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Associate Professor Meredith Jones

Biography

Dr Meredith Jones is a media and cultural studies scholar. Her research is based around the intersections between culture and technology, gender, popular media studies and feminist theories of the body.

One of the pioneers of Cosmetic Surgery Studies, Meredith is the author of "Skintight: An Anatomy of Cosmetic Surgery" (2008, Berg, Oxford) and "Cosmetic Surgery: A Feminist Primer" (2009, Ashgate, England & USA, with Cressida Heyes). She is currently working on a large international project about Cosmetic Surgery Tourism funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (UK).

Meredith is the co-founder (with award-winning designer Suzanne Boccalatte) of the innovative Trunk books series, comprising Hair (2009) and Blood (2013) with Breath planned for 2014.

Meredith is available to supervise Honours, PhD and DCA candidates in the broad areas of gender studies, media studies and cultural studies.

She is Program Leader for the UTS Graduate Courses in Interactive Multimedia and Higher Degree Coordinator for the Transforming Cultures Research Strength.

Image of Meredith Jones
Associate Professor, IKM and Digital Studies Program
Ph.D. (UWS)
 
Phone
+61 2 9514 3851

Research Interests

Gender studies and transgender studies

Popular media studies, especially new/digital media

Culture and technology studies

Cosmetic surgery studies

Sleep studies

Body modification studies

Feminist theories of the body

Multimedia

Cultural Studies

Books

Jones, M.R. 2008, Skintight: An Anatomy of Cosmetic Surgery, 1, Berg Publishers, Oxford, UK.
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Cosmetic surgery is everywhere: we are surrounded by altered, enhanced, skinny and stretched celebrities, in a hyped media culture that focuses increasingly on the body beautiful. Once only associated with the rich and famous, cosmetic surgery is now widely available, advertised in magazines, doctors' surgeries, and even on television. In some parts of the world it has become an aesthetic and cultural norm, yet remains deeply troubling for many. Skintight argues that cosmetic surgery is the most provocative and controversial aspect of a new 'makeover culture'. Shows such as Ten Years Younger and Extreme Makeover demonstrate that 'fixing' the body is a way to improve lifestyle and uncover true identity. Meanwhile, celebrities such as Michael Jackson and Jocelyn Wildenstein demonstrate the horrors of extreme surgical alteration. Presenting a multidisciplinary approach, and examining a wide range of popular culture case studies from women's magazines, television, architecture and the Internet amongst others, Skintight dissects the realities of cosmetic surgery and culture

