Hear from our students and graduates from the School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry.
Abdul Abdullah is hitting the canvas
Looking at Fine Arts graduate Abdul Abdullah’s CV is a daunting thing – chock-full of awards, residencies, grants and exhibitions dating back to when he was in his early twenties.
International relations students face reality in Timor-Leste
Fourteen international relations students landed in Timor-Leste for a whirlwind, two week study tour last November, taking their classroom learning to poverty-stricken villages, charities and international embassies, and learning the art of diplomacy along the way.
“Choosing Literary and Cultural Studies as a major was a result of my indecision about which field to enter. At the time, I was interested in philosophy, literature, media and psychology: Literary and Cultural Studies provided me with a place in which I not only read from each area, but where I could actively combine the disciplines to explore aspects of popular culture that intrigued me.
The analytical skills taught in the Literary and Cultural Studies units fit seamlessly with other Humanities courses, and have equipped me with the ability to research in multiple areas with relative ease. Lastly but importantly, a Literary and Cultural Studies major is fun and exciting. Not only did I get to use cookbooks, watch Buffy and read fantasy novels in the name of research, but my experience with these texts led to meaningful critique of the function of popular culture.”
Wunderbar! Using digital storytelling to teach German economics students
Curtin mass communication graduate Jerome Goerke has played a key role in trialling an innovative online, soap opera–style series of short videos about commerce and trade in Germany.
Fortune favours the fearless
For Ashley Barron, her love affair with cinematography began in her teens. Born in Russia and raised in Ireland, she moved to Australia during her high school years, and after the discovery of photography and media in the school curriculum, her life took a creative turn.
“I think the best part of my degree is the versatility and the open nature of the course. By versatility I mean that through the Lunchtime Theatre program students can immerse themselves in the multiple facets of theatre, and build skills in an extremely practical and safe environment that allow them to enter the industry as rounded theatre makers. By open I mean that under Leah Mercer’s coordination I felt as though I was never prescribed to approach Theatre, or Art in general, in a specific style or form.
All the tutors are professionally practising artists who have distinct styles and approaches to theatre, and so students are influenced by many theories and can find their own artistic ethos, rather than being placed inside a conservatorium where a particular and/or specific approach is the prescription, included with all this is the contact with the multitude of outside professionally practising artists currently working within the Perth industry. The ABSOLUTE best would have been the excursion to Bali, to take part in a week intensive of Balinese Mask Work and Balinese dance, accompanied by a Balinese Performance art piece every night. The experience was monumentally impactful, and has permanently affected my artistic practice.” Watch a video about the Performance and Mask workshop in Bali.
I chose to study Internet Communications at Curtin because I wanted to ‘future proof’ my career. The lecturers and tutors were inspiring and knowledgeable. I wouldn’t have been able to complete my degree without them.
Newcastle Live is a multi-platform online community, which engages with lovers of entertainment, music, and local lifestyle and culture in Newcastle and the Hunter, NSW, Australia. Its content is displayed through diverse suite of social media channels with a reach of 580,000 a month.
I chose to become a part of this company because the challenge of taking an ‘old media’ company into the ‘new media’ landscape was exciting.
My daily routine as part of this start-up is never dull, with responsibility for coordinating the content calendar, the creation and sourcing of unique content for the online community, and management of the social media assets, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
I was the first ‘digital creative’ the company had employed. The theory and references I had learnt and collected during my degree were invaluable when justifying the direction I was advising the company to take. My favourite part of my current role is building community around the media Newcastle Live creates.
At the top of my bucket list is the desire to become bilingual and create digital media for the Japanese market. My goal is to create digital media and online experiences that work; experiences that communicate effectively to attract an audience and retain their attention.
I loved the technology units which covered not only the theory and history of technology but also the present needs, requirements and the future challenges. They allowed me to be current and enthusiastic about technology in the real world.
Everything I did in my degree has to a certain extent been used to improve my current role, where my main duties are setting up a new library service, creating social media awareness campaigns and providing technology training to seniors. I also did risk assessments, media releases, radio interviews and VIP invitations for the library’s launch.
The WEB206 unit required us to create a blog which I found very rewarding. The assessment educated me in the intricacies of social media and how different writing styles create authority and connections. It has inspired me to write a private blog for my professional development.
Luke Webster, PhD (Internet Studies)
Why Internet Communications at Curtin?
I was keen to put my interests and skills in communications to use but was a catch 22. Lack of experience was preventing me from moving to the next phase of my career but no one was willing to offer me a chance.
I had seen that knowledge of social media and online communications had become pretty hot in demand and Internet Studies offered an opportunity to diversify my skills and explore emerging trends.
What’s the best thing about this degree?
It’s relevant, timely, practical and fun. We got to study things as they were happening, like the Kony 2012 campaign, so the skills we were learning were immediately and directly applicable to the real world.
Choosing to study fully online maximised my experience of Internet Studies and I really enjoyed how engaging the course was, making full use of the tools and channels available on the web. Working together online was often the most rewarding part of the degree, and was directly relevant to the way we work in the modern workplace.
