Digital media, communication and culture


Our research in digital media, communication and culture is ranked equal first in Australia and is considered by the national Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) exercise as well above world standard. It provides the core research focus in our only nationally-funded Centre of Excellence.

Our outstanding strength is based on cutting-edge research:

  • into media, culture and communications industries and policy
  • on digital and Internet studies including social media analytics
  • with a strong focus on China, east Asia and Australia.

ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCI)

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCI) focuses research and development on the role the creative industries and their contributing disciplines play in making a more dynamic and inclusive innovation system and society. With core support from the Australian Research Council from 2005-13, it is acknowledged as a global leader in this emerging field.


QUT's investment in capacity and environment in this area includes significant capital works and research infrastructure projects spearheaded by the $60m Creative Industries Precinct (including $15m of Queensland Government funding) where the group is based.

In addition, QUT has supported the predecessor centre, Creative Industries Research and Applications Centre, and then CCI, the Federation Fellowship and iCi with central funds amounting to one of QUT's biggest off-the-top research funding commitments.


Evidence of research quality

The Digital media, communication and culture research strength maps very closely to QUT ERA Field of Research (FOR) codes 2001 and 2002.

ERA (Excellence in Research for Australia) 2012 score:

  • 5 (well above world standard) -
    • Language, Communication and Culture (FOR 20), QUT's only 5 for a two-digit FOR code
    • Communication and Media Studies (FOR 2001)
  • 4 (above world standard) -
    • Cultural Studies (FOR 2002).

ERA (Excellence in Research for Australia) evaluates the quality of research undertaken in Australian universities against national and international benchmarks.

Only four other universities in Australia - ANU, Melbourne, University of Queensland and University of Sydney - received a 5 for FOR 20.

Digital media, communication and culture forms the core research strength in QUT's only ARC Centre of Excellence.

The group published more than 25 Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) A1 books 2005-2011, including from leading publishers such as Oxford, Cambridge, Blackwell, Routledge, Sage, Polity, Palgrave Macmillan, University of Queensland Press and Melbourne University Publishing, Hong Kong University Press and Edward Elgar. Its capacity to produce HERDC A1 output as a core indicator of quality in the humanities continues strongly into the present and future.

Developing new researchers

Research students
Early career researchers

Publication output

Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) publication output

2011 total

This research group published more than 25 authored scholarly books - Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) A1 collection - from 2005-2012, and regularly publishes in high-quality journals.

Research income

2012 total

ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCI):

  • ARC block funding: $1,867,490
  • partner funding (including QUT): $929,784
  • external income (ACG, industry etc): TBA.


ARC funding of $13.98m from 2005-2013 (in RFCD 4001 and 4203, and FoR 2001 and 2002). This represents 28% of the ARC funds allocated, and 2.5 times the amount of the second ranked university.

From 2005-2012, members have been responsible for winning or holding:

  • an ARC Centre of Excellence
  • a Federation Fellowship
  • six postdoctoral fellowships (APD and APDI)
  • numerous Discovery and Linkage projects
  • many research commissions.

Key grants

ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCI) sub-projects - QUT-centred

  • Actually existing innovation
  • Creative workforce 2.0
  • Asian creative transformations
  • Convergent media policy
  • Media ecologies (including Mapping online publics)
  • Mapping the creative economy

Current ARC Linkage/Discovery grants

  • Digital storytelling and co-creative media
  • Games and innovation
  • New media and public communication
  • Politics, media and democracy in Austrlia
  • Social media in times of crisis: learning from recent natural disasters to improve future strategies
  • Youth wellbeing
  • Young people, sex, love and the media

Other funded projects

  • Mapping networked politics
  • Social media monitoring
  • The impact of social media in election campaigns
  • Developing improved sexual health education strategies



This is just a sample of our research activity in this area.

Student topics

Potential topics for new research students.


