Dr Sharman Stone new patron of Monash University’s Gender, Peace and Security Centre

The international profile of Monash University’s Gender, Peace and Security (GPS) Centre is set for a further boost following the appointment of inaugural Patron, Australia’s advocate for Women and Girls, Dr Sharman Stone today (Monday 29 May).

A Monash Alumnus, Dr Stone is currently Australia’s third Ambassador for Women and Girls and holds a distinguished 20 year career in the Australian Parliament. Her role as Monash GPS Patron complements her Ambassadorial role, where Dr Stone will continue to progress major issues that affect women and girls, such as child marriages, human trafficking and poverty. Dr Stone will share Monash GPS’ significant research in this field at major global forums, including the United Nations and Pacific Islands Forum.

Dean of Arts Professor Sharon Pickering with new patron for Monash GPS Dr Sharman Stone, and Director of GPS Professor Jacqui True
Dean of Arts Professor Sharon Pickering with new patron for Monash GPS Dr Sharman Stone, and Director of GPS Professor Jacqui True

On her new appointment, Dr Stone said,

“We’re not achieving in our region in the Asia Pacific, anything near an equal opportunity scenario for women or children in any country, so therefore the Gender, Peace and Security Centre at Monash is so important in the research it does. And if we can advance the cause for how to achieve gender equity, then peace and security must follow.”

Dean of Arts, Professor Sharon Pickering said, “The Faculty of Arts is thrilled that Ambassador Dr Sharman Stone will be the foundation Patron of the Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre. She will be able to assist with the core mission of Monash GPS to bring a research-informed gender perspective to foreign policy and international security in Australia as well as in the Asia-Pacific region and in global fora.”

Director of GPS, Professor Jacqui True was likewise delighted that Dr Stone has agreed to serve as the foundation patron for the Centre.

“Dr Stone’s appointment will significantly enhance the centre’s impact by translating its research into real-world outcomes for women and girls.

Australia is just one of three countries in the world to have a Global Ambassador for Women & Girls to promote gender equality and transformation regionally and internationally, with Monash GPS research focused in many of the countries Dr Sharman Stone visits in her ambassadorial role.”

Monash GPS in the School of Social Sciences Monash University’s Faculty of Arts consists of a group of policy and community engaged scholars whose research is focused in the field of gender, peace and security and aligned with the UN Security Council’s Women, Peace and Security Agenda. The Centre is a member of the new Global Consortium of Women/Gender, Peace and Security research centres alongside three international centres at the Peace Research Institute Oslo, London School of Economics and Georgetown University. Monash GPS conducts research to inform scholarly debate, policy development and implementation, public understanding about the gendered politics of armed conflict and the search for peace. Monash GPS partners with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on a number of research projects including:




Further information at Monash GPS.


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“Legacies of resistance we need to act upon”: PhD candidate Matteo Dutto

PhD candidate Matteo Dutto
PhD candidate Matteo Dutto

Sometimes dubbed the ‘black Ned Kelly’, Jandamarra of the Bunuba nation is an iconic figure in the history of Australian Indigenous armed resistance to colonial invasion, and while Indigenous Australians have always shared stories of both Jandamarra’s resistance and of other key Indigenous people, such as Yagan of the Whadjuk Noongar and Pemulwuy of the Bidjigal people, the wider Australian public remains largely unaware of this history and these stories.

Monash PhD candidate, Matteo Dutto, is currently researching the retellings of these stories, which take on various forms including oral accounts, theatre, film and children’s books. His research encourages greater responsibility and recognition for the diverse ways to think about the legacies of these stories, and about the connections between past and present acts of resistance.

Why did you choose to look, in particular, at these three figures?

There are so many stories of armed resistance, and even though there’s much work about these leading figures, they are not really part of Australia’s national history. I chose these three historical leaders because there is a corpus of stories produced by Indigenous cultural producers about them.

The idea was not to look at them only through a historical perspective, but also through an Indigenous approach, so doing that meant engaging with Indigenous retellings of these stories and the way in which they exist across a wide variety of media. There is of course the oral tradition but perhaps most interestingly for us and Indigenous people, is that there is quite a lot of work being done by Indigenous filmmakers, playwrights and writers to retell these stories to the wider public from their own perspectives. These include documentary films, historical novels, and theatre plays.

So for Pemulwuy we have oral stories, documentaries, theatre plays and the same goes for Jandamarra and Yagan. They are each quite different in terms of stories. They show different facets of resistance, different ways resistance was performed in Australia, the different approaches to retelling the stories because, of course, the Bidjigal, Bunuba and Whadjuk Noongar people and cultures are each so different.

That’s the main area of the thesis and the objective was to develop a decolonising framework for us, as non-Indigenous people, to properly acknowledge and understand what an Indigenous perspective on history is and the dynamic interrelationship between these stories of resistance and reclamations of sovereignty in the present. I did this by weaving methods of textual and historical analysis with original interviews with Indigenous cultural producers to analyse a wide range of retellings of the lives and legacies of Pemulwuy, Jandamarra and Yagan from the past forty years.

Is this why you use the word “legacies” as an ongoing concept rather than “stories” which infer something past?

Yes, these are stories that speak not just to the past, they speak to the present and they speak to the future, most importantly. These stories are in the present, for things like negotiation of treaties, land rights, and the reclamation of sovereignty against the ongoing colonisation in Australia.

