Context & Project Aims

This project forms part of the DIEGETIC LIFE FORMS and DIEGETIC LOGIC Postgraduate Research Program at the National Academy of Screen and Sound (NASS).

DIEGETIC LIFE FORMS and DIEGETIC LOGIC - Postgraduate Research Program at the National Academy of Screen and Sound (NASS)

Developing a collaborative national postgraduate research program for screen producers potentially has many educational, cultural and commercial benefits. To achieve this potential a number of major structural, funding and practice-based research problems need to be addressed. This Project will initiate sector-wide consultations regarding conditions required for a viable postgraduate research development while liaising with relevant state and federal organizations. The Project will build upon the Western Australian experience with intercampus collaboration to map out a synergistic network of national screen production research hubs, regional nodes and local knowledge trails. This framework will be used to form an interuniversity research centre to service postgraduate researchers with supervisors and to actively seek production grants. The organizational task will be undertaken in partnership with 30 existing national and international collaborators and 22 institutions. The Project outcome is expected to lead to a more directed, sustainable and mix-funded national postgraduate development in screen production, one with local as well as global connections.


Western Australia
Associate Professor Josko Petkovic, NASS, Murdoch University
(Project Leader)
Annabelle Murphy, VCA, The University of Melbourne
Dr Leo Berkeley, RMIT UniversityNew South Wales
Associate Professor Gillian Leahy, UTSQueensland
Professor Herman Van Eyken, Griffith Film School, Griffith University
Mr Nicholas Oughton, Griffith Film School, Griffith UniversitySouth Australia
Dr Alison Wotherspoon, Flinders University


The researchers in this project will be screen production academics from the following Australian institutions: Adelaide, Bond, COFA, Curtin, Deakin, ECU, Flinders, Griffith, Macquarie, Murdoch, UoN, Notre Dame, QUT, RMIT, Swinburne, UC, UniSA, UTas, UTS, UWA, UWS, VCA, and AFTRS. The project will synthesize and document the contributions of these academics along with a number of international participants.

Initial contact has been established with the following researchers/institutions (the list will be augmented as new names are added to it):

Professor Su Baker; VCA, Melbourne
Associate Professor Stephen Barrass; UC
Professor Greg Battye; UC
Dr Leo Berkeley; RMIT
Professor Joram ten Brink; Westminster University, UK
Associate Professor Mick Broderick; NASS, Murdoch
John Cumming; Deakin
Dr Tony Dowmunt; Goldsmith College, UK
Professor Ross Harley; COFA, UNSW
Dr Jill Holt; Swinburne
Andrew Ewing; ECU
Professor Herman Van Eyken; Griffith
Dr Russell Fewster; University of South Australia
Associate Professor John Freeman; Curtin University
Dr George Karpathakis; ECU
Ken Kelso; Murdoch
Dr Susan Kerrigan; Newcastle
Dr Adrian Guthrie; UniSA
Professor Ian Lang; Melbourne
Dr Melissa Langdon; ND
Associate Professor Gillian Leahy; UTS
John McMullan; Murdoch
Associate Professor Leon Marvell; Deakin
Dr Margaret McVeigh; Griffith
Associate Professor Martin Mhando; NASS, Murdoch
Professor Cathryn McConaghy; AFTRS
John MacConchie; Flinders
Professor Kathryn Millard; Macquarie
Dr Ken Miller; Curtin
Annabelle Murphy; VCA, Melbourne
Dr Kate Nash; UTas
Nick Oughton; Griffith
Jeremy Parker; RMIT
Associate Professor Josko Petkovic; NASS, Murdoch
Associate Professor Geoff Portmann; QUT
David Price; VCA, Melbourne
Associate Professor Jenny de Reuck; NASS, Murdoch
Dr Mark Seton; AFTRS
Associate Professor Michael Sergi; Bond
Charlie Strachan; Griffith
Dr Larissa Sexton-Finck; UWA
Associate Professor Chris Smyth; Murdoch
Sue Thwaites; UC
Professor Keyan Tomaselli; Kwa-Zulu Natal, Durban
Associate Professor Andrew Turk; Murdoch
Tim Watson; UC
Associate Professor Mitchell Whitelaw; UC
Dr Michael Wilmore; Adelaide University
Rachel Wilson; RMIT
Howard Worth; Curtin University
Dr Alison Wotherspoon; Flinders


Screen production is a complex, inter-disciplinary and group-based activity. Because of its complexity most undergraduate and honours programs commit themselves to the straightforward version of the production process – namely the making of short productions. Most postgraduate researchers simply extend the short production form to longer forms such as feature films and documentaries. From the point of view of future planning there are two problems associated with this conventional postgraduate research path:- it is politically unrealistic and economically unsustainable to expect all screen production postgraduate researchers to produce expensive feature length “masterpiece” in a country that has a small and marginal film industry. It is likely that only exceptional candidates will be able to work in this market driven format.  In a world that is ever more reliant on image communication the domain of screen production is ever expanding and changing. These changes should be reflected in any postgraduate program.Accordingly, to formulate a successful and sustainable postgraduate program in screen production it will be necessary to:

  1. account for exceptional filmmakers working in the existing paradigm of research
  2. explore new paradigms of production that are relevant to the needs of the times

Both options present difficulties that will be addressed by this Project.These difficulties can be summarized as follows:

  • difficulties of finding funds for practice-based postgraduate research in screen production;
  • difficulties of having viable postgraduate research programs in screen production without adequate funds;
  • difficulties associated with the changing paradigm of screen production research as a result of changes in technology and cyber technology in particular
This OTC funded Innovation and Development project sets out to address the above difficulties by creating a collaborative network of universities researchers and by organizing these as an inter-university research centre. The overarching aim of this research collaboration will be to think, lobby and act at a higher level of research activity than is possible for each individual institutions. That is to say, the aim is to find a new type of research activity and not to replace the research activity already underway within each institution.