RUPC Books

List of books by academics of the Research Unit in Public Cultures


Death and Digital Media

Death and Digital Media

Arnold, Michael, Gibbs, Martin, Kohn, Tamara, Meese, James and Nansen, Bjorn. Death and Digital Media. Routledge, 2017.

Death and Digital Media provides a critical overview of how people mourn, commemorate and interact with the dead through digital media. It maps the historical and shifting landscape of digital death, considering a wide range of social, commercial and institutional responses to technological innovations. The authors examine multiple digital platforms and offer a series of case studies drawn from North America, Europe and Australia. The book delivers fresh insight and analysis from an interdisciplinary perspective, drawing on anthropology, sociology, science and technology studies, human-computer interaction, and media studies. It is key reading for students and scholars in these disciplines, as well as for professionals working in bereavement support capacities. More information...


Telemodernities: Television and Transforming Lives in Asia

Book Cover Telemodernities

Martin, Fran, Lewis, Tania and Sun, Wanning. Telemodernities: Television and Transforming Lives in Asia. Durham: Duke University Press, 2016.

Telemodernities explores how lifestyle-oriented popular factual television illuminates key aspects of late modernities in South and East Asia, offering insights not only into early twenty-first-century media cultures but also into wider developments in the nature of public and private life, identity, citizenship, and social engagement. Drawing on extensive interviews with television industry professionals and audiences across China, India, Taiwan, and Singapore, Telemodernities uses popular lifestyle television as a tool to help us understand emergent forms of identity, sociality, and capitalist modernity in Asia. More information…

Street Art World

Book Cover Street Art World

Young, Alison. Street Art World. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2016.

This strikingly illustrated book explores every aspect of street art, from making and photographing, to stealing and selling it. Artists working in the streets reveal both their passion for street art and ambivalence about its commodification. The rise, fall and rise again of street art in the art market is told through revealing encounters with collectors and auction houses in Paris, London and Melbourne. Based on twenty years of research in the graffiti and street art scenes, Street Art World is the first book to provide a history and context for the words and images that appear in cities all around the world. Inviting the reader into a realm that is usually hidden, it will enthral all those who enjoy this global phenomenon. More information...

Ambient Screens and Transnational Public Spaces

Ambient Screens

Papastergiadis, Nikos. Ambient Screens and Transnational Public Spaces. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2016.

Large public screens have now become a ubiquitous part of the contemporary cityscape. Far from being simply oversized televisions, the media experts contributing to Ambient Screens and Transnational Public Spaces put forward a strong case that such screens could serve as important sites for cultural exchange.

Advances in digital technology spell the possibilities of conducting mobile modes of interaction across national boundaries, and in the process expose the participants to novel sensory experiences, giving rise to a new form of public culture. Understanding this phenomenon calls for a reconceptualization of "public space" and "ambience," as well as connecting the two concepts with each other. This pioneering study of the impact of media platforms on urban cultural life presents a theoretical analysis and a history of screens, followed by discussions of site-specific urban screen practices on five continents. There is also a substantial examination of the world's first real-time cross-cultural exchange via the networking of large public screens located in Melbourne and Seoul. More information…

Geomedia: Networked Cities and the Future of Public Spaces


McQuire, Scott. Geomedia: Networked Cities and the Future of Public Space. United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons, 2016

Geomedia offers critical analysis of the new possibilities and power relations emerging in the public space of contemporary cities. As ubiquitous digital networks enable embedded and mobile devices to integrate place-specific data with real-time feedback circuits, everyday experience of public space has become subject to new demands. Looking beyond debates framed by the dominance of surveillance and spectacle, McQuire asks: how might the kind of collaborative practices that have flourished in art and online cultures be translated into urban space? More information…

Possible Spaces of Somali Belonging

Possible Spaces

Gerrand, Vivian. Possible Spaces of Somali Belonging. Melbourne: MUP Academic, 2016.

