School of Culture and Communication - Research Publications

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    "What Creativeness in This?”: Maintenance and Generation in the Housework of Charmian Clift
    McLean, E (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, 2022)
    In her 1959 memoir, Peel Me a Lotus, the expatriate Australian novelist and journalist Charmian Clift details her efforts to create and maintain a writers’ home on the Greek Island of Hydra. This involved the transformation of a pre-established structure that had fallen into a state of disrepair, into a space that was to be part-writer’s studio (for herself and her husband, George Johnston), and part-sanctuary for her family and their many visitors. While this dual functionality could be practically organized within the large structure of the Hydra house, the integral paradox of artistic production occurring in tandem with household maintenance instantiated a challenge for Clift, as she was expected to work simultaneously as writer, nurturer and housekeeper. In this essay I observe how Clift’s memoirs resultingly conjure a poetics of everyday life that minutely and honestly details and aestheticises the work of maintenance. Clift’s vision, which she describes as “my own bit of creation,” was one “of cleanliness and order and warmth and comfort.” Duly, housework—in both the abstract sense, of building and restoration, as well as in the more traditional sense, of housekeeping—receives sustained attention in Clift’s larger body of work. Clift’s memoirs are often absorbed in the details of domestic work performed both by her and by the local women living around her; these descriptions are devoted and artistic, in a way that shows women’s work to be too. Inspired by Mierle Laderman Ukeles’s Manifesto for Maintenance Art 1969!, this article discusses the relationship between maintenance and creativity that Clift problematises in the two memoirs she produced during the family’s period of living in Greece.
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    Multilingual negotiations: the place and significance of translation in multilingual poetry
    Niaz, N (The Observatory: Australian and Transnational Studies Centre, Universitat de Barcelona, 2021)
    Multilingual poetry, which weaves together multiple languages, necessarily straddles multiple cultural contexts. This raises the question of how poets who write multilingually negotiate and deploy their cultural knowledges, who they write for, and how their audiences receive them. Using Suresh Canagarajah’s Negotiation Model to examine poets’ linguistic choices, including whether and when to provide translations, and Mendieta-Lombardo and Cintron’s adaptation of the Myers-Scotton Markedness Model to consider audience and context, this paper will examine examples of contemporary bilingual and multilingual poetry published in Australia and Canada to identify the many conversations and negotiations that must take place between language-cultures as well as between multilingual poets and audiences for these poems to ‘work’.
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    Forgetting and remembering the Irish famine orphans: A critical survey
    Noone, V ; Malcolm, E (Irish Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand, 2020)
    A decade ago, while researching family history, Richard Olive of Melbourne was pleased to discover shipping records that revealed his great-grandmother, Johanna Sullivan from County Cork, had arrived in Adelaide in September 1849 on the Elgin. Noticing that she was only 15 years old, he began to search the records for her parents, only to find, to his surprise, that all the 190 passengers on the ship were teenage girls. As Richard drove his granddaughter, Eva, home from school that afternoon, he told her about his discovery. She asked him in what year Joanna Sullivan had arrived and, when he replied '1849', they both quickly realised that this was during the Great Famine. Eva said: 'Sounds to me like she was an Earl Grey orphan'. But, although Richard knew his Australian history well, he had never heard of Earl Grey-beyond it being a type of tea. Eva told him that she had come across the Earl Grey orphans in a novel she had recently read: 'Bridie's Fire', written by Kirsty Murray and published in Sydney in 2003.
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    Creating new climate stories: Posthuman collaborative hope and optimism
    Hennessy, R ; Cothren, A ; Matthews, A (Australasian Association of Writing Programs, 2022-01-01)
    This paper considers an evolving project about climate change that will explore using collaborative creative writing strategies to emotionally support and engage writers, primarily focusing on how narratives of hope and optimism might counter affective responses of anxiety, and the resultant solipsistic inertia or surrender. We ask: what role could collaborative fiction play in helping to create positive futures that emotionally strengthen us to manage what may come and what already is? We outline the inspiration and background to our project and begin to theorise justification for applying posthuman approaches to the question of reimagining climate fiction. We review a number of collaborative climate change projects located outside of traditional writing but still drawing on narrative storytelling, and consider how our project – which focuses on genre fictions – might add to the horizon point; one that is not delusional, but also does not lead to dystopian despair.
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    Governing creative industries in the post-normative cultural condition
    Wyatt, D ; Trevena, B (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2021-09-19)
    Contemporary cultural policy seeks to govern an increasingly complex terrain, one marked by rapid technological change, expanded channels for creative production and participation, global interconnectedness and social diversity, and a fluidity of cultural form. Through an analysis of Creative State, the first creative industries strategy in the state of Victoria, Australia, this article argues that the creative industries are, in part, a governmental response to the complexity of the cultural landscape. As critics have identified, these are ideological documents, often prioritising the economic benefits of culture over other forms of value. But they also reflect broader efforts to reconfigure government’s relationship to the cultural field, and to expand the set of actors involved in making culture. In this article we trace out these new relationships through the policy-making process, identifying its tensions and contradictions. Understanding the multi-sited, non-linear nature of policy forms the basis, we argue, for cultivating a generative cultural critique that might engage more productively with cultural policy, taking account of the plural and competing perspectives it must manage.
