Research Edge

February 2015 - Issue 2
University of South Australia masters by research candidate Roy Ananda

Build, destroy, build: fan culture meets formal art process

Adelaide artist Roy Ananda exhibits large-scale, evolving sculptures that offer a nod to fan culture while manifesting a creative process in which works are often reinvented from the same body of reused materials.

Building on a string of national and international exhibitions in a career spanning more than ten years, Roy is now this year’s recipient of the MF & MH Joyner Scholarship in Fine Arts, and has commenced a masters by research with the School of Art, Architecture and Design.

Roy says he started out with an initial focus on drawing, but was attracted to the physicality of sculpture. He completed his bachelor degree with honours at the Adelaide Central School of Art.

“During my undergraduate studies I developed a process-based way of working, where my studio became my exhibit. I built, destroyed and built, and the final state of the environment was my final exhibition,” he says.

“An aim of my first few exhibitions was to continue this process outside of the studio.

“I explored the idea of ‘drawing’ through sculpture, and then a kit-model-building, science-fiction aesthetic started to creep into my work around 2007.”

In a recent exhibition at UniSA’s Samstag Museum, Roy filled the ground floor of the gallery with a striking sculptural installation titled Slow crawl into infinity. The work recreated the iconic scrolling prologue to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope as an imposing object of plywood and pine.

Roy Ananda, Slow crawl into infinity, installation view at the Samstag Museum of Art, 2014
Plywood, timber, fixings, approximately 550x700x1050cm


“This was a big monument to being a fan – the work recorded the devotional labour,” he says.

“There’s always been a stream of my work about pop-culture sources, from Star Wars to Warner Bros cartoons and more.

“The other stream that features in my work tends to be more formal and process-based.

“In my Samstag exhibition, the mezzanine was open during construction, allowing viewers to observe the process.”

Creating installations that fill gallery spaces requires attention to logistics and project management. Roy says during construction of Slow crawl into infinity he outsourced some of the fabrication and worked with a team on construction of the piece.

He says the Joyner scholarship will facilitate a broader range of exploration and experimentation.

“The scholarship will enhance the ambition of my work, and enable me to explore a wider range of materials and fabrication techniques,” Roy says.

“This kind of work can chew through some money,” he adds.

Roy Ananda, Aether drift, 2013, Timber, acrylic paint, fixings, aluminium trestles, approximately 300x600x500cm


Having just commenced his masters by research, Roy is starting to shape the direction of his project.

“The identity of me as a fan is obvious in my current work,” he says.

“In my masters I want to look at fandom more broadly, and how fans contribute to building the imaginary worlds they inhabit – different worlds, different genres, different physical laws that apply.

“I’m also interested in examining other focal points of fan culture, such as tabletop games and kung fu movies.”

Roy currently lectures at the Adelaide Central School of Art. He also writes about art, and occasionally extends his sculpture skills to set designs for festivals and theatre.

He will soon be exhibiting at the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia’s Shock of the new new survey of South Australian art, and later in the year will be part of a group exhibition in Sydney that will feature artists responding to J. G. Ballard’s The drowned world.

 

Image credits

Roy Ananda, Slow crawl into infinity, installation view at the Samstag Museum of Art, 2014
Plywood, timber, fixings, approximately 550x700x1050cm
Photograph by Sam Noonan, image courtesy of the artist and Dianne Tanzer Gallery + Projects

Roy Ananda, Aether drift, 2013
Timber, acrylic paint, fixings, aluminium trestles, approximately 300x600x500cm
Photograph by James Field, image courtesy of the artist and Dianne Tanzer Gallery + Projects


University of South Australia PhD candidate Karen Sinclair

Boosting cultural competence in the classroom

For young Aboriginal children in Australia’s education system, the first years of schooling can involve a period of significant adjustment to a new cultural environment.

In the past it was up to the child to adjust, but now there is more emphasis on how a teacher can respond to the student’s culture, and improve educational outcomes for students from a range of cultural backgrounds.  

The ability to create and nurture connections between students and teachers is the focus of research by Karen Sinclair, PhD candidate in the David Unaipon College of Indigenous Education and Research. A Ngarrindjeri woman and early years educator, Karen is examining educators’ perspectives towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competence, which she defines as the ability to negotiate intercultural spaces.

“Culturally competent educators would have the skills, knowledge and aptitudes to build relationships with Aboriginal students and families to improve education outcomes,” she says.

“Aboriginal children have unique cultural perspectives, and in my research I am interested in teachers’ perceptions of what Aboriginal perspectives actually are.

“I had a lot of questions about the deficit model around Aboriginal children – in which the child, the child’s culture and their home life are blamed for negative outcomes in education. It’s important to challenge this and look at the educators’ roles.”

Karen’s research is set against a backdrop of the Australian Government’s Early Years Learning Framework, which defines cultural competence as one of eight key practices that support educators to develop respectful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities within their local context.

According to Karen, this has raised a number of practical questions which directly affect the nation’s classrooms.