Chapters

Jones, M.R. 2013, 'Media-Bodies and Photoshop' in Attwood, F., Campbell, V., Hunter, I.Q. & Lockyer, S. (eds), Controversial Images: media representations on the edge, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, pp. 19-35.
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Jones, M.R. 2013, 'New Clothes, New Faces, New Bodies: Cosmetic Surgery and Fashion' in Bruzzi, S. & Gibson, P.C. (eds), Fashion Cultures Revisited, Routledge, USA, pp. 287-295.
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N .T HE .l'A ST DE'C.A'D"E t1le way I'IIh w 'ICl 1 we t 1li n k about cosmetic surgery . ?as undel gone, a dramatic change, What cosmetic surgery consists of, \'Vho has I:, I~S .costs and Its aesthetic effects are markedly different than ten years ago. Fem~m:<;t. rese~rchers" in diverse discil~!ines from film theory to anthropology, have led ,t,he. way III ~hO\vl~1g, th.at cosmet~c surgery is rnorc than surgical technology, mOl e than mc~hcal chs.clplmc, an,d far more than something based in vanity or nar.c is~ sism. ., . W. hile n:ost h~c 1 1 I " 0 ar y 'emll1lsts agree that cosmetic surgery reflects and pel petuates I epre,ss~ve VIC:VS of the normative female body as well as creating its o\o~n 1~(~W norms, .It IS a/.<:i(~ feminist scholarship that has shown how cosmetic surgery has deep symbolIc meanings and rich cultural cOllnotations (for an overview sec Heyes .. ~nd Jone~ 2009). Like fashion, cosmetic surgery is often dismissed as a superfiCIal practIce unworth), of scholar!)' attention but 11'/(0 t'as11, 't" . . , <. lon, I I,s an Important component of- ,social, cultural and even moral life,
Holliday, R., Hardy, K., Bell, D., Hunter, E.J., Jones, M.R., Probyn, E. & Sanchez Taylor, J. 2013, '`Beauty and the Beach: Mapping Cosmetic Surgery Tourism'' in Editor, P.D.B., Editor, P.G.P. & Editor, M.T.M. (eds), Medical Tourism and Transnational Health Care, Palgrave Macmillan, England and New York, pp. 83-97.
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Cosmetic surgery tourism - traditionally defined as the movement of patients from one location to another to undertake' aesthetic' medical procedures - is a significant and growing area of medical tourism (Reisman, 2010). The UK's annual International Passenger Survey, produced by the Office for National Statistics, shows that approximately 100,000 UK citizens go abroad each year for medical treatment (a number riSing by about 20 per cent annually), and cosmetic surgery tourism is estimated to make up about 8S per cent of the medical tourism market in Australia (Connell, 2006). It has also been suggested that although financial crises, privatisation and the rising cost of health care may have slowed the demand for cosmetic surgery in some 'developed' countries, crossing national borders to procure those surgeries appears to be increasing as consumers seek out low-cost procedures abroad (see Bell et al., 2011). The industry itself is acquiring institutional 'thickness' as the various agencies and agents involved increasingly coalesce into assemblages, regulatory and promotional bodies, financial regimes, and complex flows of bodies, knowledge, technologies, money, ideas and images. As Mainil et al. (2010, p. 749) summarise, 'the global network society has touched the medical field and there is no going back'.
Jones, M.R. 2012, 'The Body in Popular Culture' in Bruce Cohen (ed), Being Cultural, Pearson, New Zealand, pp. 193-209.
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Jones, M.R. 2012, 'Eat Flowers' in Heide Hatre (ed), Not A Rose, Edizione Charta, Milan, pp. 148-151.
Jones, M.R. 2009, 'Media-bodies and screen-births: Cosmetic surgery reality television' in Tania Lewis (ed), TV Transformations: Revealing the Makeover Show, Routledge, London & New York, pp. 75-84.
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Cosmetic surgery reality television (CSRTV) is not merely about cosmetic surgery, nor merely about reality television: it is a blend of these two areas and hence both media and bodies must be analysed when examining it. I I suggest that this genre sits at a nexus of transformed bodies that are at once fleshy and digital, three-dimensional and two-dimensional, on the screen and in the living world. Reality television has been derided as exhibitionistic and banal: a sad indictment of 'low' culture at its most superficial. Salman Rushdie famously described it in 2001 as an 'inverted ethical universe [where] worse is better' (2001). However, as other writers, including those in this issue show, it is also meaningfully interactive and empowering for audiences (Roscoe 2001). While it is panoptic - self-regulating, disciplining, normalizing - it is also pleasurable and seductive. Indeed, its 'surveillance is not only tolerated, but frequently sought after' (McQuire 2003, 116). Further, its mass appeal and global reach are important parts of contemporary culture (Andrejevic 2003; Holmes 2004; Huff 2006; Heller 2007).
