Cheap print: new book about pocket-sized popular music anthologies from the nineteenth century

Dr Paul Watt
(Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music) and Dr Patrick Spedding (LLCL)—with Professor Derek B. Scott (University of Leeds)—are the editors of a new book published today by Cambridge University Press.

Cheap Print and Popular Song in the Nineteenth Century: A Cultural History of the Songster is a study of pocket-sized anthologies of song texts, usually without musical notation.

Called songsters these anthologies were published in the thousands—sometimes tens of thousands—but few have survived into the twenty-first century.

This book examines the musical, social, commercial and aesthetic functions songsters served and the processes by which they were produced and disseminated, the repertory they included, and the singers, printers and entrepreneurs that both inspired their manufacture and facilitated their consumption.

Taking an international perspective, chapters focus on songsters from Australia, Britain, Ireland and North America and the varied public and private contexts in which they were used and exploited in oral and print cultures.

‘Putting this book together has been exciting not only for us as the editors, but also for our contributors. We have looked in far-flung places for these rare artefacts and to bring their histories to life has been fantastic. Learning about the composers, performers, printers and audiences for these songsters has been a revelation,’ said Dr PaulWatt.

Cheap Print and Popular Song in the Nineteenth Century is the second book published as part of the Monash–Leeds Research Partnership in Music. In 2011, Dr Paul and Dr Spedding co-edited Bawdy Songbooks of the Romantic Period, which was published to wide critical acclaim.

Dr Spedding comments: ‘We have been very lucky to have had the chance to, first, recover a large collection of lost nineteenth-century songsters and, then, to have been able to facilitate the publication of path-breaking new research on the significance of songsters in general. A lot remains to be done, but we are now closer than ever to understanding the scope of popular song in the nineteenth-century.’

Other books arising from the Monash–Leeds partnership include the Oxford Handbook of Music and Intellectual Culture in the Nineteenth Century (edited by Paul Watt, Sarah Collins and Michael Allis) and The Symphonic Poem in Britain, 1850–1940: Texts and Contexts (edited by Michael Allis and Paul Watt).

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Speaking the language of us

In 18 months, about 60 people from 30 different nationalities who speak 40 languages in total have been profiled on Multilinguals of Melbourne, an online photojournalism project on Melbournians started by Master of Interpreting and Translation student Laura Blackmore.

It’s a page where Melbourne’s cultural diversity comes into play but perhaps more importantly, highlights the often overlooked but significant role language, translation and interpreting plays in acute life-and-death matters and more broadly, equity and social justice. Disney also recently recognised Laura’s vision and featured her story in their ‘Dream Big Princess’ campaign.

We spoke with Laura about how Multilinguals of Melbourne got going, what she’s learnt from her study at Monash so far, and what she’s planning to do next.

Laura Blackmore
Film still of Disney video on Laura Blackmore

How did the idea for ‘Multilinguals of Melbourne’ come about?

I can’t pinpoint exactly how, but it was one of the many nights up in my dorm at Monash when I was thinking of Humans of New York [photography project turned photojournalism series with two best-selling books], and then I thought of starting Multilinguals of Melbourne.

I always wanted to create something to show my friends and family back home who I was meeting, as I’m not from Melbourne originally – I’m from Jervis Bay in NSW (two hours south of Sydney). 

It started with my roomies first: Clara from Germany, Nive from India, and Clarisse from Taiwan. Through that I started interviewing people in my course, and then some organisations stated sending me messages. Meltomo [an online platform where Melbourne and Japan connect] from Melbourne messaged me, and we did a big group interview, then some organisations from different parts of Australia including a language bookshop in Perth, and then an overseas Language School in Texas contacted me.

Clarisse was one of the first people featured on Mom and also my roommate at the time. She is an international student from Taiwan and was studying her master's at Monash
Clarisse was one of the first people featured on Mom and also my roommate at the time. She is an international student from Taiwan and was studying her master’s at Monash
Nivedita was the first person featured on MoM and was also studying her master's at Monash. She is an international student from India.
Nivedita was the first person featured on MoM and was also studying her master’s at Monash. She is an international student from India.
Clara (left), Nivedita and Clarisse were my roommates when I came up with the idea of MoM and they were all a huge inspiration for starting the blog
Clara (left), Nivedita and Clarisse were my roommates when I came up with the idea of MoM and they were all a huge inspiration for starting the blog

Why did you choose Monash?

I had a friend who also applied to do the Master of Interpreting and Translation, and had heard great things about it, and the course also has the NAATI approval. I also looked up the campus, and campus life looked great as well.

Living on campus at Clayton was great: we had Sunday afternoon mingles, we had a big event for Diwali the Indian festival of Lights, we had a fair, we had sports – just a great community to come back to.

I was so new to Melbourne it was so nice to have people around me on campus. And I was a ten minute walk to classes so couldn’t complain.

Shankar was featured on MoM and was an international student from India who was studying his undergraduate degree at Monash
Shankar was featured on MoM and was an international student from India who was studying his undergraduate degree at Monash
L-R: Clarisse, Nivedita & myself after the very first photoshoot for MoM
L-R: Clarisse, Nivedita & myself after the very first photoshoot for MoM

How was your experience with the Master of Translation and Interpreting course?

With the master’s, I found it quite a bit more challenging than I thought it would be, just because my level of Spanish wasn’t as great as it could have been.

But I still really enjoyed the course I still really enjoyed the challenge, I really enjoyed being with different people as well.

We had core subjects on the theory of translation and practical-based tutorials, where we actually had to translate from Spanish to English with a wide range of people.

We also got to hear about some language-oriented PhD studies. I got to sit in on one where my tutor presented her project: a book, on a famous Mexican author. That was really interesting for me because I had travelled there.

