Upcoming events

Workshop: Media History or Medium History? Challenges and Opportunities in Intermedial Research

Friday 28 July 2017, 10.00am-1.00pm, Y3A 211, Macquarie University

To be led by Dr Sian Nicholas of Aberystwyth University

Expressions of interest are invited from prospective participants in this free workshop to be hosted by the Centre for Media History. Dr Nicholas will share her knowledge and understanding of the methodological challenges involved in researching across different media (specifically broadcasting sources on the one hand and newspapers on the other). She will speak about her own experiences researching first the BBC and then the Fleet Street press during World War II for separate research projects, as well as her attempts to integrate the histories of different media in particular eras.  This will be followed by general discussion, and consideration of questions or problems arising from participants’ own research.

Topics for discussion might include – but are not restricted to – the character and scope of respective media’s archive resources; their comparative social and/or political role; issues of censorship (including self-censorship) and control in war and peace; audience reception; and cross-media relations and interactions.

We welcome the participation of research higher degree students and early career researchers working on questions of media history from any discipline. Participants from outside Macquarie are welcome. Prospective participants should provide a short outline of their current work as a means of framing the overall discussion, as well as any relevant research problem or question that has arisen in their research project/s.

Please see the event flyer for further information.

Expressions of interest, including full contact details, should be emailed by Monday 17 July to Dr Jeannine Baker:

Past events

2017 Brian Johns Lecture

Thursday 4 May 2017, 5.30-8.30pm, Metcalfe Auditorium, State Library of New South Wales

‘How the internet killed my business model: Saving news that matters in a time of information overload’, presented by Amanda Wilson

Those who mourn the death of newspapers and the journalism that print ad revenue supported need to get over it. Everything wasn’t all rosy back when the rivers of gold funded public interest journalism and it’s not all bad today. Many talented journalists are passionate about using new and better ways to keep the powerful accountable.
Keen consumers of news media enjoy the technology which delivers it wherever and whenever, but there are complaints of a news desert. Where is the public interest journalism they ask? Why must they plough through acres of click bait to find the buried nuggets of expert coverage?
News Corp and Fairfax Media claim they’ve never had more eyeballs on their journalism, yet they continue to lose both money and influence. In this age of instant information in the palm of your hand, general ignorance is spreading. Social media with its rivers of fake news has become the sole information source for many and the key influencer of their perceptions.
The transition to digital is not quite complete in Australia and the hunt continues for a sustainable business model that reclaims much-needed ad revenue from Google or Facebook to keep home-grown journalism strong. How did we get to this point and where to next for journalism?

The Brian Johns Lecture is supported by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.

A full report of the event and photographs from the evening will be posted here soon.

Symposium: Media, publics and the past 

Monday 20 February 2017, 1.30–5.30pm, Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris St, Ultimo NSW 2000

Hosted jointly with Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences and Australian Centre for Public History, UTS.

What stories can media archives and artefacts tell us, and how can we make use of them? Historians, producers and curators discussed alternative histories of the press, photography, music, advertising and television. The session introduced attendees to some surprising and unique collections and resources and revealed the hidden histories of ordinary objects such as the VCR and the Walkman. Presenters reflected on how their projects address gaps in the record and explore the ways that items such as diaries and personal papers can make connections between the private and the public. Attendees heard about the questions that these media histories pose for examinations of the past in the digital world, and got a chance to discuss their own media and history projects.

See the dedicated webpage for further information.

Book launch: Public Opinion, Campaign Politics and Media Audiences: New Australian Perspectives 

Thursday 9 February 2017, 5.30pm, Level 2 Administrative Hub, Building Y3A, Macquarie University

MUP and the CMH invited colleagues and friends to the launch of Public Opinion, Campaign Politics and Media Audiences: New Australian Perspectives, edited by Sean Scalmer and Bridget Griffen-Foley. The book, published in honour of Emeritus Professor Murray Goot, was launched by Dr Elizabeth Reid AO. 

