Dr Kathleen Williams is interested in understanding the intersections and fractures between our culture, our social lives and technological change.
Kathleen Williams is working on a history of broadcast failures, or silences, in order to speculate what the future of broadcast may look like.
“This has taken me to consider plane black boxes, abandoned scientific stations, television static, underwater cables and rogue satellites. This for me is about embracing the waste to see what practices and objects are discarded, as we exist in what sometimes looks and feels like a perpetual scramble for the ‘new’.”
“I think it’s really important to question dominant understandings of our world. For me, that’s taken the form of questioning technological evangelism, that all progress is inherently good, and that all progress is technological.”
Consequently, Dr Williams likes to turn to what we have discarded, or what awkwardly exists, as she finds these objects and practices reveal as much about who we are as people, as the new things we design.
Dr Williams is the first in her family to attend university. She went into her undergraduate degree in media, oscillating between wanting to be a novelist and wanting to work in public relations. Dr Williams acknowledges however, “I’m yet to see a good book written by a PR person, but I will remain agnostic!”
It was in her Honours year that Dr Williams fell in love with interrogating the ways we communicate and make meaning.
“Being able to shift my brain to critically think about the world around me has been life changing for me, and annoying for anyone trying to watch television in my company.”
“My grandfather used to have an amateur radio tower in his suburban backyard in western Sydney, and the sonic memories of static and then his call sign guided me towards a lot of my theoretical interest today.”
“It’s funny because my nan used to take me into the garden and my brother went with my grandfather to the shed: I write about technology, and my brother works in landscaping.”
Dr Williams is inspired by the experimental and weird uses of media technologies.
“Looking at the night sky out on the Tasman Peninsula where there’s no light pollution means you can see more satellites clearly, which gets me inspired just as much as seeing a work that uses discarded media in a gallery. To me, it’s all part of the same material network of meaning, and part of the questions I’m guided by.”
The COVID-19 pandemic brought a whole new component to Dr Williams’ work. The world experienced a resurgence in media discourse about wildness, returning to nature and green spaces, while looking for technological ways to stay in contact with one another.
“The creative and cultural industries had to embrace online methods of communicating more than ever before, and we saw a rise in broadcast in place of face-to-face methods of performance, exhibition and audience engagement,” she said.
Previously Head of the Media School, Dr Williams has spent a large part of her career working and supporting students at the University of Tasmania. Her teaching ethos is one that promotes the need to be fearless in seeking out the bigger questions that guide our relationship to each other, to the environment, to our political systems and to the creative works that make life meaningful.
“Teaching is a really extraordinary privilege, and I think that our teaching needs to hold a principle of questioning and being influenced by what our students have to say, their experiences and their interests.”
Dr Williams has led the development of the Creative Curriculum, a series of interdisciplinary units rolling out across the School of Creative Arts and Media in 2021. Through the Creative Curriculum, Dr Williams has built partnerships locally, nationally and internationally, giving students at the University of Tasmania the opportunity to work on cutting-edge creative work and approaches.
Dr Kathleen Williams is the Associate Head of Research for the School of Creative Arts and Media. She is also the Director of Creative Curriculum and a Senior Lecturer in Media in the School of Creative Arts and Media. She currently teaches interdisciplinary units across the school known as ‘Creative Curriculum’, and she researches the impacts of media and cultural change. This is particularly through the social and material properties of media technologies, practices and industries.
Kathleen joined the University of Tasmania in 2014 after completing her PhD at the University of New South Wales. While at UTAS she has held multiple roles in the media program, from originally joining as the Postgraduate Coursework Coordinator to later becoming the Head of the Media Program. As Head of Media she established the Media School campus in Salamanca. Her role as Director of Creative Curriculum has led to focusing on work intergrated learning, interdisciplinary teaching, and strengthening the connections between industry partnerships and innovative curriculum. She is spending more of her spare time working on creative non-fiction pieces, art writing, and appearing on podcasts. Over the past five years she has regularly appeared on ABC Radio Hobart on the Mornings and Afternoon programs, and gives comment in the media on a variety of issues relating to the creative and cultural industries, pop culture, and the social uses of media technologies.
|Degree||Title of Thesis||University||Country||Awarded|
|PhD||The Recut Film Trailer as Networked Object: Anticipation and Nostalgia in the YouTube Era||University of New South Wales||Australia||2014|
|BA (Media and Communications Hons)||University of Sydney||Australia||2008|
Kathleen has extensive administration experience. She has been the degree coordinator for the Bachelor or Media, Masters of Journalism, Media and Communications, and the media major coordinator in the Bachelor of Arts. She was the Head of the Media School and program between 2016 and 2019, when she was appointed Director of Creative Curriculum to design new curriculum across the School of Creative Arts and Media. She has participated in numerous committees and initiatives across the university, and contributed to the design and roll-out of the Media School’s Salamanca campus.
