Symposium: Transnational Audiences

The CTC is hosting a symposium called Transnational Audiences on May 6. The symposium features a range of scholars addressing the transnational turn in media research. It runs from 9:30am-3:30pm in the Research Hub, Building 19 at UOW main campus.

CTC Transnational Audiences Symposium Flyer


9:30am Welcome
9:45am Adrian Athique Transnational Audiences: Media Reception at a Global Scale
10:30am Morning Tea
11:00am Pia Majbritt Jensen The Global Rise of the Danish TV Drama
11:45am Brian Yecies Mining ‘Good’ Data on Transnational Media Audiences in China
12:30pm Lunch
1:15pm Ika Willis Daniel Deronda in Queensland: Melissa Lucashenko’s Hard Yards and Transnational Reception
2:00pm Karina Aveyard Transnational Audience Mobility – How I Learned to Love Crocodile Dundee
2:45pm Sue Turnbull & Marion McCutcheon ‘Tassie Noir’: The Kettering Incident and Transnational TV Crime Drama
3:30pm Close Final comments and drinks at the bar

Abstracts and Presenter Bios

Transnational Audiences: Media Reception At A Global Scale

Adrian Athique, University of Queensland

For scholars engaged in the study of media audiences, the analytical turn towards transnational modes of media analysis has required a broad reassessment of the nature of media reception. In recent years, the ‘transnational shift’ has been marked by two critical imperatives: First of all, by a belated recognition that transnationalism is a dynamic of mainstream culture, rather than a minority pursuit and, secondly, by the practical imperative to consider the social and cultural implications of a global interactive media apparatus. Given the predominance of cultural nationalism as an political principle, the shift to a transnational framework raises substantive issues for both the epistemology and methodology of audience research. One of the most fundamental challenges, along with most promising opportunities, arises from the need to account for the different scales at which transnational media exchanges impact upon the social imagination of ordinary people in everyday life. As such, the transnational turn overall will really bear fruit when it becomes able to accommodate a full spectrum of mediation along which we can zoom in and out. Arguably, this is how contemporary audience encounters with the local, national and global (or indeed the familial, social or civilisational) are being constructed, contested and juxtaposed against each other. That is, in a world of global simultaneity, we need to understand how transnational cultures are rendered comprehensible within a sliding scale of the familiar and the strange.

Adrian Athique is Associate Professor of Cultural Studies at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Queensland. He has written extensively on international communication and the role of audiences across a range of media forms and locations. His latest book: Transnational Audiences: Media Reception at a Global Scale (Polity) will be published on 27 May 2016. Previous books include: The Multiplex in India: A Cultural Economy of Urban Leisure (2010, Routledge, with Douglas Hill), Indian Media: Global Approaches (2010, Polity) and Digital Media and Society (2013, Polity).

The Global Rise of the Danish TV Drama

Pia Majbritt Jensen, Arhus University Denmark

With its small population of only 5.6 million inhabitants, its public service broadcasting dominance, and no recent history of world colonization or immigration, the near global success of Denmark’s television drama series – including titles such as The Killing, Borgen and The Bridge – over the last five years is as unprecedented as it is impressive.
In this talk I will investigate the success of Danish television drama from the perspective of the series’ international reception. I am currently leading an eight-country audience study that constructs international audiences in a novel way by visioning ‘audiences’ not only as regular viewers or as statistics extracted from ratings, but instead as a more complex “three-leaf clover” formation of interacting agents. This three-leaf clover formation corresponds to (1) buyers and distributors, who act as gatekeepers to international markets, (2) journalists and TV critics, who act as arbiters of taste, and (3) regular viewers. These three types of audiences are all considered critical players in the global success of Danish TV drama.

By investigating the specific characteristics of each type of audience and considering their close and complex interrelationships, the study aims to understand the transnational qualities of Danish drama series from multiple angles and to convey how transnational media reception may not only rely on regular viewers but also on buyers, distributors and critics. By doing so, both the methodology and our findings may develop preeminent theories on media reception and media distribution and geography and, also, address the theoretical challenges of researching phenomena in an increasingly de-territorialized world, where audiences may be paradoxically characterized as both ‘national’ and ‘transnational’.

Pia Majbritt Jensen is an associate professor in the Department of Media Studies and Journalism at Aarhus University, Denmark, and currently a visiting scholar in the School of the Arts, English and Media at the University of Wollongong. Her research revolves around the role of media in globalization processes, and research topics include inter­national television formats and genres, television drama, local media systemic conditions, and production and industry analyses. Current projects include a four-year collaborative research project entitled ‘What makes Danish television drama series travel?’, funded by The Danish Council for Independent Research (2014-2018, see

Mining ‘Good’ Data Mining on Transnational Media Audiences in China

Brian Yecies, University of Wollongong

This talk presents a preliminary investigation of user-generated content on a popular online social network in China: Douban, where media-savvy ‘digital natives’ post and follow comments about films, tv shows, books, music, and current events. Topical conversations include a plethora of comments on a wide range of domestic, international and transnational films that are encouraging audiences to form new views about genre, film production, and global cultures more generally. Included in the mix are a number of South Korean films that have become a welcomed alternative to Hollywood blockbusters, particularly given their star power, fresh aesthetics and creative stories for which Korean cinema has become known since the Korean government relaxed film censorship in 1996. How are Chinese audiences on Douban OSN making sense of this increasing influx of popular culture in China? How can we apply so-called Big Data methods to transdisciplinary studies in humanities? To gain deeper insights into this emerging arena, this talk addresses some of the challenges and benefits of harvesting ‘good’ rather than simply ‘big’ data samples, and offers some lessons about managing data involving films, users, comments and their interconnected relationships in Chinese online social networks.