These are not just stories of resistance, these are acts of resistance in the present – by retelling a story of resistance you are enacting resistance in the present. And of course you can do that in a variety of ways so the idea of having more stories was also to reflect how you can resist colonisation and aim towards decolonisation in different ways. There are works that try and pursue a more reconciliatory approach and build towards reconciliation and constitutional recognition, and other works that emerge from a different political background and focus instead on reclamations of sovereignty and on the demand for treaties. They share many of the same aims but they enact resistance in different ways.

This is why I, in the end, propose to think about these three stories [about Yagan, Jandamarra and Pemulwuy] not just as stories of resistance but as legacies of resistance.

Engaging with them through the works of Indigenous cultural producers and cultural activists allows us to understand how Indigenous historical knowledges operate across different media and epistemologies, embodying radical alterities through their presentation of the relations between past and present, between myth and history and between Indigenous countries and the settler colonial state. These are not just stories we need to learn about, but legacies we need to act upon.

Where did this idea come from?

You could say the main starting point was something that Tony Birch, an Indigenous academic and writer, wrote during the early 2000s during the ‘history wars’ when the very notion of Indigenous history and the legitimacy of Indigenous historiographies was being called into question by the Howard government. Reflecting on this political discussion, Tony Birch pointed at the fact that what was missing were Indigenous voices and perspectives because what he saw were non-Indigenous revisionist historians against non-Indigenous conservative historians. The idea was, let’s start from what Birch said, and what can we, non-Indigenous people learn, not from ‘official histories’ but from Indigenous histories?

I always thought it was interesting that there’s many ways of doing history but there is still a resistance, particularly in Australia, to histories that are done through other mediums and are not considered by many as ‘proper’ forms of history. I think there is still a reluctance even within western historiography to accept that these other forms, for example documentary, can do history just as well as historians can, so that history is not just confined to the university but done through many other disciplines. That’s why I incorporate a transdisciplinary approach.

I think what’s also striking is that there is still a linear modernist view of history that has framed Indigenous people as confined to a distant past – depicting Indigenous cultures as not contemporary. This approach was pivotal during the early years of colonisation and still being used today by the settler colonial state, to deny we live in the same day and age and that there can be different ways of being modern and being contemporary.

When we think of how history can be done across media, we think of transmedia, cross-media, convergence, but for many Indigenous cultures across Australia, knowledge was always transmitted across media: song, storytelling, performance. It was always told across media so it doesn’t have to be conceptualised as ‘traditional’ or ‘contemporary’ – they work together. How we perceive and conceptualise history can trick us into thinking in certain paradigms.

These works I’m looking at break away from these paradigms and force us to consider different ways of doing history, and to understand these stories of resistance we need to change the way we think about history itself. It’s not just about knowing, but learning from these stories and reflecting on how and why they were told and at what time.

As someone from Italy, I’m curious, what stirred you to learn about these legacies in Australia?

I first came to Australia in 2009 when I was doing a Master of Comparative Literature and Post-Colonial Studies at the University of Bologna focusing on Australian literature, and that’s when I came across the Ned Kelly stories. I’d always been interested in resistance stories so I thought that would be an interesting topic and I managed to get a scholarship from the University of Bologna to spend three months here doing research, and so of course I came to Melbourne. At the time, I was focusing on the literary reincarnations of Ned Kelly and how his legend was built through various media, starting from the very first songs that were being written and sang while he was alive, up until books like The True History of the Kelly Gang [by Peter Carey] and a number of films.

Whilst doing that, I got in touch with Professor Adam Shoemaker, a key Australian scholar of post-colonial and Indigenous literature who was working at Monash University at the time, and then I got to know Mary Rose Casey, a performance scholar still here in the Monash Indigenous Studies Centre. That was around the time I came across the Jandamarra story.

I didn’t have much time to explore that in my master’s thesis but I conducted some research and wrote a bit about Jandamarra. I then ended up working in Italy for another four years before I decided to continue this research and applied for a scholarship from Monash to do this PhD.

You could say that I targeted Monash as I’d been here before and had a good experience, even though it was just for a couple of weeks. I knew how good a university it was and thought I could do more here so it was my first and only application for a scholarship.

How fortuitous to meet Mary Rose Casey. How then did you find your supervisors?

When I first applied for the scholarship I knew Professor Shoemaker wasn’t working at Monash anymore, so I didn’t have any contacts at the university. I just sent a blind application to see if anyone was interested and soon after I received an email back from Associate Professor Therese Davis saying that she loved the project and that she’d be happy to be my supervisor.

After that I met with her and Associate Professor Belinda Smail at the Monash Prato Centre, as they were organising a small conference there. It was great, we spent a couple of days together so I got a chance to meet my supervisors before I came to Australia. It took a couple of extra months for the scholarship to be approved, then that was it.

And now you’ve submitted your thesis. Can you share a bit about what you’ve found?

Perhaps one of the most interesting stories among the three is the story of Jandamarra. These stories were either actively erased after the death of these freedom fighters, or assimilated into the colonial narrative to maintain the myth of terra nullius, and the myth that Indigenous people did not resist or fight back. You either had to erase these characters by not speaking about them even though they are in the archives, or you turn them into outlaws and bandits.

Jandamarra became a bandit in a book written about him by Ion Idriess in the 1950s, ‘Outlaws of the Leopolds’, where he made Jandamarra the villain who kills settlers with the settlers and police force as the heroes of the narrative. The Bunuba people, the keepers of his story, for years tried to repair this history and retell it through Bunuba stories and voices. In 1984 they created a cultural enterprise, Bunuba Cultural Enterprises, with the objective to tell the story to the wider public. The original idea was to turn it into a feature film, then it became a play through a collaboration with Steve Hawke, a non-Indigenous playwright who spent about 25 years of his life in Fitzroy Crossing. A most interesting aspect is that the play is performed in four languages [English, Bunuba, Kriol and Pidgin]. It then also became an opera that was performed in Sydney three years ago. 

