Are our increasingly urban, highly mediatised lives less real or authentic than other ways of being in the world? Is the ‘mediapolis’ optional or are our identities and everyday lives so immersed in the ubiquitous and alluring logics of the media city that genuine escape is no longer possible? These questions intersect with enduring myths and metaphors about urban space. The modern city, for instance, has long been associated with alienation and an unnatural, inauthentic existence. This notion is exemplified by the dehumanising waste land of T.S. Eliot’s ‘unreal city’. And yet, urban environments and lifestyles now represent the dominant form of reality for most of the world’s population, providing the lens through which we imagine and experience ourselves, along with a variety of the city's others: the rural, the remote, and nature itself. This paper explores the relationship between urban life, mediatisation, and questions of the real, the natural, and authentic; it does so with the help of works of speculative fiction that extrapolate on a particular premise: the unreal city.


Natalie teaches into the writing and communication programs in the School of Communication and Arts and has a background in the study of literature, writing, and media & culture. Her research is focused on questions of urban space, identity, and narrative. She regularly invokes the capacity of speculative fiction to explore these questions.


Following the lecture, please join us for drinks at St Lucy's.

About Research Seminar and Workshop Series


School of Communication and Arts Research Seminar Series

The research seminar and workshop series occur each semester, each with a different topic and guest speaker from UQ or otherwise.

Friday, 11 March

Online via Zoom

Research Seminar - Tuning In with the Stethoscope in the Nineteenth CenturyDr Melissa Dickson (University of Birmingham)

Friday, 25 March


Early Adventures in Australian Actor Training

Dr Chris Hay

Friday, 8 April

Online via Zoom

Invention and reinvention in the landscape symbolism of Joachim PatinirMichael Levy

Friday, 29 April

Online via Zoom

Negotiating balance of cultures among Chinese Australians to facilitate ageing well

A/Prof Shuang Liu

Friday, 13 May


Redefining crisis in museums: insider’s perspectives on digital engagement

Dr Caroline Wilson-Barnao, Craig Middleton (National Museum of Australia), and Lisa Enright

Friday, 3 June

Hybrid: Online via Zoom and in person at the
SCA Writer's Studio
(Level 6, Michie)

A journey through the Australian environmental movement ecosystem

Dr Robyn Gulliver

Friday, 10 June

Online via Zoom

TBADr Alex Bevan



Level 6, Michie Building (#9)