robin Dixon Towards an Actorly Understanding of Plautine Comedy Podcast icon9.6 mb
Emma Cole Sacrifice of Iphigenia Podcast icon7.6 mb
Page Du Bois Besides Aphrodite: Sappho, Ritual, and Performance Podcast icon19.3 mb
Alison Richards X marks the spot: embodying gaps in the Classics Podcast icon12.6 mb
Elizabeth Hale Popping Out as Romans: Children, Precocity, and Classical Performance in Henry James and beyond Podcast icon7.8 mb
Panel Discussion Reinventing Hypatia Podcast icon24.3 mb
Margaret Reynolds Like Mother, Like Daughter Podcast icon27.3 mb
Peter Snow Performance and Adaptation Podcast icon21.0 mb


  • Dr Jane Montgomery Griffiths, Monash University
  • Paul Monaghan, Victorian College of the Arts and Music, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Alastair Blanshard, University of Sydney, ACSRN


Classical Association of Victoria logo

This conference is generously supported by the Australian Research Council as part of the Monash/Malthouse Linkage Project Staging Sappho: investigating new methodologies in performance reception. Our thanks to Classical Association of Victoria and Malthouse Theatre.

Further information

To be or not to be… asking questions of performance as research

The Performance Research Unit presented its inaugural symposium and masterclass on performance as research. The two day event had a specific focus on how questions are asked within, and of, performance as an integral part of the research process.

The symposium brought academic and professional practitioners together through performance presentations and discussion panels. It also presented an opportunity for honours and postgraduate students to present and discuss their own work. Questions covered included:

  • What is being asked of/within Performance as Research?
  • Where does practice sit with/as methodology?
  • By what criteria do we gauge practice-based research as successful?
  • What are we asking of whom, in the production, reception and dissemination of PaR?
  • How best can critical feedback be framed and a critical discourse developed with and for PaR?
  • Where in the performance process is (your) research located? How does the research process intersect with the performance process?


3-4 December 2009


Performing Arts Precinct, Monash University, Clayton Campus


Invited speakers

  • Dr Jane Griffiths (DTS, Monash Clayton)
  • Danielle Wilde (Art and Design, Monash Caulfield / Materials Science and Engineering, CSIRO)
  • Margaret Cameron (VU)
  • Dawn Albinger (Edith Cowan)
  • Geraldine Cook (Theatre Department, School of Performing Arts, VCAM, University of Melbourne)


Further information


time.transcendence.performance brought together artists, designers and thinkers who work with time to explore how they might inform each other. How do performers think time? How do thinkers perform time? What shared or different understandings are at work in the different practices?

Even before Aristotle wrote that time is the number of motion with respect to before and after, and Heraclitus observed that it was impossible to step into the same river twice, philosophers (both Eastern and Western) have wondered about time. Is it real or just an abstraction? Is it reversible? Does it pass? Do we experience it directly? Is it relative or constant? Does it exist? So far, the consensus is that we do not have satisfactory answers to these questions.


1-3 October 2009


Monash University, Caulfield campus


time transcendence performance program PDF Icon 3 mb

Keynote speakers

  • Professor Alphonso Lingis (Emeritus, Penn State University, US)
  • Professor Anthony J Steinbock (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, US)
  • Professor Brian Massumi (Université de Montreal, Canada)
  • Assistant Professor Lanei Rodemeyer (Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, US)
  • Associate Professor Ian Maxwell (The University of Sydney, Australia)
  • Professor Peter Snow (Monash University, Australia)
  • Dr Erin Manning (Research Chair, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)
  • Professor Jeff Malpas (University of Tasmania)
  • Dr Jack Reynolds (Latrobe University)