Media and Communications, Creative and Cultural Industries, Interdisciplinary Creative Practice, Screen and Digital Media, Media Technologies, Cultural Studies, Sound Studies, Branding and Public Relations, Creative Entrepreneurship, Events and Festivals, Critical Media Theory
Kathleen has contributed to course and unit design across the School of Creative Arts and Media, namely in the Creative Curriculum and in the Media program. Her current teaching and curriculum responsibilities are in cross-school teaching environments, in collaborative, innovative and experimental environments where students are encouraged to take creative risks. These units bring together industry partners, students and teaching staff from across the School to complete project work in different settings. In addition to her current teaching responsibilities, Kathleen has previously developed or redesigned units including: Digital Networks and Mobile Media; Media and Communications Entrepreneurship; Screen and Media Business; Media, Music and Sound; Documentary; Emerging Screen Practices; Media, Texts and Industries; Applied Audience and Industry Research.
FSX207 Creative Lab
FSX307 Research Lab
FSX206 Making the Event A
FSX306 Making the Event B
HEJ354 Industry Placement
HEJ351 Fieldtrip in Creative Industries, Practices and Cultures
FCA304 Sound, Art and Media
Kathleen has been a reviewer for:
Journalism, Participations: International Journal of Audience Research, Routledge, Kinephanos, Frames, Association of Internet Researchers, Cultural Studies Association, Fusion, Transformative Works and Cultures, and Digital Culture and Education. She was a Visiting Researcher in the Department and Media and Communications at the University of Sydney in 2016.
- Media technologies and practices
- Creative and cultural industries
- Screen, sound and digital media
- Popular culture and social change
- Social, environmental, industrial and technological change
- Media memory, materiality and nostalgia
- Media history and media archaeology
- Contemporary screen cultures
Kathleen uses media and critical theory, media archaeology and a range of qualitative methods to contribute to understandings of the relationship between media and social, industrial, environmental and technological change. She partners with industry to map the significant changes to the creative and cultural industries and communities, and to inform future understandings of creative work. Her accessible analysis of media and popular culture is drawn upon in the media through radio, online and in print, and her research on emergent and historical uses of media technologies contributes to scholarly debates on the future of screen and sound media.
Areas of research expertise include:
Kathleen has worked with the Institute of Social Change and the Department of State Growth in 2020, studying the impacts of COVID-19 on the Tasmanian Cultural and Creative Industries. This research involved surveys and interviews with Tasmanian creatives, and provided background to the state’s Cultural and Creative Industries Recovery Strategy. In 2018, she co-led the ABC-UTAS Media Literacy Project, which involved a study of Tasmanian teachers’ use of media literacy. This project created impact through a program on iView during National Media Literacy Week, a Institute for Social Change report, widespread media coverage, and forthcoming academic publications.
Kathleen is broadly interested in the intersections and fractures brought about by change: social, technological, media, environmental, material or industrial.
The Future of the Cultural and Creative Industries: This project seeks to understand the short and long-term changes brought about by COVID, and how the pandemic brought to the fore existing inequities and uncertainties in the sector. Beyond the impacts of COVID, Kathleen is interested in shifting workforces, the impacts of technological change and equity of access, and the intersections between change and value.
Silence, static and satellites: A Media History of Failure: This project looks at the afterlives and failures of broadcast across media history in order 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 broadcast stations. By mapping the silences or failed communications across media history, Kathleen seeks to interrogate how failure contributes to broader understandings of materiality in our negotiation of media technologies into our social practices.
Environmental Impacts of Media Technologies: This ongoing project involves considering methods and implications of the social uses of media technologies, and the environmental legacy of extraction and of outmoded technologies as the media industries drive obsolence.
