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

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

The seminars occur on a Friday afternoon from 3-4 pm in Room 601 in the Michie Building (#9).

Semester 2, 2017 Seminars & Workshops


Friday, 11 August

Technologies for the Analysis of Communication

Room 601, Michie Building (#9)

Dr Dan Angus

Friday, 18 August

Hotel October: The Deaths and Dates of Jacques Derrida and Walter Benjamin

Room 601, Michie Building (#9)

Prof. John Schad
(Department of English Literature and Creative Writing, Lancaster University)

Friday, 1 September

The Writer on the Road

Room 601, Michie Building (#9)

Dr James Cowan

Friday, 15 September

Birds of a feather? Trump, Chavez and the populist communication style in times of discursive disruption

Room 601, Michie Building (#9)

Dr Elena Block


Friday, 29 September

Making Hollywood Mobile: Labour in Global Film and Television Production

Room 740, Michie Building (#9)

Dr Kevin Sanson
(School of Communication, QUT)
Friday, 13 October

The Datafication of Religious Media:
Pulpit Plagiarism and the Spiritual Commons in American Sermons

Room 601, Michie Building (#9)

Dr Andrew Ventimiglia
(TC Beirne School of Law, UQ)
Friday 27 October

Cirrus: Innovative, Digitally Engaged Assessment for High Level Thinking

Room 601, Michie Building (#9)

Dr Natalie Collie, Dr Jennifer Clement, Kerry Kilner
Friday, 3 November

"The State of Fun": How Singapore's Fun Campaigns Legitimise an Emerging Casino Economy

Room 601, Michie Building (#9)

Dr Juan Zhang

Friday, 10 November

Historical Moods in Film

Room 601, Michie Building (#9)

Dr Robert Sinnerbrink
(Macquarie University)


Level 6, Michie Building (#9)