Current Postgraduate Research Projects
Investigation of the Roles of Internal Communications in the Implementation of Successful Change Management Programs
Supervisor: Dr Olaf Werder
Change is prevalent in many organisations today. Change can be either strategic or operational, and can arise from a number of influences and impacts including mergers and acquisitions, following a period without effective competition or change in senior management. This research will examine the roles of internal communications in change management and how internal communications can support and contribute to the speed and efficiency of organisational change programs. This includes examining the effectiveness of corporate communication strategies and tools in practice during rapid organisational change.
Darlinghurst Nights: The party that never ended
Supervisor: Dr Megan Le Masurier
Blame the (single) mother
Supervisor: Dr Megan Le Masurier
The sociological theory by Raymond Pahl and Liz Spencer, Personal Communities: Not Simply Families of Fate or Choice argues that in contemporary life given relationships – those dictated by family or work – are no longer necessarily the priority in people’s lives. Instead, our chosen relationships – those we form freely with friends, for example - may have equal or more priority due to the high rate of divorce.
My research hypothesis is that single mothers particularly prioritise chosen relationships more so than given relationships in contemporary society.
Popular TV series that have a single mother as a main character, such as Murphy Brown; Absolutely Fabulous, The Gilmore Girls, Desperate Housewives and most recently Cougar Town, have been produced over the past three decades, and appear to reflect this social shift in contemporary life. The exegesis part of the Doctorate will explore the representations of the single mother and her chosen relationships in these television programs. One question to be explored here is whether the programs offer a positive reinforcement of this change in priorities, especially for that part of the audience who are single mothers.
In addressing this research hypothesis and to fulfill the literary journalism aspect of the Doctorate (25,000 words) I am interviewing four single mothers, using the qualitative methodology of purposive sampling. Each woman has been chosen because her life situation resembled that of the main character of each of the aforementioned shows, and was watching the show during the era in which it premiered. The aim here is not to make any grand claims about the effect of these programs on all single mothers, but to examine how these women interpreted the representation of life situations similar to their own, and especially their response to seeing positive portrayals of chosen relationships on screen. What role did these shows play in their lives? And were there resonances with the importance of chosen relationships in their own lives?
For the literary journalism component of the DArts, I am greatly influenced by Michael Cunningham’s The Hours. I intend to weave the single mothers’ stories in a multi-linear structure over a set time period, and if possible, reference the shows above so there is ultimately a cohesiveness to the overall doctorate. The actual stories I am yet to finalise but I am working towards relationship focused narratives that reflect the above research.
Australian Invention: An exploration and analysis through long-form reported narrative non-fiction and exegesis.
Supervisor: Dr. Fiona Giles
The list of Australian inventions is long, substantial, eclectic, and includes: Wi-Fi, the bionic ear (cochlear implant), the black box flight recorder, the pacemaker, the underwater torpedo, the atomic absorption spectrophotometer, zinc cream, the ultrasound scanner, the electric drill, the scramjet, the tank bred tuna system, the paper notepad, the world's first practical refrigerator, the military tank, pre-paid postage, and gene shears, a critical tool in biogenetics.
While there appears to be an established popular belief in Australia’s seemingly outsized contribution to the global pool of inventive technologies, no single work, academic or otherwise, has attempted to both quantify these inventions nor explore cultural, systemic and individual reasons for this presumed contribution. Moreover, there has not been a thesis that has used qualitative research methods, including interviews and immersive reportage techniques, as well as an academic exegesis to explore both historical and contemporary incidents and motivations for Australian invention.
The research question that will guide this thesis will be: if Australians are indeed out-sized contributors to global invention, what has made them so?
The thesis will seek to use qualitative research methods to develop a comprehensive picture of Australian inventions and inventiveness
and to posit significant and defensible answers to the question of what factors may lie behind invention.
Jonathan Englert is an author and communications strategist specializing in disruptive technology, cybersecurity and the sharing economy.
As a journalist, he has written for The New York Times and other publications on issues ranging from public affairs to technology to adventure sports.
The Chicago Tribune called his full-length nonfiction book The Collar (Houghton Mifflin 2006) "an impressive portrait." He is the recipient of the Nona Balakian Award for Literary Criticism, the Sackett Graduate Award for law and journalism, and a grant from The Louisville Institute (a Lily Foundation partner). In 2012, his work was nominated to the final voting round of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism's 100 Great Stories. He holds a B.A from Bard College and an M.S. with Honours from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.