The team who started Meltomo, who are an Australian/Japanese organisation who promote cross-cultural interactions including all things culture, fashion and language and were all featured on MoM
The team who started Meltomo, who are an Australian/Japanese organisation who promote cross-cultural interactions including all things culture, fashion and language and were all featured on MoM

My eyes were really opened with this course, I didn’t realise how hard it would be to translate cultural norms, like pop culture for instance.

People don’t value the profession of translation and interpreting because they don’t know how hard it is. I mean, I can translate something but someone else can come in and translate it quite differently depending how much they know about the culture.

They often say, choose a country to specialise in as there’s so much within that country – politics, law, travelling, tourism – so much that you want to be the best in a particular culture.

Arden, Joslyn and Nathan are from the ACYA VIC BLC (Australia Chinese Youth Association Victoria Bilingual Language Competition) and were all featured on MoM
Arden, Joslyn and Nathan are from the ACYA VIC BLC (Australia Chinese Youth Association Victoria Bilingual Language Competition) and were all featured on MoM

And for me, it’s also about the skills you learn from learning a language. In school, we learn about the ‘three Rs’ – reading, writing, and arithmetic – but these can be learnt from learning another language too. 

The skills you learn from learning another language are applicable to other areas of study and it just opens your eyes to other people who are out there.

Stevi is the most recent person to be featured on MoM and was an international student at Monash
Stevi is the most recent person to be featured on MoM and was an international student at Monash

It also gives you a certain amount of empathy – you know they’re also trying when you meet someone here and they can’t speak English. People don’t generally want to stand out that way. It’s compassion from other people. Being a good human.

Recently, you were a Disney Language and Culture Ambassador, can you tell us a bit about that?

I’d come back from Mexico last year and thought I’d give ‘Multilinguals of Melbourne’ a really good go.

Then about a month later Disney asked if I wanted to be part of the ‘Dream Big Princess’ campaign which was about girls having their own dreams, interests and hobbies, and so I got to be interviewed for that in July last year and it was released in September.

They wanted to change the narrative for girl power and change the face of who they are, like with the Frozen movie. I was in it with two other girls, a cake maker and a boxer who’s going to the Australian Commonwealth Games, hopefully. I felt really empowered that I got to be a part of it.

What did this involve, what was your story for Disney?

I guess by trade I’m a journalist and language lover, and creating ‘Multilinguals of Melbourne’ when I moved to Melbourne was a way for me to make friends too.

I also love connecting people, people say to me, ‘hey, I’m going to South America in a year, how can I learn Spanish?’

And it’s also for 14 year old me. If I had seen something like this when I was 14, I’d think, oh people actually use languages!Film still of Disney video on Laura Blackmore (click the image to view the video)

Where do you envision ‘Multilinguals of Melbourne’ going?

I would love to be able to go and do ‘Multilinguals in Melbourne’ in different parts of Australia and the world – I know that’s a huge goal.

Maybe make mini documentaries capturing Australia for what it is, not just those in languages. I want to keep interviewing people and meeting people at the grassroots level. Maybe collaborate with a print magazine too; I’m putting the feelers out there. I have big dreams, but I guess it’s about what people want too.

On that, I don’t really feel like there’s a company that’s producing these stories – I feel like language gets left off the music and cultural scene in reporting and magazines.

I know languages can feel dry but I think it’s an uncharted area and I want to explore it more. I also feel like I owe it to the people who have been featured on ‘Multilinguals of Melbourne’ and to continue to facilitate connection through our shared passion for language and cultural diversity.

All photos courtesy of Laura Blackmore.

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Zareh Ghazarian delivers Senate Occasional Lecture

Dr Zareh Ghazarian delivered the Senate Occasional Lecture in Parliament House

Dr Zareh Ghazarian, Lecturer in Politics and International Relations from the School of Social Sciences, delivered the Senate Occasional Lecture in Parliament House, Canberra on 17 March, 2017.

The lecture marked the 40th anniversary of the election of the Australian Democrats to the national parliament. It drew on Dr Ghazarian’s research on minor parties as well as findings from his most recent book, The Making of a Party System: Minor Parties in the Australian Senate.

The lecture considered the rise of minor parties in the Australian Senate, especially since the 1980s, and constructed a novel framework for analysis.

As Dr Ghazarian explained, “minor parties winning Senate contests in recent years are advancing a specific policy agenda with links to broad social movements, whereas earlier minor parties arose as a result of fragmentation in a major party with the view to be either watchdogs on, or frustrate, the major parties”.

The lecture also highlighted how the Australian Democrats revitalised the role of the Senate in Australian politics and government.

A recording of the lecture can be found on the Australian Parliament House website.

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Monash journalism staff & graduates win three Quills


Curtailing unemployment and division in Istanbul with International Studies

International Studies student Shannon Kay is currently working first-hand in Istanbul, Turkey, which as of February 2017 is host to more refugees than any other country in the world. This includes almost 3 million registered Syrians, with over 500,000 refugees trying to re-establish themselves in Istanbul, a city with a population of over 15 million.

Through a Monash Arts international internship placement, Shannon became co-director of Small Projects Istanbul (SPI) that mostly serves the Arabic speaking community displaced from Syria, Iraq, Palestine and Yemen, through offering educational, social and livelihood support to families and children rebuilding their lives in Istanbul. We crossed to her for a live update. 

Small Projects Instanbul

Firstly, what brought you to SPI?

I am currently completing my final year of an Arts (Global) degree, majoring in International Studies, and focusing on anthropology, political science and history, with a specific interest in the Middle East. Through the support of Monash University, I was able to complete an international internship placement over January to April last year with SPI as part of my degree. It brought a new level of academic focus and direction to my work.

What is your role at SPI?

I have been volunteering as a co-director here since July 2015, during this time the SPI community and education centre has rapidly expanded and now runs a busy weekly schedule for a growing community of beneficiaries. We have also sponsored the enrolment of over 50 primary and high school students from Syria to return to formal education at local Arabic and Turkish schools.

