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Curtin University
Centre for Culture and Technology (CCAT)

Seminars and events

Culture +
A China-Australia forum at Curtin University

Dates: Monday 30 Nov/ Tuesday 1 Dec 2015

Venue: BankWest Theatre, John Curtin Gallery and The HIVE, Curtin University, Perth

The Culture + bilateral forum on the cultural and creative industries in China and Australia is being held at Curtin on 30 November to 1 December. The Forum, which will bring together academics, community, government and industry representatives from around China and Australia is a collaboration between Curtin's Centre for Culture and Technology, the School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts, the Chinese Ministry of Culture and the Beijing International Studies University. Forum events will include the launch of our new Digital China Lab led by Michael Keane. For colleagues interested in attending, please rsvp by 13 November. RSVP now


Cultural Heritage and N

ew Media Workshop

Date: 9am – 5.30pm, Thursday 25 September 2014

Venue: 104.101/2:LT (across the passage from Common Grounds Restaurant) Curtin University and the Curtin Hub for Immersive Visualisation and eResearch (HIVE).

Speakers include: Erik Champion, Stuart Bender, Sambit Datta, Kate Raynes Goldie, Pauline Joseph, Demetrius Lacet, Ali Mozaffari, Brian Steels, Joshua Hollick, Karen Miller, Michael Wiebrands and Tim Sherratt (Trove).

Program: forthcoming

Keywords: digital visualisation, 3D film & projection, phone apps, interactive environments/games, databases, web interfaces, digital storytelling, TROVE, HIVE, Markham Car Collection, Makerspace, Indigenous film making, built heritage, projects in process, grant applications.

Further details:





CCAT International Research Symposium ~ Culture+8: New times, new zones

A research symposium on Media discourse in the translingual / transcultural space between Fudan University and Curtin University, with invited guests from the Culture+8 timezone (Brunei, China, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines,  Krasnoyarsk in Siberia, Singapore and Western Australia).

Date: 4–6 June 2014, Margaret River, Western Australia

Topics for discussion: Dynamics of change; discourse analysis in digital media; journalism in the digital age: literacy, cultural and educational journalism; intercultural communication; practical work and/as research; knowledge transfer, distribution of knowledge and expertise, and informal learning.

Participants ~ Curtin University: Liz Byrski (Professional Writing, School of MCCA); Erik Champion (Professor of Cultural Visualisation, School of MCCA); Tim Dolin (Professor of Literature, Dean of Research, Humanities); Katie Ellis (Curtin Research Fellow, School of MCCA); John Hartley (John Curtin Distinguished Professor, Director CCAT); Rebecca Higgie (Sessional Academic, Communication and Cultural Studies); 
Henry Siling Li (Research Fellow, CCAT; Organiser Culture +8); Steve Mickler (A/Professor, Head, School of MCCA); Lucy Montgomery, CCAT Principal Research Fellow; Anna Parkin, Dean International, Faculty of Humanities; Eleanor Sandry (Internet Studies, School of MCCA); Kim Scott (Professor of Writing, School of MCCA) and PhD candidate, He (Jan) Zhang.

Participants ~ Fudan, China: Xiaoquan Chu, Dean, College of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Fudan University; Hu Huang, Executive Dean, Fudan Journalism School; Li Shuanglong, Deputy Dean, Fudan Journalism School; Weiguo Qu, Deputy Dean, Fudan Foreign Languages School; and Wen Jin, Fudan University.

Participants ~ Shenzhen University: Wen Wen,  Head of Program Development, Institute for Culture Industries.

Participants ~ University of Macao: Martin Montgomery, Dean of Arts and Humanities, and PhD candidates Xiaoping (Alice) Wu and Hongqiang (Douglas) Zhu.

View Culture+8 Symposium Program with abstracts and brief participant biographies.

Symposium background: The countries in the Culture + 8 timezone, with all their diversity, are characterised most by rapid transformation, with emergent economic and cultural power. Already China boasts the second biggest economy in the world. From the north (Siberia and Mongolia) to the south (SE Asia and Australia) the development of resources and trade is accompanied by an unprecedented connectivity among people, including technological links via the internet and social media, as well as physical ties via cultural exchange, education, employment, migration, and commerce.