You can contact Jonathan at or visit his website here.
Australian Telecommunications and Disability Policies
Supervisor: Professor Gerard Goggin
The Cultural Regulation of Facebook: Theory and Practice
Supervisors: Dr. Grant Bollmer and Dr. Christopher Chesher
Punit's research examines the cultural regulation of Facebook using the topics of privacy, law, labour and advertising. His argument is that throughout its short history, Facebook has been culturally regulated. Cultural regulation is described as the modes of negotiation and resistance that Facebook is subject to, by it users and non- users and the subsequent effects of this power struggle on Facebook's policies and practices. Facebook is an online space for social interaction, and its conventions are constantly mediated.
Cultural studies and political economic analysis are used as the thesis¹s theoretical frameworks. Empirical data for the project comes from case studies and other secondary examples of cultural regulation. As social network sites are fluid in their structure, this thesis serves as a historical and epistemological account for future research.
Punit has had the opportunity to present papers on his research in diverse venues such as the SWARM 2015 Symposium on Everyday social media, the Minor Cultures conference (CSAA) and student workshops.
Prior to beginning his PhD, Punit worked in the marketing communications industry, for over 12 years. His bachelor's degree is in commerce and economics; he has a Post Graduate Diploma in management and business administration and a Master in digital communication and culture.
Enhancing collaborative communication networks to create robust, emergent organisational structures.
Supervisors: Alana Mann and Tim Dwyer
A systems approach to understanding the constitutive role of communications in developing successful and integrative networks. This research aims to apply the lenses of constitutive communications theory and complex adaptive systems theory to develop a deeper understanding of the current state of a shared culture of values across the University of Sydney. With insight gained from this research, it is hoped that practical tools may be identified that can enhance academic community participation in the growth and enhancement of a culture of shared values. An enhanced culture of shared values has been identified by the University as one of the key foundations to the success of the new 2016-2020 Strategic Plan, "Culture change is most effectively ensured when shared values are embraced in each local area, and consequently change local practice" (March, 2016). Understanding the constitutive role of communications in organisational structure will hopefully yield deeper perspicacity into the most effective methods of creating a positive university environment. Understanding how communication practices at all levels in the university create and form and structure of the organisation, provides a modern perspective on the dynamics of the University system rather than traditional "top-down" approaches such as dissemination of policy.
Doctor of Social Sciences
At home and Online: An exploration of domestic craft blogs
Supervisor: Dr Kathy Cleland
This research project investigates whether women who blog about their handmade projects and domestic lives are at the center of a new style of digital communication where the lines between public and private merge along with other boundaries such as home/work, career/family. Through the investigation of six domestic craft blogs, this thesis will explore the reasons for this renewed interest in the domestic world and situate it in the context of the history of domesticity as well as the place that it holds in the online world.
WikiLeaks and the Control of Communication: Switching Power in a Networked Society
Supervisor: Dr Fiona Giles
Situating Play: A study of Play in Australian Urban Environments
Supervisor: Gerard Goggin
My doctoral research is based on ethnographic observations of and interactions with location-based game players in Sydney and wider New South Wales. The thesis is an attempt to understand how play is performed within an Australian city, and the sociocultural and material conditions that underscore and inform such playful practices. My research combines the study of mobile media with human geography and play studies to understand how not only the urban experience of Sydney understood by location-based gamers, but also how the urban is re-constituted through playful engagement with software and the emergences of ‘gaming’ cultures within the city.
Moore, K. (2016) ‘Sort Mii Out: Learning to Value Portable Gaming Encounters through Nintendo’s Streetpass Software’ Games and Culture, Published online before print March 2.
Moore, K. (2015) ‘Painting the Town Blue and Green: Curating Street Art through Urban Mobile Gaming’ in Media/Culture Journal, 18 (4).
Moore, K. (2014) ‘Software Sorted Streets: Nintendo 3DS Streetpass and the Reconfiguration of Social Interactions’ presented at The Australian and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA), Swinburne University, 9-11 July, 2014
Moore, K. (2014) ‘The Passenger and The Player: Blowtooth and the Subversion of Airport Space’ in Mediafields (8).