‘Jandamarra: Sing for the Country’ made its world premiere with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House, 2014.

So what we can learn from this approach is that it was driven from the community and can be cross-cultural, and take different forms. You also get an idea of how important language is to convey certain aspects of history. The most important point is that it comes from the community and the ownership of the story remains with the community even when the story is opened up to a much wider audience, as when Indigenous director Mitch Torres retold it in her 2011 documentary Jandamarra’s War.

How did this compare to the other legacies?

Well, on the other end you’ve got Pemulwuy, whose story was first brought to a wider public by Indigenous academic Eric Willmott in 1987 when he was working for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC). His approach was very much engaging with the historical archive and looking for what was missing in the official accounts rather than with the keepers of the story. These stories may have been erased from official histories, but if you look at the diaries of settlers and journals of the governors, there are mentions of these figures because they were, at the end of the day, fighting a war. So his approach was looking at the “white” archive and filling in the gaps, whereas with Jandamarra, as it was still alive as an oral history, things were driven by the Bunuba people then research from elsewhere was considered.

Willmott’s research into Pemulwuy was actually first aired as a documentary in 1985, as a teaser to his book while he was still completing the novel. The advantage of considering these different retellings as a corpus is that it allows us to reflect on how they move across time and across media. They might emerge at different times, but they are inextricably connected to each other and this also changes the way in which we often think about history as a single narrative. Pemulwuy emerged to a wider audience in the late 1980s and there’s a reason for that. His story was recovered right before the celebration of the bicentenary because it was being used by Indigenous activists to protest against the omission of Indigenous perspectives from the ‘celebrations’.

The Pemulwuy story is still maintained by the Eora nation or Darug people in Sydney. They were involved in Rachel Perkins’ 2008 documentary series First Australians by having Darug elders retell the story on their own terms, and the same was done in 2010 by Indigenous filmmaker Grant Lee Saunders. Looking at these different works one can see how Pemulwuy is portrayed in different ways by each cultural producer, with changes that reflect the way in which Indigenous activism and politics have changed over the past 30 years.

What about for the retelling of Yagan?

For Yagan, there was an oral history CD released just a few years ago as told by the Whadjuk Noongar people. Again a community-driven project, and it’s interesting how these stories are still being told and how crucial they are. We also have his story playing a pivotal role in Jack Davis’ 1972 play Kullark, in Sally Riley’s short film Confessions of a Headhunter and in a more recent documentary by Kelrick Martin called Yagan.

Through this story and his various retellings by Indigenous cultural producers we can also see how these stories of resistance continue to have an impact in the present. After Pemulwuy, Jandamarra and Yagan were killed, their heads were cut off and shipped to England to be exhibited in museums and that was a common practice that the British colonisers did across the world. The retelling of these stories is a way to advocate for the return of their remains, as well as for sovereignty and land rights. Having their remains returned to country is crucial in many ways for their spirit to be laid to rest and for their legacy to be taken up by a new generation.  Yagan’s head was recovered in 1997 and buried with a traditional Noongar ceremony in 2010, but for Pemulwuy and Jandamarra, there is still an ongoing campaign for the repatriation of their remains and these retellings play an active part in these fights.

This fight is still going on. These stories bring to light questions that need to be discussed with the communities: how do you commemorate these stories? Would Pemulwuy be happy to have a statue built of him by the state he fought against? How can we move forward?

So is this what your research ultimately hopes to achieve – a way to move forward?

The idea was to develop a decolonising framework that could account for the mobility, continuity and heterogeneity of Indigenous multimodal approaches to history-making. This was done not only with objective of facilitating the recognition of Indigenous cultural productions as valid forms of doing history, but to stress how learning from the lives of historical figures like Pemulwuy, Jandamarra and Yagan requires a non-Indigenous public to engage with their incarnations across different media and across different times to truly understand what their legacies entail in the present, and how they are shaped by Indigenous cultural activists. We don’t just need to sit down and listen; we need to sit down, listen and engage and act upon them. There is a need to move forward.

It’s something that could be taken up with many other stories too. It’d be interesting to see other people engaging with the stories of Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner, Musquito, Dundalli and Windradyne [(each from different Indigenous countries)], or the role of Indigenous women in the resistance for example. In the story of Jandamarra the role of Jandamarra’s mother and wife were crucial in the fight, so that’s another direction of research.

I think it has practical implications for policy as well, for example the way the curriculum is taught – how are these stories taught and for what purpose? Do you just use textbooks or do you use film and art? I think it’s crucial to recognise the importance of not just ‘teaching’ Indigenous histories, but of doing so using also Indigenous ways of doing it, involving communities, as well as cultural producers and cultural activists to stress how these stories are still alive.

I suppose this might also have an impact for the new migrants coming to Australia as in: how much, as migrants to this country, do we know about the many Indigenous sovereign nations? As much as we might be considered minority groups and different from ‘white Australia’, we are still part of a settler colonial state, we still benefit from the genocide that occurred, so we are very much part of the system. We have a responsibility to engage more with these stories, to know them and to learn from them.