Roundtable discussion: Women and Screen Production 

Thursday 8 December 2016, 4.00pm, Room 211, Y3A, Macquarie University

This free, informal roundtable discussion was led by media historian Dr Vicky Ball. Dr Ball is a Senior Lecturer in Cinema and Television Histories at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK. Her research focuses upon gender and British television drama and film. She has published articles on gender and British television drama and is currently writing a book about the British female ensemble drama to be published by Manchester University Press. She co-edited (with Melanie Bell) ‘Working Women, Women’s Work: Production, History, Gender’, a special edition for the Journal of British Cinema and Television (July 2013). She is co-investigator on the AHRC funded project ‘Women’s Work, Working Women: A Longitudinal Study of Women Working in the Film and Television Industries (1933–1989)’ and a member of the Committee of the Women’s Film and Television Histories Network: UK/Ireland. Dr Ball is an Honorary Associate of the CMH.

The roundtable was followed by drinks at 5.00pm in the Y3A administrative hub (second floor) to celebrate:

  • the November publication of a special issue of Media International Australia on ‘Gendered Labour and Media’, co-edited by Jeannine Baker and Justine Lloyd (with articles by Faculty of Arts colleagues Willa McDonald, Deb Waterhouse-Watson and Chelsea Barnett);
  • the integration of the Media Archives Project Database, and the contents of A Companion to the Australian Media, into AustLit; and
  • a year of other achievements and hard work!

Launch of Small Screens 

Wednesday 26 October 2016, 6.00 for 6.30pm, 107 Projects, 107 Redfern St, Redfern NSW 2016

Launched by Courtney Gibson, CEO of Screen NSW

Monash University Publishing invited guests to the launch of Small Screens: Essays on Contemporary Australian Television edited by Clare Monagle and CMH Members Michelle Arrow and Jeannine Baker. 

See the invitation for further details.

Television Research Roundtable 

Wednesday 19 October 2016, 3.00-5.00pm, Room 357, Building W6B, Macquarie University

‘Television Research: Past, Present & Future’

This free roundtable was led by Professor Joan Bleicher, visiting from the University of Hamburg. Professor Bleicher shared her experiences researching and writing about television in the Federal Republic of Germany, television formats (including reality television), and post-broadcast television. Each participant had an opportunity to speak about their experiences and interests in television research, leading to a general discussion about themes, issues and synergies. The roundtable was followed by drinks.

For further details see the event flyer.

Associate Professor Fay Anderson Masterclass 

Wednesday 7 September 2016, 2.00-4.30pm, Macquarie University

‘Capturing a Moment: Photography, Memory and Oral History’

A/Professor Anderson is a media historian in the School of Media, Film and Journalism at Monash University, and has just joined the CMH’s Advisory Board. She has published widely on war, journalism, oral history, the military, biography, genocide, and memory. She is a chief investigator on an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant with Sally Young, Kate Darian-Smith and Michael Gawenda, with partners the National Library of Australia and the Walkley Foundation, to investigate the history and significance of Australian press photography.

This free masterclass considered methodological approaches to issues including ethics, trauma, gender, storytelling, manipulating, the role of photography in collective memory, the future of the industry, and the portrayal of violence, disaster, suffering and sport. Throughout the masterclass, A/Professor Anderson drew on archival sources and interviews with 60 press photographers and photographic editors. She examined some of their most striking photographic images, as well as working experiences, press culture and invisible histories. Higher degree research students and early career researchers working on questions of media history were particularly welcome to attend.

A/Professor Fay Anderson also shared her experience of co-authoring Shooting the Picture: Press Photography in Australia, which will be published by MUP in August. MUP is pleased to offer CMH members and friends a 25% discount off Fay's book, valid for pre-orders until October. The offer is accessible through MUP by entering the promo code CMH25 when prompted at the checkout.

