As Dean, Professor French leads the School of Media and Communication, delivering academic leadership, vision and strategic direction advanced by innovation, creativity, industry engagement and debate.
Appointed Dean of the School of Media and Communication in 2017, Professor French is an award-winning educator, internationally recognised for her scholarship and research on women in film and television. Her repute in film and television and film studies is based on both research and engagement. She has served on Screen Australia’s Gender Matters Taskforce and is a lifetime member of both the Australian Film Institute (AFI) and Women in Film and Television (WIFT).
She has written more than seventy academic publications, produced films, industry reports, articles in the press and funded local and international research projects. Her books include the co-authored Shining a Light: 50 Years of the Australian Film Institute (2009 & 2014), and Womenvision: Women and the Moving Image in Australia (2003).
Her film projects include producing the film Birth of a Film Festival (2003), a documentary about the first Melbourne International Film Festival. Her professional history includes three years as the director of the prestigious St Kilda Film Festival and nine years as a director of the AFI. She is currently the co-chair of a UNESCO 19 global university research network on media, gender and ICTs. The cornerstone of her academic practice, and the values that underpin it, are founded on a commitment to diversity (particularly gender and Indigeneity) and to industry engagement to drive innovation.
Her research interests are largely focused on Australian film, film studies, media and gender. She has published widely in these fields in local and international journals. Her PhD and MA research were both interested in gender and Australian film. Her PhD is titled ‘Centring the female: the articulation of female experience in the films of Jane Campion’ and explores the aestheticisation of female experience in the cinema. Her MA explored contemporary Australian women filmmakers and the expression of feminism in their work.
Current research includes an international project funded (2019 & 2020) by UNESCO’s IPDC program to increase gender sensitivity in media, gender and ICT curricula. She is also currently preparing a book for Palgrave Macmillan titled The Female Gaze in Documentary Film – An International Perspective (2020).
French is the recipient of numerous awards, including four RMIT teaching and research awards and two Australian Teaching and Learning Council Citations (federal government):
- For sustained leadership in research-led Cinema Studies and Media curricula that fosters independent learning and innovation through student-centred, industry-engaged learning
- For the collaborative delivery of a program that enhances student knowledge through integrating process-based learning with practice, and fostering links between pedagogy and industry (team citation).
As Dean, French is responsible for the academic leadership, vision and strategic direction of the School, particularly in linking industry, innovation and research with taught programs, research degrees and the student experience; for developing and delivering high quality teaching and research; and effectively leading staff and deploying resources towards RMIT’s and the School’s strategic aims.
In addition to her role as Dean, French has made a contribution to the leadership of RMIT through service on:
- RMIT University Academic Board
- RMIT University Research Committee
- RMIT Art Acquisition Committee
- Design Hub Program Advisory Network
- The Capitol Theatre Reactivation Project Control Group and other key projects and committees.
French also undertakes substantial external service through activities including:
- co-chairing a UNESCO network that aims to promote gender equality and women’s participation in and through media on a global scale through research, education and advocacy
- participating on industry boards and committees, including the Editorial Board of The Conversation
- collaborating with a range of consultancies, including for the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), the AFI, the Australian Writers’ Guild (AWG) and Film Victoria.
- PhD, School of Applied Communication, RMIT University, City Campus, 2007
- MA, La Trobe University, Bundoora Campus, 1995
- Grad Dip (Ed Tech), Victoria College, Toorak Campus, 1987
- B Ed, Victoria College, Rusden Campus, 1983
*French is an alumni of the Harvard Kennedy School, having completed the Executive Education Course: Women and Power: Leadership in a New World (2015). She has also completed the Cranlana Leadership Colloquium.
*Professor French is a registered Category 1 research supervisor.
- French, L. (2021). The Female Gaze in Documentary Film, Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, Switzerland
- Wake, A.,O'Halloran, K.,Finn, F.,Gurrieri, L.,French, L. (2020). ‘Australia’. In Global Alliance on Media and Gender, Bejing +25: Country Reports by GAMAG members assessing progress, gaps and opportunities on gender, media and ICTs. In: Global Alliance on Media and Gender (GAMAG) online
- French, L. (2020). Gender Still Matters: Towards Sustainable Progress for Women in Australian Film and Television Industries In: Women in the International Film Industry, Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, Switzerland
- French, L. (2019). Women documentary filmmakers as transnational "advocate change agents", Mujeres documentalistas y su rol como agentes de cambio transnacionales In: INTERdisciplina, 7, 15 - 29
- French, L. (2019). Jane Campion: Girlshine and the Local/Global Auteur In: A Companion to Australian Cinema, Wiley-Blackwell, United States
- French, L.,Montiel, A.,Padovani, C.,Poole, M., et al, . (2019). Gender Media and ICTs: New Approaches for research, education and training. In: UNESCO Paris, France
- French, L. (2018). Women in the director's chair: the 'female gaze' in documentary film In: Female Authorship and the Documentary Image Theory, Practice and Aesthetics, Edinburgh University Press, United Kingdom
- French, L. (2017). Melbourne's Capitol Theatre: "the best cinema that has ever been built or is ever likely to be built" In: Senses of Cinema, , 1 - 20
- French, L. (2015). Media in Support of Sustainable Development and a Culture of Peace: Media Literacies for Empowering Females and Reducing Gender Inequalities In: UNESCO Galuh II no 5, Kebayoran Baru Jakarta Indonesia
- French, L. (2015). Lisa French, Portfolio of 'writing in the press' 2014-2015 In: Senses of Cinema & The Conversation Melbourne, Australia
1 PhD Current Supervisions and 1 Masters by Research Current Supervisions5 PhD Completions and 3 Masters by Research Completions