emLAB: the ethnographic media LAB

Photo of Lily Hibberd (artist/curator) showing Mamu (2010) by Curtis Taylor commissioned for Spaced 2: Future Recall, Perth International Festival of the Arts, Museum of Western Australia

emLAB brings together a community of researchers and practitioners working at the intersections of media, technology, ethnography and art.

The Lab specialises in the design of practice-led projects of high sociocultural relevance and impact. Supported by national and international granting agencies, our researchers partner with local, community and cultural industries, merging academic scholarship with critical and creative arts innovation. Beyond the traditional focus on film, emLAB expands the field of visual anthropology to multisensory research-creation, with applied focus areas including  First Nations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island, Indigenous, diaspora and migratory aesthetics; art-under-occupation and extractive zones; resurgence and traditions in transformation; global south and new media networks; new ecologies and beyond-human animate life worlds.

Since its foundation in 2008*, emLAB has fostered reflexive and generative co-creation and participatory initiatives. The Lab supports individual and team-based collaboration across a diversity of exploratory and experiential orientations and approaches. A history of early career and postdoctoral research has seen a series of high-level public art engagement platforms take shape. The program offers a host of resources for scholars, artists and curators, including mentoring and project development support, grant and funding opportunities, technical advice and resources, and access to a growing field of transdisciplinary research and scholarship.  

*The ethnographic Media Lab was first established in 2008 as a suite of field-based documentary equipment and desk-top editing interfaces, under the Visual Anthropology and Visual Culture (visANTH) program, in the (former) National Institute of Experimental Arts (NIEA).

Lead image: Installation view, 'Mamu' (2012) by Curtis Taylor, presented as part of 'It goes both ways: moving images in different times and places' by Lily Hibberd, 2015, commissioned for 'Spaced 2 Future Recall – Perth International Arts Festival' at the Western Australian Museum, Perth. Photo: Lily Hibberd.

Contact us

UNSW School of Art & Design 
Cnr Oxford St & Greens Rd 
Paddington NSW 2021 

E: j.biddle@unsw.edu.au