It’s not good enough to say, ‘why didn’t anybody tell us?’ We should be actively looking for this information and these stories are out there so it’s a question of: why don’t we act upon them? Why aren’t we in a position to see how important they are?

Even for new migrants to engage more actively to learn about the place you live in, not just the white history of the place. And it’s so much more satisfying, I feel privileged to have lived in a place for four years where we have the longest continuing culture in the world. There is so much to be learnt from it, if we only engaged a bit more.


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Malthouse opportunities and new Australian musicals at Monash

Head of Theatre & Performance Associate Professor Jane Montgomery-Griffiths
Head of Theatre & Performance Associate Professor Jane Montgomery-Griffiths

The Monash Centre for Theatre and Performance (CTP) has great opportunities for students to further their professional practice, with both its ongoing Malthouse Theatre partnership (including internships, the commissioning of new works for student performance, and lively public lectures); and with a new major donation from Pratt Foundation to foster new Australian musical theatre.

Head of CTP, Associate Professor Jane Montgomery-Griffith, explains that these initiatives are very much central to the CTP’s culture and vision, where the Centre sees itself as part of ‘an ecosystem of theatre’, with benefits for both students and the wider community alike.

What does the Monash-Malthouse partnership offer students and the public?

It’s a terrific partnership; it’s really very mutually beneficial. I particularly like it too that Malthouse is a very innovative theatre company, it’s young, it’s hungry and does exciting work and that’s how we see ourselves at CTP as well – so it’s a perfect engagement.

The Arts Faculty is the major sponsor of Malthouse Theatre each year, and in return our students receive an unrivalled level of internships. We have interns in marketing, PR, theatre administration, directing, lighting, sound design – pretty much every area. It’s an amazing experience for the students because, of course, they are sitting in the rehearsal room with some of the best practitioners in the country, watching these amazing works. In fact, I’ve just had a meeting with someone who’s in the middle of their internship and it’s really a life-changing experience.

Also, through the additional support of MAPA, every year for the past three years we commission playwrights to create a new play for our 3rd year students which is performed at The Malthouse. In our first year we had multi-award-winning playwrights Daniel Keene and Angus Cerini, with three young emerging playwrights. Last year we commissioned Patricia Cornelius and Susie Dee: Patricia is without doubt Australia’s most awarded theatre writer and the work she does is contentious, dangerous, political and exciting; and Susie Dee recently swept up the Green Room Awards this year for her direction. Again, an extraordinary experience for our students working with practitioners of that calibre.

This coming year we’ve commissioned an emerging playwright, Morgan Rose, who is really one of the best emerging playwrights in the country. And I think that’s important too, that we are helping people in their careers who are in the industry, and we’re also validating a form of theatre which isn’t that fashionable because new writing doesn’t get a voice very often. So it’s a way of giving back to the industry as well as engaging our students.

We also believe very strongly in public engagement so we have a series of free public talks called Monash Meets Malthouse where four times a year, to coincide with certain productions, we bring together a panel of Monash academics and people from the industry or broader community for open, fun and informative conversations about the work.

So, really making that link between the entertainment industry, the cultural arts and academic research – coming together and making our research accessible, so we can convey it in a really clear and non-intimidating way and make a stronger conversation.

What’s the next ‘Monash Meets Malthouse’ about?

The talk will explore when is it acceptable for actors and artists to criticise critics. It’ll coincide with the production Wild Bore that will feature Britain’s, America’s and Australia’s foremost queer cabaret artists and provocateurs coming together with a great deal of explicit nudity and scurrilousness, I’m sure. 

CTP received a significant donation from the Pratt Foundation last year – can you tell us what that will go towards?

Yes, it was completely out of the blue for us and an amazing opportunity. Jeanne Pratt donated one million dollars to Monash University to foster new Australian musical theatre. With this funding we’ve changed the model because the Pratt Foundation want to see new musical theatre in the new Alexander Theatre when the huge revitalisation is complete.

Their donation has allowed us to commission a new work. We’ve employed two artists-in-residence so far to write a new piece and they mentor the students. We’ve also doubled the amount of teaching so this year the students are not just learning about the history of musical theatre but writing their own. We’ve got Verity Hunt-Ballard who is probably Australia’s most awarded musical theatre star and she’s teaching them how to act in musicals right now. It is just amazing that someone of her calibre is coming in to teach.

There’s also a sense of excitement in the industry – there’s a lot of people in musical theatre who are now looking at us thinking, this is something very different, this is actually a chance for us to have a testing ground for our work and to be nurtured. The great thing about the artist-in-residency is that it gives people time. They’ve got a year to write their own work, a year where they’ve got their own office where they can be looked after, and then at the end of it their work goes into full production. It’s huge.

What advice do you have for prospective students?

I think the biggest thing for any prospective students or parents out there to understand is how important this is as a discipline. It’s really easy for people to think that theatre and performance are ‘cappuccino degrees’.

About 20 years ago I think someone here or in the UK was talking about scrapping these degrees, that they were for the ‘arty farty elite’. What a load of nonsense! The skills that you learn through this discipline, whether incisive critical analysis, or empathetic engagement, are extraordinary.

And one of the things I love about this year’s intake is that there’s a first year acting course elective open to anyone in the university, and we have really culturally diverse students – it’s wonderful, we even have one young man who teaches a warm up in Hindi. I love that.

We have students from other cultures who have joined simply to feel more comfortable in their own skin. And that’s what it does to you –

the understanding of the soul that happens in acting is, I think, one of the most important lessons you can have.

