Screen and Media - Collected Works

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    Mediating identity narratives : a case study in queer digital storytelling as everyday activism
    (AOIR, 2011) Vivienne, Sonja
    Digital Stories are short autobiographical documentaries, often illustrated with personal photographs and narrated in the first person, and typically produced in group workshops. As a media form they offer ‘ordinary people’ the opportunity to represent themselves to audiences of their choosing; and this amplification of hitherto unheard voices has significant repercussions for their social participation. Many of the storytellers involved in the ‘Rainbow Family Tree’ case study that is the subject of this paper can be characterised as ‘everyday’ activists for their common desire to use their personal stories to increase social acceptance of marginalised identity categories. However, in conflict with their willingness to share their personal stories, many fear the risks and ramifications of distributing them in public spaces (especially online) to audiences both intimate and unknown. Additionally, while technologies for production and distribution of rich media products have become more accessible and user-friendly, many obstacles remain. For many people there are difficulties with technological access and aptitude, personal agency, cultural capital, and social isolation, not to mention availability of the time and energy requisite to Digital Storytelling. Additionally, workshop context, facilitation and distribution processes all influence the content of stories. This paper explores the many factors that make ‘authentic’ self-representation far from straight forward. I use qualitative data drawn from interviews, Digital Story texts and ethnographic observation of GLBTQIS1 participants in a Digital Storytelling initiative that combined face-to-face and online modes of participation. I consider mediating influences in practice and theory and draw on strategies put forth in cultural anthropology and narrative therapy to propose some practical tools for nuanced and sensitive facilitation of Digital Storytelling workshops and webspaces. Finally, I consider the implications of these facilitation strategies for voice, identity and social participation.
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    Shouting from the Rooftops: Queer Digital Storytelling for Social Impact
    (Peter Lang Publishin Inc., 2011) Vivienne, Sonja
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    Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) as a tool for digital citizenship: preliminary surveys in India and Australia
    (Australian and New Zealand Communication Association, 2014) Vivienne, Sonja; Potter, M; Thomas, P
    This article explores the links between Digital Citizenship and e-literacy initiatives that use Free and Open Source Software (henceforth referred to as FOSS). We present early hypotheses arising from initial surveys undertaken in development of a larger research project that compares FOSS-enabled Digital Citizenship in India and Australia.
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    Trans Digital Storytelling: Everyday Activism, Mutable Identity and the Problem of Visibility
    (Australian Psychological Society, 2011) Vivienne, Sonja
    Mainstream representations of trans people typically run the gamut from victim to mentally ill and are almost always articulated by non-trans voices. The era of user-generated digital content and participatory culture has heralded unprecedented opportunities for trans people who wish to speak their own stories in public spaces. Digital Storytelling, as an easy accessible autobiographic audio-visual form, offers scope to play with multi-dimensional and ambiguous representations of identity that contest mainstream assumptions of what it is to be ‘male’ or ‘female’. Also, unlike mainstream media forms, online and viral distribution of Digital Stories offer potential to reach a wide range of audiences, which is appealing to activist oriented storytellers who wish to confront social prejudices. However, with these newfound possibilities come concerns regarding visibility and privacy, especially for storytellers who are all too aware of the risks of being ‘out’ as trans. This paper explores these issues from the perspective of three trans storytellers, with reference to the Digital Stories they have created and shared online and on DVD. These examplars are contextualised with some popular and scholarly perspectives on trans representation, in particular embodied and performed identity. It is contended that trans Digital Stories, while appearing in some ways to be quite conventional, actually challenge common notions of gender identity in ways that are both radical and transformative.
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    The Remediation of the Personal Photograph and the Politics of Self-representation in Digital Storytelling
    (SAGE Publications, 2013) Vivienne, Sonja; Burgess, J
    Over the past couple of decades, the cultural field formerly known as ‘domestic’, and later ‘personal’ photography has been remediated and transformed as part of the social web, with its convergence of personal expression, interpersonal communication and online social networks (most recently via platforms such as Flickr, Facebook and Twitter). Meanwhile, the digital storytelling movement (involving the workshop-based production of short autobiographical videos) from its beginnings in the mid-1990s relied heavily on the narrative power of the personal photograph, often sourced from family albums and later from online archives. This article addresses the new issues arising for the politics of self-representation and personal photography in the era of social media, focusing particularly on the consequences of online image-sharing. It discusses in detail the practices of selection, curation, manipulation and editing of personal photographic images among a group of activist-oriented queer digital storytellers who have in common a stated desire to share their personal stories in pursuit of social change and whose stories often aim to address both intimate and antagonistic publics.
