MACS - March 2010
If you are in Brisbane, feel free to come along
Writing and Getting Involved in ARC Grants
Special Guests include Distinguished Professor Stuart Cunningham
Friday, 12 March 2010
3:00pm – 4:30pm
Room Z6, 208
Creative Industries Precinct,
Queensland University of Technology
Musk Avenue, Kelvin Grove
We invite post-graduate students, ECR’s or anyone else interested to attend the first MACS meeting for 2010 at the Creative Industries Precinct, Queensland University of Technology on Friday 12 March between 3 – 4.30pm. The theme is “Writing and Getting Involved in ARC Grants” and will include a talk by special guest Distinguished Professor Stuart Cunningham.
MACS provides a regular platform for discussing issues relating to these roles as well as an opportunity to contribute to wider debates taking place in the field. MACS is currently active at the University of Queensland and the Queensland University of Technology, and meetings are hosted alternatively across these two institutions.
The idea for the MACS network arose from a sense that PhD students and junior staff are often at a distance from existing forms of collaboration between researchers in different universities within the one city. While much emphasis is placed on the end product of research, and there are plenty of avenues for presenting and publishing our work, the early stages of an academic career involve particular anxieties that can be ameliorated with the support of a community of peers. The MACS group is an attempt to create a space for discussing everything to do with our work aside from the end product, to share accumulated knowledge and resources to gain insight into the options available within our field of research.
File this one under "glad I'm out of it"
It goes without saying that y’all should read Mel Gregg’s excellent article for New Matilda, Why Academia Is No Longer A Smart Choice. Try to ignore the comments, though. I gagged just a little when I came across the phrase “peer reviewed [sic] objects”. The contributions by commentators — some of whom really didn’t seem all that interested in engaging with Mel’s actual argument — make it clear that being a successful Fungible Industrial Knowledge Delivery Unit has very little to do with being a good researcher, writer, or teacher.
A group of researchers I know are building a website to gather personal recollections of Australian television. The site is currently small, but growing, and they would like your input.
Access is free (register to contribute) and the entries so far are very interesting. Well worth a look…
From the “About” page:
The project focuses on the popular experience of television and its role in forming national culture. As well as the usual academic sources, our research includes people’s memories and personal collections, and ‘ephemera’ like popular publications.
Australia – you’re looking at it
We’re using this site to build up an archive derived from interviews, oral histories, memorabilia, published materials, cultural institutions, fans and online sources. It represents Australian television from the point of view of those who have made and consume it. Once we’ve gathered sufficient materials, we want to use them to investigate questions around: the place of television in popular memory; and the versions produced by fan and ProAm memorialisations; the ‘insider’ perspective from people who have worked in the industry; and the collection of photos and stories about the significant television places, set design and TV-related objects; material that will help ‘map’ TV Australia. Last but not least how national icons and mythologies are produced (not least by audiences) through particular television programs and genres.
Vale Claude Lévi-Strauss
A short snippet from my thesis:
What I have been talking about here is the opposition of nature and culture, and while a little culture is a good thing—very few of the champions of natural food actually want to eat everything raw, and even the most dedicated blues guitarist will play the most carefully crafted instrument that they can afford—the over-produced or the processed product is to be avoided. As Frith puts it, “the continuing core of rock ideology is that raw sounds are more authentic than cooked sounds” (“Art Versus Technology” 266).
The raw and the cooked: one of the defining dichotomies of popular culture, and a central metaphor in many areas of value creation.
The State of the Industry
The State of the Industry: the future for cultural research in the university
Thursday-Friday, 26th and 27th November 2009
The University of New South Wales, Kensington
The State of the Industry is a two day conference that will discuss the future for cultural research in the university, while marking the conclusion of a highly successful period of Australian Research Council funding for the Cultural Research Network.
The event will showcase a range of innovative research collaborations and projects that the Cultural Research Network has generated, linking different disciplines, institutions and community groups working in the area of culture over the past 5 years. It will also discuss a number of issues fundamental to the practice of research.
