If I were an elephant…

Have you ever been for an elephant ride? Sitting on the strong back of a gentle friend, with a rugged Thai man pulling at his ears. This man is in control. Our big friendly giant has no choice. Never did it cross my mind the torture he has, and will, endure.

In 2014, my friend Teika and I traveled around Thailand and Cambodia for 1 month. During this time we stayed at an Elephant Nature Park situated in Cambodia. Lek, the owner of the park rescues injured elephants and gives them a safe haven. As natural grazing land is becoming scarce, and hunting is still occurring, this park provides safety for this endangered species.  Here, we were able to feed, bathe and interact with the elephants, but strictly no riding was permitted.

Everyone wants to ride elephants, even me. Well that was until I went to the nature park. There is actually quite a dark side to the beloved Thailand tourist attraction.  The park doesn’t offer rides, or have circus acts, because these animals were rescued from such places.  In order for you or me to ride an elephant it needs to be trained.  But the training techniques are brutal and start when the elephants are only young.

Unfortunately not all elephants have had the opportunity to become part of Lek’s nature park. Some endings are not as happy…

‘Under the law, all nonhuman animals are property with no more legal rights than a table or a chair’ – (Tyke Elephant Outlaw)

Tyke was a wild elephant from Mozambique who was captured and separated from her family when she was young.  She was then sold to the Hawthorn Corporation in America where she would train to become a circus animal.

This eleven minute clip looks at the brutal lifestyle of the circus through the eyes of the animals who were once a part of the show. The beginning of the video is minimalistic with a lack of visuals, and dialogue as the only sound. The beauty of the background being black/ empty is that we, as an audience, don’t know who is speaking. We presume it’s a human, and are shocked when we find our assumptions to be proved wrong. It’s not a human at all, but a zebra, a tiger, a monkey. The personification of these animals evokes empathy in the audience towards these harshly treated friends of the jungle. The human dialogue connects with us on a personal level, these animals are not so different from us. If they were human, would they be treated differently? They are the one’s telling the story. A story we can understand.

The video, produced by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), is structured like an interview or interrogation. Each animal describes their experience of being part of the Hawthorn circus in Honolulu.  The tiger has a scar across her face to highlight the pain and suffering they had to endure. The campaign alternates between the interrogation and historical footage. The Tiger asked if we looked at her with respect or as a clown in a circus. Each animal highlights how they feel, and related their feelings to that of Tykes. Intimacy is created through close-up shots, a technique used to further humanise these animals for audience connection and understanding.

The live footage provides us with evidence of what happened. The dialogue from the animals tells us why it happened.  We begin to sympathise with Tyke, and made to believe her actions were as a result of her violent upbringing and training.

An illusion is created that gives the perception that everything is fine. It gives the perception that the animals enjoy being part of the circus, but in fact this is untrue. It’s not natural to be caged, to be punished for not standing on your head or jumping through a ring of fire.  Would you force a human baby to act, unwillingly, as a circus performer?Animals, despite what the law says, are not something we should manipulate for financial gain, or any gain for that matter.

The interviewer asks the animals why they didn’t resist or fight back. Tyke and the other animals don’t know how to fight back as they have been punished and humiliated from a young age. They had lost all their natural hunting abilities. They were no longer in their natural habitat, but cages that suffocated them. Many gave up.  The tiger pauses between her sentences to build suspense and to capture her emotion.

The last show with Tyke demonstrated the destruction that can happen when people try to control animals, when we take them out of their natural habitats. One of the last shots is a close up of Tyke who has been shot 47 times, before collapsing to the floor.  The tiger is still narrating as we are looking at Tyke, watching her slowly pass away, still forced to wear a ridiculous looking hat.

PETA has employed many techniques to make us sympathise with Tyke and the other captive animals. Through the use of personification, and the interview format we are convinced (and know) that the circus was in the wrong. To say that the trainer deserved what happened to them would be extremely harsh.  However the audience is inclined to sympathise more so with Tyke. as the circus caused her to act out in the way she did.

Unfortunately, the Elephant Nature Park  cannot rescue all elephants that have been captured. Next time, just stop and think before you climb up onto the back of a helpless elephant. Some will never get to experience the care and compassion that many people have towards them. If I were an elephant, I’d like that chance.

Elephant - Cambodia





The Black, The White and Everything Inbetween

Black and white. Two very distinguishable colours, quite easy to set apart.

