Research projects

Research projects in the School of Media and Communication are multidisciplinary, blending critical theory and media-relevant practice.

Renowned scholars, early career researchers and research students collaborate on projects in our centres, labs and groups, combining expertise in media, communication and design games interaction.

Recent projects

Consumer Perceptions of the role of packaging in reducing food waste.

This project aims to understand consumer perceptions of the role of packaging in reducing food waste. Packaging is often viewed as having a negative impact on the environment because it is left over once a product is consumed and has to be disposed of in the bin or through recycling. However, in many cases, packaging protects food and prolongs its shelf-life, with an overall reduction in environmental impact by reducing food waste. Food packaging can contribute to household food waste reduction by being designed to extend the shelf-life of food products, being available in numerous sizes for different sized households, communicating on-pack the best way to use and store a food item, assisting households to use date labels to better manage their food, and slowing the degradation of perishable foods.

Key Leader: Lukas Parker


Australian television in the smart TV ecosystem

This project aims to investigate the cultural impacts of smart TVs in Australia. A majority of Australian adults now use an internet-connected (smart) TV set or streaming device, fundamentally changing the way content is discovered, accessed and experienced. This project expects to advance policy knowledge of the smart TV platforms built into these devices; their effects on public access; and how they structure users' viewing choices. Expected outcomes of the project include improved understanding of the cultural, consumer and competition implications of emerging television technologies. Expected benefits include informed decision-making and improved policy options for government, consumers, public-service media and local screen industries.

Key Leaders: Ramon Lobato


Cooperation through Code: The social outcomes of blockchain technology

This project aims to show the social consequences of using distributed ledger technology, including blockchains, for compliance, registries and regulatory processes. The project expects to generate new knowledge of how technology is changing administrative coordination between government and non-government entities. Expected outcomes include evidence of how blockchain technology is being applied to specific tasks and whether this improves on legacy systems. In addition to advancing social research on technological change, the project should provide benefits such as fairer strategies for effective regulation through technology, and an understanding of how these technologies in turn should be governed. The project is expected to benefit civil society organisations by assisting them to understand the implications of blockchain technology for their existing processes and how they might use the technology for joint efforts. Benefits may include improving decision-makers’ ability to use this technology for more effective and efficient institutions. It may also assist with Australia’s preparedness for cyber security vulnerabilities stemming from social processes. The project is expected to help developers to understand how social factors can alter the effectiveness or outcomes of software protocols, and provide a framework for collaboration between social science and computer science research.

Key leaders: Ellie Rennie


The Social Credit System and Everyday Life in China

This project examines the development of the social credit system in China from a cultural and social perspective. It aims to empirically investigate the lived experience of social credit among individuals, families, and communities, in the context of China’s larger ambition to build a ‘digital civilisation’ through technological advancement. Expected outcomes include policy briefings, reports, and an open-access research hub, as well as agenda-setting academic publications. The project will advance public understanding of and inform policy responses to automated decision-making and society in both Western and non-Western societies.

Key leaders: Haiqing Yu


Connecting Asia-Pacific Literary Cultures: Grounds, Encounter and Exchange

This project aims to enhance cultural connections between Asia-Pacific nations by defining and testing a new model for linking writers and writing. The project expects to generate new knowledge about creative writing as a collaborative artform that enables, and is enriched by, deep and sustained cultural exchange. Expected outcomes include a robust model for ethical literary encounters and exchanges and the development of a dynamic regional literary network. It seeks to provide benefits that include broadening the reach and power of Australia’s diverse literary voices and stories, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, enriching the lives of readers and viewers, and strengthening Australia’s capacity for cultural diplomacy in the region.

Key Leaders: David Carlin, Francesca Rendle-Short, Michelle Aung-Thin, Melody Ellis


Talking Country: Sharing Indigenous stories of place through mobile media

This project aims to investigate how media technologies can facilitate cross-cultural engagement between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. There is a need to break down the barriers that limit cross-cultural engagement with heritage issues. Mobile media environments provide ways to build this engagement through place-based incentives. The project expects to develop a new model for practice-based research, two mobile apps, two digital archives and a toolkit to guide people on driving, cycling and walking tours to Indigenous places of significance. This will offer valuable avenues to share knowledge on the importance of those sites, build cultural awareness and position Indigenous knowledges at the heart of place-based engagements.

Key leaders: Olivia Guntarik, Cathy Greenfield, Lorelle Burton, Mark McMillan, Libby Porter, Peter West


LGTBQ Representation in Australian Film and TV: Culture, Pedagogy, Health

This project aims to investigate the cultural, health and identity impact of gender/sexually-diverse (LGBTQ) characters, themes and narratives in Australian film and television 1990-present). The project expects to generate new knowledge by providing the first comprehensive account of Australian media production’s contribution to sexual minority representation, in the context of its importance for fostering (i) healthy identities, (ii) acceptance of minorities to mainstream audiences in a digital media era. This knowledge will benefit the mental health, wellbeing and social harmony for both minority and mainstream Australians and help showcase an important aspect of Australian media inclusivity and diversity in international scholarship.

Key leaders: Rob Cover


Amplifying Indigenous news: a digital intervention

This project aims to road-test, document and analyse an innovative strategy for amplifying Indigenous voices in news media. In partnership with The Guardian Australia and IndigenousX, it will deploy and assess the impact of a new digital application designed to enable access to a diverse range of Indigenous voices, stories and agendas. The anticipated outcomes include a significant increase in the depth, breadth and quality of Indigenous reporting at The Guardian, and the generation of new knowledge about effective strategies for improving Indigenous representation in the wider media ecology. These outcomes are expected to benefit Indigenous Australians by contributing to more informed and inclusive policy discussions

Key Leaders: David Nolan, Kerry McCallum, Peter Radoll, Lisa Waller, Scott Wright

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.