I think it’s important that parents never think that universities should be vocational because life is much more than a vocational degree. It’s about growing and learning first.

I would say about 25% of my acting intake are actually scientists or business students who might have wanted to take this course so they could do presentations better, but they found something very rich in it.

There needs to be bit more validation in what the arts can do for the community and that it’s not an exercise in elite promotion it’s actually something that is vital for human health, I think.



How does a play further human health and affect our communities? What is the potential of a contemporary Greek tragedy in theatre today? Listen to our interview with Assoc Prof Jane Montgomery-Griffiths on her research into ‘Wit’, the Pulitzer prize-winning play. Presented last year, her performance as the lead role of the brilliant professor dying of cancer in ‘Wit’ saw her win the 2017 Outstanding Performer Greenroom Award. Audiences’ reactions established the need to explore the phenomenon of the play’s effect and its potential for furthering our empathy and human health.


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Public lecture: Paul Strangio reflects on Federal Parliament’s Melbourne years

Free Public Lecture: Something Borrowed: 1901 -1927, the Federal Years at Victoria’s Parliament House.

Friday May 19, 6pm, Queen’s Hall, Parliament House of Victoria.

Associate Professor Paul Strangio

In 1901 Australia’s newly formed Commonwealth Parliament started life not in the Canberra, which was yet to be built, but  in Melbourne, the nation’s first capital. Monash’s Professor Paul Strangio will present a free public lecture on the Federal Parliament’s Melbourne years (1901-1927). 

Professor Strangio will reflect on the significance of those parliamentary sittings in Melbourne over a quarter of a century ago, and how they impacted the shape of federal and state politics in that formative nation-building era.

Paul Strangio is an associate professor of politics in the School of Social Sciences at Monash University, as well as an author and editor of many books on Australian and Victorian political history. His latest major project (with Paul ‘t Hart and James Walter) is a two-volume history of the Australian prime ministership: Settling the Office: The Australian Prime Ministership from Federation to Reconstruction (2016) and The Pivot of Power: Australian Prime Ministers and Political Leadership 1949-2016 (forthcoming in 2017).

Professor Strangio’s lecture is part of an exhibition ‘Something Borrowed’ which tells the story of those pioneering 26 years on Spring Street. On show from 15 to 19 May 2017 in Queen’s Hall at Parliament House, the ‘Something Borrowed’ exhibition will explore some of the forgotten and unknown stories of the Federal Parliament’s formative years. Download the exhibition brochure

Entry the Public Lecture is free, but spaces are limited. 
Visit parliament.vic.gov.au to reserve your seat.

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How does a play further human health? Interview with Head of Theatre & Performance Jane Montgomery-Griffiths

Associate Professor Jane Montgomery Griffiths is driving a new research project, funded by the Monash/Warwick Alliance, to investigate the creation of empathy in the audience through theatrical depictions of trauma.

The research arises from her Green Room Outstanding Performer Award winning performance in the Pulitzer prize winning play ‘Wit’ last year. She took on the role of the brilliant professor Vivienne dying of cancer. Adapted to film and played on stages worldwide, it was the first professional production of the work in Australia, which received rave reviews, full house audiences and standing ovations – a rare trilogy in Australia.

But it was the incredibly emotional response the play received, together with its significance for a wide range of cancer survivors and carers, that established the need for further research to understand the phenomenon of its effect and its potential for furthering humanity, our empathy and human health.

We spoke with Associate Professor Montgomery Griffiths on her experience taking on the lead character in ‘Wit’ and the potential of contemporary tragedy in theatre today.



2016 Mollie Holman Doctoral Medal winner awarded to James Muldoon

Monash/Warwick joint PhD graduate James Muldoon
Monash/Warwick joint PhD graduate James Muldoon

Dr James Muldoon, PhD graduate from the Philosophy Graduate Research Program has been awarded the 2016 Mollie Holman Doctoral Medal for the excellent research presented in his thesis, Hannah Arendt and council democracy.
James was the University’s first Monash-Warwick joint PhD completion, his project was supervised by Associate Professor Alison Ross (Monash) and Professor Michael Saward (Warwick).
Dr James Muldoon is now a Teaching Fellow at Sciences Po in Paris. He has taught political theory and philosophy at Sciences Po, Monash University, Swinburne University and the Melbourne School of Continental Philosophy. Dr Muldoon has a broad interest in contemporary political theory and the history of political thought, and seeks to draw connections between current debates concerning political agency, power and democratic institutions, and the political thought of the German tradition of Kant, Hegel and Marx. He says,
“My work is driven by a passionate attachment to an idea of political life as involving empowered self-governance rather than management, bureaucracy and control.”

The Mollie Holman Medal was established in 1998 and is named after the late pioneering physiologist Emeritus Professor Mollie Homan AO, in honour of her significant contributions to science and education. These medals are among the highest academic honours we bestow, and mark the recipients as researchers of the higher order.

Each year, a maximum of ten medals are awarded to doctoral students, who have fulfilled their degree requirements and presented their faculty’s best thesis of the year. Read more …


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New PhD scholarship rounds

The recruitment of talented and high quality students worldwide is one of the key strategies of Monash University. To help achieve this goal, the university has reviewed current practice and announced two significant changes with regards to graduate research student recruitment:

  • Increase from two to four graduate research scholarship rounds per year; and
  • Separation of domestic and international applicants for scholarship rounds.

This initiative led by Monash Graduate Education (MGE), will take better advantage of the recruitment windows for applicants from the northern hemisphere, and ensure competitiveness for both local and international markets. Changes will be implemented from 1 June 2017 following the closure of applications for the current scholarship round.