Can you give us a snapshot of the scope of work you’re involved in?

Yes the SPI program has:

  • 20+ programs running throughout the week;
  • 60+ children participating in weekly education and social integration activities as a pathway into formal education;
  • 100+ women working in a handicraft collective established through SPI as a means to generate income and create social connections;
  • 20+ children between 0-4 participating in early childhood development activities while their mothers are working in our handicraft program; and
  • 30+ young professional Syrians having made social connections, extending their networks and finding employment through contacts at SPI.

And, we have just launched a new campaign!

Impressive. How has this work impacted on you and your perspectives?

Through my studies and work I have developed a deep belief and passion for the need for transformative change in our current world systems. I am attempting to enact these beliefs in my daily activities with SPI and in my life in general. This is not the kind of work that can be achieved in isolation, and I have been fortunate enough to meet and work alongside countless others who share my vision.

Personally I find this work both challenging and energising, and feel very privileged to have the opportunity to work so closely with a community of individuals whom I find extremely inspiring in their attitudes and wisdom throughout the hardships of their daily realities. 

What advice would you give to current students?

I believe that individuals can make a difference, and grass-roots efforts like SPI do change lives. I challenge you to commit to one small change in your life. Be brave, see the power of your actions and inspire those around you.

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Testing times: new research project looks at expectations in healthcare testing

Australians have high expectations of tests in healthcare. But are they higher than warranted? And are they impacting on healthcare expenditure?

Importantly, what role do particular socio-cultural factors play in producing and sustaining expectations that may be higher than warranted by scientific evidence?

How do different healthcare contexts shape the meanings attributed to tests—their perceived applications, value and risks?

These are some of the questions underpinning a new ARC-funded project that will be the first sociological study in Australia of expectations in healthcare testing. It aims to understand the sociocultural processes underpinning optimism for the use of testing technologies in healthcare.

Focussing on the Australian national cancer screening programs and routine testing in clinical practice, the project will explore the mechanisms by which optimistic expectations of healthcare testing emerge and function among different stakeholder communities.

Insights from this study will ultimately help to inform the development of policies and strategies that ensure a cost-effective use of healthcare resources.

Find out more about the ‘Expectations in healthcare testing’ study at the newly launched project website.

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Outstanding Young Alumni Award 2017: Monash Arts alumnus Fahd Pahdepie

Fahd Pahdepie receives 2017 Outstanding Young Alumni Award at the Alumni Annual Gala Dinner, Jakarta on the 18th March, 2017

Monash Master of International Relations alumnus, Fahd Pahdepie, has won the 2017 Outstanding Young Alumni Award. Supported by the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, the award is part of the 2017 Alumni Awards which recognize and showcase the significant contribution made by Australian Alumni in their professional fields.

Fahd is an author and social entrepreneur who developed, an online platform for aspiring writers, videographers, photographers and graphic designers to showcase their projects and build networks. Fahd explained that is an open platform which invites creative people from multiple disciplines to spread the idea of diversity and tolerance.

“Imagine if they can create writing, designs, illustrations, videos, or music that campaign for diversity and create a counter-narrative to terrorism? That will be something!” said Fahd.

Since it’s launch in January 2016, the site has reached more than 46,000 members, and over 74,000 works have been uploaded. One project example was a competition run by in collaboration with ‘Yayasan Indonesia Tanpa Diskriminasi’ (Indonesia Without Discrimination Foundation) and  ‘Aliansi Nasional untuk Bhinneka Tunggal Ika‘ (National Alliance for Indonesian Ethnic and Religious Diversity), calling for essays, posters, and videos to promote tolerance and diversity. Thousands of works were submitted during the competition, and Fahd sees many of those works as having the potential to change people’s hearts and minds.

“I believe that creative industries can be used to prevent youth from being lured into extremism. I do it with my writings in social media and also my books. If I can soften people’s hearts with my works, videos or music that’s what I will do, to build a counter-narrative to extremism. I am pretty sure that if we want to be successful in de-radicalisation, we must invest more in the creative industries,” said Fahd.

Monash Master of International Relations alumnus, Fahd Pahdepie

Fahd said that he has always been interested in entrepreneurship, but that it was his Monash master’s degree that really got him on the path to where he is today. He said he found the course “was an eye opener.”

Talking about the impact that Monash academics and their research had had on his own interests and career development, he said, “I remember a paper in Dr. Gu‘s class about ‘Social Media as the New Battleground in Indonesian Politics’, and that was the trigger for me to set up Digitroops Indonesia, an agency that provides strategic social media services for government institutions, politicians, political parties and companies.” 

“I also remember that Associate Professor Pete Lentini’s lectures gave me ideas that in order to fight extremism and terrorism, we could use art, community development, and also the creative industries, and so that is what I did after I graduated from Monash,” he added.

So what is next for Fahd Pahdepie?

“I want to make a movie. So far, I think the movie is the highest achievement in creative work. I believe that I can spread more messages and reach more audiences with movies. I want to inspire as many people as I can, and that is what inspires and motivates me to do the best in my life,” said Fahd.

So watch this space, we’re sure we’ll hear more from this dynamic Monash graduate in the future, and we congratulate him for his well deserved award. 

Fahd’s award was presented to him along with other recipients of the 2017 Alumni Awards at a prestigious Alumni Annual Gala Dinner in Jakarta on the 18th March, 2017.

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What leading editors look for in student journalists


Nathalie Nguyen’s ‘South Vietnamese Soldiers’ launched at ADFA

Professor Peter Stanley (left), Associate Professor Nathalie Nguyen, and Dr Tom Richardson (right).

Associate Professor Nathalie Nguyen, Director of the Monash National Centre for Australian Studies, had her book South Vietnamese Soldiers: Memories of the Vietnam War and After launched at the Australian Defence Force Academy UNSW, Canberra, on 7 March 2017, by Professor Peter Stanley.

Associate Professor Nathalie Nguyen (author) at book launch. Photos courtesy of the Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society, UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy.

“Nathalie’s South Vietnamese Soldiers is a powerful book, telling a story that has been neglected if not suppressed … Nathalie rescues these men and women from that black hole, and in the most accessible and immediate way … I found her account profoundly moving,” said Professor Stanley (noting also that he was standing in for the late Professor Jeffrey Grey).

“She shows, I think, that a nation now substantially of migrants must now acknowledge and embrace the histories of Australia’s many constituent ethnic groups as part of its history … These conflicts, like the memories Nathalie has recorded and interpreted, are now part of our nation’s memory of war,” added Professor Stanley.

Associate Professor Nguyen gave a presentation, and was then in conversation with Dr Tom Richardson, who is currently working on Professor Craig Stocking’s Official History project. Questions from the audience followed.

Hosted by the Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society, the event was attended by nearly sixty people and represented a very good mix of veterans and cadets, members of the Vietnamese community in Canberra, scholars and academics, members of the general public, and librarians.

Book launch of South Vietnamese Soldiers: Memories of the Vietnam War and After

The National Library of Australia was a partner organisation for Associate Professor Nguyen’s ARC Future Fellowship project on Vietnamese veterans, and was well represented at the launch.

A key outcome of Associate Professor Nguyen’s project was the creation and establishment of a new oral history archive entitled “The Vietnamese Veterans in Australia Oral History Project” at the National Library. These oral histories will be preserved in perpetuity and available to the public and future historians.

Photos courtesy of the Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society, UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy.

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Game, set, match with alumnus Joel Smith

From creating a documentary in Norway to producing a 10 week radio show, we spoke with Joel Smith about his study experience at Monash and how he landed his dream job at Tennis Australia.

So how did you get to Tennis Australia?

You have to put yourself out there for your first job, and in doing so I have been able to steer my way back to what I am doing today.

The skills I learnt from my journalism degree at Monash certainly built the foundation for choosing a current career path of social media. This not only included how to write articles but also how to conduct yourself in front of a camera.

I recently wrote an article for which appeared to millions, and I’d like to thank my degree at Monash for things like writing style, editorial style, and the basic structure of an article. 

However, there was more to journalism than the above. We learnt about journalism conduct and ethical practices. I guess you could say a boring subject at the time, but I’m very grateful for having this knowledge now that I am in the media industry.

What drew you to study journalism, marketing and PR at Monash?

Good question. I think, going through high school, like many students you’re not that sure what you want to do. However, my interests and passions in sport and media swayed me towards the idea of a career in journalism.

There’s no doubt it’s a long hard slog to find exactly what you want but the thing is I didn’t know what that thing was. Therefore, I chose to study journalism, but kept it open with a major in marketing and a minor in PR. My course allowed me to discover all the elements of journalism and the different avenues you could go down, but I certainly didn’t know at the time that I would find myself smack-bang in the middle of the two [journalism and marketing]. The media landscape is rapidly changing and I guess I’m changing with it.

Lucky you studied the perfect mix. What were some of the highlights for you in it?

There wasn’t one semester that was the same, which kept things interesting. We heard from various industry guest speakers including the one and only Mike Sheahan (Former Chief Football Writer at the Herald Sun) and we had classes with industry people like Jay Mueller (Former 3AW radio producer) and a journalist from The Age.

The course was really hands on too, especially radio and TV which included creating a 10-week radio show, a 90 second news story and a 5 minute current affairs story. We were basically asked to do what you would be doing out in the real world – the media world.

A whole radio show?

Yeah, in second year we had a radio subject which required us to be part of a 10-week radio show with Monash Radio. This was a 60-minute time slot which included everything from music, interviews as well as news breaks. If I had to pick a traditional medium – radio would be my pick. It’s a more relaxed environment, you can talk about anything and it’s not down-the-line editorial. We had a lot of fun doing it.

Talking about fun, I heard you got a scholarship to live in Finland and Norway studying journalism for a semester?

Yes! This was certainly the highlight of my time at Monash. I was lucky enough to be selected to go over to Finland for three months as part of the Global Environmental Journalism Initiative. This involved completing a number of units within their Environmental Journalism course at the University of Helsinki. It was an unreal experience! 

I was actually over there for about six months in total. Three months at the University of Helsinki, followed by 6 weeks in northern Norway where we spent some time at the Sámi University of Applied Sciences, where we were asked to put together a documentary piece on any local issue. My fellow student and I did a video piece on how new technologies like the snowmobile was taking over traditional transport. Through way of research, we spent a week with the local people called the Sámi people. This was such an eye-opening experience; seeing how they lived and worked.

Sounds amazing. It’s always interesting to see how people have reached their dreams, can you tell us a bit about your first steps?

For sure. I guess that first job is always the hardest because you are lacking in experience. No one in the big wide world knows about you. Your networking is limited and it’s so competitive, so you have to think about what is your point of difference, what will get you across the line? 

My first job was at a media agency, and to be honest I didn’t know media agencies even existed but it was just about putting myself out there and giving it a crack. However, I sincerely believe that the only reason I got a look in was because of my university degree. As a result, securing the job basically launched my career. Yes, it was in media, but at the same time it certainly was not what I was expecting first job out of university. But I was up for it, and I knew if I just got my foot in the door, who knows where I could end up and look where I am today!

What advice would you give students or young alumni looking to get their dream job?

Firstly, don’t be too selective when seeking that first job immediately after graduation. It’s very competitive out there and if you become too picky you’ll just find yourself applying again and again. From not knowing media agencies were a thing to six years later in my dream job. Therefore, take a risk, get out of your comfort zone and you never know where that’ll lead you.

