Mission and Report of the Centre for Research in Culture and Communication

The CRCC was established in 1990 to enhance knowledge and understanding of the role and impact of culture and communication on the brink of the twenty-first century. It is charged with

CRCC Themes

The CRCC focuses on four general themes of crucial importance in the shaping of culture, politics and society around the year 2000.

The current cultural condition is deeply informed by wide-ranging technological developments (such as the Internet and cross-border satellite television), which affect the way people gain knowledge about themselves and others. The resulting changing relations between culture, media and technology are of major concern for the emerging globalised world.

The contemporary world witnesses an increasingly global interconnection and interdependence of peoples and cultures, especially since the end of the Cold War and with the increasing transnationalisation of the economy. These processes of globalisation are essential for an understanding of contemporary phenomena of culture and communication, including the most 'local' ones.

The role of culture and communication in the definition of collective identities and the shaping of a national citizenry has been increasingly recognised in recent years. Issues of Aboriginality, multiculturalism, as well as Australia's changing national identity in light of the regional location are important issues which continue to be debated in the public arena as well as in academic circles.

The post-Cold War political environment has made possible new ‘dialogic’ forms of politics, where differences are framed not in terms of struggles for global dominance but more on the model of diplomacy. These forms suggest new ways of addressing longstanding problems from the relation between indigenous people and settler cultures to the negotiation of change in rapidly changing societies. They do not entail an abandonment of questions of power, but require a more differentiated attention to distinct and specific powers.

JLV Industries/Louis Johnson Foundation Fellows

Through the generous support of JLV Industries head Bill Johnson and the Louis Johnson Foundation, the CRCC has hosted two research fellows Dr Steve Mickler and Dr Anna Haebich.

Dr Steve Mickler, the first JLV Industries/Louis Johnson Foundation fellow, worked with the CRCC from February 1995 until December 1998. His work has been in three areas:

i. Research on Aboriginal people and talk back radio and news reporting in Western Australia.

ii. Facilitator of research, forums and the setting up with former CRCC Director, Ien Ang, of another JLV Industries fellowship on "the stolen generation".

iii. Professional advice tendering to Aboriginal agencies and Non-Aboriginal broadcasters.

Besides his scholarly work a notable aspect of this fellowship was Dr Mickler's community involvements. He assisted with, and appeared in, the award-winning SBS documentary 'Demons at Drivetime' on populist talkback radio presenters. He provided advice and archival material to the ABC Four Corners Program on the production of its 1996 edition devoted to Rob Riley's life and death. He made radio appearances on Late Night Live ABC Radio National (1996). He contributed to the Aboriginal Reconciliation Council's national journalist training video on covering indigenous Australia. He provided regular written analysis and advice to the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee on strategies to respond to and lodge official complaints regarding public acts of racism and discrimination.

At the end of his fellowship, Dr Mickler published The myth of privilege : Aboriginal status, media visions, public ideas, Fremantle: Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1998. The book has made an important and timely contribution to public debate around indigenous issues and the media.

Dr Anna Haebich, the second fellow, began in early 1996 on her three year research under the auspices of Murdoch University and the University of New South Wales. The objective of this fellowship is the production principally of a book of social historical scholarship on the removal of Aboriginal children from their families. This is a fellowship developed at the initial instigation of JLV Industries Head, Bill Johnson.

Our Web-site:

The Culture and Communication Reading Room

From late 1995 the CRCC has been working to establish an extensive web presence. With Dr Garry Gillard as Webmaster and Dr O'Regan as Director, the "The Culture and Communication Reading Room" was established on the School of MCC's server at http://wwwmcc.murdoch.edu.au/ReadingRoom/index.html.

Our initial aim was to provide CRCC publications--reports, issues of the journal Continuum: the Australian Journal of Media (vols 1-8 inclusive, 1987-1994) and Span (5 issues) and other publications including honours theses, monographs and PhDs on the web.

"The Reading Room" is now a significant virtual library with a special focus on media and culture but now beginning to represent many of the diverse research strengths of SSHE staff. Our aim with "The Reading Room" has been to make the CRCC a central on-line resource for cultural, communication, literary and philosophical scholars in Australia and internationally.

We are now moving into our second phase--one of capitalising on the virtual library--to generate new materials for the site. Our web policy for this phase is:

Satellite Dish

During 1995, the CRCC through the agency of its then Director Ien Ang and Dr Krishna Sen successfully applied to the Murdoch University Research Equipment and Facilities Fund for a Satellite Dish (grant of $38,593). The purpose behind this application was to be able to pick up regional satellite signals particularly those generated from Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia. This satellite will be used for teaching and research in the School of Humanities.

