Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies

Dr Virginia Madsen

Senior Lecturer in MediaMMCCS - virginia_madsen JPG


Office: Y3A 191J

Phone: (02) 9850 2180

Undergraduate Teaching: MAS206MAS207MAS337MMCS380MMCS260, 

Postgraduate Teaching: ICOM890, MECO836



Virginia Madsen is an experienced research and teaching academic, leading the radio strand for MMCCS Dept. She is also an established radio producer and writer whose works have been broadcast by the major public service media institutions in Europe, USA and Australia. Before entering academia, she worked for many years on staff and as an independent producer for the ABC's national radio networks, RN and ABC Classic FM. With an extensive body of work in radio and sound performance, Virginia has been recognized for her achievements with international prizes, broadcasts, commissions and invitations to conferences and festivals. In her role as a radio producer she has contributed a large body of work to the arts and culture field, being a founding producer of the ABC Program The Listening Room. She has hosted live programming and discussion genres, and worked as a broadcast journalist/producer for ABC and community radio. Madsen has also created sound designs for theatre, television and museum contexts (egs: Performance Space; Adelaide and Sydney festivals; The Australian Museum, Sydney; SBS TV). Madsen has produced seminal texts in the history of radio documentary. In 2016 she was a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Hamburg's Centre for Media History; in 2014 she was a Visiting Research Fellow at the British Library Sound Archive. In 2002 she was awarded a prestigious Vice Chancellor's Post Doctoral Research Fellowship (UNSW, Sydney). Qualifications: DCA (UTS: 2001), BA Communications, (UTS 1983), and Post Grad. Diploma of Arts (USyd, French studies, 1993).
She is currently leading the ARC Discovery project, Cultural Conversations: A History of ABC Radio National. Covered by the ABC here:

Madsen is Chair of the Management Committee for the Centre for Media History (CMH), Macquarie University, and a member of its Advisory Board: 

Research Interests

Virginia's interests span sound and radio production, theory and history; auditory culture studies; new audio media, podcasting and audio arts; and the history of public broadcasting in radio and audio media. Current research projects include a history of ABC's 'ideas network', Radio National, and a history of the documentary tradition in radio from the 1920s to the present. See She is also interested in documentary as an expressive form (film/ television, radio/audio, new media) and practice-led research. She is a qualified Supervisor for all HDRs in Media/Creative Arts/Media History, Radio Studies and encourages potential PhDs/Research Masters' students to contact her about supervision. Previous students have produced for the ABC as part of their PhD creative projects. Two examples:; and

Selected Publications

Book Chapters

Madsen. V. 'Réanimations du labo radiophonique' in Gregory Whitehead: Radiophonies: Dramaturgie des voix sans corps, (Eds) Walter Thibault, Christian Indermuhle. Rip on/off collection, Van Dieren Éditeur, Paris, 2016, pp18-25.

Madsen. V. 'Documentary (radio)' and 'Podcasting' in The Companion to the Australian Media. (Ed), Bridget Griffen-Foley, Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2014, pp382-384. Available also:

Madsen. V.  'Son sauvage Arlésien' in La tentation du son, Mortley, Kaye and Jacquin, Marc. (Eds). Phonurgia Nova, Arles, France, 2013. Translation: English to French, Kaye Mortley. In Press.

Madsen, V. 'Your ears are a portal to another world: the new radio documentary Imagination and the digital domain ', in Radio's New Wave: Global Sound in the Digital Era, Jason Loviglio & Michele Hilmes (eds), Routledge, London and New York, 2013, pp126-144.

Madsen, V. (with John Potts): 'Voice cast: the distribution of the voice via podcasting' in VOICE: Vocal Aesthetics in Digital Arts and Media, Norie Neumark, Ross Gibson, and Theo Van Leeuwen (eds), MIT Press, 2010; pp33-60.

Madsen, V. 'Radio and the Documentary Imagination' in Radio: Critical Essays in Media and Cultural Studies, Volume I, Andrew Crisell (ed.), Routledge, London and New York, 2009; pp207-219.

Madsen, V. 'Written in Air: Experiments in Radio' in Experimental Music: Audio Explorations in Australia, Gail Priest (ed), UNSW Press, Sydney, 2009; pp154-174.

Madsen, V. 'Voices-cast: a report on the new audiosphere of podcasting with specific insights for public broadcasting'. In online book, ANZCA09 - Communication, Creativity and Global Citizenship, Australian and New Zealand Communications Association Annual Conference, July 8-10, 2009. Terry Flew, (Ed). Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia. 2009.

Madsen, V. 'The atelier de création radiophonique: propositions for an expanded radio imaginary', in Radio in the World: Radio Conference, 2005. Bruce Berryman, David. Goodman and S. Healey (Eds), Melbourne (Vic.) RMIT, 2005; pp471-481 (e-book).

Madsen, V.  'The Call of the Wild' in Uncertain Ground: essays between art and nature, Martin Thomas (ed), Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, 1999; pp29-44.

Journal Articles

Madsen. V. 'Innovation, women's work and the documentary impulse: pioneering moments and stalled opportunities in public service broadcasting in Australia and Britain', Media International Australia (MIA),162(1), Feb, 2017, pp19-32.

Madsen. V. 'From the limbo zone of transmissions: Gregory Whitehead's "On the shore dimly seen"', Radio Doc Review, 2(2), 2015.