Fields of Research
- Screen and media culture (470214)
- Media studies (470107)
- Organisational, interpersonal and intercultural communication (470108)
- Cultural studies (470299)
- Journalism studies (470105)
- Creative arts, media and communication curriculum and pedagogy (390101)
- Environmental communication (470103)
- Popular and genre literature (470527)
- Communication technology and digital media studies (470102)
- Impacts of tourism (350801)
- Social change (441004)
- Communication and media studies (470199)
- Communication studies (470101)
- The media (130204)
- Expanding knowledge in language, communication and culture (280116)
- Socio-cultural issues in tourism (110402)
- Literature (130203)
- Arts (130199)
- Expanding knowledge in human society (280123)
- Other education and training (169999)
Journal Article(10 outputs)
|2022||Konkes C, Nixon C, Lester L, Williams K, 'Coal versus coral: Australian climate change politics sees the Great Barrier Reef in court', Queensland Review ISSN 1321-8166 (In Press) [Refereed Article]|
Co-authors: Konkes C; Nixon C; Lester L
|2021||Nettlefold J, Williams K, 'News media literacy challenges and opportunities for Australian school students and teachers in the age of platforms', Journal of Media Literacy Education, 13, (1) pp. 28-40. ISSN 2167-8715 (2021) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 1
Co-authors: Nettlefold J
|2021||Nixon C, Konkes C, Lester L, Williams K, 'Mediated visibility and public environmental litigation: the interplay between inside and outside court during environmental conflict in Australia', Laws, 10, (2) Article 35. ISSN 2075-471X (2021) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Web of Science - 2
Co-authors: Nixon C; Konkes C; Lester L
|2020||Williams K, 'Searching for a remnant in pixels and static: the fleeting materiality of plane crashes', The Journal of Media Art Study and Theory, 1, (2) pp. 124-147. ISSN 2691-1566 (2020) [Refereed Article]|
|2019||Fletcher L, McAlister J, Temple KR, Williams K, '#loveyourshelfie: Mills & Boon books and how to find them', Memoires du livre/Studies in Book Culture, 11, (1) pp. 1-33. ISSN 1920-602X (2019) [Refereed Article]|
Co-authors: Fletcher L; McAlister J; Temple KR
|2018||Brooks J, Williams K, Ford J, Robson M, 'Intersections in Film and Media Studies', (14) ISSN 2201-7208 (2018) [Edited Journal]|
|2018||Brooks J, Williams K, Ford J, Robson M, 'Editorial: Intersections in film and media studies', Fusion, (14) pp. 3-5. ISSN 2201-7208 (2018) [Letter or Note in Journal]|
|2016||Williams K, 'The Wonder Years: nostalgia, memory and pastness in television credits', Alphaville, (12) pp. 59-77. ISSN 2009-4078 (2016) [Refereed Article]|
|2012||Williams KA, 'Fake and fan film trailers as incarnations of audience anticipation and desire', Transformative Works and Cultures, 9 pp. 1-13. ISSN 1941-2258 (2012) [Refereed Article]|
|2009||Williams KA, 'Never Coming to a Theatre Near You: Recut Film Trailers', M - C: A Journal of Media and Culture: (Media and Culture), 12, (2) ISSN 1441-2616 (2009) [Refereed Article]|
Chapter in Book(5 outputs)
|2018||Williams K, 'Internet Killed the Video Store: Video Stores, Cultural Memory, Nostalgia and Fandom', Everybody Hurts: Transitions, Endings, and Resurrections in Fan Culture, University of Iowa Press, R Williams (ed), United States, pp. 195-207. ISBN 9781609385637 (2018) [Research Book Chapter]|
|2017||Williams K, 'Eulogies for the Video Store: Remembering the Practices and Objects of the Rental Era', Australian Screen in the 2000s, Palgrave Macmillan, MD Ryan and B Goldsmith (ed), Australia, pp. 321-340. ISBN 978-3-319-48298-9 (2017) [Research Book Chapter]|
|2016||Williams K, 'Extended Attractions: Recut Trailers, Film Promotion and Audience Desire', Cycles, Sequels, Spinoffs, Remakes and Reboots: Multiplicities in Film and Television, University of Texas Press, AA Klien and RB Palmer (ed), United States of America, pp. 260-276. ISBN 9781477309001 (2016) [Research Book Chapter]|
|2014||Williams KA, 'Recut Film Trailers, Nostalgia and the Teen Film', Fan CULTure: Essays on participatory fandom in the 21st century, McFarland, KM Barton, JM Lampley (ed), United States, pp. 47-60. ISBN 978-0-7864-7418-9 (2014) [Research Book Chapter]|