Invited speakers

  • Mr Adam Lippmann (Arts and Social Sciences, UTS)
  • Associate Professor Adrian Martin (Film and TV, Monash University)
  • Mr Alan Sondheim (School of Visual Arts, New York City)
  • Dr Alex Selenitsch (Architecture Building and Planning, University of Melbourne)
  • Dr Allan Cameron (Australian Film Television and Radio School)
  • Professor Alphonso Lingis (Emeritus Philosophy, Pennsylvania State University)
  • Ms Amanda Yates (Design, Massey University, New Zealand)
  • Ms Ana Wojak (Independent Artist)
  • Mr Andrew Newman (Sydney College of the Arts)
  • Ms Anna White (Art and Design, Monash University)
  • Dr Anthony Steinbock (Philosophy Southern, Illinois University)
  • Dr Barry Laing (Performance Studies, Victoria University)
  • Ms Becca Wood (Auckland University of Technology/Unitec School of Performing and Screen Arts, Auckland)
  • Professor Brian Massumi (Communication University of Montreal)
  • Dr Bruce Mowson
  • Cassandra Barnett (Film Television and Media Studies, University of Auckland)
  • Catherine Magill (Independent Artist, Cathie Clelland Drama, Australian National University)
  • Dale Gorfinkel (Independent Artist)
  • Daniel Armstrong (Communication and Creative Arts, Deakin University)
  • Daniel Black (Communications, Monash University)
  • Daniel Johnston (Cultural Studies, Macquarie University)
  • Daniel Mishori (Environmental Studies, Tel Aviv University Israel)
  • Daniel Vuillermin (Biography Institute, Australian National University)
  • Danielle Wilde (Art and Design, Monash University)
  • Ms Debra Batton (Independent Artist)
  • Dorita Hannah (Creative Arts, Massey University, New Zealand)
  • Dr Eduardo De La Fuente (Communications, Monash University)
  • Eduardo Lopes (Music University of Evora, Portugal)
  • Dr Eiichi Tosaki (Art and Design, Monash University)
  • Erin Manning (Fine Arts Concordia, University Montreal, Canada)
  • Gabriele Knueppel (Architecture and Design, RMIT)
  • Gemma Loving-Hutchins (Design, Massey University, New Zealand)
  • Gordon Monro (Art and Design, Monash University)
  • Gretchen Riordan (Sydney College of the Arts)
  • Gretel Taylor (Performance Studies, Victoria University)
  • Heather Middleton (Sociology, Macquarie University)
  • Helen Duley (Faculty of Art and Design, Monash University)
  • Hellen Sky (Architecture and Design, RMIT)
  • Ian Maxwell (Performance Studies, University of Sydney)
  • Ina Centaur (Second Life Shakespeare Company)
  • Inarra Saarinan (Ballet Pixelle)
  • Jack Reynolds (Philosophy, Latrobe)
  • Jake Carter (Art and Design, Monash University)
  • Dr Jane Montgomery Griffiths (Theatre and Performance, Monash University)
  • Janet McGaw (Architecture Building and Planning, University of Melbourne)
  • Jeff Malpas (Philosophy University of Tasmania)
  • Johanna Petsche (Studies in Religion The University of Sydney)
  • John Di Stefano (Fine Arts, Massey University, New Zealand)
  • John Lechte (Sociology, Macquarie University)
  • John Sadar and Gyungju Chyon (Little Wonder Design)
  • Jonathon Carter (English and Cultural Studies, University of Melbourne)
  • Jude Walton (Performance Studies, Victoria University)
  • Julia Vassilieva (Film and Television, Monash University)
  • Katerina Kokkinos-Kennedy (Theatre and Performance, Monash University)
  • Kate Church (Architecture and Design, RMIT)
  • Kath Bicknell (Performance Studies, University of Sydney)
  • Lanei Rodemeyer (Philosophy Duquesne University)
  • Lisa Benson (Waikato Institute of Technology)
  • Dr Lydia Amir (Philosophy The College of Management, Tel-Aviv, Israel)
  • Madeleine Flynn (Independent Artist)
  • Tim Humphrey (Independent Artist)
  • Majed Hamed Aladaylah (AL-Balqa’, Applied University Jordan)
  • Margaret Mayhew (Australian Community Centre for Diabetes Victoria University)
  • Margie Medlin (Critical Path)
  • Mark Eliott (Sydney College of the Arts)
  • Ms Maryanne Coutts (Art and Design, Monash University)
  • Meeray Ghaly (Independent Artist)
  • Michael Fowler (Architecture and Design, RMIT)
  • Michelle Mantsio (Centre for Ideas, Victorian College of the Arts)
  • Mick Earls (German Studies, Monash University)
  • Millicent Vladiv-Glover (CLCS, Monash University)
  • Mike Baker (Independent Artist)
  • Monika Tichacek (Independent Artist)
  • Movement (Research Melbourne)
  • Neil Adams (VCA Music, University of Melbourne)
  • Nicholas Hope (Performance Studies, University of Sydney)
  • Nikki Heywood (Independent Artist)
  • Pauline Manley (Dance Studies, Macquarie University)
  • Peta Tait (Theatre and Drama, Latrobe University)
  • Peter Fraser (Independent Artist)
  • Petra Gemeinboeck (College of Fine Arts, UNSW)
  • Robert Lumsden (Independent Scholar)
  • Mr Rodney Forbes (Art and Design, Monash University)
  • Dr Ruth Skilbeck (Australian Centre for Independent Journalism UTS)
  • Sandra Parker (VCA University of Melbourne)
  • Ms Sarah Curtis (Art and Design, Monash University)
  • Second Front
  • Dr Simon Sellars (CLCS, Monash University)
  • Ms Simone Schmidt (Art and Design, Monash University)
  • Siobhan Murphy (Dance, Auckland University of Technology)
  • Sue Healey (Independent Artist)
  • Stelarc (Performance Art, Brunel University)
  • Steven Jones (Independent Artist)
  • Ms Suzanne Brown (Art and Design, Monash University)
  • Dr Thomas Ford (Social Aesthetics, Monash University)
  • Tom Lee (Writing and Society, UWS)
  • Vaneeesa Blaylock (Independent Artist)
  • Dr Vince Dziekan (Art and Design, Monash University)
  • Dr William Peterson (Theatre and Performance, Monash University)
  • Yuji Sone (Media Music Cultural Studies, Macquarie University)
  • Zdravka Gugleta (Slavic Studies, Monash University)
  • Zoe Alderton (Department of Studies, Religion University of Sydney)