The sky is blue right? Yet look at it again when it’s raining and it’s no longer blue but grey. What seems like a very black and white question, funnily enough becomes quite grey. But neither answer is right nor wrong. How do we determine the truth when both present the facts? Maybe it depends on the level of perspective.

When reading articles presented by the media it is sometimes hard to justify their reasoning behind publishing such stories.  What stories should be released online and what shouldn’t? Once again it depends on our perspective right?

A particular story that makes me question its morality is the one revolving around a young boy by the name of Aylan Kurdi.  He was found washed up on the shores of Turkey having drowned after falling off a boat filled with Syrian refugees on their way to Europe.  This image, according to researchers, reached 20 million people in only 12 hours (The Spectator). Having come across this image last year via Facebook the reactions from my friends were anything but pleasant. While many of them discussed the sadness and seriousness of the refugee crisis, next to none spoke about the unethical picture being displayed not only online but on the front page of a popular newspaper, The Independent.

While both the newspaper and relative online media exposed such a controversial image the Independent stated that, because among the often glib words about the “ongoing migrant crisis”, it is all too easy to forget the reality of the desperate situation facing many refugees’.  The company wanted to shock society rather than offend them. However CBCnews believes that there should have been a warning to inform audiences of the graphic images contained within the article. Alfred Hermida, a journalism professor and author stated that, “If you’re browsing in your Facebook feed or your Twitter feed, you don’t get that alert — it just pops up. You haven’t made a choice to see the picture; it just hits you” (CBCnews).   With the rise of social media it now becomes harder for people to avoid such confronting issues and images.

Its extremely hard to determine whether or not these types of images should be distributed online. A very serious issue is taking place around refugees, and the display of this little boys dead body obviously brought some light to this uncomfortable and serious crisis. I believe if this incident was reported without the confronting image it would have had a smaller affect on society, as unfortunately we have become numb to these types of reporting. While I have said this, I don’t believe the image of the little boys face should be posted online or in the newspaper.  I feel like there should have been a little bit more respect for the death of this boy. This little boy has lost his voice and needs someone else to protect whats left of him. The picture of the policeman holding Aylan would have been a more suitable image to circle the media, as it still creates the desired impact but also hides the little boys identity.

Children pull at our heart strings. We are more inclined to empathise their death, yet if it were a 60 year old man would it still have the same impact?   An article written in The Journal of Management Studies by David Courpasson, he questions our compassion and sympathy towards Aylan. He questions, ‘Why him? Why now?’ We are shown picture of him and his brothers laughing and playing with toys (like any young boy would) and we, surprisingly enough, create ‘carnal connections, as if we knew the boys and their family…’.  Courpasson then asks his audience, ‘Did we really care?’. Sitting behind our computer screens in the comfort of our own homes we mourned and empathised with Aylan and his family, however did it inspire us to create action? Did we get out there and try and change the way the world deals/handles the expansion of refugees? Most would look at the picture, feel saddened and outraged and then continue browsing the internet as if they hadn’t seen such pictures. While I will admit I was unfortunately one of those people, its hard to have an input when you don’t know how to fix the problem. Do we lobby? Do we let refugees straight into the country? Do we attempt to cease the war in the countries they are fleeing? We dispute, and post these harsh pictures to create a message, yet not you, me or the government has a solid plan to fix this big problem!

Aylan Kurdi’s family had done no wrong. They were fleeing a war torn country in hope of starting a better life, only to be drowned by the failings of humanity…



CBCnews, (2015). Migrant crisis: Should pictures of a drowned Syrian boy be shared on social media?. [online] Available at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/migrant-crisis-pictures-1.3212481 [Accessed 27 Mar. 2016].

Ratnam, N. (2015). Ai Weiwei’s Aylan Kurdi image is crude, thoughtless and egotistical. The Spectator. [online] Available at: http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/02/ai-weiweis-aylan-kurdi-image-is-crude-thoughtless-and-egotistical/ [Accessed 27 Mar. 2016].

Courpasson, D. (2016). Looking Away? Civilized Indifference and the Carnal Relationships of the Contemporary Workplace. Journal of Management Studies, p.n/a-n/a.

jill/txt, (n.d.). Research about visual social media responses to the Syrian refugee crisis. [image] Available at: http://jilltxt.net/?p=4364 [Accessed 27 Mar. 2016].

Google Is God- Let’s Reflect!

