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Dr Debbie Rodan

Senior Lecturer, Media & Cultural Studies

Faculty of Education & Arts


Inspired through collaborative research

I gained an Australian Commonwealth scholarship to do a PhD in 1995 and graduated from Murdoch University in 2000 majoring in English and Comparative Literature. My PhD research focused on questions of justice with regard to how particular minority groups in Western societies like Australia are represented. The university offered students Honorary Research fellowships after completing their PhDs if they wanted to work on turning the PhD into a book! I took up the offer found a publisher, researched how to turn your PhD into a book and found an editor. About twelve months later, I had a book contract with the international publishers Peter Lang. Getting this contract and publishing my book, Identity and Justice: Conflicts, Contradictions and Contingencies made me think, I might be good at this! So I decided to become an academic researcher.

I did a stint as a research associate with a team at Murdoch university lead by Emeritus Professor Cora Baldock on age-friendly communities. The next year, I became a full-time lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at Edith Cowan University. As my PhD research was being published for a wider international audience, I decided it was time to start on a new research project. The new project was my first successful collaboration with another researcher, Dr Jane Mummery - a philosopher at a regional Australian university. Our research is on how broadsheet fora such as letters to the editor and, more recently, online blogs represent instances of public debate and work to develop and promote community.  The next successful collaborationan analysis of the representation of Hazara refugees in two Australian television programswas with Dr Cheryl Lange an anthropologist. Currently I am working with two international researchers in the school, Professor Lelia Green in media and cultural studies, and Dr Trevor Cullen in journalism, on the gift economy in the form of online support for heart patients.

My latest collaboration is with international media studies scholar Professor Mark Balnaves on communicative spaces and participatory cultures in new media: a project which is generating many new ideas about how to think about new media space. All of these collaborations have resulted in papers at international conferences, published refereed proceedings and/or publications in peer reviewed international journals.  And my repertoire of methodologies is constantly expanding. What is best about collaborating with others? I learn so much about how to research in different ways and how to aim high! As I learn so much, I pass that knowledge onto my own postgraduate students.

There is no doubt that the basis for such thriving collaborations initially was the inter-disciplinary focus in my undergraduate and PhD studies. Now, the impetus is that the people I collaborate with are visionary and offer different perspectives. Working with such great people keeps me inspired and highly motivated.

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