Summer Research Scholarship Program 2019/20

Applications close 8 September 2019.


The Hot Skin Game

Project Duration: 6-10 weeks.

Project Description: The Hot Skin Game will be a novel of about 100,000 words that hopes to investigate the effects of trauma and violence on two teenagers growing into troubled adulthood in the early 1970s. The book will be set in coastal, rural and urban Australia, as well as several locations in Europe, most notably in parts of Italy and particularly in Paris. The tone will be non-didactic and especially light in parts, drawing parallels between personal experience of violence and trauma and popular movie culture. This will centre on film genres that also deal with violence and trauma; the storyline will eventually draw our characters into direct experience with horror movies in the vampire genre. 

Expected outcomes and deliverables: 

Students working on the project will investigate, and learn about:

  • Australian cinema of the 1950s-1970s (and perhaps into contemporary times);
  • Old movie theatres, their operation, and projection techniques;
  • Histories of European and Australian horror movies, especially within the vampire genre;
  • Researched and anecdotal effects of trauma and violence on the young;
  • Editorial techniques – students may have the opportunity to read and edit a draft of the manuscript, as well as provide a structural report.

Suitable for: This project is suitable for students willing to do research outside of basic Google searches, and who have a genuine interest in literary and film culture, and creative writing at a very advanced level

Primary Supervisor: Dr Veny Armanno

      Instagrammable: tracing the development of Instagram’s brand culture and advertising model

      Project Duration: 6-10 weeks.

      Project Description: When Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2011 the mobile photo-sharing app made no revenue. While an influencer culture was beginning to emerge on the platform, where celebrities and micro-celebrities were forming partnerships with brands and businesses, the platform had no formal advertising model. Over the course of this decade, Instagram has developed one of the most significant and innovative advertising models in the digital economy. Instagram’s promotional culture is participatory and data-driven. The platform is at the heart of the development of influencer culture, has been central in making our cities, homes, food, bars and galleries ‘Instagrammable’, and is at the forefront of using machine learning to track and target consumers. In recent years Instagram has also been a key player in the development of ephemeral video and augmented reality advertising, as it competes with and clones Snapchat. This project aims to take a critical exploration of Instagram’s promotional culture – how it has developed, how it has integrated brands deep within our cultural lives and experiences, and what the consequences might be. We’ll do that via a combination of archival research of industry trade press, literature review, app walkthroughs, and/or analysis of scraped Instagram images. 

      Expected outcomes and deliverables: Together we will create a timeline of the development of Instagram’s brand culture and advertising model for online publication and a draft of an academic journal article.

      Suitable for: The project would suit students studying communication, media and related fields.

      Primary Supervisor: Dr Nic Carah

          Journalists in the line of fire: Challenges of conflict reporting in evolving and difficult environments  

          Project Duration: 6-10 weeks.

          Project Description: One of the most risky assignments that journalists undertake is the coverage of international, regional, and local conflicts. Many journalists have been killed while reporting conflicts either because they were caught in the line of fire or they were targeted by the fighters or because the fighting groups disregarded international rules of how to treat prisoners of war. A growing number of journalists are losing their lives in war zones for a number of reasons, including lack of training (e.g., increasing number of untrained freelance foreign correspondents), the changing nature of modern warfare, lack of understanding among militant groups about the role of journalists in reporting conflicts, general disregard by combatants of the Geneva Conventions that outline the rules of warfare, as well as the different rules of treatment of non-combatant civilians and armed soldiers.

          The growing number of journalists who lose their lives while covering conflicts has compelled news organisations to reconsider training and safety measures that journalists should undertake before, during, and after their assignment. 

          This project, essentially an in-depth literature review, serves as a pilot of a forthcoming ARC Discovery Project that will examine systematically and critically the challenges that journalists face in reporting conflicts in evolving but difficult environments. 

          The literature review will explore, identify, and critically analyse the following issues:

          • How social media have affected the rules of engagement (code of conduct) for journalists reporting on conflicts.
          • The role of social media as a professional tool for reporting conflicts or a narrow window through which journalists look at and report events across the world.
          • How journalists reporting on conflicts seek to understand the environments in which they operate, how they understand the language and culture of the combatants, how they develop their own operational security (i.e., security measures), etc. 
          • Reasons why freelance foreign correspondents/journalists expose themselves to greater danger in reporting conflict than more experienced journalists who work with established media.
          • Ethical and moral issues in reporting conflicts, including obligations that media organisations which hire freelance foreign correspondents have to ensure their safety when reporting on conflict.

          Expected outcomes and deliverables: The successful Research Assistant would have developed skills in literature review, as well as research management skills. The person will have an opportunity to co-author a journal article with me. 