Jones, M.R. & Heyes, C.J. 2009, 'Cosmetic surgery in the age of gender' in Heyes, C.J. & Jones, M. (eds), Cosmetic Surgery: A Feminist Primer, Ashgate, England & USA, pp. 1-17.
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We're watching a clip from a TV docnmentary about cosmetic surgery on YouTube.' It introduces Toni Wildish, 28-year-old mother of four, part-time shop assistant, and aspiring glamour model. Toni went to Prague as a cosmetic surgery tourist after determining that she couldn't afford breast implants in the UK. The majority of the YonTube clip is a hand-held video diary made by Toni and her friend Claire, who accompanies her for moral support. They shriek and joke to camera, and Toni flashes her pre-op B-cup breasts; they seem to be having an exciting time, albeit that the shots of their cheap hotel room reveal it to be "very dark and dingy and a bit spooky." Visiting the Czech surgeon, it's immediately clear that he and Toni are not on the same page about the size and shape of her proposed implants.
Jones, M.R. 2009, 'Pygmalion's Many Faces' in Heyes, C.J. & Jones, M. (eds), Cosmetic Surgery: A Feminist Primer, Ashgate, England & USA, pp. 171-187.
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My local butcher's shop has an extraordinary painting on its wall. A young bull frolics on his hind legs, grinning and salivating. A starched white bib is tied in a bow around his neck and in his hoof he holds a silvery meat cleaver. He is strangely twisted around on himself, like a dog chasing its tail. This is because he is chopping his own rump into a neat row ofT-bone steaks. The bull is a comical and grotesque mix of hybrids, including provedore/consumer and victim/killer. Carole Spitzack describes a video of a cosmetic surgery operation: A staff of happy professionals surrounding a relaxed patient, the needles and knives almost beside the point, fading into the background, into the skin, the body. The patient appears happy about the prospect of her own effacement. (1988: 44)
Jones, M.R. 2009, 'Saint Wilgerfortis, Patron Saint of Women, Bearded Ladies and Abused Wives' in Trunk Volume One: Hair, Boccalatte, Sydney, Australia, pp. 142-142.
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Her prayers were answered-overnight, she grew a moustache and beard. This resulted not only in the unwanted fiancee fleeing, but also in the terrible rage of her father, who had her crucified. Images of Wilgefortis show a bearded, crucified woman.
Jones, M.R. 2009, 'The Magdalen' in Trunk Volume One: Hair, Boccalatte, Sydney, Australia, pp. 35-35.
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Medieval and Renaissance paintings of the crucifixion almost always include a woman kneeling and crying just below Christ's feet. Her hair is often blonde, sometimes reddish, and very long. The other women depicted have dark hair, mostly hidden beneath scarves or pinned up. This is Mary Magdalen, patron saint of hair and hairdressers, and her abundant hair is integral to the tales that surround her.
Jones, M.R. 2009, 'The Prodigy Annie Jones' in Trunk Volume One: Hair, Boccalatte, Sydney, Australia, pp. 240-240.
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Annie Jones was born in r865 in America. Her parents began exhibiting her at the age of nine months under the name 'The Infant Esau'. (Esau is a figure in the Old Testament who was born hairy-the name means hairy in Hebrew.) Jones' facial hair was quite long before she was five. She became very well-known throughout the country and toured the world as part of the famous 'Freakshow' in the Barnum & Bailey Circus, for which she was the spokesperson. However, in London she organised a meeting of her fellow circus performers and urged them to demand a less 'opprobrious' and demeaning classification than 'freaks'. They came up with 'prodigies'. Jones was respected for her fine manners. She married twice (the second time to her childhood sweetheart) and was a talented businesswoman, making a small fortune by investing in real estate.
Jones, M.R. 2008, 'Medical Anti-Aging Procedures' in Victoria Pitts-Taylor (ed), Cultural Encyclopedia of the Body, Greenwood Press, Westport, Connecticut, London, pp. 148-159.
Jones, M.R. 2008, 'The History of Anti-Aging Surgery' in Victoria Pitts-Taylor (ed), Cultural Encyclopedia of the Body, Greenwood Press, Westport, Connecticut, London, pp. 137-141.
Jones, M.R. 2008, 'Orlan' in Victoria Pitts-Taylor (ed), Cultural Encyclopedia of the Body, Greenwood Press, Westport, Connecticut, London, pp. 161-164.
Jones, M.R. 2008, 'Cheekbones' in Victoria Pitts-Taylor (ed), Cultural Encyclopedia of the Body, Greenwood Press, Westport, Connecticut, London, pp. 69-71.
Jones, M.R. 2008, 'Rhinoplasty' in Victoria Pitts-Taylor (ed), Cultural Encyclopedia of the Body, Greenwood Press, Westport, Connecticut, London, pp. 370-378.
Jones, M.R. & Sofoulis, Z. 2002, 'Stelarc and Orlan in the Middle Ages' in Zylinska, J. (ed), The cyborg experiments: the extensions of the body in the media age, Continuum, London, UK, pp. 56-72.
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Conferences

