Media & Communications

UNSW Media deploys disciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches to explore media cultures, practices and change. Our research recognises that media in all its forms is increasingly entangled at every level of life, from the macro to the micro. Alive to the interplay of theory and practice, our research is critical, creative and attuned to the world around us.

Media Cultures

Our research begins with the understanding that contemporary culture is intensely mediated. Using methods of digital ethnography, discourse analysis, social media linguistics and transnational inquiry, our work addresses the cultural impact and use of media in local, diasporic, global and First Nations communities. From the selfie to cyberbullying to how facts are made, we examine the expressions and practices of culture that strengthen, test and fray the bonds so essential to political and social life.

Media Practices    

How media works in practice is at the heart of our research. Whether investigating the transformation of journalism, determining best practice in public relations and strategic communication, or producing thought-­‐provoking animation and video games, we apply a critical eye to professional practice and provide the practitioner’s insight to critical analysis. Bringing expertise in practice-­‐led research to the examination of media practices, our researchers are able to connect how media works out in the world to how it is understood in the academy.

Media Change    

Our researchers embrace the challenge of understanding rapid change in media and its effects on the world around us. We are committed to investigating that change, but also developing the tools individuals and communities need to respond to that change. Examining the politics of listening across difference, the dynamics of communication for development and the tools for policy communication, our research recognises that media forms, practices and cultures are never static and that academic insight must be socially engaged to understand and speak to that change.

Media Futures    

Our research understands that the future of media is already here, but also unknowable in its forms and effects. Driven by theoretical innovation and critical insight, our research offers frameworks, vocabularies and strategies for our rapidly unfolding yet unknown media futures. Stand-­‐alone devices long ago gave way to digital and networked media that are increasingly inseparable from the social, physical and biological worlds. Our research examines these intersections, ranging from virtual, augmented and mixed realities to the internet of things, drones, cryptocurrencies, the affective dimensions of digital media and the social justice consequences of artificial intelligence, algorithms and automation.


SAM Media researchers are committed to making a positive impact through research partnerships for mutual benefit and engagement with industry, government, business, NGOs and community organisations. Research partners include Partners include UNESCO, The Walkley Foundation, and community media peak bodies. We generate knowledge exchange through public events and media

engagement, aiming to lead debates on crucial issues and on media industries and professional practices. SAM Media researchers are involved in extensive collaboration with international researchers and institutions, including in Europe, North America, China, South America, South Africa and across our region.


Media researchers in SAM work collaboratively and with external partners to generate impacts from our research. Our research translates into impact on professional practice in journalism, public relations, advertising, strategic and creative communications and in the fields of community media and international development. We interact and engage with research end-­‐users or beneficiaries through practice-­‐led research, advocacy, advisory roles and through expert input on government enquiries and policymaking. We mobilise our expertise in media engagement to impact on public conversations, including via expert commentary and ongoing media presence.

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