The world is ours to explore if you allow yourself to.

Everyday we learn, everyday we discover, and everyday we secretly search for more.  More life, more knowledge, more friends, more adventures, and most of all, more growth! I recently read a book called the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, in it she quotes Yeats and I believe he captures our need for prosperity, ‘Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing’.  We are exposed to so much, even outside our  social media world. While the internet is extremely informative, if we don’t look up from technology once in a while and actually talk to people face to face we can miss out on important experiences and moments. We are incredibly lucky to be able to tap into both of these platforms to gain our knowledge about the world and people around us.

With the last week of blogging coming to an end, my journey has been fulfilling. Blogging has allowed me to develop as a person. I’ve learnt things about audience, media and place, and their relationship to each other. But most of all I’ve been taken on numerous journey’s to the past. My great nan has enlightened me of her younger years when she spent time without and with technology. I’m so fortunate to be able to chat to my 95 year old grandparent as she contains so much history and breaths so much life. I discovered new things about her life, and I loved spending time to get to know her history. Without this assignment I may have never found out both funny and interesting stories of her past. My favourite conversation I had with her was when we discussed the evolution of television and the part its had in her life.

As I delved into the mind of my nan I experienced much growth, and this growth did indeed increase my happiness. Another source we frequently use to gain information is the internet. The internet is the perfect tool for researchers, as there is so much information to filter through. We have the ability to learn and research in the comfort of our own homes. While I had an opinion on all the topics given to us each week, the internet helped cement my ideas, and build my argument.  While some topics were more challenging than others, with the help of Google I managed to produce a blog I was happy with. The differing opinions of internet goers helped me shape my thoughts on each given topic.

Week one we began to look at the internet world, and our place within it. The internet is an excellent tool to research and to learn. Its extremely important in our studies, and especially for this course that relies so heavily on the web.

The following week I interviewed my great grandmother Phyllis McKee about the television. Born in 1920 she remembers when the televisions were first introduced, and saw how they evolved over the years. The television is a very important piece of technology to her as she now lives alone.  During my visit she discussed major events that took place via the television, e.g. the landing on the moon. She described where she was when she watched it, and her recount was so clear that this experience could have taken place the day only a few days before.

Heading into week four I had no idea how I was going to interview my nan about the internet, for she has never used this powerful platform. This week I learnt that the internet is not as important to everyone. I honestly thought we all couldn’t live without it, but my nan is living proof that we can. While I knew how my nan would respond to my questions I still wanted to go and visit her. Having studied Qualitative Ethnographic research the week prior, I learnt that if I wanted to completely understand my nan’s thoughts on the world, I should conduct an interview face to face. If I had not learnt this prior to interviewing her I may have conducted the discussion over the phone. If I had I would have missed my nan’s body language, which proved to be incredibly helpful when writing my blog about her engagement with the internet.

Cinemas. Who would have thought they would stand the test of time…? Sitting around the dinner table this week with my family was definitely a happy time. Laughter, knowledge and experience was expressed by each member of my family as they recounted a memory about the cinema. Just by asking a few simple questions I unlocked so much information about the cinema. The cinema was incredibly popular when it was first introduced as it didn’t just display movies but the news and cartoon episodes. As the television didn’t exist when it was first introduced the cinema was the main form of entertainment and source of information. My nan stated she found out more about the war via the cinema then she did from their traditional media sources. After this discussion I headed to Google to see what the statistics were for cinema attendance today. I was actually quite shocked by my results, having found out that the box office is still reeling in the money, and that cinema attendance is still popular. I was shocked due to my personal experiences of attending the cinema. Every time I’ve gone in the last few years the cinema is nearly empty.

the world is yours

Tumblr, Image, 2015

As the weeks began to wrap up we also looked at photography ethics and our ability (or lack of) to maintain attention. Both these topics proved rather interesting as I learnt about the grey boundary lines of photography, and my inability to maintain focus. Thank you BCM240 for highlighting my distracted nature, but also thank you for allowing me to connect and learn about my family in a way I may never had.

Samuel Johnson believes ‘there is, indeed, something inexpressibly pleasing in the annual renovation of the world, and the new display of the treasures of nature‘. I believe I discovered new treasures and explored the world in which we live through the eyes of people I love so dearly! Adventure is out there, go and harness it!

Who am I? What am I meant to be doing?