Visiting Fellows

Dr Duane Varan was a Visiting Fellow for a year from 10/8/1995 to 31/7/1996. During his time at the Centre, Dr Varan wrote four articles two of which have been accepted for publication in the Journal of Asia-Pacific Communication and the Journal of Development Communication respectively and two others are under consideration by major journals in the field. He also made substantial progress on the research necessary for his forthcoming book, Studying Mass Media (under contract with Mayfield). Dr Varan gave a seminar at Imago (Perth's Cooperative Multimedia Centre) on "Connecting with the User". His time at the CRCC was useful in another way: he will be returning to Murdoch University as Senior Lecturer in Electronic Marketing in the School of Business.

Dr Kristal Zook was a Visiting Fellow from June to November 1996. During her time at Murdoch University Dr Zook taught Introduction to Cultural Studies and worked on finalising her manuscript for Oxford University Press entitled Black Television. Dr Zook also gave a seminar on her work in progress.

Professor Keyan Tomaselli of the Centre for Media and Cultural Studies in the University of Natal at Durban was a visitor to the Centre from November 30 to December 10. Prof. Tomaselli met with contributors to the CRCC's Critical Arts issue and held discussions

A/Prof. Dona Kolar-Panov

The CRCC Seminars


In 1995 there was a public one-day seminar entitled Boat People: the Limits of Tolerance and Refuge held on the 14th October. This seminar centred on the ethics and practice of detention of Indochinese refugees at Port Headland. Speakers were drawn from academia, the Vietnamese community, journalism, the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, Legal Aid and former refugees. It was opened by Sir Ronald Wilson in his capacity as President of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.

Alongside this the CRCC organised an ongoing academic seminar series: the "Negotiating Cultural Borderzones" series. Guest speakers included:

Dr Yao Souchou, ISEAS Singapore
Dr Henry Jenkins, MIT, USA
Dr Ganguly, University of Bombay, India
Professor Keyan Tomaselli, University of Natal, South Africa
Professor Michael Taussig, Columbia University, USA
Professor Hubert Dreyfus, University of California, Berkeley, USA
Professor Stephen Bann, University of Ken, Canterbury, UK
Dr Tim Rowse, University of Sydney
A/Professor Elspeth Probyn, University of Sydney
Dr Ang used this seminar series to develop the CRCC's 1996 issue of Critical Arts--published in December 1996. Speakers included Tim Rowse, Mudrooroo, Elspeth Probyn, Keyan Tomaselli.


The CRCC's principal public event in 1996 was its involvement with Curtin University and Edith Cowan University in the cohosting of the Cultural Studies conference to be held at the Fremantle Arts Centre in December 1996. This conference is part of the CRCC's evolving strategy over 1996 to build links with other tertiary institutions in Perth and the community. Other examples include "The Feminist Colloquia" developed by Humanities staff and postgraduate students with those from UWA; and the "Virtual-Information-Digital" one day workshop held on 10 October 1996 which brought together researchers from Curtin and Murdoch working on the new media from an analytical and critical viewpoint.

In 1996 the CRCC moved its focus away from thematically-organised General Seminars. Seminar series continued but involved a number of smaller sub-themes or, in some cases separate series. These have included: "Semiotics of Art" (organised by Prof. M. O'Toole of Communication Studies).

In an external review of the Communication Studies Programme in May 1996, the review panel recommended not only that "the School should continue and increase the use of the CRCC as a vehicle for interaction with the local community and industry" but also that "the CRCC should continue to have a prime role in translating research into the community". The CRCC endorses this view of its role as evidenced, for example, in the 1995 Boat People symposium and the community work of its Louis Johnson research fellows.


A seminar of the CRCC has run on a weekly basis during the first half of the year, including papers from staff and postgraduates at Murdoch and two guest speakers:

Martin Mhando, "Narrating the Southern African 'Nation' in After the Wax"

Alan McKee (Visiting Speaker, Edith Cowan University), "Does size matter? The politics of penises"

Seal Savane, "Representing the Silenced" (East Timor)

Jane Stadler, "Losing the Plot: Narrative and Identity in Lost Highway"

John Richardson, "Double Vision is but Perfect Vision"

Mark Gibson, "Why I am not a Foucauldian"

Wendy Keys (Visiting Speaker, Australian Key Centre for Cultural and Media Policy, Griffith University, Brisbane), "Television, Childhood and Media Policy in Australia"

Wendy Parkins, "The Spiritual Everyday"


1990-1994. John Hartley. Professor Hartley left to take up the inaugural Chair in Media Studies at Edith Cowan University. He now occupies a Chair at QUT.

1995-May 1996. Ien Ang. Professor Ang left to take up a Chair at the University of Western Sydney.

May 1996-May 1999. Tom O'Regan. Professor O'Regan left to take up a Chair at the Griffith University, where he directs the Centre for Media Policy.

May 1999-February 2000. Krishna Sen. Associate Professor Sen left to take up the position of Director of Research and Post Graduate Studies in the School of Media and Information at Curtin University.

March 2000 - Mark Gibson

New: 19 February 1997 | Now: 2 May, 2015