The Australian Centre is based in the School of Culture and Communication, with Professor Ken Gelder and Professor Denise Varney as its co-directors. It aims to develop innovative research projects in the Australian arts and humanities across a range of disciplines, including Art History, Theatre Studies, Literary Studies, Cultural Studies, Media and Communication, Cinema Studies, Indigenous Studies and Creative Writing.
The Australian Centre aims to develop research capacity in two key areas:
The Australian Centre was founded in January 1989 with the assistance of a grant from the Hugh Williamson Foundation. Its directors have included Professor Chris Wallace-Crabbe (founding Director 1989-1994), Professor Ruth Fincher (1995-1996) and Professor Kate Darian-Smith (1998-2005 and 2010-2012). Professor John Murphy, Dr Fay Anderson and Dr Sara Wills have also served as directors. During this time the Centre achieved national and international recognition for its undergraduate and graduate level teaching in Australian Studies, interdisciplinary doctoral program and a distinguished record of ARC and other external funding for research projects and fellowships that fostered an appreciation and critical examination of Australian society, culture and history. The Australian Centre also administered a suite of national cultural and literary awards and continues to do so.
Banner photo: Jane Brown, 'Tumbarumba, NSW, 2012'
The Australian Centre gathers people - academics, researchers and writers - from many walks of life to develop innovative research projects in the Australian arts and humanities across a range of disciplines.
Research Grants and Project Officer
Boisbouvier Founding Chair in Australian Literature
Professor Richard Flanagan
Discovery Early Career Researcher (DECRA)
Listening to Country: Indigenous Dance Dramaturgy in Remote Australia
Research Fellow, ARC Discovery Project
Populating the Nation: towards a genealogy of colonial Australian character types (with Ken Gelder 2014-2016)
Research Assistant, ARC Discovery Project
Patrick White and Australian Theatrical Modernism (2014-2016)
Dr Sandra D'Urso
Research Assistant, Interdisciplinary project with Melbourne Law School
Bankruptcy in colonial Australian literature (2016-2017)
Dr Katie Hansord
Associate Researcher, ARC Future Fellowship
Australian Poetry Today (2015-2018)
Associate Researcher, ARC Discovery Project
Investigating literary knowledge in the making of English teachers (2016 - 2020)
Associate Researcher, ARC Discovery Project
Contemporary Indigenous film and television: new frames of understanding (2014-2016)
Associate Researcher, ARC Discovery Project
'The Complete Craze': Women’s Photography and Colonial Modernity in the Asia-Pacific, 1860-1930 (2014-2017)
- The Colonial Australian Archive
This field of research will bring together current and new work across the following areas: colonial literary studies/print culture, theatre and performance, early cinema, visual art and design, migration and settlement, 'contact' studies, colonial typologies, frontier settler violence, law and order, race, and gender.Read more...
- Contemporary Australian Cultural Practices
Cultural practices provide one key site for Australians to engage with issues that are significant to the nation and to national identity. Understanding the contribution of the cultural sector to new ways of being, identifying and representing Australia, both to itself and internationally, is vitally important to the vision of the nation.Read more...
The Australian Centre administers a series of prizes for outstanding endeavour in the visual arts, creative writing and biographical studies. The awards are presented on an annual or biennial basis. They are:
Vincent Buckley Poetry Prize
$12,000 approximately (biennial) prize, alternates between supporting an Australian poet to visit Ireland, or an Irish poet to visit Australia. More information...
Peter Blazey Fellowship
$15,000 approximately (annual), for a work in progress in the non-fiction fields of life-writing, biography or autobiography. More information..
Kate Challis RAKA Award
$20,000 approximately (annual), for Aboriginal writers and artists, presented in a five-year cycle of creative prose, drama, the visual arts, scriptwriting and poetry. More information...
Dinny O'Hearn Fellowships
$5,000 approximately, for an emerging writer in any of the fields of creative writing, poetry, or scriptwriting. More information...
Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL)
ASAL promotes the study, discussion and creation of Australian writing and seeks to increase awareness of Australian writing in the wider community. ASAL holds conferences and maintains a directory of postgraduate research on the website.
Austage is a database of Australian live performance.
Humanities Networked Infrastructure (HuNI)
HuNI combines data from many Australian cultural websites into the biggest humanities and creative arts database ever assembled in Australia. HuNI data covers all disciplines and brings together information about the people, works, events, organisations and places that make up the country's rich cultural landscape.
Trove is a National Library of Australia search engine that can help find and use resources relating to Australia. Trove brings together content from libraries, museums, archives and other research organisations.
Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature (JASAL)
JASAL is a peer-reviewed journal, published in at least two volumes each year by the Association for the Study of Australian Literature.
Celebrating its 75th anniversary, Meanjin is one of Australia’s oldest literary journals. Based at the Universitty of Melbourne since 1945, Meanjin reflects the breadth of contemporary thinking.
The Canary Press
The Canary Press is an Australian story magazine. Founded in 2013, it features writers that no one had ever heard of, alongside some of the finest short story writers in the world.
Kill Your Darlings
Kill Your Darlings (KYD) was founded in 2010 and comprises a quarterly edition. Publishing essays, commentary, fiction and reviews, KYD is committed to feisty new writing across all genres.
Mascara Literary Journal
A bi-annual literary journal founded in 2007, Mascara is particularly interested in the work of contemporary migrant, Asian Australian and Indigenous writers. Mascara specialises in platforms for subaltern writing and human rights, cultural cohesion and participation.
Dr Rachael Weaver awarded Hugh Williamson Foundation Fellowship
Two Hugh Williamson Foundation fellowships have been awarded to support research using archival collections to Dr Rachael Weaver for her project ‘Literary Influence, Canonicity and the Historical in the Career of William Gosse Hay’ and Mr Alister Sluiter for his project ‘Digital Reconstruction of the lost Gothic Architecture of the University of Melbourne’.News
Australia-China Council visitor: Cao Liwei
The Australian Centre is pleased to be hosting post graduate student Cao Liwei. Liwei is studying at Inner Mongolia University, Huhhot, Northern China. Liwei is a major in English language literature and is undertaking her Masters by research. Her project title is 'Exploration of Spiritual World: A further study of Patrick White and his major works.'News
Writers and Readers: Books that Shaped and Subverted the British Empire conference
Held on 8-9 May, this conference will explore the impact of books and writing, fiction and non-fiction, authors, readers and publishers in shaping and subverting the British empire.Ken Gelder and Rachael Weaver will be part of the The Colonial Writing World panel, speaking on Colonial Australian Detective Fiction.News
Teaching and Learning Australia: rethinking the archive in the Australian Humanities
Our recent symposium brought together 22 speakers, each addressing different aspects of working with and in the archive. A key objective of the symposium was to investigate the ways in which bodies of knowledge are managed, accessed, and translated for education, and also how archives perform, more broadly, in the production of cultural, literary, virtual, performative and artistic works.News
Cut the Sky has world premiere at Perth Festival
Marrugeku Theatre recently premiered Cut the Sky at Perth International Arts Festival. Marrugeku is an innovative intercultural dance theatre company based in Broome whose latest production draws on a landmark Aboriginal land rights protest and seeks to give an Indigenous perspective on climate change. Cut the Sky will be performed at WOMADelaide on 7 - 8 March 2015News
Australian Centre international exchange
Professor Ken Gelder will be Visiting Professor at King's College London and the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies (MCAS) in January 2015. He will be presenting papers at King's College and at University College, London, and talking to MCAS staff about developing connections with the Australian Centre at Melbourne. The MCAS director, Dr Ian Henderson, will also visit Melbourne in January for discussions with Professor Denise Varney.News