I really liked its dynamic relationship between theory and practice.
I am an Honorary Research Associate in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences here at UTS. I’m also an independent documentary filmmaker and writer with Anandi Films, and I work as a consultant film valuer with the Federal Government’s Cultural Gifts Program.
The documentary film and thesis that I have produced over my Doctorate is an ongoing project collaborating with Tasmanian Aboriginal community members and their protocols. The intention was to film with my own white family and Aboriginal participants to understand and work through the impact of Australia’s colonial history on both groups in the present day.
My film, Island Home Country screened nationally on ABC TV and is distributed widely in the education sector. You can find out more about the film here.
Why I chose UTS
I started out teaching a documentary course here at UTS, and I really liked its dynamic relationship between theory and practice. I recognised the potential of this dynamic to assist me deepen the historical research for the film I was developing on colonisation, the ‘history wars’ and growing up white in Tasmania.
I was delighted to be awarded a UTS Doctoral Scholarship, which made it possible for me to produce my film (and thesis) at UTS. I also had access to rigorous, engaged doctoral supervision alongside creative UTS Media Lab staff, and up-to-date equipment (great editing and sound facilities). I enjoyed being part of a lively post-grad community with whom I shared some great study spaces, and the general feeling of being supported through the doctoral research process.
How pursuing a Higher Research Degree benefited my career
It furthered my work both as a scholar and a filmmaker, providing me with skills across a broad spectrum of multi-media networks, both in the documentary sector and in the digital humanities. Since commencing my research journey, I have presented more often at conferences, film festivals and community events, and have been more involved in supervising and examining Masters and PHDs.
Undertaking a research degree also furthered my writing skills, such as developing book chapters, essays and reviews drawn from my doctoral work area. The UTS Human Research Ethics process was disciplined and exacting, and helped me develop a high regard for ethical principles as the foundation of the documentary project. This continues to inform the development of my current archival film project memory=film.
My advice for anyone considering perusing a Higher Research Degree
Select your topic and supervisor carefully, and get to know the existing body of published work in your field. Read some PHDs/DCAs in advance and try and get a scholarship as it really helps support your research process.
The “doubled doctorate” (a creative work and thesis) is a real challenge; you have to set up your organization of digital and hard copy record-keeping very carefully right at the beginning! Start a chronological reading diary-check list NOW! List the date, bibliographical information and make a brief summary; do this for everything — books, theses, films, plays, TV, the internet and social media — whatever connects to your topic; I also kept a blog of my process but I was erratic in maintaining an accurate dated listing of ALL sources and paid the price later on when writing the thesis — as I had to backtrack so much!
Finally, make sure family and friends are supportive, and try and designate study space at home and at university. It also helps if you befriend other doctoral candidates and share the journey with them!