Our research at UNSW School of the Arts & Media uses disciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches to explore media cultures, practices and change. We recognise that media in all its forms is increasingly entangled at every level of life, from the macro to the micro. Focusing on the interplay of theory and practice, our research is critical, creative and attuned to the world around us. 

With an emphasis on excellence, engagement and impact, our school addresses four broad research themes: 

  • media cultures
  • media practices
  • media change
  • media futures

We have Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) and Future Fellows and UNSW Scientia researchers in media, as well as a range of ARC-funded projects. We are also home to the Media Futures Hub, a collection of UNSW scholars researching justice, media and emerging technologies.


Media researchers at UNSW School of the Arts & Media are committed to making a positive impact through research partnerships and engagement with industry, government, business, NGOs and community organisations. Our research partners include UNESCOThe Walkley Foundation and community media peak bodies. 

We exchange knowledge through public events and media engagement, aiming to lead debates on crucial issues and on media industry and professional practices. Our academics collaborate extensively with international researchers and institutions, including in Europe, North America, China, South America, South Africa and across our region.  


At UNSW School of the Arts & Media, our media researchers work collaboratively and with external partners. Our research translates into impact on professional practice in journalism, public relations, advertising, strategic and creative communications, and in 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 to government enquiries and policymaking. Our expertise in media engagement impacts public conversations, including via expert commentary and an ongoing media presence.

Research themes

  • 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. 

  • 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 communications, or producing thought-provoking animation and video games, we apply a critical eye to professional practice and provide a practitioner’s insight. With expertise in practice-led research, we can connect how media works in the real world with how it is understood in the academy. 

  • Our research embraces the challenge of understanding rapid change in media and its effects on the world around us. We’re committed to investigating that change, but also developing the tools individuals and communities need to respond to it. We examine 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.  

  • We understand that the future of media is already here, but also unknowable in its forms and effects. Driven by theoretical innovation and critical insight, our Media Futures Hub is at the forefront of research that offers frameworks, vocabularies and strategies for our rapidly unfolding yet unknown media landscape. 

    Stand-alone devices long ago gave way to digital and networked media that are increasingly inseparable from the social, physical and biological worlds. Our researchers examine 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.