Here, the old polarities that have created oppositions around the world cease to make much sense – divisions between ‘East’ and ‘West’, ‘global north’ and ‘global south’, ‘advanced’ and ‘developing’ nations, natural and human resources; and distinctions between economic growth and cultural heritage, or even between creativity and innovation on the one hand and copying and catch-up on the other – all such inherited antagonisms are in process of dynamic change as new geopolitical, cultural and economic realities emerge. As is so often observed, these changes have outpaced the explanatory and conceptual apparatus that we unthinkingly carry with us from other times and places. The growth of knowledge in and about the Culture+8 zone is no longer adequate to account for its natural and cultural resources, for the people who live, work and travel across it, and for the dynamism, turbulence and changes in evidence within it. We need to rethink our habitual coordinates, categories and concepts. Instead of ‘East’ vs ‘West’, the region evokes new possibilities and emergent risks: turbulence as well as confidence; clash and competition as well as connections and cooperation.

Specialists in the study of culture, media, communication and elaborate forms of expression or performance have been at the forefront of these changes, establishing popular and significant new areas of study that did not exist a generation ago. The Humanities have also suffered the most impact, as university systems move towards educational goals based on science, public policy objectives and employment, rather than humanistic values based on developing the full range of human taste, judgement and decision-making ethic. Thus, even as higher education becomes a significant export industry in its own right (in Australia it ranks third in value after coal and iron ore), the humanities need new arguments to maintain public support for what they do, how they do it, and for whose benefit. 

Proposed outcomes: proceedings to be published by Fudan University Press, 2015. Details forthcoming. 

ZUMC Induction program (February 2014)

CCAT held a two week induction program for six visiting academics from our partner university in Hangzhou, ZUMC (Zhejiang University of Media & Communications).

The goal – along the lines of the Oxford Internet Institute’s Summer Doctoral Program – was to introduce ZUMC colleagues to the Curtin campus, Faculty of Humanities researchers and post-graduate candidates, to hear and deliver presentations, and to participate in an innovative introduction to ’research methods’ by means of a practical digital storytelling workshop, to be facilitated by Dr Christina Spurgeon from the Creative Industries Faculty of QUT.  This included a  two week induction program for six visiting academics from our partner university in Hangzhou, ZUMC (Zhejiang University of Media & Communications).

Curtin University Faculty of Humanities regards ZUMC as a long-term research and education partner and is building on current cooperation between the two institutions, especially at research and graduate level. Current projects include a degree articulation program, exchanges of students, and collaborative learning programs. One of the collaborative programs, Earth-sky-us was the only program featured as an example of China-Australia higher education collaboration at the 2013 launch of the new initiative of Study Perth in China, attended by WA Premier Colin Barnett in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.

Date: Monday 17 February – Friday 28 February 2014 

Southern screens symposium: Transnational zones and transcultural histories on the screens of the south

Presented by: The School of Media, Culture & Creative Arts (MCCA) and the Centre for Culture & Technology (CCAT)
Venue: BankWest Lecture Theatre, Curtin University
Date: 13–14 November 2013

Abstract: Every day hundreds of people travel back and forth between Southern countries, including Australia, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, New Zealand, and South Africa; and with people travel culture, experiences, memories and images. The Southern Screens project takes on a transversal South-South approach to the study of visual culture in transnational, transcultural and geopolitical contexts. It seeks to create conditions for the generation, sharing and circulation of new knowledge that is both southern and about the South as a specific kind of material and imaginary territory (or territories). It does so through the study of the southern hemisphere¹s screen cultures, addressing the broad spectrum of cultural expression in both traditional and new screen media including film, television, video, digital, interactive, online and portable technologies.

Scholars from Southern countries contributed to this bilingual (English and Spanish), interdisciplinary symposium, addressing the theme ŒTransnational zones and transcultural histories on the screens of the South¹ through applications of media studies, cultural studies and social science methodologies to discussions of screen culture.

Special CCAT seminar ~ Blow up the humanities

Speaker: British-Australian-US interdisciplinary social scientist, Distinguished Professor Toby Miller

Date: Wednesday 28 August 2013

Abstract: There are two humanities in the United States. One is the venerable, powerful humanities of private universities; the other is the humanities of state schools, which focus mainly on job prospects. There is a class division between the two - both in terms of faculty research and student background – and it must end. I explain the costs of this division both conceptually and empirically.