My second piece of advice is that if you want something enough, you’ll find a way to get it. Previous to Tennis Australia, I was working at the Salvation Army as their social media coordinator. Although it was such a rewarding organisation to work for, it wasn’t where I wanted to be. After many thoughts and conversations, I took a leap of faith and actually resigned without having another job to go to. Three months passed before I was offered a job to work for one of the biggest sporting events (Australian Open) in the world. You may say luck was on my side but I was prepared to do whatever I had to secure my dream job.

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Monash journalism’s strong showing in the Quills


Verge 2017 call out for submissions!

Monash University’s annual creative writing journal is now calling for submissions.

Verge 2017 Submission Guidelines:

1. Open to emerging and established writers.

2. No submission fee.

3. Must be an original unpublished work and not be under consideration elsewhere.

4. Poetry: maximum 60 lines; Graphic novel and photo essay: print quality, maximum 4 pages; Short story, narrative non-fiction and personal essay: maximum 3000 words.

5. 12-point font; Times New Roman; A4 page with 2.5cm margins; minimum 1.5 line spacing. Please note: authors of works requiring specific layout or white-space can request details for final page dimensions of the printed issue.

6. If a text file, use a header with the title of your work and the page number. Your name must not appear on your work.

7. Each submission must be saved as ‘Your name – Title of the work’ (maximum 3 submissions).

8. Acceptable file formats: .doc, .docx and .rtf for text files; .jpeg, .psd and .png for image files. Contact the editors with any queries.

9. Include a cover letter that has your name, address, email, phone number and a 50-word third-person bio.

10. Submit only electronic copies with the subject heading ‘Submission’ to midnight on Sunday 9 April 2017.

Back issues of Verge are available at Monash University Publishing.


Monash journalism alumna Alana lands key reporting role at The New Daily


Monash Undergraduate Prize for Creative Writing now open!

Monash University in collaboration with the Emerging Writers’ Festival is proud to present the Monash Undergraduate Prize for Creative Writing, a prestigious prize for emerging literary voices.

Now in its sixth year, the Prize is a significant literary award for new and emerging writers. The prize is open to both Australian and New Zealand university students, enrolled in either an undergraduate or honours degree. All types of creative writing will be accepted, including short stories, non-fiction narrative and narrative verse.

We are proud to partner with the Emerging Writers’ Festival, as the Prize strengthens both parties’ commitment to providing learning and career development opportunities for emerging literary voices.

Entries close 12 April. How to enter … 


Jane Griffiths nominated for 2017 Green Room best actor award

Monash academic and researcher Associate Professor Jane Griffiths has been nominated as best actor in the 2017 Green Room Awards for her performance in Margaret Edson’s Pulitzer Prize winning play, ‘Wit’.

The production played to sell-out audiences, rave reviews, and made the pick of all major Melbourne theatre critics in their yearly round-ups.

Most importantly, it received the approval of Ovarian Cancer Australia (for whom the production held a benefit performance), and has formed the basis of a Monash/Warwick Alliance grant to examine the role theatre can play in empathetic engagement with, and public health education on, Ovarian Cancer, and also a Monash Arts Faculty seed funding grant to pursue an ARC Linkage between producing theatre companies and Ovarian Cancer Australia.

The project is a wonderful example of the impact that Monash academics are making and is also an inspiring example of the benefits of collaboration across disciplines, institutions and sectors.

This production was made possible by the generous support of the Monash Academy of Performing Arts, and the Pratt Foundation through its ongoing financial sponsorship of the Monash Centre for Theatre and Performance practice as research projects.

The Green Room Awards are Melbourne’s premier performing arts industry awards and recognise excellence and innovation across a range of categories. Winners will be announced on March 27th.

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Interview with Professor Cat Hope, new Head of the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music


Killer Robots: Professor Robert Sparrow

In October 2016, acclaimed Professor Stephen Hawking warned against the rapid development of artificial intelligence, saying that “the rise of powerful AI will be either the best, or the worst thing, ever to happen to humanity,” and predicting that robots could develop “powerful autonomous weapons” or new methods to “oppress the many.”

Photo by Siyan Ren, Unsplash.
Photo by Siyan Ren, Unsplash.

The threat of lethal autonomous robots is a reality that people all around the world already use, including bomb disposal robots and attack drones in the US military, which is currently considering plans to employ thousands of robots by 2025. Every day, robot butlers and home AI systems are already being rolled out as consumer goods in countries like Japan and the US. Not just for the home, these robots hold down jobs in hotels and aged care facilities. In 2015 toy company Hasbro invented a robotic cat, called Joy for All Companion Pets, to act as an alternative to therapy animals in nursing homes and retirement facilities. 

Although reviews of robotic therapy pets, such as Paro the Robo-Seal, have been somewhat positive (care homes with Paro don’t need to worry about allergies, scratches, or feeding), this hasn’t stopped the device from causing an ethical dilemma. Questions have been raised over how humane it is to entrust providing a person’s emotional support to a robot. 

For Professor Rob Sparrow in Monash’s School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies, this is just one of the many examples where philosophical arguments can have real-world implications. His research tackles the ethics of new science and technology, including the use of domestic robots and the future of autonomous robots in the military. Professor Sparrow also wrote one of the first papers on autonomous weapon systems and co-founded the International Committee for Robot Arms Control, which brought about an international campaign to stop killer robots. He is also a Chief Investigator in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science looking at the ethical and policy issues arising from the creation of structured nanomaterials, like artificial organs. He says that through our discussion about robots, we’re really talking about what it means to be human. 

Listen to our interview with Professor Rob Sparrow about the ethics of robotics and human enhancement. 