Jones, M.R. 2013, 'Keynote Speaker 'Female Genital cosmetic surgery'', Family Planning NSW Conference, Sydney, Australia.
Jones, M.R. 2007, '"Skintight: beauty, aesthetics, and makeover culture" Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery Conference, Melbourne, April 2007', Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery Conference, Melbourne, Australia.
Jones, M.R. 2007, '"Makeover Culture, Ideological Complexes, and Awful Cosmetic Surgery" at Cultural Studies Now, University of East London, May 2007', Cultural Studies Now, University of East London.
Jones, M.R. 2007, '"Media-bodies: Cosmetic Surgery and the City", Ubiquitous Media: Asian Transformations, University of Tokyo, June 2007', Ubiquitous Media: Asian Transformations, University of Tokyo.
Jones, M.R. 2006, '"Handbags and Makeup: Containers for Globalised Femininity", Unaustralia, Annual Cultural Studies Association of Australasia Conference, University of Canberra, December 2006', Unaustralia, Annual Cultural Studies Association of Australasia Conference, University of Canberra.
Jones, M.R. 2006, '"Cosmetic Surgery and the Pamela Anderson House", Feminism and Cosmetic Surgery Symposium, Centre for Cultural Research, University of Western Sydney, February 2006', Feminism and Cosmetic Surgery Symposium, Centre for Cultural Research, University of Western Sydney.
Jones, M.R. 2006, '"Cosmetic Surgeons and Makeover Culture" The Joint Annual Conference of the Media, Communications and Cultural Studies Association and the Association of Media Practice Educators, Leeds Metropolitan University, January 2006', The Joint Annual Conference of the Media, Communications and Cultural Studies Association and the Association of Media Practice Educators, Leeds Metropolitan University.
Jones, M.R. 2005, '"Cosmetic Surgeons and their Un-fixed Entanglements" Culture Fix: Annual Cultural Studies Association of Australasia Conference, University of Technology, Sydney, November 2005', Culture Fix: Annual Cultural Studies Association of Australasia Conference, University of Technology, Sydney.
Jones, M.R. 2005, '"Makeover Culture and Cosmetic Surgery" Body Modification Conference Mark II, Macquarie University, April 2004', Body Modification Conference Mark II, Macquarie University.
Jones, M.R. 2003, '"Mutton Cut Up as Lamb: Mothers, Daughters, and Cosmetic Surgery" Bodies, Technologies, Habitats: Annual Cultural Studies Association of Australasia, Christchurch Arts Centre, New Zealand, December 2003', Bodies, Technologies, Habitats: Annual Cultural Studies Association of Australasia Conference, Christchurch Arts Centre, New Zealand.
Jones, M.R. 2003, '"Cosmetic Surgery as Enchanted Slumber: Snow-White and Lolo Ferrari" Body Modifications: Changing Bodies, Changing Selves, Macquarie University, April 2003', Body Modifications: Changing Bodies, Changing Selves, Macquarie University.
Jones, M.R. 2002, '"Architecture of the Body: cosmetic surgery and postmodern space" postmodern de/constructions: 5th Interdisciplinary, International Conference at the University of Erlangen/Nurenberg, Erlangen University, Germany, November 2002', postmodern de/constructions: 5th Interdisciplinary, International Conference at the University of Erlangen/Nurenberg, Erlangen University, Germany.