2016 Brian Johns Lecture, delivered by Professor Julianne Schultz AM 

Monday 2 May 2016, 6.00pm, SBS Atrium, 14 Herbert Street, Artarmon NSW 2064

‘Cultural Institutions and Ideas of Australia in the Age of Fang’

Professor Julianne Schultz AM FAHA is the founding editor of Griffith Review and chair of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School.

Professor Schultz’s lecture emphasised the importance of ensuring Australia’s cultural infrastructure is sufficiently advanced and resourced to respond to the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century in the Age of Fang’ (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google). An edited version of the Lecture is available via The ConversationThe lecture was broadcast on ABC’s Big Ideas on 18 May and is now available as a podcast.

The Brian Johns Lecture was supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.

Please see the dedicated webpage for further information and the Newsletter for an account of the evening. The full text of the lecture is available to download here

Free public lecture by Dr Kate Murphy

Tuesday 16 February 2016, 6.00pm, Room 10, Level 4, Building 2, University of Technology, Sydney

‘How Girls Make Good in Radio’: Surprising Stories of the Early BBC

Delivered by Dr Kate Murphy from Bournemouth University (UK), visiting scholar to the Centre for Media History. Presented by the CMH in conjunction with the School of Communication, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UTS.

Dr Kate Murphy is a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Bournemouth (UK). She previously worked at the BBC for 24 years, predominantly as a Senior Producer on the long-running Radio 4 programme Woman’s Hour. Her book Behind the Wireless: A History of Early Women at the BBC will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2016.

This event was free, but registration via Eventbrite was requested for catering purposes.

‘Gendered Labour and Media’ Workshop 

18–19 February, 2016, Macquarie University

This interdisciplinary workshop brought together researchers and media industry representatives from Sydney, Melbourne and Perth to explore the intersection of gendered working lives with media representation and production. The keynote address was delivered by visiting scholar to the CMH, Dr Kate Murphy (Bournemouth, UK), on ‘ “New and important careers…” How women excelled at the BBC, 1923-1939’.

Attendance was by invitation only. The program for the event can be downloaded here

See also the blog report by Kate Montague, who facilitated the 'Women in the Australian Media' panel:

Media History Masterclass with Dr Kate Murphy

23 February 2016, 3.00-5.00pm, Y3A 211, Macquarie University

The masterclass focused on Dr Kate Murphy’s methodology for doing media history in relation to her personal experience of writing the history of women at the early BBC, including locating and interpreting of sources, and will touch on some of the particular challenges when uncovering women’s history. All HDR students and early career researchers from Macquarie and other universities were welcome to attend.

Please see the event flyer PDF, 66.11 KB for further details.


Archives 2015

Free workshop and seminar

1 December 2015, Building Y3A Room 211 Macquarie University

CMH hosted a free workshop and seminar presented by our two distinguished visiting scholars: Professor David Hendy (University of Sussex, UK) and Dr Hans-Ulrich Wagner (University of Hamburg, Germany).

Professor Hendy, author of Public Service Broadcasting (2013); Life on Air: A history of BBC Radio Four (2007) and Radio in the Global Age (2000), and now official historian of the BBC, will present a workshop on ‘The making of the BBC radio documentary series: Noise: A human history – challenges of sound design, ethics, and value.'

Dr Wagner, Director of the Research Centre Media History and Senior Lecturer at the Institute for Media and Communication, University of Hamburg, and Senior Researcher at the Hans-Bredow Institute, will present a seminar on ‘The “Imagined Communities’ project: Approaches to identity, place, space and media in two German cities (1919-1975)’.

9th Australian Media Traditions Conference

3-4 December 2015, National Film & Sound Archive, Canberra

The CMH was pleased to co-host the 9th Australian Media Traditions conference with the National Film & Sound Archive, held in Canberra on 3-4 December 2015. Under the conference theme of 'Soundings and Sightings', proposals for papers and panel presentations were presented on all aspects of media history, including journalism, audiences, technology, photography, advertising, public relations and media institutions. See the event page for a record of the event

Keith Murdoch: Beyond Gallipoli

11 November 2015, State Library of New South Wales, Sydney

CMH Associate Member Tom D C Roberts shared insights from his new book, Before Rupert: Keith Murdoch and the Birth of a Dynasty, published by UQP.

