The Tom O’Regan Memorial Fellowship

About Tom 

Thomas (Tom) Andrew O’Regan was Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at The University of Queensland. He was a beloved teacher and mentor, a cherished colleague, and an internationally recognised scholar.

Tom’s passing has been met with enormous sadness among his colleagues at UQ, across Australia, and in the humanities community around the world. Tributes have noted his staggering intellectual breadth and boundless curiosity, his quick wit and humour, collegiality, and his tremendous skill in mentoring junior colleagues across disciplines.

Tom’s family, friends and colleagues have vivid memories of him in full flight. Tom loved nothing more than animating intellectual exchange in the kitchen, the hallway, the café and in public talks and symposia. He had a gift for drawing connections between scholars and for creating opportunities for scholars from different fields to encounter each other’s ideas. He could see connections others could not. He was extraordinarily supportive of junior scholars, mentoring them, making opportunities for them to meet others in the field and speak with and alongside senior scholars.

Together with Tom's family, the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and the School of Communication and Arts are seeking to create a fellowship in Tom's memory.

The aim of this fellowship is to honour the spirit of Tom’s important and enduring legacy of cross-disciplinary research in media, communication, and culture. For Tom, meeting in public lectures, talks and roundtables was the heart of the intellectual life of the university. He attended every talk and lecture he could and was the first to suggest the conversation should continue. 

The fellowship will ensure Tom’s legacy of inviting people to share their ideas, listen thoughtfully and engage with great enthusiasm endures at UQ and in the field.

Tom was a key figure in the development of media and cultural studies in Australia. In 1987, he co-founded Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, which, under his editorial guidance until 1994, became one of the world’s preeminent scholarly periodicals in media and cultural studies. Tom’s own research publications reflect his abiding interest in the production and reception of film, television, and new media, as well as their mediation by cultural institutions and policy. His magnum opus, Australian National Cinema (1996), influenced a generation of film scholars in Australia and beyond.

Tom also held a series of key leadership roles throughout his career. He was Director of the Centre for Research in Culture and Communication from 1996 to 1998 at Murdoch University and Director of the Australian Key Centre for Cultural and Media Policy at Griffith University from 1999 to 2002. He was Australia’s UNESCO Professor of Communication from 2001 to 2003 and elected a Fellow of Australian Academy of the Humanities in 2002. At the University of Queensland, he served as Head of the School of English, Media Studies, and Art History from 2005 to 2008 and acting Head of the School of Communication and Arts in 2016. He was Associate Dean Research in the former Faculty of Arts from 2010 to 2011.

It is indicative of Tom’s collegiality and intellectual generosity that his later books were co-authored or co-edited:

  • The Future for Local Content (2001);
  • Cinema Cities/Media Cities (2003);
  • The Film Studio: Film Production in the Global Economy (2005);
  • Local Hollywood: Global Film Production and the Gold Coast (2010);
  • Rating the Audience:The Business of Media (2011).

He edited, in addition to Continuum, several thematic journal issues on cultural and media policy topics, including issues on:

  • “Creative Networks” (2004);
  • “Ratings in Transition” (2002);
  •  “Culture: Industry, Development, Distribution” (2002). 

He also co-edited the book Mobilising the Audience (2002) on audience development strategies in the arts and media sectors.

Honouring Tom through a Visiting Fellowship

A visiting Fellowship in Tom’s memory will enable internationally renowned film, television, media and cultural studies scholars to visit and connect with the UQ community. The program will honour Tom’s legacy as one of the foremost scholars in media studies, bridging conversations with colleagues around the world and strengthening the School that he both led and served. The fellowship will invite scholars whose work cuts across intellectual debates and engages on a wide canvas, and whose model of scholarship is marked by curiosity, generosity and mentorship. The fellowship will recognise Tom’s commitment to emerging scholars, curious questions and previously unseen connections.

The Tom O’Regan Memorial Fellowship will involve a series of activities, including sessions with motivated students and research collaborations with colleagues. The suite of opportunities will be customised to fit the visiting fellow, reflecting Tom’s passion for robust conversation and investigation of new ideas. The School of Communication and Arts has successfully driven a range of visiting fellowships over the years, but this will be as unique as Tom.

The selected scholars may explore Tom’s interest areas, including media and cultural studies, criticism and film, and build upon his work. The Fellowship will run annually in close collaboration with his family and friends.

Fostering a culture of cross-institutional collaboration between UQ colleagues and students alike, the Tom O’Regan Memorial Fellowship will be a lasting reminder of Tom’s lifework.

Impact of your gift

Tom was a vibrant and valued member of the UQ community, whose boundless curiosity and intellect touched humanities communities around the world. Tom shaped the School, the University and countless generations of students and scholars.

A fund of $100,000 would establish the Tom O’Regan Memorial Fellowship in perpetuity. This would allow the distribution of 4.5% to cover costs associated with travel and accommodation. The distribution would be adjusted annually with CPI.

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and the School of Communication and Arts have collectively committed $25,000 towards this fund. We hope you will join us to help realise the remaining $75,000.

If you are interested in supporting this fund, please visit, or contact Dr Alex Tuite, Senior Manager of Advancement, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences through the contact information below.

Dr Alex Tuite

+61 7 334 69766

With your generosity, Tom’s energy, compassion and commitment will continue to be felt long into the future.