Monash academics play key part in Screening Melbourne


As the Liberal Party continues to fracture, we may be watching its demise

by James Walter

The Liberal Party is riven by internal bickering, with various camps claiming to speak for its “true” values and traditions. The contest is leading not to any prospect of unity or discipline, but to the party’s fragmentation. The war is fought in the guise of a contest over leadership appropriate to the party’s soul and to the national interest. The Conversation

In the process, the party is incrementally diverging from popular opinion on issues essential to future electoral success. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is currently in the crosshairs. But whether or not he survives to fight another election, whoever leads the party next time is unlikely to be the saviour of the party or Coalition government.

The predicament is best understood by analysing what is at the heart of this struggle: the pragmatic liberalism that was the Liberal Party’s foundation; the divergence of the party base from majority opinion; and the contemporary obsession with “the leader” as solely responsible for the party’s fortunes.

All exponents of Liberal Party values lay claim to the “Menzies” tradition. The most vehement contemporary claimants are on the party’s right wing. Their plaint is that the commitment to individualism, private enterprise, small government, lower taxes and free trade has been forgotten. Cory Bernardi split with the Liberals to establish his own party, Australian Conservatives, “to reconnect with voters and restore traditional Menzies-era values”.

Others of like mind remain in the fold — and threaten Turnbull’s leadership. The most prominent is his predecessor, Tony Abbott. Abbott continues to advocate more extreme budget austerity, climate change scepticism, immigration restriction, market fundamentalism and regressive taxation reform than even Turnbull (who has compromised on everything he once promised in an attempt to mollify the right) has yet conceded.

Such claims depart from Menzies’ principles in two core texts. The first is his famous “Forgotten People” broadcast in 1943. The second is his essay on “The revival of Liberalism in Australia” in Afternoon Light.

Menzies championed thrift, self-reliance, private enterprise, individual responsibility and freedom, and the family as the bastion of our best instincts. He warned of the danger of an “all powerful” state. But he pitched his appeal to the middle class, excluding the rich and powerful (who did not need his help) and the “unskilled people” (protected by unions and with wages safeguarded by common law). Thus he mobilised an election-winning constituency between what he saw as the extremes of exploitative financial power and the incipient socialism of the organised working class.

Yet Menzies insisted:

There is no room in Australia for a party of reaction. There is no useful place for a policy of negation.

He never claimed that his was a conservative party. On the contrary:

We took the name ‘Liberal’ because we were determined to be a progressive party, willing to make experiments, in no sense reactionary, but believing in the individual, his rights and his enterprise, and rejecting the Socialist panacea.

Still, the state had its part to play. Menzies supported protection, not free trade. He “did not … [believe] that private enterprise should have an ‘open go’. Not at all.”

He identified the state’s obligation to address unemployment, and secure economic security and material well-being through social legislation. He advocated fierce independence, but the difficulties of those who fell through the cracks were to be ameliorated:

… we have nothing but the warmest human compassion … towards those compelled to live upon the bounty of the state.

This philosophy served Menzies well. Not until the late 1980s did the party change, when it “torched its traditions” as it sacrificed ameliorative liberalism in the interests of economic reform. Only then did the split between “wets” and “drys” lead to liberal moderates being increasingly marginalised. And only then party did hardliners begin to assert their claims as “conservatives”, a term that had never been indigenous to Australian anti-Labor politics, but was appropriated from the US culture wars of the time to serve the same purpose.

The bipartisan commitment to neo-liberal reform did what was intended. It increased prosperity, but at the cost of increasing employment uncertainty and astonishing inequity in the distribution of rewards. Inflation was defeated, but some communities were devastated as industry disappeared.

By the early 2000s, surveys revealed that the “new consensus” had not won popular acceptance. By 2016, there was pervasive distrust in the institutions of the new order and an unprecedented loss of confidence in the leaders who had brought this about.

It is a collapse that has impacted both major parties. Pointedly, for the Liberal Party, Tony Abbott, after election, reverted to policies that mirrored the party’s base — now increasingly divergent from majority opinion on social issues, especially climate change.

Unable to garner public support, Abbott was supplanted by Turnbull, whose initial popularity depended on a progressive liberalism akin to a contemporary adaptation of Menzies’ stipulations.

But the “broad church” was gone. Progressive liberals have given up; the hard right has claimed Menzies’ mantle and threatens retribution if Turnbull “offends” against the much diminished and now atypical membership base. He is besieged on both sides: an uprising if he confronts those who claim to speak for the party; and a loss of popularity (and electorate support) as he compromises on the more progressive liberalism he promised the public.

It is not, finally, an argument about who is more and less Liberal, but a manifestation of the unravelling of the party. Who could break the impasse that looks likely to defeat Turnbull? Schisms between liberals and self-proclaimed conservatives will continue within, potentially with more splintering of populist, libertarian and hard-right fringe parties.

Any new leader would need to be a master tactician and negotiator without peer to achieve consensus across this morass. No-one currently in the ranks demonstrates such skills. And a return to Abbott or any of his ilk guarantees electoral oblivion. We may be witnessing the end of a once great party.

James Walter, Professor of Political Science, School of Social Sciences.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Justin Hilliard scores his dream journalism job


Death or Liberty tour stirs up Australia’s transglobal place in political history

Death or Liberty, the screen adaptation of the history of political rebels and radicals transported as convicts to Australia, toured to the UK and Ireland in November 2016. The documentary is adapted from the book Death or Liberty: Rebels and Radicals Transported to Australia 1788-1868, written by Associate Professor Tony Moore from the School of Media, Film and Journalism. 

Associate Professor Tony Moore presenting on Conviction Politics
Associate Professor Tony Moore presenting on Conviction Politics

It screened to full houses in London, Dublin and Wales with lively panel discussions and workshops. According to Moore, “As well as extensive dramatisation of characters, battles and daring do escapes, the documentary emphasises the media of protest and political activism, such as journalism, poetry, cartoons and especially songs, which were crucial for mobilising movements for democracy, human rights and decolonisation, and ensuring that those transported to Australia for their actions were not forgotten.”

