Current Research Projects
Listening in: improving recognition of community media to support democratic participation and wellbeing (FT140100515)
New media forms and the community media sector in Australia provide increasing opportunities for diverse communities to speak up, share stories and find a voice. This ARC-funded project analyses the political listening practices necessary to support the potential for voice in this changing media environment. The project contributes to community wellbeing by asking to what extent community media is heard in key mainstream institutions. Case studies examine the ways in which policymakers and journalists listen in to media produced by Indigenous, Muslim and Sudanese Australians. The research generates policy-relevant recommendations for improved practice to ensure democratic participation across multiple public spheres.
This emerging research agenda considers the ways in which recent attention to political voice and a turn to ‘listening’ might offer productive resources for research and practice aimed at media justice in global, mainstream, community and alternative media.
Past Research Projects
The Listening Project: a program of research collaboration that brought together Australian cultural and media scholars, practitioners and activists interested in the theme of ‘listening’, an emerging international focus in Media Studies and citizens’ media interventions.
Research and policy on media and cultural diversity routinely emphasise speaking or ‘voice’, whether in mainstream, community or diaspora media. Tanja Dreher’s research extended these discussions to focus on questions of ‘listening’. Drawing on recent work in postcolonial feminism and political theory, the research explored the productive possibilities of a shift beyond the politics of voice to explore ‘listening across difference’ in media studies and media advocacy work. Case studies of ‘listening interventions’ included community media ‘listening spaces’, ‘eavesdropping with permission’ and media practices beyond media as examples of the transformative potential of political listening for developing multicultural media.
An ARC Linkage Project with partners The Australia Council, Arts NSW and ICE (Information Cultural Exchange), an innovative new media and community arts organisation in Western Sydney. Dr Dreher’s research examined the patterns of recognition and uneven ‘listening’ generated by community arts and digital storytelling projects, focusing on ‘going public’ at launch and screening events and the shifting nature of community media in culturally diverse communities.