Inaugural Brian Johns Lecture: Mark Scott on 'The Future of the Australian Story'

15 September 2015, Y3A T1, Macquarie University

The CMH, in association with the Copyright Agency Limited, presented the Inaugural Brian Johns Lecture, given by Mark Scott AO, Managing Director of the ABC. The Lecture, on 'The Future of the Australian Story', was delivered at Macquarie University at 6pm on Tuesday 15 September. See media release

'Public and Popular Histories of Anzac'

8 September 2015, State Library of NSW, Macquarie Street, Sydney

The CMH co-sponsored this event for History Week 2015. The symposium examined the many ways that popular culture and everyday Australians' sense of the past have played a crucial role in shaping the meaning of Anzac today.

'The Archaeology of Film', screening and Q&A with Dr Alec Morgan

14 August 2015, Room 189, Building Y3A, Macquarie University

The CMH presented 'The Archaeology of Film: Towards the construction of a historical framework for early indigenous Australian films', a screening and Q&A with multi-award winning documentary filmmaker Dr Alec Morgan. For details of this free event please see the event flyer.

Free public seminar by Willard D. Rowland, Jr, PhD: 'Public Media and Net Neutrality in the US: Enduring Challenges to Public-Service Models in Private Enterprise Policy Regimes'

5 June 2015,  Department of Media & Communications, University of Sydney

The CMH and University of Sydney presented a seminar led by Willard D. Rowland, Jr, PhD, Dean and Professor Emeritus of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Colarado. 

Launch of Colonial Australian Literary Journalism Database

18 February 2015,  Drama Studio, Building Y3A, Macquarie University

The online database contains representative examples of literary journalism written between 1788 and 1901. It has been produced as a pilot project by Dr Willa McDonald under the auspices of the Centre for Media History. CMH Director Professor Bridget Griffen-Foley, conducted the launch.  A short video of Dr McDonald explaining the database at the launch can be viewed here, and the database itself can be accessed at

Masterclass and Seminar with Associate Professor Jane Mills (University of New South Wales)

18 February 2015,  Room 211, Building Y3A, Macquarie University

This free, half-day masterclass hosted by the CMH explored how critical thinking relating to notions of space, place and belonging might be relevant to students' and academics' research in media history. For further information, please see the  event flyer.

Public Forum and Lecture by Dr Liz Giuffre: 'Happy birthday Triple J! 40 years of big music and big impact'

19 January 2015,  Whitlam Institute, UWS Parramatta 

A free public forum to mark the 40th birthday of 2JJ co-presented by the CMH and the Whitlam Institute with the support of Triple J. CMH member Dr Liz Giuffre delivered the lecture. Further information is available via this link. A paper by Dr Liz Giuffre, drawing on the event, was published as part of The Whitlam Legacy series. 

Archives 2014

Launch of the 150th issue of Media International Australia

20 March 2014, University of Sydney

The Centre co-sponsored the anniversary launch of the 150th issue of Media International Australia, entitled ‘Looking Forward, Looking Back’, with the University of Sydney on 20 March 2014. Centre Director Professor Bridget Griffen-Foley co-edited the special issue.

Public lecture on ‘Corporate Social Responsibility: Challenging Questions’

10 April 2014, Macquarie University

Professor Tom Watson, Professor of Public Relations at Bournemouth University, and Chair of the International History of Public Relations Conference, spent part of his sabbatical with the Centre in April 2014. On 10 April, the Centre joined with the Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies (MMCCS) to host a free public lecture by Professor Watson on ‘Corporate Social Responsibility: Challenging Questions’. The lecture was introduced by ProVice-Chancellor (Learning, Teaching and Diversity) Professor Sherman Young, and attended by about 80 people, including many of Macquarie’s PACE (Participation and Communication Engagement) partners.