International linkages

  • American University of Paris
  • Arts & Humanities Research Council, UK
  • Asian Borderlands Research Network (ABRN)
  • Beijing Academy of Science and Technology (BAST)
  • Beijing Research Centre for the Science of Science (Beijing Academy of Science & Technology)
  • Beijing University
  • Big Innovation Centre, UK
  • Bloomsbury Academic
  • Centre of Research for Pedagogy and Practice, Singapore
  • Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS)
  • Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Communication University of China
  • Crimes Against Children Research Centre, USA
  • Creative Commons International
  • Department of Information Science and Media Studies, University of Bergen
  • East China University of Political Science and Law (ECUPL)
  • East-West Centre for Business Studies and Cultural Science, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, Germany
  • EU's Legal Aspects of Public Sector Information Network (LAPSI)
  • European Schoolnet and Insafe, EU
  • Georgetown University Law School, USA
  • Global Cultural Industries Academic Alliance
  • Global Science and Technology Forum, Singapore
  • Hacettepe University, Turkey
  • Hans-Bredow-Institut, Hamburg, Germany
  • Harvard Law School
  • Information Society Institute, South Africa
  • Institute for Adult Learning, Singapore
  • Institute of Education, London University
  • Institute for Internet and Society, Germany
  • Intel Corporation's User Experience Group, USA
  • International Institute of Communication
  • Jönköping International Business School, Sweden
  • LabforCulture, European Cultural Foundation
  • London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Malmo University, Sweden
  • Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property, Competition and Tax Law
  • Ministry of Communication, South Africa
  • Nanyang Technological University
  • National Chengkong University, Taiwan
  • National Endowment of Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), UK
  • National Taiwan University, Taipei
  • Nigerian Copyright Commission
  • Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
  • Ofcom
  • Oxford Internet Institute
  • Peking/Beijing University Law School
  • Peking University
  • Roskilde University, MEDIeA project, Denmark
  • Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA), Gujurat, India
  • Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS)
  • Singapore Media Development Agency
  • Sociomantic Labs, Germany
  • Swedish World Internet Institute
  • United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
  • University of Akureyki, Iceland
  • University College of the Arts, Bournemouth, UK
  • University of Arizona, Faculty of Arts
  • University of Auckland, Faculty of Education
  • University of California, School of the Arts and Architecture, Los Angeles
  • University of Düsseldorf
  • University of Heidelberg, Germany
  • University of Lucerne
  • Universität Münster, Germany
  • University of Oslo, Norway
  • World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)
  • WZB (Social Science Research Center Berlin), Germany

Significant corporate partnerships

  • Asia Pacific Screen Awards
  • Australia Council for the Arts
  • Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  • Australian Centre for the Moving Image
  • Australian Communications and Media Authority
  • Australian Communications Consumer Action Network
  • Bergent Research
  • Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA)
  • Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS), Australia
  • Creative Enterprise Australia
  • Creative Industries Innovation Centre
  • Department of Community Safety (Queensland)
  • Department of Education and Training (Queensland)
  • Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (Queensland)
  • Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
  • Department of Business and Innovation (Victoria)
  • Eidos Institute
  • Games Developers' Association of Australia
  • Google
  • Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research
  • Smart Services Cooperative Research Centre

Cross-disciplinary engagement

The group is the core of large-scale collaborative arrangements at faculty, university, end-user and national levels, exemplified by the formal network of multi-university collaborative arrangements which compose the CCI, and its continued formal partnering with QUT Business School and Faculty of Law.

The depth of cross-disciplinary collaboration is evident in the degree to which evolutionary economics has contributed to new directions for the core Digital media, communication and culture research strength agenda of theorising the nature of the 'creative economy'. This has resulted in high impact output in journals such as the Journal of Cultural Economics and Industry and Innovation. The group has published in high quality journals in:

  • ICT (The Information Society)
  • cultural geography (Cultural Geographies)
  • education (Higher Education Research and Development)
  • health sciences (International Journal of Sexual Health).


Evidence of impact

An extensive 'CCI narrative' details claims in the broadest sense (academic, industry, policy, community) about impact of a significant portion of the Digital media, communication and culture (DMCC) group.

Recent examples of professional profile and standing include:

  • Professor Terry Flew:
    • appointed as Chair of the National Classification Review, Australian Law Reform Commission (2011-2012)
    • appointed to Humanities and Creative Arts panel of ARC College of Experts (2013-2015)
    • appointed as an ICA Board Member-at-Large representing Oceania and Africa (2012-2013)
  • Distinguished Professor Stuart Cunningham:
    • appointed to National Cultural Policy Reference Group 2011-2012, and Library Board of Queensland
    • appointed a member of the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Committee (2013-2017)
    • appointed to the New South Wales Government's Creative Industries Taskforce
    • apointed a director of Screen Queensland.

Our research has delivered solutions to significant problems:

  • Major data-based research e.g. Creative Trident methodology, creative business Benchmarker data providing near to real-time business intelligence into the Queensland creative industries sector.
  • China:
    • Creative Cities Index
    • creative industries profiling
    • industry development
    • policy/cluster development.
  • Groundbreaking research into new forms of public communication and new business models for the creative industries, including:
    • the world's first comprehensive analysis of YouTube's uses and social impacts
    • establishing the capability to execute 'rapid response' research in relation to the use of social media during natural disasters like the Queensland floods
    • analyses of the disruptive and transformative roles of users in the games and interactive media industries
    • extensive experimental applications of co-creative media such as digital storytelling in community and cultural organisations.
  • Policy-making research into older people and new technologies.
  • Citizen Consumer program: substantial ongoing research around household or vernacular digital content production and dissemination and theories of experimentation.
  • Crisis in Innovation program: substantial ongoing research into economics of creative sector and its relation to economics of innovation and industry performance.
  • DEEWR/CIIC/CCI creative workforce project:
    • researching education and work in creative economy
    • designing education systems for creative economy
    • equipping people with knowledge and skills for creative economy
    • tracking career trajectories of specialist and embedded creative
    • research, modelling and showcasing strategies for integrating interactive media expertise across 'non-games' industry sectors.


  • Business Process Management software
  • Benchmarker software
  • Regular commissions for creative industries mapping projects

Research enquiries

Creative Industries Research

Research degree enquiries

Creative Industries - postgraduate research enquiries