2024 Daphne Mayo Public Lecture


To honour and commemorate the life of one of Queensland’s most prominent artists and arts educators, the School of Communication and Arts at The University of Queensland, has established the Daphne Mayo Visiting Professorship in Visual Culture. The Visiting Professorship is now a catalyst for dialogue and debate not only about art but also about art museums and galleries and art collecting and appreciation in the State. Each year, a major world figure will visit Brisbane to speak about the latest trends, influences, and theories in their area of visual culture. 

Daphne Mayo (1895-1982) was for much of her life Queensland’s best known artist and passionate advocate for the arts. Her work includes the Tympanum on the Brisbane City Hall and the Women’s War Memorial in Anzac Square. She was a trustee of the Queensland Art Gallery 1960–1967, established an art reference library now at The University of Queensland, and left her private papers to UQ’s Fryer Library.

 *Banner images used under licence


From Star Wars to Marvel to the Oscars: Blockbuster Aesthetics and Special/Visual Effects

How is it that when watching recent blockbuster films, we can generally state with confidence that the effects were 'good', or 'not good'? How do recent special effects-driven films, such as the Star Wars or Marvel films suggest realism, and how does this concept of realism extend to non-fantasy, 'awards-bait' films such as Past Lives (2023) or Power of the Dog (2022)? A common notion of realism in special/visual effects involves an appeal to the sense that 'it just looks right', but this notion has been surprisingly unexamined. I argue that realism should not be understood as perceptual realism, an aesthetic that attempts to replicate what the eye sees 'in real life', but instead derives from a very specific historical context. This presentation will explore the development of this prevalent but underexamined realist aesthetic, developed at the industry-leading effects company Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) and show how ILM veritably invented our contemporary notion of photorealism, not only in special effects, but in the cinema and moving image capture realms more broadly.

Event Details

Event Date: Wednesday 10 April 2024

Event Time: 5.45pm for a 6pm start 

Event Location: The Terrace Room, Level 6, Sir Llew Edwards Building (14), The University of Queensland St Lucia Campus. 

RSVP: Friday 5 April 2024

This free event also includes drinks and canapés.



Julie Turnock is Professor of Media and Cinema Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign, in the College of Media, and was awarded an NEH fellowship in 2024.

She is the author of Plastic Reality: Special Effects, Technology, and the Emergence of 1970s Blockbuster Aesthetics, from Columbia University Press, and The Empire of Effects: Industrial Light and Magic and the Rendering of Realism from University of Texas PressShe has published on special effects, spectacle, and technology of the silent and studio era, the 1970s, and recent digital cinema in Cinema Journal, Film History, Film Criticism, and New Review of Film and Television Studies, as well as several edited collections.

Campus Accessibility

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Please note that this event will be recorded, and the video recording will be published to:

  • Media and Production Support for the School of Communication and Arts Youtube page (hosted on Google servers located outside of Australia, as listed here

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From Star Wars to Marvel to the Oscars: Blockbuster Aesthetics and Special/Visual Effects

Wed 10 Apr 2024 6:00pm–8:00pm


2024 Daphne Mayo Public Lecture

Wed 10 Apr 2024 6:00pm8:00pm