“What are teachers’ cultural competencies? What skills are involved? What do they think ‘cultural competence’ means?” Karen says.

“This Early Years Learning Framework document has emerged, but there has been little professional development or support for teachers around it.

“You can’t just have one training session and then profess to be culturally competent. In order to provide culturally competent programs and curricula to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, educators need to go beyond a checklist approach.”

Karen says the process of engaging with Aboriginal and other cultures in the classroom – and becoming culturally competent – can involve some trial and error.

“Relationships take time. There are trust factors involved – this has an historical context,” she says.

“One practical thing that teachers might do to begin to build relationships with Aboriginal children is to send positive notes home to the parents, to build trust.”
Karen is conducting her research with a combination of Q Methodology and a unique Indigenous methodology, based on ‘yarning’.

“I interviewed a number of teachers, but as an Aboriginal person I prefer to say ‘yarns’ – so I just had yarns,” she says.

“Yarning has been a key technique for gathering data for my project.”

Having completed her data collection, Karen now has her eye on some of the positive outcomes her research may offer.

“At the end of my PhD I hope to be able to provide recommendations as to how teachers can improve their cultural competency, to benefit Aboriginal children as well as children with many other cultural backgrounds,” she says.

Karen has recently become an Indigenous Visiting Fellow at the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). This will give her the opportunity to join a network of Indigenous education researchers, further her research skills, participate in local and national research projects, and work with an experienced research mentor.

“I’m excited about the fellowship because I’ll be allocated a mentor from ACER, and work with them on a professional development plan,” Karen says.

“This will be a great opportunity to develop networks within ACER, and make contributions to the evidence base in Indigenous education and in improving outcomes for Indigenous learners.”


University of South Australia PhD candidate Victor Krawczyk

Enhancing the lives of animals in business

Throughout human history animals have been companions and workers, as well as sources of food and materials for human consumption. As such, they have almost inevitably become part of business products and supply chains.

In business, the relationship between humans and animals is complex, and does not always work in the animal’s favour.

Victor Krawczyk, PhD candidate in the School of Communications, International Studies and Languages, is examining the position of animals in business and how they can be treated in more respectful or compassionate ways.

“In business spheres, animals are often an instrument or source of  profit. This becomes complicated when you realise particular animals have high levels of intelligence, and the ability to express emotions,” Victor says.

“Some organisations have taken this on board and recognised animal sentience and have in turn adopted more compassionate practices.”

By studying best-practice organisations, Victor is working to develop recommendations for how animals can be incorporated into business without overlooking their welfare.

“I’ve focused on organisations of best practice because we can learn a lot more from the best-case examples than from the horrendous or the mediocre,” he says.

“I’ve looked at animals in range of industries, such as agriculture, marketing and PR, research, and also in the arts – animals are often part of forms of entertainment.

“Organisations are often sites where animals experience much abuse and mistreatment. The attitudes and behaviours of people in businesses that have an impact on animal life require ongoing research in order to develop practical outcomes for animals.

“Researching businesses that take an ethical stance to improving the lives of animals may help to provide insights into particular attitudes and behaviours that enhance respectful engagements with animals in business.”

Much of Victor’s research has been confidential, which limits what specific findings he can reveal at this stage, but he says his results have enabled him to define attitudes and behaviours and then develop a framework of social responsibility.

“I’m producing a series of recommendations, a set of policies and procedures, and a general ethos – this will be the product of my PhD,” he says.

“These could be used by organisations to feed into the development of corporate social responsibility frameworks that enhance animal lives.

“We live in a more-than-human world. If we keep that in mind when producing social responsibility frameworks, it widens our compassion and subsequent understanding of the importance of nonhuman sentient life.”

Last year a Golden Key Research Grant enabled Victor to travel to New York to visit a business to examine how animal welfare could be incorporated into product development and investment decisions.

He also received an International Travel Grant through the University of South Australia, which gave him the opportunity to network at the University of Leicester’s School of Management, which is known for research into alternative management practices that focus on enhancing life and creating organisations where people feel that their time is well spent.


Keep your research moving forward with these workshops

We’ve scheduled hundreds of workshops in 2015 for research degree students at all stages of candidature.

From writing your proposal to developing methodology, communicating your research, writing your thesis and more, these workshops are a great way to boost your research skills and build networks with other research students.

Take a look at our new Workshops and resources page to see what’s on offer, and to register. Many of these workshops are offered in series, so make sure you register for all sessions in a series.

We’d love to see you there!


Biosafety training course

The University’s Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) is offering a half-day biosafety training course on Thursday 16 April, 2015.

All research degree students and University staff who work with biohazardous materials or genetically modified organisms are strongly encouraged to attend this session hosted by the IBC.

Topics to be covered will be:

  • When and how to apply for IBC approval
  • Microbiological risk groups and classifications of GMO dealings
  • Physical containment levels and certified facilities
  • Behavioural requirements for working with biohazards and Risk Group 2 organisms
  • Transport, storage & disposal of GMOs

REGISTRATION REQUIRED: Please register via the ONLINE FORM

Time: 9:30am – 12:30pm (sign in at the reception desk from 9:00am).
Morning tea provided.