Conference Proceedings

Aurthor Title of paper .pdf file size
  cIntroduction to time transcendence performance 53 kb
Dr Neil Adams Dancing the Past in the Present 97 kb
Dr Lydia B. Amir Humor and Time 160 kb
Cassandra Barnett Art out of step, art out of time: a Simondonian aesthetics 6.2 MB
Kath Bicknell The Feel of Five Minutes 5.8 MB
Dr Daniel Black Making Faces 106 kb
Kate Church Embracing imminent disappearance : landscape, event, performance 152 kb
Dr. Maryanne Coutts Now: Memory, Drawing, and the Present Moment 2.7 MB
Dr Sarah Curtis Was it Messianic time? : Aesthetic intervention and apocalyptic violence in Terri Bird’s Recycling Fictions of Being 2 MB
Dr Vince Dziekan Transactions between Time and Space 119 kb
Mick Earls Strange Machine: Technology and Temporality in Descartes’ Discourse on Method 438 kb
Dr. Petra Gemeinboeck Negotiating the In-Between: When Machine-Agents become Co-Performers 1.9 MB
Nicholas Hope Viewing the Self: The Actor’s experience of Suspended Animation 623 kb
Daniel Johnston Phenomenology, Time and Performance 115 kb
John Lechte Immediacy and the image 160 kb
Tom Lee Thinking Through Experiences: from Agamben to Whitehead with Sebald 98 kb
Eduardo Lopes Time, Rhythm, and Meter in music: The Gravitational Concept 135 kb
Robert Lumsden Immediacy and the Impossible Poetic 193 kb
Dr. Margaret Mayhew Marking Time; examining life drawing as methexis 57 kb
Janet McGaw Performative spatial practices in the urban realm: a ‘tactic’ for transcendence 131 kb
Bruce Mowson An Immanent Field: Sound, Art, Existence and Research 344 kb
Simone Schmidt Duration and Anri Sala’s Time After Time 188 kb
Dr. Alex Selenitsch Still Moving 127 kb
Dr Ruth Skilbeck Through the ‘I’s’ of Lost Time: Proust’s Performative Fugue of Temps Perdu 913 kb
Dr Yuji Sone Cyclic repetition and transferred temporalities: Video installation as performative matrix 2.6 MB
Gretel Taylor The omnipresence of time in place in Australian site-based performance 913 kb
Eiichi Tosaki Rhythm as Composition: Looking for a Common Ground 160 kb
Daniel Vuillermin ‘Mr Johnson is a man of a most dreadful appearance’: Boswellian Manipulations of Time and the Portraiture of Sir Joshua Reynolds. 1.6 MB
Becca Wood Making sense of no body 37 kb
Amanda Yates Site Constructions: Performing Time and Space 9.1 MB

Conference Pub Title: time.transcendence.performance: Refereed Conference Proceedings

Publication Year: 2010


Publisher: Monash University

Conference Location: Caulfield, VIC, Australia

Name of Conference: time.transcendence.performance

Conference Conveners: Jodie McNeilly (The University of Sydney/Macquarie University), Stuart Grant (Monash University), Caroline Vains (Monash University/RMIT)

Conference Publication Editor: Dr Stuart Grant

Refereeing Statement: All full articles published in these online proceedings have been peer reviewed as per DIISR requirements


  • Jodie McNeilly (The University of Sydney/Macquarie University)
  • Dr Stuart Grant (Monash University)
  • Caroline Vains (Monash University/RMIT)


  • School of English Communications and Performance Studies (ECPS), Monash University
  • Social Aesthetics research unit, Monash University
  • Centre for Performance Research, Monash University
  • Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI)
  • RMIT Design Research Institute
  • Dancehouse

Further information