I am, without a doubt, the most distracted person. My attention span is limited and I’m constantly reminded by my family and friends. But how does one maintain focus? What can I do to allow myself enough focus to complete this blog?

Sometimes I don’t even know if I’m distracted or not… does looking up memes about distractions count…?

stay focued

Auto-fail.com, Image, 2014

So of course I headed straight to Google.  I typed in effective ways to stay attentive and I came across a website giving five tips for staying focused. 1. Mind your brain- I presume I’m minding it. 2. Just Breath- yep, I’m definitely breathing. 3. Drink a Latte. 4. Enjoy a diversion- I suppose spending 20 minutes on my phone was a big enough diversion, and 5. Know your limits.  While I sit here completing all said tasks, I still feel my mind wander to other topics, and people.

With the rise of technology and online social media, Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times believes that hyper-connectivity is ‘nibbling away at our attention spans‘, however other writers say the brain is incredibly flexible and can adapt to the intake of information.

Another study shows that music can increase our concentration.  That when we play music our brain has the ability to filter and organise incoming information. Jonathan Berger, PHD, associate professor of music and a musician stated that, ‘Music engages the brain over a period of time and the process of listening to music could be a way that the brain sharpens its ability to anticipate events and sustain attention.’

I frequently have discussions with my mum, Karen Yarrow about the effectiveness of music and its ability to help maintain our attention. I personally believe that listening to music helps me concentrate as it drowns out the other disrupting noises around me.  I generally play music that I know so that no noise is unexpected and distracting. Whether i sit in the library or at home, the TV will be on or there will be a soft murmur that distracts me from the task at hand.

According to Sohlberg & Mateer individuals have three types of attention, sustained, selective and alternating.  Sustained attention is a prolonged focus which takes place during repetitive activities. I personally believe sustained attention is hard to achieve in our everyday life. There are so many distractions that constantly make us lose our focus, whether its our phones or life in general.  I can’t even watch my favourite TV shows without checking my phone, so maintaining a focus for a long length of time is hard no matter what I’m doing. The second type of attention Sohlberg and Mateer researched was selective, which is the idea of avoiding the distractions. While this seems like a simple task, I found it incredibly challenging. Even though I have left my phone somewhere untouchable, social media, music selections and life outside my window continues to set me astray from my tasks. The final type is alternating; the shift of attention between tasks.  As I begin to lose sight of what I’m suppose to be doing, I shift to another task at hand to ensure I get my work done.

Canada Microsoft’s research on attention demonstrates that the younger generations are more distracted by technology than their predecessors.  While I believe I’m on my phone more than my grandparents, i can’t say that i would be on it anymore than my parents.  Sitting in the lounge room last night, my entire family could not concentrate on the movie alone, but was either engaging on social media, checking emails or playing games on their phones. How is it that a movie, which is suppose to entertain us, can no longer hold our full attention?  Why are we getting ‘bored’?  I feel one of the only places that keeps us on track is the cinema, no phones, no distractions; just you, a few other people, and a new adventure to absorb ourselves in.

– Angelle, A. (2011). Pay Attention! 5 Tips for Staying Focused. [online] LiveScience.com. Available at: http://www.livescience.com/35773-stay-focused-tips-maintain-attention.html [Accessed 19 Sep. 2015].
– Baker, M. (2007). Music moves brain to pay attention, Stanford study finds. [online] News Center. Available at: https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2007/07/music-moves-brain-to-pay-attention-stanford-study-finds.html [Accessed 19 Sep. 2015].
– Gausby, A. (2015). Attention Span. 1st ed. Microsoft. Available at: https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/490916/mod_resource/content/1/microsoft-attention-spans-research-report.pdf
–  Auto-fail.com, (2014). Two ears yet stone death: when no one listens. [image] Available at: http://www.talkingsalmons.com/blog/2014/11/4/two-ears-yet-stone-deaf-when-no-one-listens [Accessed 16 Sep. 2015].

Shut Up and Dance With Me!

After going down the coast for the weekend I’d definitely had enough of my photographer friend taking photos…


PitchPerfect, Gif

With camera’s being so easily within reach, it is very easy to capture a quick pic. Like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and if a picture is taken without permission and displayed publicly individuals act out in defence.  However, When do we cross the line? and is the line even noticeable?