"Blow Up The Humanities" is also the title one of Toby's new books which has been reviewed in The Higher Education (THE) and The Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB).


Date & venue: 13 April 2013 @ Thousand Pound Bend, Melbourne

Presented by:

  • Centre for Culture & Technology (CCAT) @ Curtin University
  • Media & Communications @ Swinburne University of Technology
  • Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) @ La Trobe University
  • School of Culture & Communication @ University of Melbourne

At a time of increasing social and technological complexity, what are we becoming? What is becoming of our cities, of nationhood, of publics... if we are all now globally networked 'friends'? If we are all 'new' citizens today, in the era of social media, social networks and user-generated content, what forms might 'new citizenship' take in the future? If we are all user-producers, what is becoming of art? If we are always 'on' (online, plugged in, available), what is to become of solitude, of privacy? And why are media now 'social'? Hasn't sociality defined the history of media, or is it only now just arriving?

Such provocations inform the theme of 'renewal' to be discussed by a range of invited artists, writers, academics and public figures in conversation with a general audience.

Speakers: Marcus Westbury, Ben Eltham, Karen Pickering, Jason Potts, Eugenia Lim and Darren Tofts.

The Creative City Index

On the strength of his Australia-Asia-Pacific Institute seminar, John Hartley was invited to present his research findings to the WA Department of Planning (DoP) on Friday 5 April 2013.

Feedback indicated it to be a "popular session". Some 50 people attended from the Departments of Planning; Transport; and Regional Development and Lands and the seminar was also teleconferenced to the DoP's Albany office.

What is a creative city and how do we know?

CCAT Director, John Hartley was the inaugural speaker for the Australia-Asia-Pacific Institute 2013 Research Seminar Series on 21 March.

The Boardroom was filled beyond capacity for his talk: What is a creative city and how do we know?

Those attending included academics from business, education, geography, built environment, design and arts, the Centre for Aboriginal Studies, PhD students in urban design from Curtin and other WA universities. The seminar also attracted strategy and planning business analysts, project development and cultural development coordinators in private practice and local government, and town planners.

John's talk was based on his research towards the Creative Cities Index which can be accessed on the Cultural Science website.

Ctrl-Z: Writing in the Age of New Media

Presented by: CCAT and the Fremantle Arts Centre

Date and venue: Fremantle Arts Centre, Saturday 19 November 2011

In the age of personal computers, the Internet, mobile phones, Facebook, Twitter, Word, Photoshop, SMS, email, desktop- and e-publishing, blogging and fan fiction, autocorrect and track changes, who – or what – is a writer? Ctrl-Z: Writing in the age of new media is an arts symposium aimed at exploring the possibilities of writing in the age of new media. While the means and opportunities for writing are seemingly forever multiplying, can the same be said for the ways in which we think about what we call 'writing', or what we call 'a writer'? How, today, does writing take shape: how is it produced, published, distributed and read? How might we account for cultural anxieties over the ill-effects or improper uses of new writing technologies (illiteracy, plagiarism, piracy, cyberbullying), and how might we imagine new ways of thinking about creativity, technology and communication?

Featuring panel discussions, video screenings, exhibitions, live music and more, this arts symposium will appeal to anyone with a professional or personal interest in writing as a cultural and communicative practice – from humanities academics, postgraduates and English and Media teachers to authors, artists and creative media practitioners; from arts patrons to general readers. Cutting across academic, professional and public divides, the symposium will present an engaging and entertaining occasion to reflect on what it means – now – to write and to be a writer.

: Niall Lucy, Professor of Critical Theory, Curtin University; Robert Briggs, School of Media, Culture & Creative Arts, Curtin University; poet, novelist, critic, essayist and editor, John Kinsella; Darren Tofts, Professor of Media and Communications, Swinburne University; Mark Amerika, Professor of Digital Arts, University of Colorado Boulder; Catharine Lumby, Professor of Media, Macquarie University; McKenzie Wark, Professor of Culture and Media, Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts, New York; Tama Leaver, Department of Internet Studies, Curtin University; Suvendrini Perera, Professor of Cultural Analysis, Curtin University; Anna Surma, English and Creative Writing program, Murdoch University; and award-winning WA author, Georgia Richter.