          Suitable for: This project is open to students in Year 3 or Year 4 of undergraduate study who have the relevant research methods and literature review skills required to undertake the project.  

          Primary Supervisor: Dr Levi Obijiofor

              Staging Brisbane Homes and Transforming Public and Private Space

              Project Duration: 6-10 weeks.

              Project Description: I am currently researching how ideas of “home” are created in the contexts of mass urbanization and income disparity which make home ownership an impossibility for many, particularly millennials and digital natives (people born after 1982). To do this, I am interviewing people who stage homes for sale in the Brisbane area with a focus on how they design utopic ideals of home and private space as well as the illusion of the accessibility of home ownership. 

              Expected outcomes and deliverables: The student researcher would assist me in producing a list of viable home stagers, urban planning specialists, and real estate professionals in the Brisbane area. We would then contact them and arrange for interviews to be conducted. The student researcher would accompany me on these house tours as well as interviews in order to help me record the interview, ask relevant questions and take notes. They would gain valuable experience in ethnographic work as well curate possible industry contacts.

              Suitable for: Excellent interpersonal skills; strong verbal and conversational skills in English; a comfort with being on the phone and cold calling people; meticulous note taking skills; and strong critical thinking skills; an interest in urban planning and interior design or a sensitivity to visual interpretation of spaces.

              Primary Supervisor: Dr Alex Bevan

                  Understanding older Chinese migrants’ experiences in Australia

                  Project Duration: 6-10 weeks.

                  Project Description: The project explores older Chinese migrants’ experiences of living and ageing in Australia. Through the analysis of interview data (already collected), the project aims to identify the enablers and barriers to their intergenerational communication, social participation and quality of life.

                  Expected outcomes and deliverables: Through working with me on the project, the student will gain valuable research experiences, in particular conducting qualitative data analysis and writing up research findings for publication. In addition, I aim to submit one article to an academic journal based on the project, for consideration of publication. The student involved in this project will be offered co-authorship on the article.

                  Suitable for: Because the data were collected in Chinese language (Mandarin and a very small number in Cantonese), I prefer the applicant to be fluent in spoken (Mandarin at least) and written Chinese language. Previous research related experiences desirable, but not essential.

                  Primary Supervisor: A/Prof Shuang Liu

                      Hachette MS Development Program: Ten Year Study

                      Project Duration: 6-10 weeks.

                      Project Description: Large trade publisher, Hachette Australia, has been running an emerging writers program (the Manuscript Development Program) since 2008. During that time, nearly 100 writers have worked with Hachette editors on their unpublished manuscripts, and received training and insights into the publishing industry. This project is in partnership with Hachette, and will use their data, combined with survey and interview of the participants, to analyse the outcomes of the Program. It also considers the changing face of publishing over the last ten years, due to technological advancement, and will make recommendations to Hachette about the Program’s future iterations, in light of those changes. The project will result in a report to Hachette, and an academic paper on effective development of post-digital creative writers.

                      Expected outcomes and deliverables: 

                      The summer research scholar will gain:

                      • Knowledge of the ethics approval process
                      • Experience in setting up online surveys
                      • Experience in conducting interviews (with support)
                      • Training in qualitative data coding using NVivo
                      • Expanded industry networks via liaising with authors and publishers
                      • Co-author status on the report and academic paper. 

                      Suitable for: 

                      • The summer research scholar should be a mature-minded and diligent postgrad coursework or second/ third-year undergraduate student, preferably in the WEP program or Writing major, with an interest in the publishing industry. No prior experience is necessary.

                      Primary Supervisor: A/Prof Kim Wilkins

                          Into the Light: In Recovering Australia’s Lost Women Artists 1870-1960s

                          Project Duration: 6-10 weeks.

                          Project Description: This internship will be conducted at the Griffith University Art Museum (GUAM) as part of a national collaborative research project with Sheila Foundation Ltd. The Foundation is a national not-for-profit organisation that continues the pioneery work of Lady Sheila Cruthers, a Western Australian philanthropist who collected the work of Australian women artists. This led to the Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art, now part of the UWA Collection. Lady Sheila was concerned that generations of Australian women artists had disappeared into history and sought to rectify this. Today, the Sheila Foundation is looking for a new generation of visionaries like Lady Sheila to help us discover and and celebrate Australian women artists of the past and support living artists. The internship will be in conjunction with one of the Foundation’s program titled Into the Light: Recovering Australia’s Lost Women Artists 1870-1960. Interns will work closely with the Director of GUAM in researching archives, collections, and library and museum catalogues. The internship is offered as part of the ARTT3200 Art Internship course for academic credit for suitable applicants.