I, like the rest of the world, have a Facebook account where I upload pictures of me and my friends. However, each time i upload a photo I don’t ask them for permission. Should I? Am I crossing this invisible boundary? Honestly I believe the answer is maybe. While my friends may not care if i share a nice picture of the two of us, they will care if the picture is unflattering and/or taints their self image. With the rise of snapchat unflattering pictures are more than frequently distributed via the internet.   It’s photographic documentation at super speed. With its introduction in 2011, Snapchat allows individuals to distribute photos to friends, and the best part – the photos disappear after a specific time frame, or so they say…  While we believe snapchat allows our photos to disappear, hackers are able to retrieve them. However, if we are willing to submit them to a friend the first time, can we blame others for recovering them?? (Peterson, 2014). With over 700 million videos and photos sent per day we have given Snapchat a wide database of pictures and numbers, and what they do with the content could create many ethical issues.

Last semester Chloe Dicks and I created this music video…

Our goal was to show and describe happiness through movement, however we couldn’t just film someone dancing without notifying them of our intentions.  According to NPPA’s code of ethics, when filming/ photographing an individual/group they need to be fully aware of the public event and you must behave accordingly to their needs and concerns. For each individual Chloe and I informed them that the footage would be used for assignment purposes only, however that included it being posted to youtube, a very popular media platform. All of the individuals in our video were our friends, so they were easier to convince, however if we were to video strangers I don’t think it would have been as simple. Also, our participants hadn’t seen themselves dancing until we posted the final film online, so I’m not sure what we would have done if someone decided they didn’t want to be part of the project.

While we had the approval of our main focus for the video the extraneous people walking by were included without their knowledge. Have we also crossed a boundary? Should we take down the video if an individual steps forward and complains?


Keep Calm and Love K-Pop!

We-Pop, You-Pop, K-Pop!

K-Pop, for the unfortunate few that don’t know, is the abbreviation for Korean Pop, which is the musical genre consisting of electronic beats, pop, hip hop and R&B music originating in Korea. According to Woongjae Ryoo, the Korean music industry have appropriated and articulated global popular cultural forms to express their local sentiment, tradition and culture.  Thanks to the development of the internet, K-Pop has been able to cross the Korean borders and make its way around the world.

A large portion of the Western audience became familiar with K-Pop at the introduction of Psy’s, Gangham Style.  With his bizarre dance moves and catchy tunes, Psy has taken the world by storm! Having been popular in Souel in 2001, Psy did not crack the world until 2012 with his song Gangnam style.  With over 2 BILLION views on his Youtube video its clear that Psy began to expose the music art of K-Pop and we were under his ‘Psy-chotic reign‘. When it was released in 2012, Gangnam style took over the airways in America and then soon over all Australian radio stations.  His song hit number one, not just in the music charts in America and Australia, but in Canada, The United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Spain, and has become the most viewed video on Youtube ever! All individuals with access to the radio, internet and media outlets would have heard about Psy and his crazy dance moves! Asking my dad about what he knew about K-Pop all he said was ‘Gangnam Style’ and followed it with Psy’s horse like dance moves!  But apart from his moves and catchy tune, that is mostly sung in Korean, how has he become a world sensation? Gangnam Style, had been tweeted and spoken about by many celebrities and TV outlets which accelerated the popularity of his video clip. His song became such a success that many individuals, film companies and individuals were recreating his music video.

With the rise of PSY, other K-Pop (while not as big) singers and bands have become popular around the world! Big Bang, a K-Pop boy band, have also begun to make a name for themselves among society.

BIG BANG!       Big-bang-kpop-32297327-1280-1024

Their popularity has been made clear through their involvement in the new Pitch Perfect Movie, where their song “Fantastic Baby” is blasted through clips of Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and Brittany Snow during the trailer.  The world famous K-Pop band have also recently announced they will be going on tour around the world and will be in Australia this Spring!

‘BIGBANG, formed by YG Entertainment, is the hottest Korean artist group consisting of G-Dragon, T.O.P, Taeyang, Daesung, and Seungri. Since their debut in 2006, BIGBANG has evolved and become known not only for their unique music style but also for their flamboyant fashion sense making them widely worshipped across the globe by world-renowned artists, music lovers and fashionistas alike’ – Ticketek 

When I heard about this I wondered why they would tour in Australia, when ‘no one’ knew about them? But then I noticed my friend Ashleigh recently just bought a ticket to go see their concert. I then went on and contacted her asking why she enjoyed this Korean boy band. ” I like Kpop because of the overall product it produces. The dancing, singing, rapping, costuming and special effects all contribute to producing a very extravagant performance that usually you just can not take your eyes away from. It’s also a genre that’s unlike any other in the world making it very unique regardless of if you can understand the language. As for Big Bang they are very pleasing to look at! They have been in the Kpop world for a very long time and are highly respected for their voices and unique personalities!’, said Ashleigh.  