Moore, K. (2015) ‘Location Gaming as Productive Play: Mapping Urban Environments with Ingress, presented at Minor Cultures, ‘Minor Cultures of Digital Gaming’ Panel, University of Melbourne, 1-3 December 2015.
Moore, K. (2015) ‘All Work and No Play Makes Ingress a Surprisingly Fun Game’ presented at Reason Plus Enjoyment, ‘EndGames’ Panel, University of New South Wales, 10-14 July, 2015
Moore, K. (2015) ‘A Situated Approach to Urban Play: The Role of Local Knowledge in Playing Ingress’ presented at DiGRA Australia Conference, Inclusivity in Australian Games and Game Studies, University of New South Wales, 29-30 June, 2015
Moore, K. (2015) ‘Re-Playing the City: Ingress portals and re-contextualizing knowledge of the urban environment’ presented at The Rutgers Media Studies Conference: Extending Play, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, United States, 17-18 April 2015
Moore, K. (2014) ‘Bodies at the Boundary: The Augmented Reality Player’s Body’ presented at Cross Roads Conference in Cultural Studies, Association for Cultural Studies, Tampere, Finland, 1-4 July 2014
Online and laughing: The everyday, everywhere news consumption and political participation of young Australian adults
Supervisors: Timothy Dwyer and Mitchell Hobbs
Industrial Convergence and Communication Policy in Indonesia: When Converging Industry Meets Divergent Policies
Supervisor: Dr Tim Dwyer
Doctor of Philosophy
Data stories: towards a poetics of digital information
Supervisor: Dr Kathy Cleland
Unprecedented access to networked data is changing the way humans tell stories. A growing number of works of traditional and electronic literature, media art, journalism and screen media are exploiting real-time digital information in their production. With the help of automated software processes, big data is being appropriated, remixed, visualized, animated and narrativized to produce exciting new forms of creative writing. This research project seeks to trace the diverse impacts of these so-called “data-driven” writing practices and understand how they are reshaping the relationships between texts, writers and readers. For more information, visit Chris’s website or follow him on Twitter at @chrisrodley.
2014. Swimming against the data stream. Paper presented at 2014 Electronic Literature Organization conference, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.
2013. The poetics of search: literature in the age of big data. Paper presented at The Future of Writing Symposium, Macquarie University.
2014. Rodley, C., & Burrell A. “On the art of writing with data”. Book chapter in J. Potts (Ed.), The future of writing. Palgrave Pivot.
The Readings of Tobacco-Related Messages: Understanding How Smoking Women Decode Pro and Anti-Smoking Advertisement in a Cultural-Specific Setting
Supervisor: Dr. Olaf Werder and Dr Fiona Giles
Growing number of research has claimed the salience of mass media both in promoting tobacco use (pro-smoking message) and tobacco control (anti-smoking message). However, findings of studies suggest that there are still challenges in promoting the adverse effect of smoking to people through mass media, particularly in Low-Middle Income Countries (LMIC) like Indonesia. Smoking is perceived as normal behaviour, and de-normalising the internalised values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours related to tobacco use is still a difficult task in the country. Indonesian people, especially adolescents, women, and children remain exposed to massive tobacco advertisement, and tobacco use remains high in the country. Although study suggests that cultural norm tobacco use among women as culturally inappropriate may actually benefit women, yet these women are still vulnerable to the danger of smoking. In addition, number of young adult female smokers aged 20-25 have increased five-fold from 1.3% in 2001 to 6.7% in 2013. Based on the notion that audience are active recipients and have different interpretation towards messages, this study will apply Hall’s Encoding/Decoding Theory to investigate how young-adult women (aged >18-35) decode or read both image-based pro-smoking and anti-smoking messages in tobacco advertisements and anti-smoking Public Service Advertisements (PSAs) on television. Moreover, the study will examine whether cultural values discouraging women to smoke has an influence in their readings of the messages. Findings of this study will provide information about how women understand and interpret the existence tobacco-related messages which may later provide solution to improve anti-smoking messages or a better strategy to counter the pro-smoking messages in tobacco advertisements targeting women. The study also aims to understand how cultural values may be used wisely and incorporated into message production to promote a more effective message of the harmful effect of tobacco use particularly among women.