Possible Spaces of Somali Belonging explores representations of Somali resettlement to understand the mechanics of contemporary belonging and the challenges faced by Western societies as they attempt to 'integrate' Somali migrants. How do particular representations contribute to or detract from Somali belonging? In the contexts of Australia and Italy-taken as case studies-Somalis are marginalised in different ways. With a multi-disciplinary approach, this book examines different forms of Somali representation in Australia and Italy that engender a sense of belonging and expands exclusive definitions of nationhood. More information...

Studio Futures

Studio Futures

Bates, Donald and Mitsogianni, Vivian. Studio Futures: Changing Trajectories in Architectural Education. Australia: Uro Publications, 2016.

Throughout much of the twentieth century, the design studio has been an important locus of invention and experimentation in architecture: both smelter and test-bed for new ideas. But with recent developments in digital technology, new materials and construction practices, shifts in the client-architect relationship, and architectural practice subject to ever more onerous procurement models, is the studio model still relevant? Studio Futures examines contemporary practices in design education, with a particular focus on the studio model, to understand how educators are responding to the demands of architectural practice now and into the future. More information...


Independent Chinese Documentary

Independent Chinese Documentary

Edwards, Dan. Independent Chinese Documentary: Alternative Visions, Alternative Publics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015.

Since the turn of the twenty-first century there has been an explosion in Chinese independent documentary filmmaking. But how are we to understand this vibrant burst of activity? Are these films brave expressions of dissidence, or are they part of a broader, more complex push to expand the terms of public discourse in the People's Republic? Considering the relationship between independent documentaries and China's official film and television sectors, this timely study explores the ways in which independent films probe, question and challenge the dominant ideas and narratives circulating in the state-sanctioned public sphere.

Based on detailed interviews with Chinese documentary filmmakers that are rarely available in English, the author draws on his own insights as a journalist working in Beijing to provide a detailed analysis of key contemporary documentaries. This groundbreaking book reveals a sustained attempt to forge an alternative public sphere, where the views and experiences of petitioners, AIDS sufferers, dispossessed farmers and the victims of Mao's repression can be publicly aired for a small but steadily growing public.  More information…

Art in Community: The Provisional Citizen

Art in Community

Khan, Rimi. Art in Community: The Provisional Citizen. United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

The arts are situated at the centre of policies and programs seeking to make communities more creative, cohesive or productive. This book highlights the governmental, aesthetic and economic contexts which shape art in community, offering a constructive account of the ties between government, culture and the citizen.

Rimi Khan is Research Fellow in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Her publications have appeared in a number of scholarly journals, including The International Journal of Cultural Policy and the Journal of Sociology. Her current research concerns the intersections between cultural diversity, the arts and the relationship between government and everyday life. She is also undertaking research examining forms of ethical consumption and citizenship. More information…


Street Art, Public City: Law, Crime and Urban Imagination

Street Art, Public City

Young, Alison. Street Art, Public City: Law, Crime and the Urban Imagination. London: Routledge GlassHouse, 2014.

This book investigates street art and graffiti as cultural practices at the borders of legality and illegality. Cities are engaged in a continual process of cultural production through which their self-image is developed and refined; a process that is sometimes legal - as with architecture, statuary, signage, advertising, and public art - and sometimes not - with practices such as billposting, graffiti and street art. Alternately (and sometimes simultaneously) considered criminal, gentrifying, or commercial, street art exists and operates on the boundaries between the legal and illegal, and between art, crime, and culture. Given its capacity to generate discussion and polarise opinion, street art is a cultural practice that can inform us about the nature of urban life and the limits of public space. Street Art, Public City: Crime and the Urban Imagination draws upon fifteen years of research to examines the ways in which street art has become as integral part of cities' cultural identities. It will be of interest to readers in the fields of street art and graffiti specifically, but also to those interested in issues relating to cities and urban space, legal geography, cultural criminology as well as cultural studies and art more generally. More information...