Bachelor of Communication (Honours) in Music and Sound Design
Michael studied a Bachelor of Music and Sound Design at UTS, which he completed in 2017. He decided to undertake further study and commenced a Bachelor of Communication (Honours) in 2018. Michael was selected to present his research on 'Game audio elements and their effect on immersion in VR' at GameSoundCon in Los Angeles, USA, in October 2018.
Why did you decide to pursue further study after your undergraduate Music & Sound Design degree?
I chose to do honours because it’s been a long-term goal of mine to move and work in the USA in the audio industry in either film or games and I felt that honours would help to achieve that goal. Which it has by allowing me to attend the conference in LA.
What have you been researching this year?
This year I was researching how game audio elements can effect immersion in VR. I chose to research this as VR is a resurging medium but all of the current research is focussing on other areas, this left a gap of how the complete basic elements of audio effect immersion.
What sort of support have you received throughout the Honours experience?
Throughout the year of Honours, I received support from the teaching staff Dr. Maryanne Dever and Dr. Alana Piper, however, most of my support came from my supervisor Dr. Robert Sazdov. Robert was answering my emails and organising meetings every day of the week, and while I was overseas. I really would not have been able to complete the research without him.
You recently visited Los Angeles to present your research, what was that experience like?
The LA experience was amazing and I felt extremely lucky to present overseas at an honours level, which is something I never thought I would do at any stage of my life. LA is where I’m aiming to live so being able to meet lots of industry professionals in the city was incredible for me.
Bachelor of Communication (Honours) in Creative Writing
Marlee completed a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Creative Writing)/Bachelor of Arts (Politics) at the University of Wollongong. Once finished, she craved the challenge of working on one extended project so she came to UTS to pursue her Honours in Creative writing.
Marlee received the Schiff Family Scholarship through Jumbunna.
Marlee published in an anthology and presented at SWF as an up and coming young writer.
She is a proud Kamilaroi and Dunghutti woman with many Indigenous causes close to her heart. In 2016 she was the inaugural Co-CEO of the Australia Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), a path she's paved for ten 18–25 year olds who will also have this opportunity over the coming decade.
As a young writer, very often outsiders like to remind you how cutthroat and hard to penetrate the industry you’re trying to work in is, and this can be disheartening. So I consider myself so incredibly lucky to be given the opportunity to be published already and put on a platform like the SWF – that’s what dreams are made of. I never in a million years thought I'd be able to do that, especially not at 22 and still as a student.
When working in the non-profit sector for charities and organisations, being able to tell a story and engage a diverse range of audiences is vital. The skills she's learned through her Creative Writing degree has refined her ability to tell a story and ensured greater success in the working roles she's held. She describes her writing as mostly non-fiction and likes to write about 'real life' with common themes being culture, identity, family and resilience.
We had the pleasure of asking Marlee a couple of questions about studying Creative Writing at UTS and her experience of being a part of the Sydney Writers Festival.
Your first publication; a short story titled Cronulla to Papunya, was selected for the anthology Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia and was presented at the Sydney Writers Festival (SWF). How was this experience as a young writer?
My experience at the SWF was absolutely incredible! I have had the pleasure of presenting at a few events over the last few years, but this panel with Anita Heiss was the first time I’d done so as a bonafide writer. It was inspiring and humbling to be able to share my story and my hopes for Aboriginal Australia with an audience.
What are your aspirations for after university, both for your career and your community?
That’s a really hard question to answer. Every time I’ve set my mind on a ‘post-study’ goal, some left-of-field, amazing opportunity has popped up and changed my course of direction. I don’t have a concrete plan but I know whatever it is it will be connected to uplifting my Aboriginal community and writing/telling stories.
What would you say to a prospective student who was thinking about studying creative writing?
This is applicable to all students but even more so to students who study creative fields – never listen to anyone but yourself when it comes to choosing what you want to study at a tertiary level. There are so many opinions flying around about how to get the best job, be the most employable etc, but don’t let this deter you from what you know in your gut is the right decision. If you're hungry to tell stories, make film or art, follow it, nobody else knows what's best for you – only you do. If it turns out to be different to what you hoped, there's always a way to change paths. One decision is not the final one!
You received funding from the Schiff Family Scholarship through Jumbunna, how has this helped your studies?
The Schiff Family scholarship is an incredible motivator for my study. To know that I have a group of people, including Jumbunna, who are supporting me and my work is what urges me to work harder and to work more, especially on those days when I feel like procrastinating. The financial support also means I can have a bit of ease from the stress of trying to work too much and study at the same time.
Bachelor of Communication (Honours)
Freya completed a Bachelor of Communication (Writing and Cultural studies) at UTS in 2015. Wanting to develop some scholarly research skills, she pursued Honours in 2018. Freya was awarded the prestigious university medal upon her graduation.
Why did you choose to study Communication and then pursue Honours?
Fresh out of high school, I chose a degree in Communications with a major in Writing and Cultural studies at UTS because I didn't exactly know what I wanted to do, but I knew I liked writing and research. I finished that degree in 2015 and then spent a couple of years doing full-time work. I got sick of working full time, and I liked the idea of working on something which was more meaningful to me, and which I had a little more control over. I also wanted to develop some scholarly research skills. So I returned to do my Honours in Comms.
What was your Honours research on and why did you choose that topic?
My Honours thesis focused on heat stress and labour organising in the NSW building and construction industry. It was about how we can understand climate-induced heat stress as a site of class struggle, that is internal to labour relations. To ground the thesis a bit I used the NSW building & construction industry as a case study. As part of that case study, I designed a survey to better understand how workers' experience of heat stress in that industry is mediated by the industrial, social, and political conditions facing labour.
The thesis came about because I was interested in writing something to do with climate change and labour organising. In the early stages of the project, when I was reading through some of the literature, I noticed that most of it framed or understood climate heat as an external issue for labour - I thought there was value in considering the internal relations of climate change in labour. I also wanted to pick up on this argument made by scholars like Dr Brett Heino (who is at UTS) about OHS issues - there's this idea that OHS is an unusually harmonious area of industrial relations, ripe for consensus between employers and workers, and Brett and others before him have argued that this can't be true. I thought it would be interesting to apply these sorts of arguments to climate heat, as an OHS issue.
Now that you have graduated, what are your career plans or goals?
I have no career plans or goals. Right now I'm working two different jobs as a researcher - one job is at an NGO focusing on climate and labour issues across the ASX, and the rest of the time I work at UTS as a research assistant with the Climate Justice Research Centre. At UTS I'm involved in a couple of projects, both relating to heat stress and labour issues which are directly related to my Honours project, along with my excellent former supervisor (and now colleague) Dr Elizabeth Humphrys.
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