|2010||Williams KA, 'The Movie Posters for The World Trade Center and United 93', September 11 and Popular Culture: A Guide, ABC-CLIO, Quay, S and Dimaco, A (ed), Santa-Barbara, California, pp. 271-273. (2010) [Other Book Chapter]|
Conference Publication(1 outputs)
|2010||Williams KA, 'Re-reading the Trailer: The Production and Consumption of Recut' Trailers', Media, Democracy and Change: Refereed Proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association Annual Conference, 7-9 July, Canberra, pp. 1-7. ISBN 978-1-74088-319-1 (2010) [Refereed Conference Paper]|
|2014||Williams KA, 'The Recut Trailer as Networked Object: Anticipation and Nostalgia in the YouTube Era' (2014) [PhD]|
|2014||Crawford K, Williams KA, 'Social Media'', A Companion to the Australian Media, B. Griffen-Foley (ed), Australia, pp. 429-430 (2014) [Entry]|
Other Public Output(2 outputs)
|2018||Nettlefold J, Williams K, 'Insight Five: A snapshot of Media Literacy in Australian Schools', Institute for the Study of Social Change, University of Tasmania, Australia (2018) [Report Other]|
Co-authors: Nettlefold J
|2018||Williams K, Nettlefold J, 'Can you tell fact from fiction in the news? Most students can't', The Conversation, The Conversation Media Group Ltd, Australia, 10 September 2018 (2018) [Magazine Article]|
Co-authors: Nettlefold J
Grants & Funding
Number of grants
- The research involves a number of reports published that explore the complexities of the cultural and creative industries ecology as it pertains to workplace patterns.
- Arts Tasmania ($10,000)
- Contract Research
- Administered By
- University of Tasmania
- Research Team
- Lester EA; Williams KA
- Analysis of relevant national datasets on community participation and workforce. Measure / understand community value of creativity and culture through community surveys and interviews. Understand COVID-19 impacts on the cultural and creative sector and ambitions for individual and sector support and recovery / future through workforce survey and interviews with workforce and sector leaders.
- Department of State Growth (Tas) ($9,813)
- Contract Research
- Administered By
- University of Tasmania
- Research Team
- Lester EA; Williams KA; Yanotti MB
Kathleen has supervised students across the School of Creative Arts and Media, the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Science, the School of Humanities, and the School of Social Science.
Kathleen is particularly interested in supervising new candidates in the following: interdisciplinary creative practice, the cultural and creative industries, screen and digital media, queer studies, waste and environmental impact, sound studies, and media materiality.
|PhD||Exploring the Significance of ICTs in Intimate Relationship Construction, Experience, and Dissolution||2016|
|PhD||Reporting Antarctica: Unlocking the secrets of the frozen continent||2018|
|Masters||Narrative focussed environmental documentary: A documentary film about the proposal to fly tourists into a standing camp on Lake Malbena in Tasmania's Wilderness World Heritage area||2020|
|PhD||In feeling. Collaboration with nature as a driver for social change within sustainable contemporary sculpture and installation practice||2022|
|PhD||Understanding and Communicating Cultural Outcomes: a practical investigation into the measurement of cultura loutcomes to determine the social impact of the Ten Days on the Island Festival||2022|
|PhD||Australia's 'Smart Power' Challenge: Its use of international broadcasting, and the contested role of public interest media|
Candidate: Geoffrey Wilson Heriot
|PhD||Music Collecting in the Streaming Era: Materiality, practices and discovery|
Candidate: Jack Michael Ellis
|PhD||Social Media as a News Source: How The Guardian uses social media texts to report on crisis events|
Candidate: Johanna Baker-Dowdell
|PhD||News Media Representation of Public Environmental Litigation During Environmental Conflict: Coal, coral and courtrooms|
Candidate: Cynthia Amelia Nixon
|PhD||Framing the Future: Propositional journalism and the construction of leadership in 'New Tasmania'|
Candidate: William Manning Dodd