Masterclass and Seminar with Professor Tom O’Regan

19 June 2014, Macquarie University

Professor Tom O’Regan from the University of Queensland presented a free masterclass for Higher Degree Research candidates and early career researchers on 19 June. The masterclass was targeted at scholars working on questions of media history across sociology, anthropology, modern history and media and cultural studies and attracted attendees from Macquarie, the University of Technology Sydney, and the University of Newcastle. Professor O’Regan followed it with a seminar presentation, ‘Towards an Historical Aesthetics of Film and Television’.

Symposium: ‘The Heart of the Nation? 50 Years of The Australian

7-8 July 2014, MGSM Executive Conference Centre, Sydney CBD

The Centre hosted The Heart of the Nation? 50 Years of The Australian, a symposium on 7–8 July at the MGSM’s CBD Executive Conference Centre in Sydney. Paul Kelly and Mark Day were the keynote speakers. It was a unique event, bringing together in equal numbers media practitioners and scholars.

2014 Henry Mayer Lecture and Launch of A Companion to the Australian Media

7 October 2014, Eugene Goossens Hall, ABC Building, Sydney

The Centre hosted the 2014 Henry Mayer Lecture, delivered by Deputy Director Professor Murray Goot, in the Eugene Goossens Hall at the ABC in Sydney on 7 October 2014. This was the first time the Lecture had been held in Sydney in 20 years and marked the 50th anniversary of the publication of Professor Mayer’s The Press in Australia, and the 150th issue of MIA. In ‘The Press We Had to Have?’, Professor Goot considered the landscape pre-Mayer; Mayer’s thesis (the press we had to have); how the book was received; and the book’s impact.

The Lecture was preceded by a meeting of MIA’s Editorial Board, hosted by the Centre. Following the lecture, A Companion to the Australian Media, edited by Centre Director Professor Bridget Griffen-Foley, was launched by Richard Aedy, the presenter of Radio National’s Media Report.

Screening of The Stuart Hall Project

3 December 2014, Macquarie University

The Centre screened the 2013 film The Stuart Hall Project, directed by John Akomfrah, on 3 December, followed by an open discussion led by Dr Justine Lloyd about Hall’s work and the questions he raised about the media.

Archives 2013

Under construction

Archives 2012

Launch of the Media Archives Project Database and the new Australian Media History Database

28 March 2012, Foxtel headquarters, North Ryde

Launched by Mr Harold Mitchell, AC, Executive Chairman, Aegis Media Pacific

Seminar Presentation by Dr John Tebbutt: 'Crisis at the office: ABC's foreign correspondents and TV current affairs (1979-1985)'   

9 May 2012, Macquarie University

Presented by the Centre for Media History in association with the Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies.  

Seminar Presentation by Dr Michelle Arrow: "I just feel it's important to know exactly what he went through": In Their Footsteps and the work of emotions in Australian television history’   

22 May 2012, Macquarie University

Presented by the Centre for Media History in association with the Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations.   

Seminar Presentation by Dr Virginia Madsen: 'Radio eye and "film sonore": Overlooked audio-visions from the other history of documentary in the 20th century' 

21 August 2012, Macquarie University

Presented by the Centre for Media History in association with the Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations.   

Seminar Presentation by Dr Geoff Kemp, Department of Political Studies, University of Auckland: ‘Press Licensing, Revisited’

23 October 2012, Macquarie University

The fall-out from the News of the World phone hacking scandal has put press freedom on the agenda for public discussion and put press licensing back in the news, three centuries after England's statutory licensing system was brought to an end. In a submission to the Leveson Inquiry, Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger declared:  'When people talk about licensing journalists or newspapers, the instinct should be to refer them to history. Read about how the licensing of the press in Britain was abolished in 1695 and look at the arguments why, they are remarkably similar to the arguments today.' This paper revisited the events and arguments of 1695 and asks what referring to early modern history might mean for the news media and press freedom today.