Madsen. V. 'Facts and friction: traditions and innovation within ABC Radio National', Australian Journalism Review, Vol 36 (2), Dec 2014, pp37-49.;dn=912391886769225;res=IELAPA

Madsen. V. 'Children of Sodom and Gomorrah: a critical reflection, RadioDoc Review, 1(1), 2014.

Madsen, V. 'Charting the documentary-feature in radio: impressions of the 'radio eye' from new wave to next wave' in Australasian Sound Archive No 38, Autumn 2013, (ed. Melinda Barrie), Australasian Sound Recordings Association, Canberra; pp79-96.

Madsen, V.  'A Call to Listen: the 'new' documentary in radio: encountering 'wild sound' and the film sonore' 'in The Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol. 30, No 3, Sept, 2010; pp391-410.

Madsen, V. 'Cantata of Fire: son et lumière in Waco, Texas, auscultation for a shadow play' in Organized Sound, 14 (1), Cambridge University Press, 2009; pp89-99.

Madsen, V. 'A radio d'auteur: the documentaire de création of Kaye Mortley' in SCAN, Vol. 6, Number 3, December 2009. Online at

Madsen, V, 'Cultural radio at the crossroads: "When I hear the word culture I switch on my radio'": reflections on an underestimated form, cultural radio', in Southern Review 39.3, 2007; pp16-37.

Madsen, V. 'Radio and the documentary imagination: thirty years of experiment, innovation, and revelation', in The Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast and Audio Media 3.3, 2005; pp189-198.

Journal Editorship

Madsen. V. (with Delofski. M.) 'Authorship and the Documentary', special issue of SCAN, vol. 6, no. 3, 2009, Access at

Major Creative Works

Madsen, V. (producer/writer).  Scenes From The Garden of Wild Things, radio feature/documentary, ABC Radio National, March 2013. Coproduced with MacGregor, A. Recordings by Madsen and MacGregor on location at 'The Menagerie' of Le Jardin des Plantes, Paris. Translations by V. Madsen. Sound Engineer: John Jacobs. A podcast available:

Madsen, V. (producer/writer/Director). Dark Room Triptych, radio feature/performance work, ABC Radio National, March 2013. Available at

Madsen, V, (co-producer/writer/director). Dreams of Hesselmed, radio feature documentary, ABC Radio National 'Elsewhere', April 24, 2010. At Rebroadcast 'Summer Features', RN December 2012 ABC Radio National: Exec Producer Jane Ulman.

Madsen, V. (producer/writer/Director). The Rats ran over the Roof, radio feature, in 'The Night Air', ABC Radio National, 2012 (at

Madsen, V. (coproducer ABC with Andrew McLennan) Kenneth Gaburo's Testimony, radio art work, first broadcast ABC Radio National, 1986. Re-broadcast Frequency Oz festival, Toronto, Canada, 15 May 2011.

Madsen, V. (Writer/producer/director) 'In Search of the Mekong Blues' in Into The Music, ABC RN, 2008 and on Elsewhere May 2010. Access

Madsen, V. (writer/producer/director). Dark Room 3, radio art/sound text work, ABC Radio National, 18 October 2009. Re-broadcast 12 December 2010, in The Night Air, RN.

Madsen, V. (writer, co-producer/director), Cantata of Fire, performance work/drama for voice and 'sonic assault' broadcast on ABC RN's Airplay in 2008. Earlier version broadcast on ABC The Listening Room, Radio National. 1993. See

Selected as the principal ABC entry in the Radio Drama category for competition Prix Futura, Berlin, 1995. Translated into German, ARD, Germany, 1996. Re-presented as part of the Sydney Biennale, 2008. Included as part of a DVD accompanying Organised Sound, vol. 14, no. 1, 2009.

Madsen, V, (writer/producer/director),  Life and Death in Battambang: Children's Stories from Cambodia, radio documentary, commissioned for Radio Eye, 2007. (shortlisted, 2008 Third Coast International Audio Festival, Chicago, available for audition through Re:Sound at Several rebroadcasts.

Madsen, V. (writer/producer), Mjesec U Prozoru, adaptation of Madsen's feature on Kaye Mortley: The Moon in Front of the Window (ABC Radio National). Adaptation for Croatian National Pubic Broadcaster, Radio 3, HRT, Zagreb, and first broadcast: 10 October 2008.

Madsen, V. (writer, director, sound designer). Dark Room: Nocturne, short feature film, screened at 'The Audiotheque', The Studio, Sydney Opera House, 14 April 2003. Commissioned by SBS Television for Eat Carpet series, 1998.

Other Selected Published work

Madsen. V. 'Cost of Q&A compromise to ABC remains to be seen, The Conversation, Aug 24, 2015:

Madsen. V. 'Radio National is a leader in cultural radio-here's why', The Conversation, May 27, 2014:

Madsen V and Whitehead G. 'Virginia Madsen and Gregory Whitehead discuss radio art' Feb 22, 2014, broadcast WAVEFARM, USA:

Madsen. V. (with Silvain Gire) 'ARTE Radio and the end of appointment listening'. Podcast in Series (ABC Radio National 2012), Radio Beyond Radio. 'Virginia Madsen in Conversation with Director of Arte Radio, Silvain Gire'. September 4, 2012. Available at

Madsen, V.  (writer) Submission to ABC SBS Review, Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Australian Government, December 2008, Access at

Madsen, V. 'Thirty Years of the International Radio Feature', keynote essay, part of The IFC Collection: 30 Years of International Radio Documentaries (CD Collection and Booklet), Edwin Brys (ed), European Broadcasting Union/IFC, Geneva, 2004. Digital edition: 2005 is available here: