Our research

Our research

With five rich veins of enquiry, two research centres and strong industry connections, research is a core strength of the Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies. A focus on exploring ideas ensures the department’s content and teaching remains current, consistent and in line with our values.

Macquarie University was recognised as ‘above world standard’ for Communication and Media Studies in the 2015-16 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) ratings, Australia’s national research evaluation framework.

Departmental staff are practitioners, as well as academics, and are renowned in their fields. Research is informed by robust industry links, including Professor Catharine Lumby’s strong role in supporting culture change within the National Rugby League.

Supported by world-class production facilities, research projects are often embedded in creative practice, merging creation with documentation, analysis and dissemination to deliver insights that improve our collective understanding.

International affiliations

The Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies also fosters deep, continuing relationships through cotutelles that enable Macquarie University research students to concurrently enrol at international research universities in China, United Kingdom, Europe and the USA.

Research clusters

Research projects examine important and diverse aspects of how individuals and institutions produce, perceive, engage with, and become shaped by various aspects of traditional and new media, music and culture.

Critical Inquiry

The Critical Inquiry research cluster aims to investigate and critique the relations of knowledge/power that inscribe and constitute institutions, ontologies, texts, bodies, technologies and everyday practices. It is committed to articulating the genealogies and histories that inform and shape the present. It engages with work committed to ethical inquiry and social justice, and it understands social justice as a category that encompasses the broadest spectrum of life forms and nonhuman entities.

Cluster leader: Professor Joseph Pugliese

Cluster members: Associate Professor Nicole Anderson, Dr Margie Borschke, Dr Florence Chiew, Dr Ian Collinson, Ms Jillian Kramer, Dr Anthony Lambert, Dr Sabine Krajewski, Dr Nicole Matthews, Dr Undine Sellbach, Dr Jane Simon, Dr Catherine Simpson, Dr Liza-Mare Syron, Dr Hollis Thomas

Creative Ecologies Lab

Research leader: Professor Kathryn Millard

Visit the Creative Ecologies Lab website

MMCCS staff who are working in this research concentration include:

  • Catharine Lumby: gender studies, media studies, media law and ethics, young people and media, online and social media, media regulation, journalism futures
  • Maree Delofski: documentary film and history; documentary methodologies; documentary screenwriting; documentary and identity
  • Lauren Gorfinkel: Chinese television, China's softpower and the media
  • Iqbal Barkat: film production, screen media, philosophy and community video
  • Kathryn Millard: writing for the screen; film and social psychology; the digital essay; innovative screen production
  • Kate Rossmanith: performance and the law; rehearsal studies
  • Yuji Sone: theatre and performance studies
  • Anthony Lambert: film and visual culture
  • Tom Murray: documentary and visual ethnography practice; screen studies; audio-visual research methodologies
Research projects
  • Maree Delofski: Macquarie University Research Development Grant for Negotiating Histories in the First-Person Film. In our digital era there has been an increase in the production of first person documentary, where researcher-filmmakers reflect on their personal histories in the first person. This practice-led research project investigates a potential for the first person documentary to interrogate the wider world. Its significance is to utilise non-fiction film's 'doubling' as both investigation means and research dissemination method and to develop an innovative approach to representing histories for substantial audiences.
  • Kathryn Millard: 'Off the Page: Screenwriting in a Digital Era,' Book, forthcoming 2013; Reinterpreting Stanley Milgram's Obedience to Authority Experiments via Film (involves both creative projects and critical writing)
  • Anthony Lambert: Research investigating the nexus between cinema and social policy/social inclusion in the Howard era and beyond; also working toward edited collection in Australian visual culture
  • Yuji Sone: Research project in progress, 'Mechatronic Imagination: Human-Robot Interaction, Performance, and Cultural Memory in Japan.' This project examines how Japanese next-generation robots are presented and perceived, highlighting particular Japanese attitudes to technology, embodiment and performance.
  • Iqbal Barkat: I am working on my PhD Thesis on novelty in cinema. I trace this novelty to the work of Dziga Vertov, a pioneering film-maker in the early Soviet Union. Mortar is an independent feature film that I am making as part of my PhD. It is a film that seeks to explore what Robert Koehler calls 'cinema of in-betweeness' - refusing categories of fiction or non-fiction, drama or documentary.  It follows the life of a woman whose house was destroyed by demolition exercises carried out by the ADF. She has lived in a broken house for over fifty years and is still seeking reparations.
  • Tom Murray: I am currently working on a project called The Other War. This research project is a practice-led investigation into representations of Australian and Pacific indigenous soldiers in WW1. It will include the repatriation of significant cultural records from European archives and will seek to document a post-colonial chapter in the aesthetics of 'otherness'.

Media and Journalism Futures

Research leaders: Professor Catharine Lumby and Professor John Potts

MMCCS staff working in this research concentration are:

  • Professor Bridget Griffen-Foley: media history, radio and television, Australian media.
  • Professor Catharine Lumby: gender studies, media studies, media law and ethics, young people and media, online and social media, media regulation, journalism futures.
  • Professor John Potts: media history, network culture, technology studies, art history, intellectual history.
  • Dr Margie Borschke:  social and cultural research on media use, with an emphasis on copies and copying practices.
  • Dr Steve Collins: technology, disruption, music industry, creativity and copyright law.
  • Dr Qin Guo: new media and civil society.
  • Dr Rowan Tulloch: video games and culture; the gamification of education; digital communities and economies
  • Dr Jeannine Baker: Australian media history and women's history.
  • Dr Li Ji: Public diplomacy and soft power, media and foreign policy, social media (focus on analysis), international security and terrorism.
    Research projects:
Research projects
  • Jeannine Baker: Australian radio and women listeners, 1930s-1980s.This project will analyse how the Australian adult female radio audience was imagined, constructed and perceived by broadcasters, as well as studying women's actual listening habits and program preferences, from the 1930s to the 1980s.
  • Margie Borschke: The cultural politics of intellectual property and the cultural history of unauthorised use and reproduction. The aesthetic dimensions of networked distribution and the persistence of analog media formats in digital culture.
  • Bridget Griffen-Foley: Funded by an ARC Future Fellowship, a history of Australian radio listeners and television viewers. With colleagues Virginia Madsen, John Potts and John Tebbutt, a cultural history of ABC Radio National.
  • Li Ji has been working on the conceptual development of national image and methodological exploration of the analysis of soft power strategies and practices in several publications. Fanning out from her initial research interests in public diplomacy and media discourse analysis, Li also investigates international security and terrorism. She is attempting to investigate how a militant ideology is emanating from terrrorists through the Internet especially through social media.
  • John Potts: ARC Linkage Grant project, 'When Art Meets Science: Creating an Environmental Portrait of the Shoalhaven River Valley'. ARC Discovery Grant, with colleagues Virginia Madsen, Bridget Griffen-Foley and John Tebbutt, a cultural history of ABC Radio National. Author of The New Time and Space (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).
  • Rowan Tulloch: The Gamification of Higher Education. This project explores the potential advantages and disadvantages of the 'gamification' of higher education.

Music and Sound Cultures

Research leader: Professor Julian Knowles

MMCCS staff who are working in this research concentration include:

  • Bridget Griffen-Foley: radio history, Australian media, audience reception
  • Mark Evans: film music and sound; contemporary religious music; Small Island Cultures
  • Andrew Alter: World Music discourses; Ethnography of copyright
  • Steve Collins: Remix culture; music industry and distribution; copyright law
  • Ian Collinson: identity and popular music
  • Guy Morrow: music production and social psychology; creativity and collaboration; artist management in the music industry
  • Tony Lewis: Music of West African drum ensembles; rhythm studies
  • Alex Mesker: computer music; cartoon music
  • John Scannell: popular music studies
  • Sarah Keith: music technology; generative music; popular music
  • Bruce Johnson: music; sonic cultures
  • Diane Hughes: vocal artistry; new music industries; singing pedagogy
  • Denis Crowdy: Melanesian music; music production aesthetics; critical eco-musicology
  • Peter Doyle: popular music studies
  • Virginia Madsen: radio and broadcasting studies; sound studies; sound arts
  • John Potts: radio history and sound art studies
Research projects
  • Mark Evans: An 8 book series for Equinox Publishing (UK) that considers the sonic attributes of film sound in various feature film genres. Four books published already with 2 in production and 2 to be commissioned
  • Steve Collins: Music 2.0: The Future(s) of Music (Equinox)
  • Guy Morrow: MQ Research Development grant to research career development strategies within new music industries
  • Andrew Alter:  2012 ARC grant application with Adrian McNeil, Denis Crowdy, Stephen Collins titled "Copyright and the Global Musician: Creative Practices and Musical Ownership amongst Traditional and Transcultural Musicians in Australia". Project summary: "Virtual home studios, Web 2.0 technologies and databases of distant sound samples have commodified 'traditional' music in ways that were unthinkable only a decade ago. This project will investigate musical creativity amongst musicians working in the area of 'World Music' practice, most of whom interact with these new digital environments at some point in their careers. Many have chosen to cross cultural boundaries to create hybrid musical forms. By interviewing numerous musicians, we will document and analyse the unique circumstances of copyright practice in the Australian World Music industry. Who owns what sounds, and how should financial compensation be organized are two big questions for the current century.
  • Tony Lewis: Revision of PhD thesis for publication as a book. Topic: Becoming a Garamut Player in Baluan Island, Manus Province, Papua New Guinea. The book conducts musicological analysis of the complex music of the Baluan Island garamut ensembles. The processes of working to that end necessarily bring the researcher into direct consideration of numerous further issues, including learning and teaching processes in an oral society, perceptions and representations of "complexity" in music, the relationship between transcription and cognition, perceptions of cultural ownership and "authenticity", and the role of the ethnomusicologist in the transmission of cultural knowledge.
  • Sherman Young: Authoring a book, The Future of Music, forthcoming Equinox Publishing.
  • Sarah Keith: Currently working on a project (with four other Music staff: Diane Hughes, Denis Crowdy, Guy Morrow and Mark Evans) focusing on artist career development and its relation to contemporary technologies of communication and production. This project is funded by a Macquarie Research Development Grant.
  • Diane Hughes: Team leader in research project: Career Development Strategies within the New Music Industries, MQRDG 2012: Historically, contemporary music has been monopolised by major record labels. A notable consequence of this control has been that independent artists and musicians have typically not had access to similar opportunities, distribution avenues or promotional exposure afforded by the major labels. New industrial practices, avenues for music distribution and the associated democratisation of technology have decentralised major label domination. In doing so, new music industries have created a diverse range of platforms and opportunities that challenge the conventional model of career development in contemporary music. The project addresses the need for research that investigates career development and management skills in the multi-industry landscape. It investigates the contributory factors and technological influences on career development in new music industries. In determining the impact of these on career development, the study aims to identify new and evolving career paths and strategies.
  • Denis Crowdy: A critique of ideas surrounding sustainability in music through a comparison of circa-Independence music production with commercial music in Papua New Guinea.
  • Virginia Madsen: Book project: The Other Documentary: Radio and the Film Sonore, a history of the documentary in international radio and audio over the 20th century.
  • John Potts: ARC Discovery Application, LCI Virginia Madsen, CI John Potts: History of ABC Radio National

Oceania and Asia

Research leader: Dr Denis Crowdy

MMCS staff who are working in this research concentration include:

  • Andrew Alter: music and ritual in South Asia
  • Lauren Gorfinkel: Chinese media (especially television, including television in its online form), China's softpower and the media
  • Maya Rangathan: South Asian news media; media and identities; online media and nationalist ideologies
  • Iqbal Barkat: screen media, badiou, community, technology
  • Qin Guo: development communication; public diplomacy; new media and civil society (in China)
  • Usha Harris: Pacific Islands media; climate change; participatory media, human rights, community
  • Tony Lewis: Music of Papua New Guinea garamut ensembles
  • Mark Evans: Small Island Cultures
  • Yuji Sone: Japanese techno-culture and performance
  • Denis Crowdy: Melanesian music
  • Anthony Lambert: Australian culture; Australasia and Pacific Islands; Australasian cinemas and screen culture
  • Tom Murray: Australian and Pacific Indigenous history
Research projects
  • Maya Rangathan: Co-authoring a book on reportage of 10 events by Indian media that changed journalistic practices and values (Sage)
  • Qin Guo: Project on communication in the global network society, investigating and comparing Australia and China's perspectives and strategies of communication in the globalising network
  • Usha Harris: The use of participatory media to better understand climate change impacts on heritage and human rights in the Pacific
  • Denis Crowdy: A critique of ideas surrounding sustainability in music through a comparison of circa-Independence music production with commercial music in Papua New Guinea
  • Lauren Gorfinkel: I am working on a paper examining how China Central Television (CCTV) is portraying China's role in the world and China-Africa relations in the context of its first overseas television channel 'CCTV Africa' and the related 'I Love Africa' mobile app launched in 2012. This is intended to become part of a larger project on China's multimedia and multilingual global media outreach and soft power push.
  • Anthony Lambert: Editor of international journal Studies in Australasian Cinema (2010 - ongoing)


Staff from Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies are on the Editorial Boards as Managing Editors of the following journals:

HDR research projects

Current HDR research projects

Angel, Susan

Retracing the Tragedy Track

Avieson, Bunty

The voice of The Dragon: Launching a newspaper in Bhutan

Ayyar, Mohan

Bharathanatyam Composition

Bau, Valentina

Communication for Development as a Tool for Peace-Building and Reconciliation

Bauder, Amy

A critical history of Australian country music

Berry, Vanessa

Cataloguing Sydney: Blogging and the classification of urban experience

Blumberg, Sandra

Definition, Development, and Practice of Intercultural Communication Competence: Case Studies in the Australian Corporate Section.

Booker, Emily

Children, Television and new technologies: How children engage with and use narratives in televisual content

Bruining, Dennis

Transgender and Corporeality

Burgess, Noel

The sound of memory: A compositional framework to interpret digital memories.

Burrell, Gillian

The Promise of Memory

Cameron, Neil

Music of the Anglican Church of Sydney 1869-1962

Chou, Yu-Ling

Trans/forming images in Taiwan

Cox, James

The Architects of Culture: Shared Listening Histories in Hip Hop Outside of America

Davis, Anthony

Point of View in the Novel

Davis, Rhonda

Central Street Gallery 1966-1970.

Dawson, Victoria

Narrative Construction in Biographical Non-Fiction Film

Dean, Jasmine

Bollywood Middle Cinema: A Critical History

Dynon, Nicholas

Contending discourses of corporate social responsibility in contemporary China

Ely-Harper, Kerreen

Phenomenology of volunteerism

Evans, Sandy

Carnatic Jazz intercultural music in Australia: creating new music for improvisers featuring the saxophone

Fletcher, David-Jack

Techno-patriarch's assault on the feminine: Representations of the feminine in post 1970's sci-fi cinema

Gabriel, Jamie

Analysis of Keith Jarrett Trio Solos.

Ghosh, Shruti

Performance and the Performing Body: Choreography in Popular Hindi Film (1930s-1990s)

Gibson, Janet

(Not) saying it right: dementia 'Tellino' theatre

Gilberthorpe, Joel

Derrida on translation

Gilfillan, Emily

Managing choreographic processes: A case study of professional contemporary dance practices in Australia.

Grant, Patrick

The Unfinished Comics: Process & Poetics in Cartooning

Groom, Dean

Conceptions and motivations of parents towards networked video games for early years children.

Gunn, Rachael

Becoming B-girl in the Sydney breaking scene

Hapsari, Twediana Budi

Audience Segmentation in Indonesian Moslem Society

Hoad, Catherine

Power, masculinity and nationhood in heavy metal music

Irwin, Hannah

'Up the Airy Mountain, Down the Rushy Glen': Psychogeography and the Influence of Celtic Fairy Lore

James, Gareth

The political significance of South Korean cinema

Kelloway, Larissa

Pilates methodology and the posture and vocal quality of singers.

Keogh, Brent

Analyzing World Music Discourse in Australia

Knight, Kathryn

"Exile on Main Street"

Kramer, Jillian

Infrastructure of colonial war: White regimes of power and the northern territory emergency response

Lemon-McMahon, Belinda

Pedagogical influences on vocal identity and the singing voice in popular culture musics.

Lewandowski, Natalie

Behind-the-sounds: the evolution of film soundtrack roles in Australia and New Zealand

Lewis, Mark

Polytonality and Jazz.

Li, Fangjun

China's music industry: Evolution, development and convergence

Li, Weijia

A comparison of deconstructionism in western and eastern culture.

Lohrey, Amanda

Postsecular Narratives in Contemporary Fiction and Cinema

Luo, Huaiyu

A Comparative Study of Contemporary Western Narrative Theory and Chinese Narrative Thoughts During the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

Lyons, Siobhan

Literary Celebrity from Romanticism to Twenty-first Century Mass Media

Macdonald, Paul

Genocide in the Media: How lens and page shape our view of humanity's darkest hours

Mairata, James

Prizing the Popular: The Poetics, Cognitive Strategies & Emotion System at Owrk in the Films Directed by Steven Spielberg

Manoharan, Pravina

The Development of Temple Music in Malaysia.

Mees, Cleo

Reading (is writng, is discovering) a City: A Study of the Essay Film, Reader Response and Greater Sydney

Mesker, Alex

Music composition in Hanna Barbera films 1960-1975

Milani, Ehsan

'I participate therefore I am': A comparative analysis of interactivity and deliberative practices in online news journals

Mobbs, Belinda

The feminine body in contemporary media texts

Monro, Veronica

Investigating the musical creativities of the singer-songwriter.

Moore, David

Songwriting, voice, identity and authenticity

Morrison, Glenn

Place, Reconciliation and the Australian Writer.

Muda, Suhaini

Sustaining collaborative partnership in an ICT-based community service organisation to empower children in orphanages: Perspectives form multiple stakeholders

Muscat, Tanya

Representations in News: an Ethnographic Study of the Production Process in Commercial Television.

O'Grady, Patrick

Studio-based songwriting

Palombo, Lara

The racial camp and the production of the political citizen: a genealogy of contestation.

Papadimitriou, David

Abandoned Meanings: The Unexpected Themes and Intensities of American Suburbia

Patrickson, Bronwin

Narrative in computer games, mixed-media storytelling

Pavlovic, Mirko

Framing & Conflict: Bosnia's Constituent Peoples and Issues of Power, Demand, Foreign Influence & Leadeship

Pelarek, Terry

MIAS, Gesture-controlled Virtual Analogue Synthesis in Contemporary Dance

Peltz, Philipp

Artist-Entrepreneurship in the Digital Recording Industry - Emergence, Practices and Implications

Prodanovic, Branka

Gender Politics in Media Representations of Ethniciity

Ryan, Robert

Does censorship make for a more decent society?

Sherriff, Adrian

The application and practice of South Indian rhythmic principles within improvisatory musical contexts

Simpson, Sarah

Metaphysics and the feature screenplay - Can film really be Philosophy?

Small, Virginia

"Are you the real McCoy?" A historical analysis of the commercial and Fourth Estate identities of Australian newspapers and their framing of the "Bali Nine" and the "Bali Bombers"

Springett, Selina

Listening to Country: Deep Mapping: Sonic Cortogrpahy and Locative Media in Urban Australia

Strazzullo, Guy

World Jazz guitar fusion: A critical approach to intercultural improvisation

Sully, Andrew

The Audiovisual Documentation of Investigation of Cases of Political Violence.

Thornton, Daniel

The identification within Australian culture of the musical parameters that define corporate expressions of worship

Tran, Anh Khoa

Asian Cinema: A history of displacement.

Vidler, Steven

The role of empathy in constructing meaning in narrative film

Walker, Clinton

Reverse Crossover: Robert Stigwood's Greatest Hits

White, Kyra

The femme fatale in post-war film noir

Xue, Hui

Internet governance and institutional convergence

Ye, Hongyu

A Comparison of Developments in Chinese and Australian Public Diplomacy in the 21st Century

Zorbas, Danielle

Dostoyevsky's The Double; an improvised film

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