Summer/Winter Research Scholarship Program 2017-2018

Applications are closed.


Story-telling on Stage, Screen, and Online 
Project Duration: 6-10 weeks.
Project Background: Have you heard of the Australian writers Dorothy Blewett (no, not Hewett), or Millicent Armstrong, Max Afford, Betty Roland, or Catherine Shepherd? How about Kester Berwick, Furnley Maurice, or Lottie Lyle?

Are you, or do you think you could be, a persistent researcher who enjoys piecing together stories from old books, ephemeral information, newspaper reports, and archives?

You’ve probably never heard of the people listed above and that’s because their stories are still being told. You could help to tell them by taking part in a project that is identifying, researching, and digitising plays and other works from before 1950, and publishing them on AustLit.

Apply to become a Summer Scholar with the AustLit team of researchers. Help us build a fabulous digital archive of plays and other literary works, undertake research on them and the writers who made them. Create dynamic online exhibitions and deepen your understanding of the lives and careers of Australian writers from a time when writing for performance was a Sisyphean task of trying and trying again to find a stage or screen for your Australian story.

Expected outcomes and deliverables: Identifying, researching, and digitising plays and other works from before 1950, and publishing the works on AustLit; Building a digital archive of plays and other literary works; Creating online exhibitions.

Suitable for: This project is suitable for students who have the ability to write succinctly and research well, and who have an interest in contemporary publishing and disruptive technologies.

Primary Supervisor: Kerry Kilner, Director, AustLit -


Physical Journalism

Project Duration: 6-10 weeks.

Project Background: The project will explore the possibilities of physical, situated and wearable interfaces for telling stories in the public interest. It will investigate emerging technologies and examples of projects that have used tangible or wearable computing as means of communication. It will consider what is possible in the context of journalism.

Expected outcomes and deliverables: Scholars will gain experience in cross-disciplinary research. They will prepare a dossier of their research, including key findings, a summary of major themes, project descriptions and an annotated bibliography. There is scope for design observation and preliminary conceptual work.

Suitable for: Scholars should have an interest in the topic, the ability to think laterally and well-developed research and writing skills. The scholar will need to read and make sense of academic and non-academic material from disciplines including communication, design and technology.

Primary Supervisor: Dr Skye Doherty, School of Communication and Arts -

    Frontiers of Science: pictures and progress

    Project Duration: 6-10 weeks.

    Project Background: What can an Australian newspaper comic strip series from the 1960s and 70s tell us about the ways that science was practiced, understood and advocated for, and how does that period prefigure what counts as popular science in the 21st century?

    Frontiers of Science was a factual comic strip that was published every weekday for twenty years in hundreds of newspapers around the world. It is a remarkable artifact of science history and Australian science popularization that has until now received scant attention. This project uses the comic strip series to explore intersections of science with the military, modernity, comics, art and politics. Chapters on communication, rockets, big science, the frontier, gendered science, and environmentalism explore the ways that popular science circulated.

    Expected outcomes and deliverables: The student will conduct archival research of newspapers and magazines, and will help to manage a large writing project. Tasks will also include reference checking and library searches. S/he will contribute to research for the later stages of the book project, and will learn more about literature reviews, interdisciplinarity, and how to work as a research assistant.

    Suitable for: The successful student will have advanced research skills in the humanities. S/he will be good at working alone, and at communicating the outcomes of her/his research.

    Primary Supervisor: Dr Maureen Burns, School of Communication and Arts -

    In search of a cultural home beyond locality

    Project Duration: 6-10 weeks.

    Project Background: This project aims to investigate the ways through which older immigrants can keep themselves connected to their families, their home country, their community, their social networks, and the larger Australian society via face to face (physical) and mediated (digital) communication such as internet enabled devices. Modern communication technologies and digital media have produced significant changes in how geographic distance affects ageing immigrants’ cultural experience and how perceptions of space, place, and belonging are mediated and navigated. Advances in smartphone technology, wearable technology, and touchscreen interfaces are transforming both maps and screens into portals that allow people to engage with and navigate through virtual and actual spaces. However, what we lack is an understanding of how well those communication technologies help to build a sense of cultural home beyond locality. Addressing this question is of theoretical and practical importance because connectedness with the physical environment, culture, social networks, community, family, and society because connectedness provides the building blocks for a sense of home, identity, and belonging, all of which a significant contributors to well-being.

    Expected outcomes and deliverables: TThe student will learn theories and research in the field of intercultural communication and cross-cultural adjustment. S/he will be mentored on how to conduct literature review, analyse data, and writing up academic papers. Those skills will be very useful for the student’s own academic work at the University. The student might be offered co-authorship in a paper generated out of this project to be submitted to an academic journal for consideration of publication.

    Suitable for: This project is suitable for students who have some prior experience of doing literature review and academic research. The ability to read Chinese language is desirable. 

    Primary Supervisor: A/Prof Shuang Liu, School of Communication and Arts -


    Communicating about Environmental Health Risks: What Works?

    Project Duration: 6-10 weeks.

    Project Background: Organisations such as Queensland Health struggle to effectively engage and communicate with community members about important environmental health issues. These environmental health issues are diverse, ranging from the impacts of coal seam gas mining and coal dust, to the effects of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from military and firefighting activities. The challenge of communicating about these issues often arises because the science is uncertain, but concern is high and sometimes fuelled by organised opposition groups. What are the best communication strategies to use in these situations? What do international and local case studies tell us about what works and why? These are critical questions that can inform the practices of local environmental health agencies. This project will provide valuable insights to the Risk Communication theme of the Queensland Alliance of Environmental Health Sciences, a collaboration between The University of Queensland and Queensland Health

    Expected outcomes and deliverables: Through literature review and case study analysis the project will deliver valuable insights about effective risk communication and engagement approaches. These insights are critically needed by local agencies such as Queensland Health. In addition to developing valuable research skills, the student will gain content knowledge about theories and findings relating to risk communication and engagement in Australia and internationally.

    Suitable for: A keen interest in understanding and analysing what makes communication and engagement approaches effective in specific contexts.

    Primary Supervisor: A/Prof Kelly Fielding, School of Communication and Arts -


    How to Apply?