Dr. Brian Yecies is a Senior Lecturer in Communication and Media Studies at the University of Wollongong. His teaching and research focus on film, digital media and cultural policy in Asia, as well as innovation ecosystems in Australia and the UAE. He is the author of Korea’s Occupied Cinemas, 1893-1948 (2011, Routledge) and The Changing Face of Korean Cinema, 1960-2015 (2016, Routledge) — both with Ae-Gyung Shim. He is a chief investigator on the 2014-16 Australian Research Council Discovery Project “Willing Collaborators: Negotiating Change in East Asian Media Production”, and 2015-16 Council for Australian Arab Relations-DFAT project “Networking Women Entrepreneurs in Sydney and Dubai: Innovation Hubs, Sustainable Policies and Strategies for Success”.

Daniel Deronda in Queensland: Melissa Lucashenko’s Hard Yards and transnational reception

Ika Willis, University of Wollongong

I relieved you from the bondage of having been born a Jew.
– Daniel’s mother, Daniel Deronda, p.627.

It was genocide.
– Sir Ronald Wilson, report of the Inquiry into the Removal of Aboriginal Children; epigraph to Hard Yards.

This paper reads Melissa Lucashenko’s 1999 novel Hard Yards as an Australian Aboriginal adaptation of George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda (1876). Eliot’s novel is structured around the eponymous Daniel’s discovery that he is of Jewish ancestry, and ends with his departure from England for Palestine. Hard Yards’ Brisbane protagonist, Roo Glover, is estranged from his white father, feeling a deeper affinity with the family of his Aboriginal girlfriend: while the novel suggests that Roo’s mother may have been Aboriginal, neither he nor we are ever allowed to know for sure.

In this paper, I argue that, if all readings of a text are to some extent rewritings, then Hard Yards is a particularly rich example of transnational reception. Lucashenko manipulates and transforms both the narrative structure of Eliot’s novel and its geopolitics, by insisting on the breaks and ruptures involved in relocating Daniel’s story from England to Australia. Furthermore, as I will show, both novels are bound up with the concept of the nation itself, although very different constructions of nationhood (as well as of family, home, and cultural transmission) underpin Eliot’s proto-Zionist novel and Lucashenko’s anti-colonial project.

Ika Willis is Senior Lecturer in English Literatures at the University of Wollongong. She specializes in reception theory, and has published on works from Virgil’s Aeneid through Xena: Warrior Princess to online Harry Potter fan fiction. She is currently writing the *Reception* volume for Routledge’s New Critical Idiom series.

Transnational Audience Mobility – How I Learnt to Love Crocodile Dundee

Karina Aveyard, University of Sydney

This paper considers what happens when audiences as well as texts become globally mobile. Using my experience as an ex-pat Australian living in the UK as a starting point, this paper explore how location can influence key aspects of taste and identity of media consumers. It will focus in detail on how place can act not just as a site that enriches textual meaning but can also function to create a sense of the ‘other’, and consider the implications of this for conceptual and methodological approaches to audience studies.

Karina Aveyard is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Sydney. She was previously a Lecturer in the School of Art, Media and American Studies at the University of East Anglia, UK. Karina completed her PhD at Griffith University in 2012. Her thesis titled ‘Rural Cinema: Film Exhibition and Consumption in Australia and the United Kingdom’ was funded by an ARC Linkage Grant in collaboration with the National Film and Sound Archive and Screen Australia. Prior to undertaking her PhD studies Karina was a senior researcher at the Australian Film Commission.

‘Tassie Noir’: The Kettering Incident and Transnational TV Crime Drama

Sue Turnbull and Marion McCutcheon, University of Wollongong

Scheduled to appear on Foxtel in 2016, the Australian TV crime drama, The Kettering Incident has already begun its transnational career by winning a Special Jury Prize at the Series Mania Festival in Paris in April 2016. Touted as the first adult drama series to be conceived, written and filmed entirely in Tasmania, The Kettering Incident is being hailed as a ‘local’ triumph and a boost to Tasmania’s economy. At the same time, it is being promoted to potential global audiences in relation to successful transnational TV crime dramas such as Twin Peaks, Broadchurch and The X-Files.

The Kettering Incident thus promises to be an extremely useful case study in a project that will endeavour to map the types of value that accrue from the transnational trade in TV crime. These include values that accrue in monetary and non-monetary ways for all involved, from the citizens of Kettering themselves, to the audiences who may be watching this show in very different social and cultural contexts and to the cast and production staff who will leverage their experiences working on the series for the rest of their careers.

Sue Turnbull is Professor of Communication and Media Studies at the University of Wollongong and the author of the TV Crime Drama published by Edinburgh University press in 2014. Marion McCutcheon is an Independent Researcher and has worked as an economist and communications policy analyst in academic roles for the Federal Government. They are collaborating on the ARC Discovery project, Border Crossings: The Transnational Trade in the TV Crime Drama.