12 February 2008

NEW PROJECT - The Listening Project (Deadline for expressions of interest: 29 Feb 2008)

Tanja Dreher, Justine Lloyd and Penny O'Donnell, Project Conveners

The Listening Project is a program of collaboration that will generate sustained discussion and publication around the politics, technologies and practices of the cultural literacy of ‘listening’. The project develops a new area of study through an innovative model of networking, bringing together researchers across a range of disciplines as well as media and cultural producers. The program will examine the neglected dynamics of ‘listening’, an emerging focus in Media Studies and citizens’ media interventions. Habitual critiques of representation and the politics of ‘speaking’ (or giving voice to the voiceless) are giving way to investigation of more active possibilities for social inclusion and change based on recognition, dialogic engagement and acceptance.


Five afternoon tea workshops will be held in 2008, leading to a multi-authored publication around the theme of ‘listening’ in 2009. For each workshop, the convenors and 2 – 3 invited participants will be asked to prepare a brief and informal discussion starter, which might take the form of a commentary on existing literature or research, or a discussion of a particular project, research methodology etc. The discussion will be structured to lead to the identification of potential collaborative projects and papers for publication.

16 April 2008, UNSW
Tanja Dreher (UTS) and Gay Hawkins (UNSW)

13 August 2008, UNSW
Gerard Goggin (UNSW) and Christopher Newell (UTas)

August 2008, UTS
Justine Lloyd (Macq) and Kate Crawford (UNSW)

26 September 2008, Monash
Mark Gibson (Monash)

17 October 2008, Usyd
Penny O'Donnell (Usyd) and Juan Salazar (UWS)

14 November 2008, UTS

If you wish to participate in The Listening Project, email Cate Thill (Catherine.Thill@uts.edu.au). If you would like to attend a workshop, please send a statement indicating in 200 words or less why you are interested in a specific workshop topic and whether or not you are doing related research, as well as a short CV (4 page max). Alternatively, if you are interested in contributing to a proposed publication on the theme of listening, please send a short abstract and outline of a paper on one of the workshop topics. The deadline for expressions of interest in workshops and the publication is 29 February 2008.

Early career, regional and rural researchers are strongly encouraged to apply.

There is a small amount of funding available for interstate travel to the workshops that will be allocated on a competitive basis. Please indicate in your application if you are interested in applying for funding.

The Listening Project is supported by the Australian Research Council’s Cultural Research Network and the Trans/forming Cultures Research Centre at the University of Technology Sydney


[only info about the workshop about multicultural societies included below - for other sessions' info, contact the organisers]

16 April 2008, UNSW
Tanja Dreher (UTS) and Gay Hawkins (UNSW)

This workshop will focus on the ethics and politics of listening in order to develop innovative approaches to thinking about media and multiculturalism. To date both research and policy on media and cultural diversity have emphasised questions of speaking, whether in mainstream, community or diaspora media. There is also a vast literature examining questions of representation including stereotyping, racialisation, hybridisation and self-representations. This workshop extends these discussions to focus on questions of listening. Sociologist Charles Husband has long argued that the 'right to be understood' and an ethics of listening are as important as the 'right to communicate' in developing a multi-ethnic public sphere. Susan Bickford suggests that 'just as speakers must reflect on how to speak (and what to say), listeners must be self-conscious about how they listen (and what they hear). Taking responsibility for listening, as an active and creative process, might serve to undermine certain hierarchies of language and voice'.

Attention to listening provokes important questions about media and multiculturalism: How do media enable or constrain listening across difference? What is the role of mediation in the politics of listening? How can a diversity of voices be heard in the media? How are new modes of listening developed or learned (by media producers and by media audiences)? How can media researchers, producers and policymakers best address these questions?

By bringing together researchers, media workers and policy makers we aim to start a conversation on new ways of understanding the dynamics and importance of listening in multicultural societies.