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    Networked Identity Work as Project Development Among Co-Creative Communities
    (Faculty of Humanities, Curtin University, 2013) Vivienne, Sonja
    Networked identity work is the conscious negotiation or co-creation of identity, enacted by speaking and listening across differences among multiple publics, including those real and imagined, familiar and unknown, on and offline, present and future. It is a concept I explore extensively in research with queer Digital Storytellers who share their personal stories in public places to catalyse social change (Vivienne 2013). In this article I consider distinctions between ‘story’ and ‘identity’; ‘networking’ and ‘networked identity work’ and argue that the two concepts may be usefully employed in development of co-creative community projects. Finally I consider how variable definitions of co-creativity influence project development.
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    The Digital Storyteller's Stage: Queer Everyday Activists Negotiating Privacy and Publicness
    (Taylor & Francis, 2012) Vivienne, Sonja; Burgess, J
    This article explores how queer digital storytellers understand and mobilize concepts of privacy and publicness as they engage in everyday activism through creating and sharing personal stories designed to contribute to cultural and political debates. Through the pre-production, production, and distribution phases of digital storytelling workshops and participation in a related online community, these storytellers actively negotiate the tensions and continuua among visibility and hiddenness; secrecy and pride; finite and fluid renditions of self; and individual and collective constructions of identity. We argue that the social change they aspire to is at least partially achieved through “networked identity work” on and offline with both intimate and imagined publics.
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    Mediating Influences: Problematising facilitated digital self-representation
    (Aarhus University, Department of Aesthetics and Communication, 2014) Vivienne, Sonja
    While Digital Storytelling has been lauded as an exemplary model of participatory cultural citizenship (particularly in initiatives for and with marginalised people), many mediating influences make ‘authentic’ self-representation far from straightforward. In this article, I consider some of these mediating influences, from both theoretical and practical perspectives, and underline their regulatory and constitutive nature. While some of these mediating influences are timeworn and pre-date digital technology, others are perpetuated and amplified, as is the case in networked personal storytelling disseminated online. I draw on some well-established strategies derived from anthropology and narrative practices to propose a new purpose for old tools. These tools support the nuanced and sensitive facilitation of both face-to-face and online Digital Storytelling workshops as well as the curation of web spaces in which they eventually circulate. I argue that making complex mediating influences visible to participants affords redress of the inherent social and technical privileges of institutions, facilitators and platforms. Finally, I consider the implications of these strategies for voice, marginalised identity, cultural citizenship and social change.
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    The Naked Community Organizer: Politics and Reflexivity in Gus Van Sant's Milk
    (Taylor & Francis, 2011) Erhart, Julia Gayley
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    Donor Conception in Lesbian and Non-lesbian Film and Television Families
    (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) Erhart, Julia Gayley
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    ‘Mr G is deffinately bringin’ Sexy back': characterizing Chris Lilley's YouTube audience
    (Taylor & Francis, 2014) Erhart, Julia Gayley
    This essay investigates how consuming Australian comedian Chris Lilley's TV material on YouTube allows for different forms of participation than are allowed by the experience of watching Lilley's work on broadcast TV. It examines the themes that emerge in user comments and the nature of the pleasure that fans get from Lilley's shows, particularly involving the popular gender non-conformist and female characters, Mr G and Ja'mie. The essay refers back to an earlier essay by the same author, which noted the relative popularity of some of Lilley's characters with professional critics. While there was some congruence between the critical responses analysed in the earlier essay and YouTube users' assessments, there were also themes and responses specific to the YouTube usership (for instance, a relative dearth of homophobic commentary regarding Mr G's sexuality). In offering an analysis of fan-specific data, the essay accounts for the appeal of Lilley's satirical comedy to fan communities that do not typically feature in critical analyses of satirical media. By suggesting how user comments shape others' experiences of the entertainment, the essay re-positions YouTube fans as creators of culturally valuable material in their own right.
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    Exploring the Central India Art of the Gond People: contemporary materials and cultural significance
    (2016-05-12) Arur, Sidharth; Wyeld, Theodor
    Prior to the Muslim invasions of the 14th century, the Gond people were a culturally significant tribe in central India. Today, their art and culture is being rediscovered by a local and international audience. This is due mainly to the events of exhibitions by the Gond artist Jangarh Singh Shyam's work in Paris and Japan, in 1988. Since then, other Gond artists have also had their work exhibited internationally. Despite this renewed interest in Gond art, little has been written about their work. While much is known about the people and their customs, little is known about their artworks and what motivates their style of art and the depiction of particular elements in their works. This paper begins to address this apparent gap in the literature by reviewing a recent contemporary art exhibition of Gond art at the Art Gallery of South Australia.
