Research in communication, media and cultural studies at UQ has made substantial contributions to international debates and knowledge in these fields. It has also engaged with, and influenced, directions in media, communications, and research policy both nationally and internationally. UQ research in these fields is notable for its interdisciplinarity, for its breadth and for its quality. Its performance is underpinned by the participation of outstanding researchers including a past Australian Research Council (ARC) Federation Fellow and numerous recipients of ARC Professorial Fellowships, ARC QEII Fellowships and ARC Australian Postdoctoral Fellowships.

The international and national standing of individual researchers is reflected in their roles as

  • President of the International Communication Association
  • President of the Australian Academy of the Humanities
  • Vice-President of the International Association for Media and Communication Research
  • Member of the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council
  • President of Australian Science Communicators

Research at UQ systematically reflects, charts, and analyses the rapidly changing communications, media and cultural transformations of the digital age. Among the specific topics addressed by current research projects are the following:

  • Australian media transformations
  • Protecting personal information in the digital era
  • Evaluating Australian science communication
  • The history of BBC Worldwide
  • Cultural aspects of plastic packaging and food security
  • The changing sociocultural function of television
  • The politics of community-based commercial forestry in Indonesia
  • The revival of media nationalism in central Europe

UQ’s record of collaboration across the communication and media sectors is diverse, and involves both government and non-government organisations such as the national screen and media regulatory agencies, the ratings agency Nielsen, and a range of Australian and international aid agencies and NGOs. We are also engaged with communities locally, nationally, and internationally through our research focusing on communication for social change, on located cultural studies, and on community media.

Research in these fields occurs at:

  • Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies
  • School of Business
  • School of Communication and Arts
  • School of Languages and Cultures
  • School of Political Science and International Studies
  • School of Psychology

UQ has particular expertise in the areas of:

  • Communication for Social Change
  • Cultural Studies
  • Media Studies
  • Science Communication

Communication, Media and Cultural Studies in brief

  • More than 45 full-time equivalent researchers
  • More than 120 PhD and MPhil students in 2014
  • More than 540 publications since 2008
  • More than $8 million in research funding since 2008
  • Cultural Studies and Communication and Media Studies research rated at the highest level – well above world standard – in the 2012 Excellence in Research for Australia exercise. In addition, Film, Television and Digital Media research rated above world standard.

Infrastructure to support this research includes:

  • The UQ Fryer Library, with notable collections of scripts, speeches and political ephemera.
  • The AustLit e-research infrastructure, enabling large data charting changing film and TV production
  • Cultural Atlas of Australia, allowing the investigation of the importance of settings in Australian story space.

Highlights of UQ Communication, Media and Cultural Studies

Public communication

Public Communication at UQ contributes to the analysis, practice and development of emerging and enduring forms of communication in times of change. Researchers explore public communication interactions, processes and industries, and their changing social, technological, economic and political contexts. This promotes effective communication practices, informs positive social change, encourages relevant policy making, and fosters ethical practice and accountability.

Current research is focussed on developing new methods to understand content creation in the changing environment across all sectors of society including mainstream and non-traditional media, government, civil society bodies, social movements and communities. To this end, UQ researches and facilitates: science and health communication, intercultural communication, political and international communication, professional communication particularly in journalism and public relations, and communication within organisations and among groups.

This connects with research in psychology, business and management, public policy, science, public health and languages. A key contributor to this research area is the Centre for Communication and Social Change. The only specialised centre of its type in Australia, the Centre is staffed by researchers with global expertise in development and communication matters, including with the UN, NGOs and government.

One of our researchers is the current President of the Australian Science Communicators and a Purdue Science Communication Laureate.

Cultural studies

Cultural Studies at UQ investigates culture as the ordinary and often unnoticed practices and relations through which social life is ordered and made meaningful. This includes research into patterns of everyday life, consumption and markets; changing distinctions between public and private; identity, race and cultural difference; cultural engagements with the environment; celebrity, gender and popular culture; and material culture.

UQ researchers are internationally recognised for their contribution to cultural studies as a leading interdisciplinary field. Their work has generated new thinking and methods that foregrounds culture as a dynamic process rather than a fixed set of traditions or elite forms. It has had significant impact on major policy and delivery bodies, from, for example, the Australian Privacy Commission to the Special Broadcasting Service, and has often led to innovative research partnerships that have shifted policy and public awareness.

The Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies is a leading Humanities research centre attracting important figures in the field to present at its conferences, master classes, seminars and lecture series. It has research income of $1.5m and has acted as an important locus for the organisation of cultural studies nationally.


Our Media research pioneers new ways of understanding the significance of film and television, print, radio and digital media. It focuses on the creation and consumption of media texts at a time of rapid technological and industrial transformation characterised by fragmentation, digitilisation and migration online, and the spread of personalised media and social media. We monitor and analyse changing textual content, media practices, business models, and industry formations in the digital age and in historical and cross-cultural contexts. Our research is notable for the ways in which it recognises the legacies of past practices and examines the differences and continuities in programs, genres, styles and formats across periods of great change. This balanced account of media transformations—including texts and practices, both contemporary and historical—is valuable to the general public, media practitioners and managers, policy makers, scholars and historians.

In film and television studies, internationally significant contributions have been made to research in:

  • national cinemas
  • national TV systems and their programs
  • production studies
  • film and TV history
  • screen theory
  • socio-cultural criticism and screen aesthetics

The global focus of this research ensures coverage of English and non-English language film, TV, and other media. UQ media researchers promote screen and print heritage through their involvement in the documentation of Australian film and television production in major digital humanities databases and are at the forefront of analysing these large datasets to create new knowledge about the shape and character of Australian film and television industries and stories.