Indigenous and non-Indigenous collaboration in community broadcasting
Supervisor: Dr Fiona Martin
Over the past 30 years in Australia there has been considerable growth in the Indigenous community media sector, particularly broadcasting. In its role as educator, representative and documentarian of cultural diversity, network for social and political activism and producer of locally appropriate media alternatives, Indigenous produced media plays a vital role in extending the voices of Aboriginal people in a history of mediated expression dominated by colonial perspectives. Underlying the development of Indigenous media in Australia are strong relationships of collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous media workers and other stakeholders. The growth of Australia's Indigenous community broadcasting sector relies ever more on successful collaboration between individuals from different cultural and language groups, working together to manage flows of knowledge and information in culturally appropriate ways. This research aims to investigate the nature of Indigenous/non-Indigenous collaboration in areas of the community broadcasting sector, in order to better understand how cross-cultural collaboration can be most effective in maintaining and proliferating Indigenous voices in what is Australia's largest independent media sector. Past research has focused on evaluating the effectiveness of the sector in representing Aboriginal Australia accurately and adequately to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous audiences, while also demonstrating that grassroots, locally oriented Indigenous media plays an important role in cultural and language maintenance. Additionally, research suggests that Indigenous citizens who have enlisted community media for their own purposes are able to participate more fully in democratic processes.
Not 'just like us': A study of how queers read celebrity media
This thesis considers how queer people read, engage and interpret celebrity media.
In the 21st century, we consume celebrities, whether intentionally or not, across all media platforms. Existing research on how people (particularly women) read celebrity indicates that celebrity media is consumed for pleasure, as a way to engage in Œsafe¹ gossip amongst imagined, as well as real, communities about standards of morality, and as a way to understand and debate social and cultural behavioural standards. The celebrities we read about engage us in a process of cultural identity formation, as we identify and disidentify with those whom we consume. Celebrities are, as the adage goes, Œjust like us¹ only richer, more talented, or perhaps better looking.
But what about when celebrities are not Œjust like us¹? The world of celebrity is an overwhelmingly heterosexual one. Queer audience studies indicate that it is common for queer readers to subvert understandings of media, and seek out a subtext, by appropriating mainstream texts to read them as if created for a minority audience.
This research applies queer understandings of heteronormativity and queer subjectivity to understand how queers might read, interpret, and subvert celebrity media, beyond the camp readings of gay men proposed by Hermes (1995) or the textual poaching of Jenkins (2013). This research uses a combination of interviews, focus groups both face to face and online and thematic textual analysis to discover what kinds of pleasure, gossip, and social and cultural debate queer people might engage in with regard to celebrity media, across a range of platforms.
2016. 'Not "just like us": Towards a study of how queers read celebrity media.' Celebrity Studies Conference, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands.
2015. 'Not "just like us": Queer theory and queer everyday practice in consuming celebrity media.' Cultural Studies Association of Australasia (CSAA) Conference, University of Melbourne, Australia.
2015. '"How far will Miley go next?": Miley Cyrus, celebrity news and the heteronormative narrative'. Celeb4 Inter Disciplinary Conference, University of Oxford, United Kingdom.
2015. 'News values and celebrity news: exploring how hegemonic frameworks adapt to the celebrity scandal'. International Association of Media and Communications Researchers (IAMCR) Conference, UQAM, Montreal, Canada.
The use of social media by news organisations in China
Supervisor: Dr Joyce Nip
In China as in many parts of the world, social media have transformed the ways people communicate with each other, conduct their lives, and engage in public affairs. However, the significance of social media in China goes beyond that in many other places as they open up new spaces of public communication, which was previously monopolized by the Chinese authorities through a controlled media system. This thesis focuses on the news media in China and investigates their uses of social media and the resulting implications.
XIAO, Jun., & XU, Xuanzi. (2014). L’image de la Chine sur les sites d’information français: Sources, préjudice médiatique et image du pays. Revue Economique et Sociale, 72(3-4), 065-085.
WENG, Ziyang., & XU, Xuanzi. (2012, December). Intercultural communication problems in Social Games. 2012 China New Media Communication Association Annual Conference, Macao International Conference, University of Macau, China.
XIAO, Jun., & XU, Xuanzi. (2011, December). The illusion of Cross-cultural Communication? China’s International Image in French news sites, International Intercultural Communication Conference, Wuhan University, China.
Past Student Research Projects
A PDF of past student research projects can be found here.