The table below highlights the key dates for the current round and each of the new scholarship rounds:




Applications open

Closing Date

Enrolment period





31 May 2017

1 Jul – 31 Dec 2017



1 Jun 2017

31 Aug 2017

1 Jan – 30 Jun 2018



1 Jun 2017

31 Oct 2017

1 Jan – 30 Jun 2018




1 Sep 2017

31 Mar 2018

1 Jul – 31 Dec 2018



1 Nov 2017

31 May 2018

1 Jul – 31 Dec 2018



1 Apr 2018

31 Aug 2018

1 Jan – 30 Jun 2019



1 Jun 2018

31 Oct 2018

1 Jan – 30 Jun 2019

Note that there is no change to the current Scholarship Round closing Wednesday 31 May 2017 that is open to BOTH domestic and international applicants. 

Applications for the new, separate scholarship rounds 3 and 4/2017 will open on 1 June 2017 as indicated in the table above.

Further Information

For more detail about the change to Graduate Research Scholarship Rounds, please refer to the following MGE Intranet page.


Making a mark in AFL and life: BA alum Emma Race

Emma Race
Emma Race

Arts alum Emma Race, producer and host of the groundbreaking Outer Sanctum Podcast shares what the freedom of an Arts degree has meant for her life. Emma’s career has included roles as a talent manager, broadcaster and producer spanning across 3RRR, Nova, Today FM, ABC 774, C31, Network Ten and Network Seven.

The Outer Sanctum Podcast has started a partnership with ABC Podcasts for the 2017 AFL Season, after The Age digital platforms featured it over the entire first season of AFLW this year. Made up of six passionate female footy fans, the Outer Sanctum Podcast ignited national debate in their first year on air when they called to attention derogatory comments about The Age‘s chief football writer Caroline Wilson. The subsequent outrage prompted the villifiers to apologise and Holden moving a greater part of its funding for Collingwood towards women’s football and community initiatives. Emma states:

We have received lots of feedback from listeners who had felt ostracised by footy and who now feel welcomed back to the game because of our podcast. […] Our hope is that in some small way our chat around these themes will make footy a safe and inclusive place for everyone.

From footballer Dennis Armfield’s work with rehabilitation centre Odyssey House Victoria  to ‘carpool karaoke with coaches and coffee with Michelle Cowan’, the six behind the Outer Sanctum focus on rarely heard stories around AFL and debate social issues such as stereotyping, inclusion and privilege around the game. And, as Emma says there’s also, ‘genuine footy chat and a lot about our superstitions and crazy fan behaviour’.

How did it all begin with the Outer Sanctum Podcast?

We created the Outer Sanctum Podcast because we didn’t hear anyone talking about AFL the way we did and we thought, maybe, we might find a few like-minded types. Traditional media offers up banks of male teams who talk footy. With the exception of The Age, who have several female footy journalists, there is very little diversity within commentary teams covering the game.

What we know is that most men and women report on the game and dissect the game differently. We report less about stats and facts and more about the stories around the game. 

We started the podcast at the beginning of the 2016 AFL season at my sister’s kitchen table. At that point the AFLW was just a glint in [AFL CEO] Gillion McLachlan’s eye; now it’s had its first grand final at Metricon Stadium in March, a huge success drawing 15,610 fans. The influx of women to the game at a professional level has certainly been an exciting addition to the code. We talk about this and AFLW but we also bring in guests and chat about the larger culture around AFL.

The Outer Sanctum Podcast
The Outer Sanctum Podcast

What’s next on the plate for the Outer Sanctum Podcast?

Being picked up by the ABC was a real boost of encouragement for us, it certainly helps to broaden our reach. Our hope is to integrate a lot more stories from around Australia. We are six Victorians who are all long-time Hawks supporters, so we understand the need to be inclusive of stories from over the fence. We ran an event last year called a Kick and Coffee which was kind of like Auskick for women. It was a really emotional event with lots of women telling us how they had always wanted to play but society hadn’t enabled that. Our hope is to take the Kick and Coffee around Australia and to regional areas while gathering more stories for the podcast. 

What impact do you hope it will achieve? 

We never set out to effect social change but we have received lots of feedback from listeners who had felt ostracised by footy and who now feel welcomed back to the game because of our podcast. Our focus with each episode is to tell stories of inclusion and diversity.

Is there anything you take from your time at Monash into your current work? 

The people I met at Monash are a re-occurring source of inspiration and support. If you are true to yourself and allow yourself to be drawn to areas of interest you will meet your tribe. Despite making no new friends until the middle of first year, I eventually met my tribe.

I have collaborated and worked alongside many of them throughout my life. 

You have an impressive career. What were your early years like after graduating, then how did you arrive at Outer Sanctum? 

As most Arts graduates would know, you don’t leave with one clear career path. If you are a glass half full person, the belief is that you graduate with MANY career paths. I believe strongly in reverse engineering and many of my career milestones were a result of pinpointing where I wanted to be and working backwards. I always wanted to work in roles where creativity and media combined.

In the mid 90s when I graduated, media roles were restricted to print, radio and screen. I started with a role in publishing at Fairfax then moved to Network Seven and on to a dozen independent television production companies. I would take any job I could get and would learn as much as I could and meet as many people as I could. It took at least ten years of this approach to hone in on a really specific area of interest. I went on to work in radio and television as a presenter and producer before I took on roles at Film Victoria and eventually as a talent manager.

