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Overview

Our research focuses on the ways in which people in their everyday lives deal with and adapt to social and cultural change, with the ethics and politics of those changes, and the ways those changes are brought about.  Much of this research is done as pure or ‘blue-sky’ research that feeds directly into scholarly thinking on these issues and into teaching about these issues, while some of it feeds directly (via partnership grants and consultancies) into the ways government agencies, NGOs and other organizations and businesses attempt to address these issues with their clients.

Student Research Opportunities

TfC Grant Calendar - information on grants relevant to the Humanities [PDF].

Expression of Interest Form - express your interest in applying for an ARC Discovery Grant [PDF].

 

Our Research Programs

 

Vision, Sound, and Political Imaginaries

This program gives star billing to politically engaged visual, sound and performance cultures that are driven by a desire to facilitate social, political, and cultural change. In doing so, it demonstrates and critically interrogates the important role that creative practitioners can play in the production of alternative political imaginaries.

In recent years artists, scholars, and critics have documented and analysed a change in creative practices that has been described in relation to the following keywords and descriptions: ‘relational aesthetics’ (Bourriaud 2002), ‘collaborative art practices’ (Kester 1998, 2004, 2011), ‘the social turn’ (Bishop 2006, 2012), ‘tactical media’ (Loving and Garcia, Raley 2009), ‘experimental performances’ ( Jackson 2011), and ‘engaged art’ (!ompson 2012). These definitions capture a move away from ‘art’ as the production and consumption of a work to an extended definition of creative practice that is focused on processes and ‘collectivity, collaboration, and direct engagement with specific social constituencies’ (Bishop 2006). Drawing attention to participation, collaboration, and social and political engagement, this project explores how experimental media producers, artists and activists (that is, cultural and creative producers) have sought to generate political subjectivities and communities, alternative public spheres, and political imaginaries.

 

Cultural Materialities

Our forms of investigation will be through through cultural studies methodologies such as object oriented ethnography, interview, Actor Network Theory, archival research, analysis of institutions’ statements/documents, oral histories and sensory ethnography to examine materialities as interplay between lived experience, texts/discourses and the social context. The program will  connect the past with the present (e.g. exploring issues of memory and identity), explore archives as animate producing legal effects, consider the material enactments of migration and museology and the volatile world of climate refugees. It will explore the entanglements produced in colonial and postcolonial contexts with particular attention paid to issues of hybridity, third space, and heterotopias.

  • How do things mediate relations, generate vernacular creativity and cooperate in meaning-making in transcultural processes?
  • How do we theorise objects that disrupt?
  • How do we theorise the alliances between objects and their others?
  • How can we conceptualise the interplay between materialities, bodies and social identities?
  • What is the role of materialities in commemorating, negotiating and re-appropriating aspects of the past?
  • How can we map cultural and social change by following the stories of disappearing objects, through change in practices, the advent of new technologies, or simply the practices of archiving and collecting?
  • What is the relationship between materiality, space and border-crossing mobility, and identity?
  • What is the relationship between the ‘original’ and the ‘copy’?

 

Culture and Technology

The Culture and Technology Research Program (CulTech) is concerned primarily with the nature and status of knowledge(s) and with the relationships between human beings and technology:

  • Analyzing the boundaries of scientific ‘knowledge’ by challenging the relationship between science and knowledge. 
  • Analysing how contemporary technologies are changing our experience and understanding of being and of knowledge and how this contributes to the success, failure and experience of specific designs and applications. 
  • Analysing new forms of subjectivity and of community that these technologies enable, and the ethics and politics they generate.

 

Intimacies

What role does intimacy play in the conduct of research?  How can intimacy work as a research methodology and what reflexive, ethical and practical issues does intimacy pose in the practice of research?

  • How can we deploy ‘Critical intimacy’ as a way of engaging with a transcultural world that is able to negotiate the flows of affect and emotion through which experience of this moment is produced?
  • In what ways can we think through intimacy as an ‘erupting’ and in a mediated environment what do we understand as ‘public’ and/or collective intimacies? What function do the descriptions of intimate situations have in private text (letters, diaries etc) and how can they be analysed? 
  • In what ways would an idea of ‘intimate citizenship’ enable us to appreciate and explore the emotionality and corporeality of living transnationally and within difference?
  • How does re-imagining the past as an intimate space change it?
  • How do we theorize home as the ultimate site of intimacy in the contemporary world of increased mobility and space-time compression?
  • Has the dynamic between intimacy and distance, between the smells, taste and touch of each other and their management through hygiene and governance regimes shifted?
  • What do moments of ‘failed intimacy’ reveal about intimacy as an expected, normative performance?
  • Will understanding ‘race’ as an intimate act or concept offer alternative ideas about contemporary and colonial debates?
  • How are the intimacies of radicalised desire and sexuality manifested in workplaces including the pedagogical professions?
  • How is intimacy - in all its embodied forms - regulated?
  • How is intimacy practiced in the context of social care provision, and with what experiential effects?

 

Links to ARC Presentations [PDF]:

Internationalisation of ARC schemes and policies

ARC Fellowships

Social, Behavioural and Economic Sciences: Grant Information