Journal articles

Holliday, R., Bell, D., Cheung, O., Jones, M.R. & Probyn, E. 2015, 'Brief Encounters: Assembling Cosmetic Surgery Tourism', Social Science and Medicine, vol. 124, pp. 298-304.
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This paper reports findings from a large-scale, multi-disciplinary, mixed methods project which explores empirically and theoretically the rapidly growing but poorly understood (and barely regulated) phenomenon of cosmetic surgery tourism (CST). We explore CST by drawing on theories of flows, networks and assemblages, aiming to produce a fuller and more nuanced account of &#8211; and accounting for &#8211; CST. This enables us to conceptualise CST as an interplay of places, people, things, ideas and practices. Through specific instances of assembling cosmetic surgery that we encountered in the field, and that we illustrate with material from interviews with patients, facilitators and surgeons, our analysis advances understandings and theorisations of medical mobilities, globalisation and assemblage thinking.
Jones, M. 2015, 'Sleep, radical hospitality, and makeover's anti-matter', International Journal of Cultural Studies, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 333-345.
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Holliday, R., Bell, D., Jones, M., Hardy, K., Hunter, E., Probyn, E. & Taylor, J.S. 2015, 'Beautiful face, beautiful place: relational geographies and gender in cosmetic surgery tourism websites', Gender, Place & Culture, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 90-106.
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Jones, M.R. 2012, 'Cosmetic Surgery And The Fashionable Face', Fashion Theory-The Journal Of Dress Body & Culture, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 193-209.
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This article traces some of the relations between cosmetic surgery and fashion, arguing that they both operate inside a cultural aesthetic where two-dimensional images intertwine with three-dimensional 'reality.' This is both a complex and a simple idea;
Bell, D., Holliday, R., Jones, M.R., Sanchez-Taylor, J. & Probyn, E. 2011, 'Bikinis and Bandages: An Itinerary for Cosmetic Surgery Tourism', Tourist Studies, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 139-155.
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This paper explores the ways in which cosmetic surgery tourism can be thought of specifically as a tourist experience. We argue that whilst essentially involving travel for the purpose of undertaking painful surgery, cosmetic surgery tourism has a particular resonance with the holiday, most usually constructed as relaxing and restorative. This resonance is connected to the importance in contemporary society of not simply possessing the cultural capital associated with travel knowledge and conspicuous leisure, but of being able to mark that upon and express it through the body. The paper also explores the elements of tourism that seem important to a successful cosmetic surgery tourism experience. These include a sense of place, constituted through cultural and physical proximity or distance, and discursive and physical construction of a destinations particular characteristics most usually in terms of the idea of `retreat, care and the `friendliness of its people. This is connected to the willingness of a range of staff, from surgeons and nurses to interpreters and tour guides, to engage in successful emotional and aesthetic labour; some of these forms of labour are outlined here. The material we draw upon has tended to centre on white, middle-class Western tourists travelling to destinations outside the wealthiest nations for their surgeries. We end with a call for more wide-ranging studies and wonder whether the `tourism-ness of cosmetic surgery tourism remains central to tourists whose only motivation for travel is finding surgeries at minimal cost.
Jones, M.R. 2011, 'Clinics of Oblivion: Makeover Culture and Cosmetic Surgery', Portal Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies, vol. 8, no. 2.
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This paper examines cosmetic surgery tourism, arguing that it can be meaningfully analysed as part of makeover culture. It shows that while cosmetic surgery tourism sits at a junction of cosmetic surgery and medical tourism, it also has much in common with contemporary tourism practices. The paper posits cosmetic surgery tourism not only as an economic and globalised phenomenon but also as a set of practices that are experienced, and that take place on the body (see also Cook, 2010; Bell et al. 2011). Chris Rojeks work on contemporary tourist practices is deployed in order to argue that the cosmetic surgery tourists body is itself the `site to be visited and discovered; it is also the souvenir that is brought home. When body and site are brought together in cosmetic surgery tourism, they form a potent nexus that is unique to a contemporary moment tied up with globalisation and consumption, where both identity and self-transformation are managed through the body.