During my years having children, media platforms changed and podcasting and social media became available ways for small producers to get their products seen and heard. During maternity leave I took courses in digital media and podcasting. When my footy talking lady mates suggested we should do a podcast I had the knowledge and skills to make it happen.  

What career advice would you give students or new grads?

The workforce has changed so much in the last decade. Technology has enabled me to create the job of my dreams. Today’s graduates have opportunity at their fingertips to be masters of their destiny. Without wanting to sound predictable I would say that if you are lucky enough to have a passion then look for ways to make that your career.  

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The global opportunities with Arts at Monash

Nic Davidson & Sarah Holloway, Founders of Matcha Maiden
Nic Davidson & Sarah Holloway, Founders of Matcha Maiden

Arts/Law (2012) graduate Sarah Holloway co-founded Matcha Maiden, a global e-commerce organic matcha powder supplier, and about a year ago started the physical venue Matcha Mylkbar in Melbourne, soon opening in Sydney. Sarah shares her experience making the most of Monash’s global exchange opportunities with her language studies and how this advantaged her in both her law career and current business.

She says, ‘languages have really propelled my career and personal life. I can’t even describe the tangible benefits. It helps you in everything you do.’ She shares tips about the world’s ‘blue zones’, the benefits of matcha, and on advice for future students:

‘I always say that if you’ve got a remote interest in being global and not just local, travelling, or even mind-opening, then Monash is the best place to be.’

For the full interview, listen to our podcast:

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Monash research positions available

Three Graduate Research positions are now open in the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies. Please note applicants who already hold a PhD will not be considered.

2017 Monash Master of Arts Scholarship in Philosophy

Application deadline: Friday 28 April 2017

A Master of Arts candidate is being sought in the topic of women and freedom in the history of philosophy, or a related topic in philosophy more generally. The student’s research will be connected to a larger project, ‘Women on Liberty:  From the Early Modern Period to the Enlightenment (1650-1800)’, funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant (project no. DP140100109). Supervisor: Associate Professor Jacqueline Broad, Philosophy, School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies, Monash University.

Read the full candidate requirements, remuneration and application details.


Monash PhD Position in Philosophy

Application deadline: Thursday 15 June 2017

A PhD candidate is being sought in Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science. The successful candidate will be part of a 3 year interdisciplinary research project on mind wandering and spontaneous thought in wakefulness and sleep. Supervisor: Dr Jennifer Windt, Lecturer, School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies

Read the full candidate requirements, remuneration and application details.


2018 Monash PhD Position in Philosophy of Mind/Cognitive Science

Application deadline: Monday 31 July 2017

A PhD candidate is being sought in Philosophy of Mind/Cognitive Science in association with the Australian Research Council Project “Measuring the Mind: A Framework for Building a Consciousness Meter.” Supervisor: Dr Tim Bayne, Professor, School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies

Read the full candidate requirements, remuneration and application details.


Calvin Fung’s winning short story and research

Calvin Fung
Calvin Fung

Calvin won the Monash University entry for his short story, ‘The Beggar and the Glimpse’, in the Monash Undergraduate Prize for Creative Writing, an annual prize open to any undergraduate student in Australia and New Zealand, now in its fifth year (the 2017 prize is now open closing 12 April). Award-winners are announced at the Emerging Writers’ Festival each year and their work published in Verge, a journal produced by Monash Arts Creative Writing students.

Calvin’s work centres on a story about a young man in Hong Kong dealing with the umbrella protests that happened in 2016. On the Emerging Writers’ Festival website, ‘The Beggar and the Glimpse’ features the judge’s comments:

“successfully addressing the moral tug-of-war between political action and traditional family values, taking recent political history as the subject matter. The immediacy of the story and the depiction of unfolding events were compelling. Good writing in an unconventional (non-Anglo) idiom.”

Originally from Hong Kong, we spoke to Calvin about his move to Monash, his short story as well as his plans for the future, which include centering gothic literature and Hong Kong as a setting in his PhD.

How did you come to be at Monash?

When I was 16 I went to the Chinese University in Hong Kong (CUHK) to study. After two years I came to Monash on exchange and I decided that Monash was much more suitable for me and so I transferred. I did a Literary Studies major but I also did creative writing units with Professor Chandani Lokuge – I did her introduction to creative writing and her advanced fiction writing. I feel like she taught me how to write! And I did my Honours year in Literary Studies at Monash and my thesis topic was ‘Writing the Self in the Gothic Autobiography’.

What did your Honours thesis explore?

Since secondary school, I’d wanted to study Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw. And so I studied the way in which the narrative is transmitted in the text as well as in my favourite novel, James Hogg’s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner.  I looked at how life-writing and autobiographical elements in these two texts allow us to uncover more about the self and desire.

This exploration of self and desire seems linked to the entry you won an award for in the international Undergraduate Awards last year. Can you tell us a bit more about that?

I was studying a bit of digital narratology, like in video games. And for one of the research workshops in Honours, I studied sexual and gender identities in video games. I’m getting this work published in a journal, and it was a version of this that I submitted and received an Undergraduate Award for.

Interesting. Are you continuing an exploration of these identities in your PhD in creative writing?

Yes! That’s what I’m doing right now. I’m really interested in 19th or 20th century literature. I really love gothic literature. I think it destabilises a lot of binaries. I have a particular interest in critical theories as well.