Big Bang and other Korean Music artists, have also been influenced by western music, which helps make it appealing and different for the rest of the world!  K-Pop is expanding day by day, and all around the world, it’s becoming a new world, pop culture leader! Watch out Australia and the rest of the world, the ‘Korean wave’ is coming!

For now I’ll leave you with one of Big Bang’s hits!


Ryoo, Woongjae. ‘Globalization, Or The Logic Of Cultural Hybridization: The Case Of The Korean Wave’. Asian Journal of Communication 19.2 (2009): 137-151. Web. 4 Sept. 2015.

Cinemas- Standing The Test of Time

Sitting at the dinner table, four generations discuss the evolution of cinema. While each individual’s memory is slightly varied, we could all agree on one thing, ‘that it [cinema] still stands the test of time’. 

box office

Theatrical Market Statistics. (2014). 1st ed. [ebook] Available at: http://www.mpaa.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/MPAA-Theatrical-Market-Statistics-2014.pdf [Accessed 8 Sep. 2015].

At the age of five my great grandmother Phyllis McKee attended the cinema for the very first time, but it was definitely not the cinema that we all know and love today. There’s no organ or irritating Jaffas rolling down the aisle, but a big coloured screen, sound and some incredible technology.  The Jazz Singer, Al Jolson was the first sound movie my nan ever saw at the cinema. Attending the cinema was incredibly popular and a form of communication. As the television had not yet been invented the movies did not just consist of one movie but two and included a news reel and a couple cartoons. An organ was also played during the change over between movies.  Nan stated that ‘the news reel before a movie would tell us more about current issues then our main form of media [newspapers and radio]’.

My grandmother and grandfather, Lyn and Peter Spillane know more about the cinema then they care to admit. While pop stated he hardly attended the movies, more and more stories arose as the conversation progressed. One in particular was his ability to get into the cinema for free. His friend was in charge of monitoring the projector, so he was able to sneak in the back and watch all shows from there. While still argued he didn’t enjoy the cinema he began to laugh as he spoke about the cartoons and how their stories never lined up for the following weeks preview.

The actual film never had an impact on my dad, Todd Yarrow, but rather what took place during the movie.  ‘Kissin’ in the back row of the movies on a Saturday night with you…’ he sings before he tells some intimate memories of his time spent on the back row of the movies.  ‘Thats where you went to pick up all the ladies’ he said while he pretended to yawn and put his arm around my mums chair.

While video streaming and movie on demand has the ability t0 have a major impact on cinema screening, the cinema still remains. With its clever location and associations with ‘date night’, this intimate and dark venue keeps maintaining revenue. So long as the box office holds out with DVD releases, society will always attend the cinema. They can’t wait for it to be released to DVD and as we are all about the present. I know for a fact that when it is cold and rainy, all i want to do is to nestle myself in the dark theatre and drift away from reality for a couple of hours… no other experience can give you this type of joy.

Is it the ultimate study dream?

‘Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you’ve travelled’ – Mohammed

The world is big, the world is blue and the world is beautiful, so you can see why students want to jet off to another country to learn and explore.  Since the beginning of the year I have been incredibly interested in studying abroad, but honestly, why am I? I love this sunburnt country but I suppose I’m ready to see what else this planet has to offer. I’m excited to grow both educationally and within myself as a person. With the hopes of studying in the USA next year, I’m excited for the new challenges, new friends, new chances and new locations that comes with this amazing opportunity.  Sitting here contemplating this wonderful experience abroad, I begin to think of the students that come here, to Australia. Are their experiences here just as exciting as ours are abroad?

Coming into Australia with their textbooks and pens at the ready, international students, according to Peter Kell and Gillian Vogl, don’t always receive the best treatment.  International students can face issues both academically and socially in Australia.  In this current climate their has been an increased policy focus on English proficiency (Kell, Vogl 2006).  Here in ‘the land of oz’ we don’t speak English in its formal form. International students generally neglect to study our culture and adaptation of the english language, which makes it hard for them to converse once they arrive here.

