RUPC Books

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


Migrations | Meditations: Promoting Transcultural Dialogue through Media, Arts and Culture

Comunicazioni Sociali

Musarò, Pierluigi, Papastergiadis, Nikos and Peja,  Laura. Migrations | Mediations: Promoting Transcultural Dialogue through Media, Arts and Culture Issue 1. Italy: Pubblicazioni dell’Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, 2022.

Migrations | Mediations: Promoting Transcultural Dialogue through Media, Arts and Culture tackles the different uses of media, theatre and performance, art and culture in the management of migratory phenomena and the promotion of intercultural dialogue. Mediations | Migrations is a project of intervention, aimed to promote cross-collaboration between institutions, producers and artists; to disseminate good practices and to encourage their replicability; to support and implement a professional awareness of the operators in the field. As such, Migrations | Mediations promotes meetings between producers, operators and policymakers; makes its databases available to them; it is linked to similar initiatives at national and European level. More information...


Young Children and Mobile Media: Producing Digital Dexterity

young children 200x300

Nansen, Bjorn. Young Children and Mobile Media: Producing Digital Dexterity. United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.

Young Children and Mobile Media: Producing Digital Dexterity investigates young children’s everyday digital practices, embodied digital play, and digital media products – such as mobile applications, digital games, and software tools. The book provides a critical and collective perspective on the ways young children’s mobile media culture is currently being reshaped.

The chapters draw on research that extends from the household to social media platforms and public spaces. Moving across these interconnected sites, this book explores how young children are currently configured as consumers, users, and subjects of mobile media technologies. These arrangements of media use are analysed through a conceptual lens of digital dexterity, which locates children’s capacities to use mobile media interfaces and digital products not simply in terms of physical skills or developmental capacities, but importantly, through the design and affordances of mobile technologies and touch-based interfaces, cultures of interactive play and digital parenting, and economies of digital platforms and technology product design. More information...

Digital Domesticity: Media, Materiality, and Home Life

digital domesticity

Nansen, Bjorn. Digital Domesticity – Media, Materiality, and Home Life. United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2020.

This book, Digital Domesticity: Media, Materiality, and Home Life, is concerned with the home, but it is not bounded by the home. While the home provides a necessary anchor point for our empirical and theoretical work, we are well aware that the home is not self-contained but is a node in multiple commercial, cultural, and technical networks, all of which interact, and all of which have local implications and global reach. The home’s socio-technical ecology operates in recursive relations with these much larger ecologies, none of which can be ignored if the home is to be understood. This book unearths this digital domesticity through accounts of evolving socio-technical relations as they unfold in processes of adopting and adapting to innovations; using, maintaining, and neglecting the complex of technologies in the home; and confronting the obsolescence of particular technologies and failure of systems of consumer technologies. More information...

Museums of the Commons: L'Internationale and the Crisis of Europe

museum of the commons 200x300

Papastergiadis, Nikos. Museums of the Commons: L'Internationale and the Crisis of Europe. United Kingdom: Routledge, 2020.

Museums of the Commons examines L’Internationale, an ongoing confederation between six museums and contemporary art institutions in Europe.

Drawing on extensive interviews with the directors, curators, public programs officers in all the museums, as well as artists, critics and members associated with them, the book provides a transversal account that connects the ideas across the various institutions and situates this in the wider visual and social context. Chronicling the challenges faced by the museums, Papastergiadis goes on to situate their responses within the wider political and cultural context that is shaping the future of all contemporary art museums. Five key domains of research are explored within the book: the genealogy of the museum; the need for alternative models of trans-institutional governance; examples of innovation in the spaces of aesthetic production; experimentation in the forms of partnership and engagement with constituents; and finally, examination of the impact of a collaborative and collective regime of artistic practices. More information...

On Art and Friendship

art and friendship 200x300

Papastergiadis, Nikos. On Art and Friendship. Melbourne: Surpllus, 2020.

On Art and Friendship explores questions of diversity and cultural difference in the arts. The art world celebrates the diversity of artistic practice, but how does it address the question of cultural differences? Biennales are today held in many metropolitan cities, but how does the art world understand the phenomenon of globality? This book is about real and imaginary exchanges between artists and writers. In the absence of a personal connection with an artist, the meaning of art is often elusive. It takes as its starting point a shared horizon of interest between artists and writers. More information...

Anecdotal Evidence Ecocritiqe from Hollywood to the Mass Image

anecdotal evidence

Cubitt, Sean. Anecdotal Evidence Ecocritiqe from Hollywood to the Mass Image. United States: Oxford University Press, 2020.

Ecocritique is a practice of radical questioning, as essential to the critical armoury as feminism and postcolonialism have become. Anecdotes are ecocritical because they focus on encounters, concentrated moments of crisis when social ordering and ecological forces clash. Bringing ecological criticism to bear on case studies of popular culture in the twenty-first century, Anecdotal Evidence argues that the humanities have a vital role to play in rethinking politics today. Treating contemporary Hollywood movies, streaming video media, and mass image databases as anecdotes about waste, debt, and obligation reveals the deep intertwining of history and ecology in culture. An original take on Anthropocene anxieties and technological paranoia, the book proposes that the digital humanities still need the traditional skills of close reading to understand our contemporary condition. Only because the environment has a history is it possible to intervene environmentally. Because we continually misrecognise the historical production of environments, the first task of ecocritique is to bring our formative concept of ecology into crisis. Its final task will be to achieve the good life for everything connected by the historical implication of humans in ecology, and ecology in humans. No politics can be undertaken in our times except through media: ecocritical humanities have a key role in rethinking ecopolitics in the twenty-first century. More information...


Art Seen Under Digital Light: Photography, The Image, and the Aesthetics of Data

Art Seen Under Digital Light

McQuire, Scott. Art Seen Under Digital Light: Photography, The Image, and the Aesthetics of Data. Melbourne: Lyon Housemuseum, 2018.

In this, the fourth in a series of books published by the Lyon Housemuseum on the subject of art and architecture, Scoot McQuire explores the subject of art seen under digital light. The book is based on McQuire's lecture 'Art under Digital Light: Image, Exhibition and the Aesthetics of Data', delivered at the Housemuseum in September 2013 as part of the museum's annual scholarly lecture series.

In this erudite and illuminating essay, McQuire examines the changing regime of the image that emerged from the early and mid-1990s, and the profound effects that digitisation has on the ways in which images are made and circulated, when and where they are encountered, and how they record and tell us about human experience. More information...

Death and Digital Media

Death and Digital Media

Arnold, Michael, Gibbs, Martin, Kohn, Tamara, Meese, James and Nansen, Bjorn. Death and Digital Media. United Kingdom: Routledge, 2018.

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.

McQuire, Scott. 地理媒介: 网络化城市与公共空间的未来. Shanghai: Fudan University Press, 2019.

McQuire, Scott. ГЕОМЕДИЯ. Moscow: Strelka Press, 2018.

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...