Jones, M.R. 2008, 'Media-bodies and screen-births: Cosmetic surgery reality television', Continuum, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 515-524.
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Cosmetic surgery reality television (CSRTV) is notmerely about cosmetic surgery, normerely about reality television: it is a blend of these two areas and hence bothmedia and bodiesmust be analysed when examining it.1 I suggest that this genre sits at a nexus of transformed bodies that are at once fleshy and digital, three-dimensional and two-dimensional, on the screen and in the living world.
Jones, M.R. 2008, 'Birth of the New Clinic', Cultural Studies Review, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 215-219.
Jones, M.R. 2008, 'Getting Under the Skin: Body and Media Theory', Culture Machine, vol. 2008.
Jones, M.R. 2008, 'Makeover Culture's Dark Side: Breasts, Death and Lolo Ferrari', Body & Society, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 89-104.
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The word 'makeover' is dotted through popular culture and is applied to a range of activities including home renovation, gardening, urban renewal and business invigoration. Makeover culture is part of a sociocultural paradigm that values endless improving, renovating and rejuvenating. Makeover citizens enact urgent and never-ending renovations of the self. Cosmetic surgery is both symptom and manufacturer of makeover culture. It is indicative and constitutive of an arena in which ideal objects and subjects are always being improved, and in which everything including the body is always ripe for enhancement. This article focuses on the 1990s French pornography star, Lolo Ferrari. Two aspects of Ferrari's famous cosmetic surgery are examined. They indicate a darker side of makeover culture one that is less about lifestyle and surface gloss and more about pornography, death and unconsciousness. The first is her breasts, which I examine in relation to gigantism and normalized notions of femininity, and as symbols of the transition from girl to woman. The second is Ferrari' s striking declaration that she loved being under anaesthetic. I delve into this notion to discuss how immobility, stasis, decay and mortality are crucial parts of makeover culture's promises of transformation. &copy; 2008 Sage Publications.
Jones, M.R. 2007, 'Viva la Muff', Online Opinion: Australia's e-journal of social and political debate, vol. n/a.
essay
Jones, M.R. 2007, 'Marrickvillia: Dero Dog', Famous Reporter, vol. 34, pp. 158-159.
short piece of ficto-critical writing
Jones, M.R. 2005, 'Cosmetic Surgery, Gender and Culture', Social Semiotics, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 256-258.
Review article
Jones, M.R. 2004, 'Mutton Cut Up as Lamb: Mothers, Daughters and Cosmetic Surgery', Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 525-539.
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Jones, M.R. 2004, 'Architecture of the body: Cosmetic surgery and postmodern space', Space and Culture, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 90-101.
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Jones, M.R. 2004, 'Sleep, Radical Hospitality, and Makeovers Anti-Matter', International Journal of Cultural Studies, vol. online, no. online.

Non traditional outputs

Jones, M.R. 2012, 'Architectures of Soft-Control: Cara Phillips' Heterotopic Images of Absence and Transformation', Singular Beauty, ideabooks, The Netherlands, pp. 1-4.
Academic research article about cosmetic surgery clinics and photography.
Jones, M.R. 2012, '22 November 1963', Trunk Volume Two: BLOOD, Boccalatte, Sydney, pp. 20-20.
Ficto-critical essay about the assassination of John F. Kennedy
Jones, M.R. 2012, 'Sound Deadener', Trunk Volume Two: BLOOD, Boccalatte, Sydney, pp. 248-248.
Research essay about the death of Azaria Chamberlain and incarceration of Lindy Chamberlain.
Jones, M.R. 2012, 'This Little Hand', Trunk Volume Two: BLOOD, Boccalatte, Sydney, pp. 312-312.
Essay about the role of blood in Shakespeare's "Macbeth".
Jones, M.R., 'Dawn of the Platinum Age', Platinum, Boccalatte Pty Ltd, Australia.

Boccalatte.com

University of Leeds

University of Alberta