Location: Basil Hetzel Lecture Theatre (H2-02), UniSA City East Campus

Enquiries: please contact the UniSA Biosafety Officer: biosafety@unisa.edu.au


Start working on your Maurice de Rohan application

The $17,500 Maurice de Rohan International Scholarship gives you the opportunity to gain an international perspective and improve your thesis by undertaking research, data collection or work with institutional or industry partners in the UK or USA.

The scholarship will provides funding towards:

  • gaining industry or academic experience at institutions with which UniSA has a collaborative relationship
  • overseas field trips for the purpose of data collection
  • a stipend to assist with living expenses.

Applications close 15 April and require some preparation, so make sure you read all the requirements and allow time!

Find out more...


$50 voucher up for grabs: complete this survey

Student and Academic Services are surveying research degree students and supervisors to help us understand how candidature is managed using IT resources available to them. The information gathered may inform service improvements in the future.

We’re offering a chance to win a $50 gift voucher to participants who provide their contact details, and who would like to provide input on this topic at a later stage. The winner will be announced in Research Edge.

Participation in this survey is voluntary and confidentiality will be strictly maintained even if you provide your contact details.

Complete the survey now:


Turn your research into a start-up with Venture Catalyst seed funding

Does your research have commercial potential?

Up to $50,000 is on offer to current UniSA students and recent graduates to develop a product, service or process and take it to market.

Venture Catalyst seed funding encourages the creation of local start-ups, and round 2 is now open for applications.

Apply by Monday 30 March 2015.

For more information visit the Venture Catalyst website.


Venture Catalyst awarded two winners last year: Jemsoft, which provides an intelligent security system for retail premises, and myEvidence, which seeks to increase the efficiency of police work through technology.

Venture Catalyst was developed through a partnership between the State Government and UniSA.


New students: welcome from the Library

The Library would like to welcome our commencing research degree students.

By offering a variety of resources and services the Library aims to assist you in researching smarter and faster.

Support is provided by a team of Academic Librarians attached to each School/Division. Academic Librarians are happy to meet you on an individual basis and can provide assistance around such issues as the literature review, finding research proposals and theses, managing your references and more.

To make contact with your Academic team use the following email below:


Update for supervisors

SAS survey: looking for supervisor input

Student and Academic Services are surveying supervisors and research degree students to help us understand how candidature is managed using IT resources available to them. The information gathered may inform service improvements in the future.

We’re offering a chance to win a $50 gift voucher to participants who provide their contact details, and who would like to provide input on this topic at a later stage. The winner will be announced in Research Edge.

Participation in this survey is voluntary and confidentiality will be strictly maintained even if you provide your contact details.

Complete the supervisor survey now...

BI Hub training resources – research focus

The Business Intelligence and Planning Unit are offering several introductory training sessions with a special focus on research. Workshops are designed to show users how to use data and resources within BI Reporting and the BI Hub to find answers to specific questions.

Take a look at the BI Hub training website for more information and to register.

Fee relief and completion scholarships

Just a reminder that applications for these scholarships close 28 February.


Update for administrators

BI Hub training resources – research focus

The Business Intelligence and Planning Unit  are offering several introductory training sessions with a special focus on research. Workshops are designed to show users how to use data and resources within BI Reporting and the BI Hub to find answers to specific questions.

Take a look at the BI Hub training website for more information and to register.

Fee relief and completion scholarships

Just a reminder that applications for these scholarships close 28 February.


City West campus image

Got a story for us?

Are you a research student with some interesting progress or achievements to talk about? Or perhaps a supervisor with some great tips and insights to help students?

We'd love to hear from anybody who has useful insights or updates to share with the University of South Australia's research higher degree community. Get in touch – send any submissions or story ideas to research.degree.updates@unisa.edu.au.


Send feedback

Send feedback

We're always interested in ways to improve The Research Edge to make it a more useful resource for you and your research.

If you've got any ideas, comments or other feedback, we want to hear them! Get in touch via research.degree.updates@unisa.edu.au.


Research degree student support

The University of South Australia provides service and support throughout your time as a doctoral or masters by research student.

Sometimes it's hard to know where to start in seeking help and advice. So, you may want to contact us with questions about:

  • Application and admission requirements and processes
  • Scholarships
  • Workshops and resources available to students
  • How to get the most out of a research degree
  • The research degree life cycle
  • Thesis examination
  • Completion and graduation

Get in touch: email research.students@unisa.edu.au (current students) or research.degrees@unisa.edu.au (prospective students), phone +(618) 8302 5880, or drop into the office at Lv 1, 101 Currie Street, Adelaide – we're open 9am-5pm weekdays.

You can also find out more about our services on our website.


GRC quick facts

Quick facts

> A big welcome to our new research degree students commencing in February and March

> Shut up & write! is back again this year, every Monday from 9:30am in the Research Student Zone (JS3-04) in the Jeffrey Smart building, City West campus, and coming soon to Mawson Lakes. All welcome – find out more…

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