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Research projects


‘Cultural Vitality: Measuring the return on investment of local government funded arts, culture and heritage programs on the Sunshine Coast’ 2016–2017
Associate Professor Lisa Chandler

ARCH leader Associate Professor Lisa Chandler, together with Dr Trudie Walters from the Faculty of Business and Claudia Di Blasi, Manager Community Relations, Sunshine Coast Council (SCC), has attained a USC-Sunshine Coast Council Collaboration Grant ($22,130) to develop a means of identifying the social and cultural value of Council-funded arts, culture and heritage programs. The project also involves designing a cohesive evaluation strategy and measurement tool for the continual improvement of Council-funded offerings in this space. The array of public arts and culture-related activity that communities support as significant aspects of daily life, collectively contributes to the ‘cultural vitality’ of the region. This project seeks to better understand the contribution of Council programs to perceptions of cultural vitality. It contributes to understandings of the impact of the creative and cultural industries within communities and the ways in which Council is meeting its Corporate Plan goal of building ‘a strong community’. The collaboration aligns strategic visions of USC and SCC to support and improve University, Council and community partnerships. The collaboration will enable USC researchers to work with Council to deliver applied research findings with benefits for the wider community.

International Transformation in Children's Television 2013–2018
Dr Anna Potter

Anna Potter is a Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA) Fellow and senior lecturer in Screen and Media studies. Her research interests include the production and distribution of children's television and the production practices of transnational independent production companies. Anna’s book Creativity Culture and Commerce: producing Australian Children’s Television with Public Value was published in 2015 by Intellect books. In 2015 Anna was also awarded an Australian Research Council (ARC) Award for $A$370,000 for her project 'International Transformations in Children's Television 2013– 2018'. The transnational project will map the shape and scale of rapidly evolving production territories and markets for children's television opened up by media globalisation, and their economic and cultural impact on television made for the child audience. A key aim of the project is to examine the implications of new global settlements in children’s television for media industries, production practices and policy settlements in both the national and the transnational space.

Thow Kwang Dragon Kiln Courtesy: Carolyn Lim

Earth, Wood and Fire: A Dragon Kiln Story – From Industry to Community Arts 
Dr Marcus Bussey

This project, funded through a Singapore Heritage Participation Grant ($37,600), tracks in word and image the transition of Singapore from a manufacturing centre to a post industrial city though the story of the Thow Kwang dragon kiln and the artistic community that has evolved around it. The study focuses on one of the last dragon kilns in Singapore and the group of potters, ceramicists, artists, social entrepreneurs and educators who have gathered around it to maintain the communal links to their past and to stake a claim for richer heritage futures for Singapore. The project also involves the production of an interactive multimedia app – DragonFire, that features traditional wood firing in Singapore. Marcus’s involvement in the project was three fold: Collaboration with the Singapore team in concept development; writing the heritage futures section of the DragonFire app; and writing a book chapter entitled Heritage Futures: Thow Kwang Dragon Kiln and Creative Traditionalism in Singapore (Bussey 2015).

Download of the free app DragonFire Singapore via iTunes app store.

East Coast Encounter exhibition 2014–2017
Associate Professor Lisa Chandler

Associate Professor Chandler is co-curator, with John Waldron, of the award winning exhibition East Coast Encounter (ECE). The exhibition incorporates a three-year touring exhibition (2014-2017), publication and DVD re-imagining James Cook’s 1770 Australian journey and its impact, from Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives. Cook’s voyage has become central to national historical narratives and ECE re-envisages this seminal journey by imaginatively exploring moments of contact between two worldviews during these encounters. It brings these events into the present by incorporating artists’ reflections on their relevance today, and their responses to visits to significant contact locations and meetings with Indigenous communities. The exhibition shifts the focus from a primarily Eurocentric perspective to present a shared story, visualised by Australian Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists from multiple perspectives and in various media. It presents a new translation of an old Badtjala song referring to Cook’s passing of K’gari-Fraser Island, and it highlights the historically under-represented area of Indigenous watercraft and the revival of cultural knowledge in this domain. ECE has been undertaken with industry partners Blue Sky View and the Australian National Maritime Museum. It received a Gallery and Museum Achievement Award in 2015 and the exhibition has been acquired in its entirety by the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Fraser Island Dingo - courtesy of Bill Carter

The Iconic Dingo: Valuing their future on K’gari-Fraser Island 2015–2016
Dr Clare Archer-Lean

Clare Archer-Lean leads this research project with an inter-disciplinary team of humanities and communication researchers: Jen Carter and Umi Khattab (from USC) and Angela Wardell-Johnson (Curtin). The research project explores both the pattern of human dingo incidents in the past and the present views of various stakeholders and interests concerning dingoes. Dingoes are valued in diverse ways that make understanding the dingo’s position in the natural and social environment contested and often confusing. The research will identify and capture these various conflicting values and positions. This project also aims to provide insight into this pattern of sociocultural values in order to assist QPWS communication planning. The project is supported by funding from Queensland’s Department of Information Technology, Science,Innovation and the Arts: Fraser Island Dingo Research Program (A$24,527).

Street child’s mental map: “Bus Routes” - courtesy of Harriot Beazley

Stateless children and transnational migration in Indonesia project 2014–2016
Dr Harriot Beazley

Together with researchers from the University of Victoria, Canada, Harriot’s study explores the topic of migrant families in an entrenched stream of undocumented labour migration between Lombok and Malaysia. In particular, the research focuses on the children of these migrants as they are at high risk of statelessness. Data collection involved children telling their stories through illustrations and concept maps. The study sheds light on the disjuncture between idealised western depictions of children's needs and the realities for economically and politically marginalised communities in Lombok, Indonesia.

Topics explored in this project include: Multigenerational undocumented migration in the family, community, or region; Cultural patterns especially marriage practices that affect documentation and migration; Patriarchal values and associated effects on decisions about both registration and mobility; Access and costs of birth registration; documentation practices and false documents; and poor socialisation around birth registration procedures.

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