UQ Summer/Winter Research Scholarships

Summer Research Scholarship Program 2022-2023 

Applications Closed


Human-nature relationships represented in Tattoos

Project Duration: 10 weeks, commencing 28/11/2022 and concluding 17/02/2023 (excluding 2 weeks off over the Christmas and New Year break). Remote/online participation available for the duration of the project.

Project Description: Tattoos are highly visible in everyday life, from TV series that represent the lives of tattoo artists and their interactions with clients to world-class sports stars and the people we meet on a daily basis who display visible tattoo designs. While in the not-too-distant past, tattoos were often perceived to represent an outward sign of nonconformity or even deviance, tattoos now increasingly transcend class, gender and age boundaries and are more acceptable than they have ever been. Additionally, tattoos are a work of an artist and therefore an interpretation of a certain meaning that lies behind the images and a story that the client wants to tell, created in an interpersonal communication situation. Thus, the project critically examines the ways in which tattoos alter people’s sense of being in a semiotic way. Tattoos communicate key elements of their identity as well as sense of being to themselves and to the wider world. Therefore, tattoos of images and symbols of nature represent the eco-cultural identity of the person wearing it and tell a story about their human-nature relationship. The project will be the starting point for a larger international research collaboration on eco-cultural identities represented in tattoos. To explore this completely new field of environmental communication, the summer scholar will work closely with the lead researcher (Dr. F. Weder) in developing a conceptual framework and conduct a series of explorative, in-depth-interviews with tattoo artists and their clients.

The project includes:

  • An introduction workshop on the research questions and team
  • A weekly workshop with the team leaders (check-in, theoretical background, methodological and analytical design)
  • Background literature to obtain an understanding of representation of nature in images (here: tattoos)
  • Categorization of eco-cultural identities represented in tattoos, collection of stories (through explorative, narrative interviews)
  • Final workshop for future outlook.  

Expected outcomes and deliverables: With this project, the student can not only advance their methodological expertise in qualitative research and innovative methodologies, but they will also form insights into concepts of sustainability, environmental communication, and innovative approaches to understand eco-cultural identities. Students are asked to participate in workshops, do the research, and help with a final product about the results (report plus podcast). 

Suitable for: This project is open to applications from students with a background in communication and media, but applications from students with a background in environmental studies (or related subjects), with a specific interest in eco-culture, art, and symbolism are welcome to apply.

Primary Supervisor: Dr. Franzisca Weder

The Floating City—A literature review to aid creative writing about Mars

Project Duration: 10 weeks, commencing 28/11/2022 and concluding 17/02/2023 (excluding 2 weeks off over the Christmas and New Year break). Remote/online participation available for the duration of the project

Project Description: A new novel, titled The Floating City, by Helen Marshall, is in the initial phase of research. It investigates intersections between travel literature and space exploration, urban planning, and the ghost story, exploring a near future which has mitigated the worst effects of climate change through widescale transformation and emerged with strengthened institutions and an impetus toward justice. This society will be modelled on trends and potential advances in geo-engineering, “ferming” and agro-ecological practices, industrial design, political science and practical ethics. The student will be tasked with drawing together materials related to the current state of space exploration (problems, proposed solutions, timelines, etc.); and compiling a literature review on Mars, to aid the development of a realistic setting. The student will prepare a weekly report and will meet the supervisor to discuss the findings and to shape the next stage of the inquiry

Expected outcomes and deliverables: The student will be shown how to compile a literature review, develop research questions, evaluate sources, and tackle complex problems as they relate to creative industries. The student will follow research questions to provide material to be used in the development of the setting for a new novel. This will give the student a chance to see what the process of drafting a novel involves in terms of research and preparation. The supervisor would also be happy to discuss the nature of the publishing industry and how novels are commissioned, edited and marketed. Finally, the student will also be invited to use the research for his or her own writing purposes, including, for example, the development of a science fiction story for his or her undergraduate major project (if desired). The student’s work will be acknowledged in the final publication

Suitable for: Students with experience in creative writing (can be informal or hobbyist), preferable science fiction; ability to work independently to complete research tasks; a science background may be beneficial, but is not essential

Primary supervisor: Dr Helen Marshall

Australian Writing and Rock Music: An AustLit data set ("I know, it's only rock'n'roll but I write it...")

Project Duration: 10 weeks, commencing 28/11/2022 and concluding 17/02/2023 (excluding 2 weeks off over the Christmas and New Year break). Remote/online participation available for the duration of the project

Project Description:

This project is the final stage of the construction of a specialised data set on Australian writing about rock music, which is part of a larger project on the connections between texts and music by Chief Investigator Henderson.

The data set aims to collate bibliographical records of fiction, memoir, critical essays and, resources permitting, journalism. This stage will:

(a) construct categories for further research and tagging of possible records,

(b) locate very detailed materials (potentially, writing by musicians, journalism, and popular histories of Australian rock music),

(c) attempt to link multimedia resources to the dataset (video clips, for instance), and

(d) help prepare the dataset for its public launch at a research symposium on 9-10 February, 2023.

We aim to produce an innovative, world leading data set that highlights the depth and breadth of writing about Australian rock music, and therefore the breadth and depth of Australian rock music itself

Expected outcomes and deliverables:

Scholars will:

  • Gain skills in data collection and database design, including multi-media resources and their integration
  • Gain skills in designing data base interfaces
  • Learn basic event management skills

Scholars will be expected to:

  • Assist in the completion of the data set
  • Assist in the organisation and publicising of the data set launch

Suitable for: This project is open to applications from students with a background in one or more of the following:  literary studies, cultural studies, Australian studies, history, and who have completed two years of full-time study

Primary Supervisor: A/Prof Margaret Henderson

Secondary Supervisor: Dr Catriona Mills (Director, AustLit)

How to Apply?

Summer and Winter Research Scholarship Programs -  https://employability.uq.edu.au/summer-winter-research

If you require further assistance, please contact the School of Communication and Arts Research research.commarts@uq.edu.au