                          Expected outcomes and deliverables: 

                          • Experience in researching in professional art gallery context
                          • Skill-building in working with gallery archives and collections
                          • Experience in using art gallery database systems
                          • Increased knowledge about Australian art and its context
                          • Network opportunities with Australian art industry and prestigious Australian art research Foundation. 

                          Suitable for: 

                          • Internship is suitable for any student who has completed a course in Australian art and 2 introductory art history courses. 
                          • Internship + ARTT3200 enrolment requires student who has completed at least 6 art history courses with a GPA of 5.5.

                          Primary Supervisor: A/Prof Sally Butler

                              Analysis of refugee and asylum seeker’s resilience on social media

                              Project Duration: 6-10 weeks.

                              Project Description: The socio-political debate around refugees and asylum seekers in Australia over the past two decades is well-established in literature. Media and sociology scholars have researched the coverage of refugee and asylum seekers within traditional media (i.e., newspaper coverage) from past to present.  However, with the advent of social media, this project would like to extend this research to analysing Facebook/Twitter feed. In particular, how refugees and asylum seekers showcase their resilient practices on the social media.

                              Expected outcomes and deliverables: 

                              Potential gains for student/s:

                              • Learning about social media’s role in migrant settlement
                              • Conducting systematic literature review
                              • Learning about research design & methods
                              • Learning about social media analyses and potentially being involved in or carrying out analyses (finding dataset, scraping data, cleaning data for analysis). 

                              Suitable for: 

                              Students with an interest in:

                              • Refugee/asylum seeker settlement or bend for social science – can be from journalism domain. Knowledge of conducting literature reviews from various pertinent databases. Being able to work independently and within stipulated timelines. Ability to write up a summary of literature.
                              • Conducting social media research and analyses. Familiarity with Facebook/Twitter and if possible ability to locating twitter data, scraping and cleaning the data).

                              Primary Supervisor: Dr Aparna Hebbani

                              Australian Epic Fantasy

                              Project Duration: 6-10 weeks.

                              Project Description: In 1995, Sara Douglass published Battleaxe, the first in her Axis Trilogy and her first published novel. She couldn’t have anticipated that it was the beginning of a burgeoning in Australian-written epic fantasy, especially by women writers. This project aims to map the true scale of epic fantasy writing in Australia since 1995 by creating a rich dataset of bibliographical records, which will then form the basis for future research on the topic. The student will be working with AustLit researchers and bibliographers to refine our understanding of ‘epic fantasy’ as a specific form; ensure our records for the chosen works are complete and accurate; tie the works together in such a way that they form a searchable dataset; begin the process of building contextual material around the topic, for example, an interactive chronology of epic fantasy publishing.

                              Expected outcomes and deliverables: The outcome of the initial part of the project (on which the student will be working) will be a rich dataset of Australian epic fantasy, its critical reception, and international translations. The student will also be supported in helping construct the context (webpage and / or contextual material) in which the project will be presented. The student will end the scholarship with a strong sense of the breadth of Australian fantasy fiction, of bibliographical practices and dataset construction, and of digital humanities as a research tool.

                              Suitable for: applicants with a strong interest in speculative fiction and / or some background in literary studies.

                              Primary Supervisor: Kerry Kilner and Catriona Mills

                              Microplastics in the Media

                              Project Duration: 6-10 weeks.

                              Project Description: The environmental and health risks of plastic are increasingly being recognised. Images of divers swimming through plastic waste have circulated around the world, and there is increasing media reporting of the presence of microplastics in the environment. Recent data suggests that people may be ingesting as much as 5 grams of plastic every week - the equivalent of eating a credit card. The focus of this project will be on identifying the ways in which information about microplastics is being communicated in the media and how people respond to this communication. The research will provide initial insights into the type of information that people may be receiving about this important emerging issue, and how they make sense of the information. The outcomes will be of interest to a range of disciplines (e.g., toxicologists, health researchers) and a range of organisations (e.g., health departments. Environmental organisations). 

                              Expected outcomes and deliverables: The student will gain important and transferable research skills. She/he will learn how to conduct a literature review, and will gain experience in media content analysis, and qualitative research methods. The project will be a collaboration between the student and the supervisor, with input from other relevant experts (e.g., toxicologists). The project therefore provides students with experience in developing a collaborative project, and gathering and reporting on outcomes, skills that are critical in the workplace and transferrable to many professional contexts.

                              Suitable for: The project is suitable to anyone with an interest in gaining research experience who has done a research methods course. A specific interest in environmental/science/health communication is ideal but not essential

                              Primary Supervisor: A/Prof Kelly Fielding



                              How to Apply?