Strategic Storytelling in Digital Media: Research Training Pre-Conference – School of Art Communication and English Strategic Storytelling in Digital Media: Research Training Pre-Conference – School of Art Communication and English

Strategic Storytelling in Digital Media: Research Training Pre-Conference

About this event

We invite all interested to a pre-conference event on the 27th of September, between 1pm and 4pm, on the topic of Strategic Storytelling in Digital Media. Strategic storytelling is a practice being used by actors as diverse as the far-right, climate justice activists, proponents of the “circular economy”, First Nations peoples in Australia and beyond, those campaigning for recognition of intersectional relations and identity difference, and resistant narratives in warfare. This pre-conference will bring together leading scholars whose research touches on these diverse themes and topics to examine the practice, and generate dialogue and potential new research directions alongside Professor John Hartley, who has recently joined the University of Sydney’s Discipline of Media and Communications.

Session 0.5: Introduction and Welcome

Brief introduction to the topics and our people, before then moving onto:

Session 1: Weaponizing News

Professor Catharine Lumby, Associate Professor Fiona Martin, Dr Xiang Ren, Dr Joanne Gray, Professor John Hartley

In this first session we will discuss the ongoing trend of weaponizing news. This includes the idea of the truth as propaganda (such as in the context of national self-aggrandisement), truth as propagation, truth as a conflict between “us” and “them” (or “we” and “they”) via the ideas that “our” knowledge is universal but “their” knowledge is false; and other similar paradigms that we see emerging. The latest twist to this long-standing structure is that military theorists and non-state-actors alike have started to take stories seriously as a weapon of war (as anticipated by earlier work by the RAND Corporation and others), and we now see how states use news as a weapon. This panel will bring together experts on these areas to interrogate these developments, and will actively seek involvement and participation from the floor.

Session 2: “Worldmaking” and the Cultural Industries

Dr Mitchell Hobbs, Dr Jonathon Hutchinson, Dr Meizi Su, Dr Margie Borschke, Professor John Hartley

In response to the weaponization of news, this second session will explore the practice of “worldmaking”, which captures the sense of a cultural process in which all humans are participants, especially children and young people, who use digital media for activism and advocacy as well as entertainment. These modes of collective social action are co-extensive and well beyond the horizons of business and politics as usual. For example, youth activism for climate justice (e.g. Greta Thunberg) and for human rights (e.g. Malala) can be seen as worldmaking projects, seeking to imagine what “system change” needs to achieve. This second session will interrogate these practices and how they offer potential solutions to our most pressing issues, and will once more actively invite conversation and participation from the floor.

Session 2.5: Summing Up

Brief summary of the event and resources and ways to contact the speakers to continue discussion.

This event is on the afternoon of September 27th, but PRECISE time / location TBC! This event is online AND in person.


Sep 27 2022


1:00 pm - 4:00 pm


The University of Sydney (Venue TBA)

Other Locations

Via Zoom

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