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Research | Media

Our Media & Communication team is recognised nationally and internationally for the quality of its research. Our research in Communication & Media Studies received top-ranking in Australia in the Excellence in Research Australia 2018 (along with only one other university across the whole of Australia). Our quality of research was measured as ‘above world standard’.

Media & Communication scholars at the University combine national and international media experience with a breadth of research interests and skills. Our diverse research interests include media and consumption, crime and media criminology, transnational media flows, and the environment. This research complements our extensive professional experience as journalists, political correspondents, broadcasters and in strategic and corporate communication. We bring a range of methodological and conceptual approaches to the study of journalism, media and communication research, and encourage scholarship that draws on ideas from across diverse fields.

Our work is published in leading journals and by top-tier academic presses. We have access to an international network of researchers, and members of our team have received prestigious research grants and fellowships.

Research Strengths

Professor Libby Lester works across industries, government and NGOs to understand and promote the role of communication and media in good decision making about shared social and environmental heritage and futures. She asks in particular how regional communities and industries adapt and change in the face of global crises, such as climate change and land degradation, and expanding networks of communications, travel and trade.

Professor Libby Lester, Director, Institute for Social Change

Dr Claire Konkes's research focuses on how news, and other media, informs our understanding of how contemporary problems become politicised. By examining the influences of traditional and emerging media in the formation of public opinion, policy and law, her work contributes to a better understanding of how media informs and shapes our responses to environmental challenges, including climate science and sustainability.

Dr Claire Konkes, Head of Discipline, Media Lecturer

Dr Kathleen Williams looks at the environmental impacts of changing media technologies. This involves considering methods and implications of resource extraction to make and share media, and the environmental legacy of outmoded media objects as the media industries drive technological change. She has published work on the afterlives of media technologies, and the innovative ways that people disused media.

Dr Gemma Blackwood’s research examines mediated visual cultural representations – from screen cultures, news journalism and online social media marketing and communications - and their abilities to function as environmental communication texts. She has particular interest in examining the production of touristic and place-based narratives and visual texts, and the impacts of these as they interact with environmental and social agents.

Andy Terhell’s experiments with alternative methods of environmental documentary films that aim to engage with a broader audience and ‘preach beyond the choir’. His current masters project focuses on environmental documentary and Tasmanians’ attachment to place, specifically the Walls of Jerusalem National Park. The research investigates different ways of communicating the stories of people who participate in the public conversations around policies that influence this place.

Professor Libby Lester's research combines longitudinal analysis of media texts and political change with in-depth investigation of behind-the-scenes practices of journalists, decision-makers, public relations professionals and campaigners. This approach allows media messages and political concerns to be traced as they flow between claims- and decision-makers, and to investigate media power in traditional and emerging platforms.

As the director of the Institute for Social Change her research focuses on how issues are raised, understood and responded to in public debate, including leading The Tasmania Project, a ground-breaking research project asking Tasmanians what they want to help Tasmanians work together through the pandemic and support recovery for a strong future.

Professor Libby Lester, Director, Institute for Social Change

Dr Kathleen Williams is interested in the intersections and fractures between social, media and technological change. Her primary project of focus is the afterlives and failures of broadcast across media history to speculate on the future of broadcast media and messages. This work encompasses international, domestic and experimental media forms from black boxes to television static and abandoned scientific stations. Dr Williams is also examining how the creative and cultural industries understand changes brought about by COVID and other social and industrial pressures.

Dr Donald Reid's conducts research in a number of areas focussed primarily within the School’s research theme of Strengthening Communities with Media and Communication and the communication of social services. Donald Reid’s current research projects include an examination of media framing of special education services in Tasmania; and the use of narrative in online public health films.

Dr Gemma Blackwood’s research looks for ways to improve the lived experiences of communities through access and use of media communication technologies. Gemma’s current research projects include an examination of social media usage during a natural disaster event and an analysis of media representation of Christmas Island during the Australian government’s COVID-19 quarantine.

Andy Terhell's a member of The Pet Project research team along with Associate Professor Meg Keating, Dr Niklavs Rubenis, Dr Steven Carson and Dr Yvette Watt. The Pet Project facilitates workshops throughout Tasmania to engage communities in a variety of Tasmanian locations and investigates people’s relationships with pets and art. The workshops bring together people and are followed up by events such as art exhibitions and film launches that provide further opportunities for participants and pet owners in Tasmania, of which there is the highest percentage in the country, to participate in their communities.

Research Degrees

We welcome proposals from qualified applicants to undertake research degrees in PhDs and Masters, and are pleased to discuss research proposals that cross disciplines, including law, science, creative arts, economics and health sciences. You can browse a list of already funded available PhD projects requiring candidates.

To discuss our research program further, please contact our Associate Head Research, Dr Carolyn Philpott.

To find out about application procedures, entry requirements, and scholarships, refer to College of Arts, Law and Education Research Degrees.

Affiliated research centres and units