Public Relations and the Past in Local and International Contexts: A Roundtable Symposium

13 November 2012, University of Technology, Sydney

Keynote speaker Professor Tom Watson of Bournemouth University. Panel presentations and discussions on Education, Practice and People. Co-sponsored by Charles Sturt University and the University of Technology, Sydney. 

Archives 2011

Under construction

Archives 2010

Seminar Presentation by Professor Bridget Griffen-Foley, 'Broadsheets and Broadcasts: History in the Australian Media'

5 May 2010, Macquarie University

Presented by the Centre for Media History in association with the Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations.

Seminar Presentation by Professor Murray Goot: '"A Worse Importation than Chewing Gum": American Influences on the Australian Press and their Limits - The Australian Gallup Poll, 1941-1973'

27 August 2010, Macquarie University

Presented by the Centre for Media History in association with the Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations.

Professor Bridget Griffen-Foley, Annual History Lecture 2010: 'Voices from the Street'

3 September 2010, Government House, Macquarie Street, Sydney

Presented as part of NSW History Week. 

Workshop: 'Reaching Out or Going Down? The History of Tabloids'

24 September 2010, Macquarie University

Please see the final program for the workshop.

Seminar Presentation by Dr Michelle Arrow: 'The Making History Initiative'

3 November 2010, Macquarie University

Presented by the Centre for Media History in association with the Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations.   

Headliners: Early Australasian Press Biographies

23 November 2010, State Library of New South Wales, Macquarie Street, Sydney
This symposium focussed on the contribution that individual and collective biographies have made to the history of the press and communications in Australia and the region.

Archives 2009

Seminar presentation by Ian Hoskins

25 March 2009, Macquarie University

Ian Hoskins (North Sydney Council Historian) presented a paper titled ‘Being Ken Burns: Film making and local history in the digital age.’

Launch of special issue of Media International Australia

3 June 2009

Launch of Australian Media Reception Histories special issue of Media International Australia, no. 131, edited by CMH members Michelle Arrow, Bridget Griffen-Foley and Marnie Hughes-Warrington.

Public lecture by Harvey Broadbent: ‘“A Simple Epic”: Gallipoli and the Australian Media'

6 August 2009 (evening), Gallipoli Memorial Club, Loftus Street, Sydney and 29 October (daytime), Royal United Services Institute, 270 Pitt Street, Sydney

In this lecture, Gallipoli author and researcher, Harvey Broadbent, traced the role of Australian newspapers, books, films and television in moulding Australian perceptions of the Gallipoli Campaign.

Seminar presentation by Professor Rod Tiffen

27 August 2009, Macquarie University

Professor Rod Tiffen of the University of Sydney presented a paper titled ‘Hawke vs Keating versus Howard vs Costello - News media and party leadership struggles’.

Seminar presentation by Honorary Associate Dr Robert Crawford

14 October 2009, Macquarie University

Dr Robert Crawford, of the University of Technology, Sydney, presented a paper titled ‘Upholding Whose Values? Australia's Advertising Standards Bodies, 1979-2009’. 

Swedish media history seminar

11 November 2009, Macquarie University

Two visiting Swedish media historians from Lund University, Dr Patrik Lundell and Dr Andreas Nyblom presented papers entitled, respectively, ‘From participation to professionalism: The historiography of the press as a resource and National history’, ‘Personal objects: On the media and materiality of celebrity culture’.

Australian Media Traditions Conference 2009

23-25 November 2009, University of Sydney

The CMH was a principal sponsor of the 5th biennial Australian Media Traditions Conference. CMH Director A/Professor Bridget Griffen-Foley was invited to help open the conference.

Archives 2008

Under construction

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