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    The Practice of Being Human: Narrative Medicine and Cultural Representation
    Ng, L (St. Cloud State University Digital Archives, 2020)
    Narrative medicine may take certain methodological cues from literary studies, linguistics and narrative theory, but until now it has remained firmly grounded in the health sector. It views storytelling and narrative as tools that can improve the performance of medical practitioners – first, by helping them process the confronting nature of their everyday jobs, and then by facilitating more effective communication with patients. Narrative competence thus provides an important supplement to the medical gaze, enhancing the clinical experience for practitioner and patient alike. But narrative medicine also has important implications from a literary point of view. It highlights the special position that the medical worker occupies in terms of being able to observe a cross-section of society. When a medical practitioner decides to engage not only with the scientific method of evidence-based medicine but also in the arts-based practice of narrative medicine, he or she has the opportunity to make an intervention in the broader culture. Consequently, the literature that emerges almost as an offshoot of narrative medicine is capable of creating forms of representation that more accurately reflect the heterogeneity of social conformance. It is a literature that draws attention to demographic sectors of society that might otherwise be denied mainstream representation. This essay examines the ways in which a medical practice can inform a writing practice, and vice versa. Using the work of Chinese-Australian author Melanie Cheng as a case study, I show how narrative medicine traverses an important space between the medical gaze and the empathetic instinct. Cheng has worked as a General Practitioner (GP) for over ten years, whilst developing a parallel writing career. Her debut collection of short stories, Australia Day (2017), functions on one level as a therapeutic outlet for Cheng’s day job. In addition, by recasting the GP as a repository of secrets, her stories provide matchless insights into the lives of people from a range of different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. Cheng’s writing therefore transcends the boundaries of her own personal history and ethnicity, pointedly venturing beyond the territory expected of her as a Chinese-Australian author. Viewing Cheng’s work through the lens of her medical training shows us how the practice of medicine can work alongside that of writing to deepen our understanding of what is commonly referred to as the ‘human condition’.
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    Fighting off the bulldozers in the sacred kwila forests of Papua New Guinea
    Chandler, J (Guardian News & Media Limited, 2022-10-09)
    Villagers are pushing back against logging operations they say are encroaching on designated conservation areas.
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    Australian Photography and Transnationalism
    Maxwell, EA (Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL), 2020)
    Until very recently, histories of Australian photography have remained primarily (and some would say stubbornly) nation-based, but this trend has begun to change under the impact of studies aimed at exploring the wider cultural influences impacting on the literature and artworks produced in the late colonial period. In this paper, I explore some of the more obvious transnational features of late nineteenth and early twentieth century Australian photography using examples drawn from the two most popular genres of the day – portrait and landscape photography. Although I draw on only a few examples, it is enough to show that Australian photographers of the nineteenth century and early twentieth centuries were not just reliant on British conventions, they were also deploying the styles and conventions used by photographers in the other Pacific-based settler colonies of Canada, USA and New Zealand, a phenomenon that points to the increasingly connected world that was formed by what Caroline Elkins and Susan Pedersen have classed the white settler societies or ‘new world states’ of the Pacific region.
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    Thilly Weissenborn: Photographer of the Netherlands East Indies
    Maxwell, EA (Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2021-04-30)
    Thilly Weissenborn (1883–1964) was one of Indonesia’s first woman photogra- phers of significance. She was born in Java but schooled, like most Netherlands colonials, in The Hague. At the age of eighteen, Thilly returned to Java where she trained in the famous Atelier Kurkdjian before opening her own studio in the province of Preanger. For more than two decades, she supplied the colonial government’s tourist bureau with photographs featuring Java’s exotic-looking scenery and Balinese temples and dancers. She also supplied Dutch dignitaries, colonial officials and wealthy Dutch families with souvenir albums featuring scenic photographs and Bali’s governors and royalty. I argue that although her growing obsession with light was a feature shared by many contemporary American photographers, her photographs differed from theirs by dint of their connection to Netherlands colonialism. I further argue that this is most evident in their focus on the beauty of the landscape and the seeming tranquillity of life under colonial rule, but also their strong allusions to the Mooi Indië style of paintings popular among Dutch settlers. In the twenty-year period leading up to Japan’s invasion of Indonesia, Weissenborn’s images were widely sought after and reproduced by the Dutch East Indies Tourist Bureau; however, their strong connection to Netherlands colonialism means that they are today not just regarded ambivalently by photographic historians, but are frequently overlooked.
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