Associate Professor Tony Moore (centre) with former First Minister of Wales (2000-2009) Rhodri Morgan (second from right) who launched the event at the University of South Wales, Cardiff
Associate Professor Tony Moore (Centre) with former First Minister of Wales (2000-2009) Rhodri Morgan (second from right) who launched the event at the University of South Wales, Cardiff

English legendary troubadour Billy Bragg and Irish singer-song writer Lisa O’Neill performed pieces from the documentary based on lives of the political convicts transported to the Australian colonies in the late 18th and 19th Centuries.

Billy Bragg, who is Musical Director of the film, noted that music was an important way that the messages of political movements are remembered and communicated, and by which the emotional aspect of struggles and sacrifice, like passion, sorrow, and hope, are conveyed to inspire new generations. The musical performances and interaction with the audience will thread through the film, as an important part of its narrative.

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

Listen to the full interview with Billy Bragg:

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Monash alumni launch new Australian women in film festival March 2017

L-R: Melbourne Women in Film Festival 2017 team: Dr Kirsten Stevens, Deputy Director; Dr Sian Mitchell, Festival Director; Dr Whitney Monaghan, Contemporary Shorts Programmer; Dr Janice Loreck (based in Perth; on iPad)
L-R: Melbourne Women in Film Festival 2017 team: Dr Kirsten Stevens, Deputy Director; Dr Sian Mitchell, Festival Director; Dr Whitney Monaghan, Contemporary Shorts Programmer; Dr Janice Loreck (based in Perth; on iPad)

Monash Arts Film & Screen Studies PhD alumni Sian Mitchell, Kirsten Stevens, Whitney Monaghan and Janice Loreck are behind the inaugural Melbourne Women in Film Festival (view the trailer) launching 3-4 March 2017 at Melbourne’s Treasury Theatre, the former State Film Centre.

We explore the reasons behind why they started the festival and some of its highlights.

Firstly, what got you all into film?

SM: I initially wanted to get into academia. I remember exactly when I wanted to do it which was in my second year in undergrad. I did Australian Film Studies and I had a tutor who was just amazing. I thought, I want to do what you do so I had a meeting with her where she told me she was doing a PhD. So I thought, yep that’s what I want to do and worked towards it.

WM: That’s why I wanted to do film studies. I kind of took it on a whim, and then had a really good tutor and fell in love with it. Introduction to Film Studies sold me.

KS: That was the exact same with me. I thought I was going to do medieval history and Latin when I first came here and then got sucked into the film studies program and I never left.

Love Oscillation (Clare Ferra, 2012, 7:50mins), film still courtesy MWFF
Love Oscillation (Clare Ferra, 2012, 7:50mins), film still courtesy MWFF

So then Sian, as founder, what made you want to start this festival?

SM: For a while now, I’ve been working out of a private tertiary institution in a film production degree. I have a lot of students wanting to get into the industry and have seen a rise in enrolments from young women but then see that taper off as you don’t see as many opportunities or being able to move up the ladder in a still male dominated arena. Also, generally speaking, I noticed the guys being really confident in picking up the cameras, getting technical and wanting to be involved, but women seeming less confident and saying they’ll take on other roles. Knowledge of women working in the industry was also very low so I thought, what can I do to show them that women cinematographers are out there? That’s where the idea came from.

After seeing this in the classroom, how did you then turn it from an idea into a festival?

SM: It started off with trying to find someone to talk to about it. I found this very energetic woman, not in the film industry at all, but in business development. I started writing ideas, creating a rationale, doing research into what is around, and then realizing that you need help and asking people to help you.

I initially went to Assoc Prof Belinda Smaill and Assoc Prof Therese Davis and it just turned out everyone I turned to all wanted to help with it. But prior to having a team and getting down to the organisational part of it, it was me sitting in the State Library of Victoria, learning how to run a business, which is very scary, and getting legal advice and research.

I also knew that Kirsten had all this amazing knowledge around Australian festivals and so she was one of the first people I approached to do this festival.

KS: I had been studying the history of film festivals in Melbourne and Australia in particular – lots of reading about what other people had done in festivals so jumped at the chance to do a festival. It is pretty useful because most people who have done research into film festivals have also been involved in programming or organising film festivals, so along with knowing a bit about it I also knew lots of people who worked in it and could get advice from them.

Thrash-Her (Natalie Randall, Emily O'Connor, 2014, 3:40mins), film still courtesy MWFF
Thrash-Her (Natalie Randall, Emily O’Connor, 2014, 3:40mins), film still courtesy MWFF

Did you find any statistics that related to the need for this festival?

KS: I looked into the writing on film festivals up to the point when I was doing my PhD, and saw that they were mainly perspectives from Europe and North America. In particular, that the history of film festivals started in Europe, that only the Europeans thought of it in the 1950s and they all turned out like Cannes: big market places and competition events where all the stars turn up on red carpets because they spoke to a particular European idea of performing culture.

And I was looking at all this work and thinking, it doesn’t describe Australia at all. We’ve had festivals since the 1950s; they were done on the smell of a dirty rag by people who loved films and wanted to see films that weren’t released in Australia. They were really audience driven and weren’t supported by the government. The first film festival in Australia had ASIO agents attend because they thought everyone there were communists.

So I was looking at our history of festivals, thinking it just doesn’t match the writing of festivals and how they evolved, so I decided to tell the Australia story and get that different perspective out there. It’s now in a book being launched on the 23rd Feb as part of the Melbourne Screen Studies Group, who are holding their first ever symposium. Since I’ve been doing this research and talking to people in Chile, Africa and Asia, it seems film festivals emerge for very local reasons even if they end up looking the same from the outside, and it’s not simple enough to say that the Europeans thought of it first and everyone else just copied them.

