Joanna fashions a career in research

Not to boast, but Monash is always proud of our incredibly talented students. Joanna Batsakis is a great example.

Joanna is working towards an academic career in undertaking a PhD in Film Theory, but is also a painter and jewellery designer for her own label.

Here is her profile…

Joanna Batsakis.

Name: Joanna Batsakis

Course: Bachelor of Arts (Alternative Exit in Business Management) and Bachelor of Arts (Honours) 

Campus: Caulfield

Year graduated: 2016 for Honours Degree in Arts (Film Studies)

Current position: PhD Student in Film Theory at Monash University

What is a ‘day in the life’ of your current role?

As I am in my first year of research, I’m currently spending my time split between my personal office at Monash and the library, researching my topic! The focus of my PhD is my all-time favourite artist, Dennis Hopper.  

Not only am I a writer but I am also a painter and a jewellery designer for my own label. I organise my days around each of these activities, and depending on my mood I’ll devote more time to one than the other. It depends if I have pending assignments or a gallery exhibition coming up.

What was a key lesson you learnt at Monash that translated into your current work?

Probably how to research any topic belonging to any discipline effectively, both in and outside the library. Because I began my undergraduate experience with a double degree of Arts/Business, I felt confident generally researching the different parameters of the arts (from film studies, philosophy to art history) because my personal life is so closely centred around these disciplines outside of university life. However with areas that I really had no clue where to begin and really needed extra help with (business management and statistics, microeconomics right through to accounting and commerce law), it was necessary that I learnt how to navigate the jargon and referencing systems so that I could be as successful as possible in my assessments.

I think this really was integral to how I research now in my PhD. My natural way of thinking and writing about films studies is to combine both film theory with art history theory – and because I learnt earlier how to juggle and weave together different systems and sources from opposing disciplines, I can now accurately translate my way of thinking to my writing, because it has become second nature rather than a time-wasting struggle to fulfil my proposed methodology.


When you were little, what was your dream job?

I always wanted to be an international luxury fashion designer. I had various labels I’d made up and designed for and devoted countless of notebooks to. I was always (and still am) extremely inspired by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen – their style and their entrepreneurial and curatorship skills.

What is your dream job now?

My pipe dream is to work as the creative director for Bulgari. But I’d also love to work in some way with The Dennis Hopper Art Trust and I’m not sure in what capacity, but I’d love to collaborate with Dolce & Gabbana and Delfina Delettrez.

Who do you look up to most in the industry?

I’m not quite in the industry just yet, but my influences in life (generally speaking) are the same artists time and time again. It’s a big, big long list of people, and this really isn’t all of it…

But I always look up to Julian Schnabel and his son Vito Schnabel, Sofia Coppola, Wes Lang, Martin Scorsese, Dennis Hopper, Jack Kerouac, Joshua Tillman, Louis Garrel, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Kris Kristofferson, Elizabeth Taylor, Jose Maria Manzanares, Dylan Rieder, Patti Smith, Miles Teller, Maja Wyh. I also love the entire Skarsgard family, Marc Maron, Alessandro Michele, Gilda Ambrosio & Giorgia Tordini and Stefano Gabbana & Domenico Dolce.

Have you kept in touch with any of your fellow alumni?

I keep in close contact with Amanda Barbour – she is the greatest! Not only is she inspirational in how entrepreneurial she is (organising film festivals is the tip of the iceberg), but she is a great supporter of my own work and localised film projects, and she always knows what is happening and where to be. Plus, she can speak French and is a translator! She’s helping me translate some movies with my favourite French film actor, Denis Menochet, because his films are hard to find and often are without English subtitles. 

Do you follow any sports teams?

Actually no! I guess the way others devote attention and passion to sports, I devote to films, paintings and fashion. The excitement one feels over grand finals I experience at an exhibition opening, or at the opening night of a production or festival.

What’s your coffee order?

I don’t drink coffee at all! But I seem to always have either a Coca-Cola or Limonata in my hand – they are my preferred drink options, anywhere, anytime.