The conference will have free registration and is open to all members of the public and the university community.
Andrew Bolt and Indifferentiation
Poor old Andrew Bolt. Those meanies on Hungry Beast were mean to him last night:
Hungry Beast item on the ABC does underline my point, however, and increase my concern that critics are now deceitfully using the stranger comments of some reader to define my own views and to delegitimise the ones I in fact hold and express. How dishonest this is may be judged by the fact that Hungry Beast item relied on about three or four comments plucked out from a thread of more than 300, written by Muslims, atheists, Christians and Jews, expressing all shades of opinion except my specific own.
Bolt has a point, but (to use his term) one that is rather delegitimised by his one-time annual sport of ridiculing the titles of successful ARC grants—always ones approved by the Humanities and Creative Arts panel.
Rock Culture and the Academy
The definitions of rock culture used by academics and critics all presuppose a fan culture of consumers whose main engagement with the culture is through the purchase of CDs, DVDs, concert tickets, entry to clubs, and so on, or through the free consumption of music texts on the radio, television, or other media. Nowhere is it acknowledged that the consumers of the culture might be producers in their own right. In fact, Simon Frith goes so far as to state that most pop fans are “technically, non-musical” (139).
William Bielby’s sociological account of the emergence of popular music in the southern suburbs of Chicago between 1958 and 1963, laments that of the limited number of published articles on popular music in Sociology Abstracts up until 1999, “with only a few exceptions, this scholarship is mostly about commercially produced music and the music industry, not about grassroots performance” (1).
Nevertheless the 1999 study of Australian cultural taste by Bennett, Emmison and Frow showed that nearly thirty percent of the households surveyed owned a guitar—the archetypal rock music instrument—and that seventeen percent of respondents played a musical instrument of some sort “often” or “sometimes” (198). This is not to suggest that everyone has a stake in, or even equal access to the means of musical production, but it does show that a significant proportion of the population have some degree of musical knowledge, and have the potential to produce informed critiques of the texts they consume.
The Cultures of Authenticity
Done. Just up to the examiners now.
This thesis examines the way in which the concept of authenticity is mobilised throughout popular cultural productions as a politically informed way of constructing value and meaning. It posits authenticity as a cultural category, the composition of which shifts according to the discursive and cultural contexts within which it operates, but whose significance lies in its capacity to signify the genuine, the real, and the fundamental. The thesis further proposes that three discourses are predominant in their participation in the construction and significance of authenticity: community, the natural, and creativity.
I’ve been approached on a couple of occasions now to help spread the word about a new graduate/early career researcher networking site. They’ve been around for a year now and seem to be growing, which overcomes my initial hesitation. It is called Graduate Junction and you can check it out for yourself if you are interested. I’m not a member of this network so can’t vouch for it and it seems that you have to register to access most of the information. There is a heavy UK bias in the team that runs the site, but that may be a reflection of its origins rather than its purpose or functioning.
Australian Researchers on Twitter
Re-posting Jason Wilson at Gatewatching.
I’ve been thinking that it might be handy to compile a list of Australian academics/researchers who are using Twitter. I’m trying to make a start with this post. If people could add themselves in the comments thread, giving their name, position and username, I’ll compile this information in a repost on this blog. I’ll start.
Dr Jason Wilson
Lecturer in Digital Communications, University of Wollongong
The motivation for this has to do with putting everyone in touch with each other, and us in touch with students. The last few posts I’ve done have been about how I’m using Twitter as a teaching and learning tool. Many students are now signed up, and getting to grips with what the service is all about.
I’ve been telling them how many leaders in their field of study are available, but it’s not easy to find everyone listed in one spot. I hope I can provide this for my students and others here.
Jason’s definition includes postgrads, sessional tutors, and so on: anyone working in a university or research context. Please follow the link and out yourself.