Dan graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy – Arts in Screen Studies from the University of Melbourne in 2015
Dan is a media and communications academic at Swinburne University who also has a significant career in writing. His writing spans journalism, blogs, video essays, books and podcasts in the fields of gaming, film and music.
His role at Swinburne includes research, graduate research supervision and teaching at all undergraduate levels. A major responsibility is the First Year Foundation Studies program for Bachelor of Media and Communications students.
This first year coordination role is one that he finds “super rewarding”. “I really do care about students having a good experience at university.” While tertiary study may be challenging, Dan’s view is that it shouldn’t be “needlessly difficult”. He is especially mindful of the sizeable proportion of 'first in family’ students in his cohort. Research suggests that ‘the cohort experience’ is very important for student engagement and Dan has this very much in his sights.
Dan started working as a journalist while doing his Doctor of Philosophy – Arts. With some writing experience behind him, his first big venture was with Crikey for whom he created a games blog – an opportunity he created by pitching the idea to Crikey. He went on to be awarded a ‘Lizzie’ for Best Games Journalist at the 11th Annual IT Journalism Awards.
The games blog was a breakthrough career moment which led to work with the ABC writing for their Arts programme. Later, he envisaged and successfully pitched an ABC radio documentary on the history of games.
Whether writing or teaching, Dan is strongly motivated to make ideas accessible for his target audience. He says the PhD experience “helped me think through complicated ideas and developed my ability to think about interesting but complicated ideas from an audience perspective.” The aim of making interesting but sometimes obtuse ideas accessible is very much present in his teaching as well as in his journalism.
Research skills are crucial to Dan’s writing as well as to his academic life. He says that the PhD honed his skills in “getting across a whole area in a relatively short space of time in a deeper and deeper way.”
The two career fields sit well together for Dan. He comments that there is a real interplay between academia and writing for a broader audience, with ideas from one area feeding into the other.
Dan’s written and broadcast journalism experience is extensive. More recently he has created video essays on film and music (with his channel receiving over 1 million views to date), and he is the co-host of a podcast about film music called ‘Art of the Score’.
A co-authored book (with Leena van Deventer) titled Game Changers on the future of video gaming was published by Affirm Press in 2016, and he is currently awaiting publication of a second book on the development of the Star Wars franchise under Disney titled Star Wars After Lucas, which will be published in 2019.