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, 24 March

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

Fire Futures: codesigning for resilience

Dr Skye Doherty

Friday, 31 March

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

From Fatigue Studies to Burnout: A Brief History of Work Exhaustion

A/Prof Elizabeth Stephens



Level 6, Michie Building (#9)