I also want to experiment with narrative as well, and play with how the story is told. I’m influenced by Jeanette Winterson’s ‘Written on the body’; her mode of narration was very inspiring. In Winterson’s novel, you never really know if the narrator is male or female whereas typically we find that’s a given in a story, that you know the gender of the protagonist. Very basically, we like to know what ‘sex’ he or she or they are, but she deprives us of that and I think that’s quite new and that’s something I want to play around with. And, also, I want to explore psychological disassociation as well. In gothic work, like in Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories, we have the unreliable narrator, and that’s something I want to play around with as well.

So I’m going to write a gothic novel set in Hong Kong. I really want to return home with my writing. I wanted to do an Asian/Hong Kong gothic work. There’s not much of that already and is an area worth developing. I would say mainly I want the work to be about identity, especially identities that are often suppressed in Hong Kong – marginalised communities.

Hong Kong, photo courtesy Calvin Fung
Hong Kong, photo courtesy Calvin Fung

‘The Beggar and the Glimpse’ gives us a glimpse of that return home with your writing. Can you share with us a bit about that?

The story was based on what happened in Hong Kong in 2016. Basically, during Chinese New Year in 2016 there were riots in HK and it was very violent. I thought I was looking at something from a war region but kept realising it was from my home. I was really emotionally affected and I wanted to express something. So I decided to write this story. I wrote it really quickly compared to my other short stories, like in 1 or 2 weeks.

This story is very different from my normal style. Usually, I like to write romance fiction, especially romance that doesn’t deal with normative relationships, but this is the first time I’ve attempted political fiction. It’s a new region to me.

It seems to tackle different issues between the generations in Hong Kong that were brought up during the umbrella protests there last year. Can you tell us a bit more about this?

I definitely wanted to explore the generation gap, as we have a stereotypical notion that the older generation is more conservative and I guess you can see this in Brexit, where the newer generation want to branch out. We have that in Hong Kong as well – people who are pro-establishment and anti-establishment.

After all these protests and outbreaks of students trying to fight for their freedoms or young people trying to fight for their futures, the older generation feels like we’re trying to usurp their authority in some way. You can have many different interpretations of this but what I wanted to explore was a new sense of distrust. People could no longer trust each other.

Mistrust seems to be a cornerstone in this short story, linked to the story’s title and ending, where a boy giving money to a beggar glimpses at an older couple then is charged with a confrontation of mistrust from them. Why was this so important to convey?

I thought was important was that the older couple couldn’t trust the younger boy, even though the younger boy didn’t do anything at all. And I feel like years ago, this moment in the story might not have happened. When you see someone giving money or being charitable it’s read as an admirable trait but now there’s that distrust. I think it’s significant because when you look at someone doing something and you already have this interpretation or predetermined notion of them because of all of the politics going on, we can no longer believe in the good in people any more.

Hong Kong
Hong Kong

The colour red comes up a lot as well, can you share with us what that means?

Red in Chinese culture is important for many reasons. For one, red is used to scare off monsters in mythical legends. So red is an important colour but in a different society, red is blood, it’s bloodshed, it’s violence, it’s love, it’s a very strong and passionate colour. So mixing traditional values with the depiction of violence we get red because it’s blood and it’s Chinese New Year at the same time. I wanted to incorporate that.

What about your ideas behind weaving in food and Cantonese, the language of Hong Kong?

I think this is another part where I tried to experiment with the story. I showed this short story to some of my relatives who understand Cantonese. They look at these words and they understand, but to a different audience they might see it and feel distant from what I’m trying to say because of these foreign words in italics. So what I wanted to do was instill a sort of curiosity so that maybe they would investigate further into the politics of Hong Kong – which I really hope people will do.

Read ‘The Beggar and the Glimpse’, available in Verge 2016.

Submit an entry to Verge 2017 (closes 9 April).

Submit an entry to the 2017 Monash Undergraduate Creative Writing Prize (closes 12 April).

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2018 Walter Mangold Language Scholarships


A sociological study of patients’ use of digital media


Culture to go? Symposium explores creative and cultural industries futures

Debates around the creative industries, and the ‘creative cities’ and ‘creative classes’ associated with these, have now been raging for two decades. The celebratory rhetoric associated with their early expressions have been met by empirically informed critical research.

This has pointed to the economic reductionism and over-inflated expectations brought by this policy agenda; the realities and inequities of creative labour; the growing exclusion of creative producers and suburban consumers from the urban core; and the general erosion of any value for culture other than its contribution to jobs and growth.

Yet this critical work often forgets, or disavows, the optimistic – even utopian – impulses which gave rise to the great expectations placed on the cultural and creative industries from the 1970s onwards. Our take-downs can often forget the possibilities still (we hope) inherent in the idea of culture, and the crucial importance of thinking about the ways in which it is produced and consumed.

In a world that has recently taken a turn to the political dark side but which contains immense capacities to be transformed into something human, where do we stand in relation to the question of cultural economy?

This symposium brings together leading Australian and overseas researchers and thinkers in this field. They will outline how they see the contemporary stakes in various aspects of the cultural economy. They will cast a critical eye to the future and look at where we might go in the next decade if given a chance.

Some of this might be utopian and speculative, but perhaps out of this will come a chance to seize the initiative and develop a new program for culture, not just digging trenches for the coming onslaught against it.

Interested in attending this symposium?

Cultural Economy Futures: A Symposium
DATE: 11 April, Tuesday
TIME: 09:00 am – 6:00 pm
LOCATION: Level 7, 271 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000

Download symposium flyer (PDF)

RSVP: earvin.cabalquinto@monash.edu

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