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    Center or Margin? The Place of Media Play in Children’s Leisure
    (Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 2011) Vered, Karen Orr
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    The Jazz Singer: Accounting for Female Agency and Reconsidering Scholarship
    (Screening the Past Group, 2012) Vered, Karen Orr
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    Postfeminist Inflections in Television Studies
    (Taylor and Francis, 2014-02) Vered, Karen Orr; Humphreys, Sal
    To better understand how postfeminism might inform media production, consumption and media scholarship, this essay explores a set of arguments that circulate around the intersection of postfeminism and media studies. Our discussion begins by tracing the complexity and controversy around the concept of postfeminism to clarify the term and draw out its more productive strands. In surveying the formal properties of postfeminist media texts and ways in which the concept progresses feminist media analysis, we also identify a set of limitations in the concept and this leads us to a cautionary conclusion about the balance between descriptive and analytical tools and political action.
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    Reflecting on Gender and Digital Networked Media
    (SAGE Publications, 2014-01) Humphreys, Sal; Vered, Karen Orr
    This article explores gendered practices in new media formations. We consider the ways that emergent practices in new media bring to the fore and make more explicit some previously submerged practices. In identity construction, in spatial practices, and in the productive labor of users of new media, we see examples of how the fluidity of gender can be highlighted, the cultural specificity of some often taken for granted and naturalized practices can be more readily understood as constructed, and ironically, how the overt and self-congratulatory crowing of some gamer and geek cultures draws attention to their misogyny, creating a much bigger and more easily identifiable target for counterstrategies. The intersection of emergent technologies and sociocultural practices creates new areas of gendered negotiations.
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    The Politics of Third Way TV: Supernanny and the Commercialization of Public Service TV
    (Duke University Press, 2011) Vered, Karen Orr; McConchie, John Peter
    Inspired by a review of the political theories of Anthony Giddens, particularly his question of whether or not there can be a Third Way politics of family, this essay examines the TV show Supernanny as an example of what we call “Third Way TV.” Tracing the program’s roots to a collection of British programs offering advice to parents in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as well as to the longer-standing British tradition of public service broadcasting that sought to “better its audience,” we argue that the program departs from that legacy in its commercialization. Supernanny is a hybrid form of pedagogical television: Third Way TV—a commercialization of the public service model. In a time when public subsidies and the delivery of services like child care have all but disappeared, the institution of commercial television easily fills the gap. Supernanny readily demonstrates how reality TV contributes to social governance through disciplinary discourse. Although it achieved international success as a global franchise and treated a supposedly universal subject matter, childrearing, it is at first surprising that the program was not localized for the Australian market when the US and UK versions did well in Australia. Analyzing the US and UK shows, we consider how discourses of nation, class, and empire coalesce in Supernanny to make localization irrelevant for the Australian market and audience.
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    'Your heart goes out to the Australian Tourist Board': critical uncertainty and the management of censure in Chris Lilley's TV comedies
    (Taylor and Francis, 2013-03-12) Erhart, Julia Gayley
    Chris Lilley’s domestic reputation as a writer and creator of nationally award-winning material has largely not suffered, in contrast to other shows featuring provocative themes. What is distinctive about Lilley’s work that allows him to forestall accusations of ‘racism’ that other shows would face? In order to address these questions, this article investigates key components of Lilley’s comedies in three major contexts. First, I consider the work in the framework of post-2000 Australia. How might the depicted themes of aspiration and disenfranchisement dispose at least ‘middle’ Australian viewers to find favour with Lilley? Second, I look at the material in the context of ‘cringe’ comedy. A key theme that emerges throughout critical appraisals is the uncertainty about the ethical value of the humour. How do Lilley’s shows create a sense of critical ambiguity that plays out in Lilley’s favour? Finally, I examine the framing of Lilley’s non-white characters, contrasting critical responses to them with the reception of another well-known performance of blackface on Hey Hey It’s Saturday. How might the more contained criticism of performance and scripting flaws (that Lilley’s work received) displace more serious charges?
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    Re-writing Recent History: Developing a National Reconciliation Pedagogy Using a Video Game for School Age Children
    (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society (IEEE Publishing), 2010) MacGill, Belinda; Wyeld, Theodor; Blanch, Faye
    Australian Aboriginal people have suffered ignominy through British policies and practices since the legal conquest of their land in 1788. They have been historically and socially misrepresented on the premise of their race alone. Recent attempts at reconciliation have come some way towards a shared culture. However, the national curriculum has not been effective in promoting reconciliation as an important part of a student's education. As a pedagogical tool for advancing notions of reconciliation a game was developed. The goal of the game is for students to experience notions of trust, empathy and collaboration - core to notions of reconciliation. Initial evaluation of the game suggests these goals are being met.