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ItemAesthetics of change: multiculturalism and the street art of FootscrayWidiarto, Christie ( 2018)This practice-based research investigates the relationship between street art and multiculturalism in the Melbourne suburb of Footscray. The aim of this research is to prove the value of incorporating multicultural theory in the development of street art projects. The practice component of the research is the creation of a documentary entitled, Who made that? which looks at five case studies of artists that have created a street art piece during the research period 2014 – 2018. This film is created using techniques of collaborative filmmaking through a reflexive practice, based on Sarah Pink’s approach to visual ethnography. Street art is also examined as a cultural practice. There are varied opinions about what constitutes street art and how to define a street artist. In order to contain our research, the documentary focuses on artists who create murals. Through an exploration of their work, techniques and intent behind their art, the documentary presents an understanding of the diversity that exists within the street art community. Culture and multiculturalism have broad interpretations and this research suggests understanding multiple perspectives from a lived experience to political forms of management and integration. Theoretical literature, from Kymlicka’s liberal theories of ‘multicultural citizenship to modern day Islamaphobia, are reviewed to explore how they are at work in contemporary discourses of government, arts and community. The setting for the documentary, Footscray, is known as a culturally diverse inner city suburb, that has been reportedly going through the process of gentrification. We examine gentrifications impact on social diversity and also explore the role of street artists as both gentrifiers and activists against gentrification. Through this research, we investigate street art as a manifestation of the cultural diversity of the community. As such, its demonstrates how an understanding of multiculturalism from different perspectives can provide a framework for the development of future street art projects by artists, communities and organisations.
ItemReflexivity, collaboration and ethical documentary filmmaking: a practice led approachThomas, Stephen ( 2017)This creative practice research concerns reflexivity, collaboration and ethics in authored documentary filmmaking—with a focus on the filmmaker-participant relationship. The written thesis provides a first-hand account and self-reflexive analysis of the production of Freedom Stories, consisting of a feature and six short documentaries. These constitute the creative component of the doctorate and utilise reflexivity in the quest to achieve a more ethical practice. Recent scholarship has questioned the view of documentary participants as powerless in the filmmaking process, recognising their agency in relationships with filmmakers and the reality of consent as a process of ongoing negotiation, in which a right of veto is considered. Taking this as a starting point, I have employed an explicitly collaborative approach through which former asylum seekers were invited to share their stories of arrival, detention, and eventual settlement in Australia. An important aim was to explore how such an attempt to deal with this asymmetrical power relationship between filmmaker and participant might be carried into the creative product itself to render the filmmaking process more transparent. The importance of mutual trust and what it means to sensitively engage with participants was central to this exploration. As Freedom Stories features people from the Middle-East, who have often been negatively represented as the ‘other’ in western commentary, I found the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas to be particularly relevant. This kind of filmmaking depends on the quality of the encounter with participants, and in a way, what I have articulated is a kind of heightened ethics of everyday life¬—the aim of which is to work for the benefit of the participants, not just the film. This ethical tension permeates the filmmaking process, in which the rounded representation of participants is paramount. In the written thesis, I self-reflexively examine dilemmas experienced during filming and editing, when the processes involved and the imperatives of narrative storytelling tended to work against ethical representation. I also discuss the dilemmas of exploiting personal stories of pain, which are common among asylum seekers. In experimenting with reflexivity in my filmmaking, I have articulated an approach that incorporates notions of performativity and improvisation. Through analysing the production process, including by means of a Production Journal, I have developed an iterative-reflexive approach to both practice and research. The conclusions reached confirm the centrality of participants in ethical filmmaking; the importance of a collaborative model in which agency is encouraged; the requirements of personal integrity and self-awareness in the filmmaker; and the necessity of ongoing review as a mode of reflexive ethical practice. Such attributes require an environment that encourages their employment, which is not always the case in the film and TV ‘industry’. The viability of this collaborative approach has been demonstrated through applying the ideas enunciated to achieve a more ethical practice, a greater transparency, and what might be termed a redemptive aesthetic, which calls on audiences through the performance of the documentary work to engage in deeper empathy with what really matters—that is, the life experiences of the people whose stories are explored on screen.