Somewhat perfect you’re able to help get this Australian perspective out through this festival too. Why the focus on women?

KS: In the last five years or so, really ever since Katheryn Bigelow won the Academy Award for Best Director (The Hurt Locker) and was the first female to do so, there’s been an escalation in the awareness around just how few female directors, filmmakers and creatives are working in the industry.

And then in 2015, Screen Australia released a report with their new initiative ‘Gender Matters’, which showed that women only account for 16% of directors in the feature film industry. All of that was going on, and that made us aware that there needed to be a platform for us to talk about this in Melbourne. Sydney had two womens film festivals that had been running for a while. Even though over the course of 40-50 years, Melbourne has had one or two women film festivals pop up every now and then, they haven’t had that longevity or kept going. We have over 50 film festivals in Melbourne for everything else, but not for Australian women in film.

MIFF and the Sydney Film Festival ran a program on women film directors from the 1970s and related panel discussions last year in 2016 – about a year after ‘Gender Matters’ dropped.

On the question of representation and the importance of that, Whitney can you tell us a bit about your PhD?

WM: I was really looking at queer women and how they were represented in teen film and television because when I was growing up, I noticed that when queer women are represented, their sexuality was often represented as a phase that they grew out of. For example like Neighbours, it was just a few episodes and then the characters went back to their straight lives, and I wondered, is this a thing? I found out that it’s happened around the world for a long time, so it was identifying that as a problem and then looking for some alternatives to that representation. When I was young, I thought there was a particular narrative I had to follow, and wondering why I thought that, I realised that’s because it’s the only thing I saw in celebrity culture growing up.

Progressive Evolution (Clare Ferra, 2011, 6:40mins), film still courtesy MWFF
Progressive Evolution (Clare Ferra, 2011, 6:40mins), film still courtesy MWFF

As curator of the festival’s short films program, can you tell us a bit about what that explores?

WM: The program is focused on art and experimental films. We’re putting on four films that screened in the 1975 festival in conversation with contemporary filmmaking. In total the program will run for about 85 minutes. That has been really fun for me to do; I’ve been finding all these interesting and fun filmmakers. One thing I wanted to do was focus on women’s perspectives and alternative ways of seeing and using film that were quite diverse, and opening up that idea of what women’s filmmaking could be. Specifically, I’ve been looking at Indigenous women, women of colour, women of different ages, and lucky I found all these amazing filmmakers.

There will also be a panel about thinking how we can go forward as a festival with this diversity in mind. The panel is looking at the history and what the future is for short films in Australia. One thing that I have found is that all the filmmakers I’ve been in touch with have been really willing to help out in any way they can and acknowledging that this is an important event they want to be involved in for this first year.

If you had to pick two of the short films to tell us about, what would they be?

WM: We’re screening a video work called Lit from 2016 by Amie Batalibasi [Australian Solomon Islander, Feralimae/Kosi from Melbourne]. It features a South Sudanese actress walking down the streets of Melbourne, goes for about 15 minutes and it’s probably one of the most captivating things I’ve seen. Batalibasi was recently announced as the 2017 recipient of the Sundance Institute Merata Mita Fellowship that provides a cash grant, a trip to the Sundance Film Festival and year-long mentorship and program opportunities.

The art collective duo ‘Soda_Jerk’ won the Ian Potter Moving Image commission. They’re probably one of the most exciting contemporary duos in the country; they work with found footage and mashups in a really interesting way. They were out of Sydney but they work out of New York now. We’re screening one of their works, After the Rainbow, from 2009.

I’m curious as to who the eldest filmmakers involved may be?

SM: There are women who were working in 1975 still working. Someone who’s been really amazing and helpful is a woman called Jeni Thornley who was one of the key Sydney organisers of the 1975 Women in Film Festival.

Patricia Edgar turns 80 the weekend after the festival. We’re playing three of her films, two of which screened in the original festival and the other is a documentary about a conference that took place in Mexico for International Women’s Year in 1975. People around the world converged in Mexico about women’s issues and rights so she went over and made this doco about it.

And what about your other panel discussions?

The Cheaters (1929, 85min), film still courtesy MWFF
The Cheaters (1929, 85min), film still courtesy MWFF

SM: Because we’re doing a retrospective on the 1975 Women in Film Festival in Australia and in 1975 it was the International Year of Women, we’ve been reading about it and speaking to some of the original producers and organisers, realising that the conversations and issues still seem to be the same today. So the opening panel, moderated by Assoc Prof Belinda Smaill, will be looking into the past and present to understand what has or hasn’t changed and why.

The second panel looks into the future and what we can do from examining film criticism to film distribution outlets, and how women can make their way in somehow. For example, Sweden have implemented a gender quota and that has been extremely successful but in Australia we’re still in discussions on whether we should have it or not.

Interesting. What advice would you give upcoming women in film?

SM: Considering the discourse around women in the industry is currently so prevalent, it’s really worth looking out for opportunities, mentorships and the like. Natalie Miller Fellowship works out pathways and grants and fellowships on women in leadership positions. Open Channel do mentorship programs in partnership with Film Victoria and the big ones are Screen Australia, Creative Victoria and then it depends on what area. I also found with women who have worked in the industry for a while, that they are really happy to give back as well.

Brilliant. So, lastly, can you tell us what you have planned for the festival’s opening night?

The Cheaters (1929, 85min), film still courtesy MWFF
The Cheaters (1929, 85min), film still courtesy MWFF

SM: I’m really excited about our opening night. We’re playing a 16mm silent film from 1929, The Cheaters [from the National Film and Sound Archive], that will be presented with live music by Russian fusion folk jazz band Zulya and the Children of the Underground. The Cheaters was made by three sisters – Paulette (director), Isabel (star), and Phyllis (art director, production design) McDonagh. Roughly they were three of five women working in total at that time – real pioneers.




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