Media Representations of Natural Disaster

Degree type


Closing date

1 February 2024



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International

About the research project

Natural disasters can have extraordinary prominence in the mass media, and the narratives that are created often draw upon genres and themes that emphasise human and non-human tragedy and horror. More recently, there have also been shifts to media representation as natural disasters have become more frequent, and increasingly connected to Anthropocene causes, such as climate change. Then, new media forms are able to shift the meanings of these older forms. The intimacy that is afforded by social media applications – such as through Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter – means that disasters can be communicated in vastly different ways and by broad populations. For these newer forms, the medium itself maintains different conventions and tonal characteristics, and its widespread distribution and virality means that new narratives may be able to emerge, which can impact upon the ways that we encounter environmental communication.

This project invites applicants based in media studies or a cognate discipline to develop a project examining media representations of natural disaster.  The project could examine natural disaster from the perspective of social media, from print or digital media or else screen media such as cinema, documentary, television, or short-form online content (or it could be a combination of these). As part of their application, the applicant is invited to consider case studies that might come from Tasmania or Australia – such as bushfires, flooding and coral bleaching – or else a comparative study that also examines international examples.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Gemma Blackwood


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $32,192 per annum (2024 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.

Other funding opportunities and fees

For further information regarding other scholarships on offer, and the various fees of undertaking a research degree, please visit our Scholarships and fees on research degrees page.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Ensure your eligibility for the scholarship round by referring to our Key Dates.

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Dr Gemma Blackwood to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. In your application:
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • Submit a signed supervisory support form, a CV including contact details of 2 referees and your project research proposal.
  4. Apply prior to 1 February 2024.

Full details of the application process can be found under the 'How to apply' section of the Research Degrees website.

Following the closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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