My proudest study achievement was my final Web 507 project, where I created a range of online content to explain the concept of transmedia in a creative and engaging way. It was a huge amount of fun to create and gave me the highest mark I’d received for any project at university.
I’d love to go back to my early career and convince myself to start postgraduate studies earlier on, but I think everything happened at the right time and it took my cumulative experiences to bring me here.
How has this degree benefited your current role?
My knowledge of communication principles, of new and emerging platforms, my skills in writing for different audiences and platforms, and methods for engaging with communities are important in carrying out my role, where I help to create and develop concepts and content and run communications campaigns across multiple platforms.
What is your greatest career achievement to date?
I helped design and oversee the ‘Humans of Curtin’ equity campaign, which is all about celebrating people from all walks of life and demonstrating that people from all backgrounds can succeed in higher education. The campaign is centred on storytelling. We collect stories from students and staff within the Curtin community and publish these online, similar to Humans of New York. The stories are shared across a variety of digital and print platforms and have organically performed incredibly well.
The second component to this campaign was to design marketing collateral targeted towards equity target groups within the community. We developed visual and audio advertisements that promote positive messaging around racial, sexual and geographical diversity and published these in selected metro and regional places all around the state. This allowed the University to connect with niche and wide-ranging community groups beyond the bounds of who we usually communicate with and advertise to.
Humans of Curtin has attracted attention from around the University, including staff at senior levels. It’s also demonstrated the value of organic content for the use in Curtin marketing campaigns. I’m immensely proud of this project and it’s allowed me to utilise the perfect combination of my creative interests and learned skills.
I’ve just begun my PhD in Internet Studies. I want to build up a profile as an academic and pop culture commentator, and hopefully an expert in transmedia. I’m interested to see where my studies might take me around the world.
Beyond that I think I’d like to eventually engage in teaching and lecturing. One day I’d like to produce a great creative work. I feel like my study is leading me to do something creative.
“So many aspects about my time at Curtin made my university experience unforgettable. I made some amazing friends, many of whom have also gone on to great success professionally, and had lecturers with a variety of experiences that made the course material far more interesting. I also had a lot of fun working with AIESEC Curtin, and with the Curtin International Affairs Association (CIAA). During my final year at University, I also undertook two internships – a research internship with Perth based think tank “Future Directions International”, and an internship as a political intern at the United States Consulate General in Perth. The writing and research skills I had learned at university, in addition to my volunteer work, made me a competitive candidate for these internships.
During my last year of my undergraduate degree at Curtin University, I founded the Curtin International Affairs Association (CIAA). During my time at Curtin, I had always wished that there had been an International Relations club to be involved with – until in my third year, I thought “why not start one myself?” The whole experience was fantastic – I had the opportunity to learn first-hand how to build something from the ground up, met and worked with a fantastic group of people who I am still friends with today, and was able to network with professionals in the field and become exposed to some great opportunities through my role as President of the CIAA. I wanted to create an organisation that engages students with international relations outside of the classroom, and provides them with networking opportunities, and teaches them transferable skills.
The CIAA hosts educational events for students, with high level speakers such as diplomats, academics, NGO and think tank directors, amongst others. We also arranged a number of social events such as quiz nights, and through our social media channels like our Facebook page promote internship and professional opportunities to members. I am most proud of the fact that the CIAA is still running after I have left – and doing very well thanks to the hard work of its current President and committee members!
My greatest career achievement to date was gaining employment with the Australian High Commission in Malta, where I currently work. A long-time dream of mine has been to work with the Department of Foreign Affairs, and this has been a fantastic start to that dream.
During my short time at the High Commission, perhaps the most rewarding part of my job has been my position as Secretariat of our Direct Aid Program Committee. The Direct Aid Program (DAP) issues small grants to local NGO’s (in our case, for Tunisia, as we are also accredited to Tunisia) with projects focused on community, environment, poverty alleviation, etc. I am responsible for managing our applications and communicating with applicants, and bringing them to the committee for assessment. Being involved in this project is exciting, as we get to see real benefits within the community from the money that we donate. For example, this year’s successful applicant was an NGO that works with abandoned children. Seeing the project they proposed flourish, and the children benefit, has personally been very fulfilling.”
The eminent Lowy Institute recently published an opinion piece written by Social Sciences and Security Studies PhD candidate Anne-Marie Balbi in The Interpreter. “I wrote my piece for them based on my PhD research and current events,” says Balbi. “It’s like a dream come true for anyone doing International Relations to publish with Lowy.”
Bringing 13 years of experience working for the Australian Department of Defence, Social Sciences and Security Studies PhD candidate Victor Abramowicz, has recently had two opinion-pieces published in The Interpreter by the Lowy Institute for International Policy:
- Future Frigate and the wisdom of large surface ships
- Don’t panic: The Trump presidency and Australia’s defence needs
Sitelines is an online journal showcasing a selection of the best new fiction, poetry, essays and creative non-fiction by students and graduates of Curtin University’s long-running and highly regarded Creative Writing and Professional Writing and Publishing programs.
The home of Curtin’s established and emerging novelists, poets, playwrights, screenwriters, memoirists and writers of creative non-fiction. The Network includes some of Australia’s best known names whose work is recognised both in Australia and overseas.