‘A number of studies suggest that many international students prior to coming to Australia have spent many years learning to speak English and thus enter the country unaware of the extent to which local accents, fast speech and Australian colloquialisms are going to reduce their ability to speak and understand English in Australia’ 

– Kell and Vogl 2006

They are unfamiliar with colloquial terms such as ‘G’day’ ‘Barbie’ and ‘Mate’, that are frequently used in everyday conversations. They feel disconnected, as they can’t completely enculturate themselves into society.  In my opinion, I believe many Australians are territorial, I suppose that comes with living on an island, towards our foreign students.  While only a small number of students receive racial discrimination, the ramifications are incredibly significant.  While the student and their family is effected by these unsatisfactory actions, educational industries, and Australia as a population is also effected. The educational industries take in many students every year and has become a major export earner for Australia.

While many students travel to Australia just to ‘mix up’ their learning location, individuals also want to come to Australia as it provides better educational opportunities than their own country. Everyone deserves the right to be educated, and the Australian government is very accepting and willing to provide for international students, in order to further their knowledge academically and about the world.

Overall I believe students should keep flocking to this marvellous country to learn and study! I’ve chosen to and I love every minute! 🙂


Kell, P & Vogl, G 2006, ‘International Students: Negotiating life and study in Australia through Australian Englishes’, in Everyday Multicultural Conference Proceedings, Centre for Research on Social Inclusion, Sydney, 28-29 September 2006.

What do you mean you don’t know what the internet is?

When I called up my ‘nan’ this afternoon asking if I could pop around to interview her about the internet, her little voice definitely began to quaver. While I assured her that it wouldn’t be too hard, driving to her house I wasn’t quite as confident. What type of questions was I meant to ask a lady who doesn’t know what the internet is?

As I arrived she was pottering around the garden as she usually does, with no technology in sight. No chance at a quick update on Facebook, or a glimpse at the weather report, as she was outside experiencing it for herself.  As I hugged her little body we both knew how this conversation was going to go. Even though the answers she was going to give me weren’t going to be descriptive, I still felt it essential to interview her face- to- face. If I’ve learnt anything from last weeks topic, qualitative ethnographic research, is that if I want to figure out ones thoughts on the world, or in this case the internet it’s best to be with them in their natural surroundings. To observe their body language and tone of voice in order to make a reliable evaluation. (Lull, 1987)

When I asked my nan whether or not she has ever been on the internet, her answer ‘never‘ came at no surprise.  In the 95 years my nan has been on this earth, she has NEVER been on the internet. To think, most individuals in today’s society have difficulty staying off the internet for one single day (hour). According to Smart Company, Australians are on the internet ‘an entire day a week'(2013), yet my nan has never found the need to be online.

While the internet does not spark any interest in her, I thought she must have a view or opinion on this foreign platform. But once again she is in the dark about the advancements and function of this online network.  “Isn’t it related to phones?”, even though she was sort of on the right track, at the same time this response highlighted her lack of understanding of how this platform works.  Television has had a major impact on my nan’s life, so I was curious as to why she didn’t immerse herself into the digital world on this level… “I’ve never really been that interested. Why learn now? My family helps me out when, on the rare occasion, I actually need it“.

I always thought that every individual had an understanding, however it’s clear that the internet is not quite as well known as we perhaps thought it was.  Our life is so heavily reliant on it, we communicate, work, entertain ourselves; everything we do now is via the internet, even check the bus timetable… yet nan has her bus timetable sitting right beside her. Even when I told friends and family that I was interviewing my great grandmother about the internet, many couldn’t help themselves but laugh.  Even when nan engages with technology, something doesn’t look quite right, she is out of place in the internet world!

My Nan, Phyllis McKee

While she claims that pure “laziness” is the reason she hasn’t become involved, the computer age really has passed her by. Like most individuals we are scared to tackle the unknown, to branch outside our comfort zone.  Nan didn’t have computers when she grew up, which seems weird as I sit here writing my blog on my computer Mac.  Yes, this ‘screen’ may have passed her by but are we missing out on the real world because we spend to much time on the internet?


Lull, James. ‘Audience Texts And Contexts’. Critical Studies in Mass Communication 4 (1987)

Carmody, Broede. ‘How Long Do Australians Spend Online? An Entire Day A Week – And Businesses Get The Benefit’. SmartCompany.com.au. N.p., 2013. Web. 23 Aug. 2015. 

Let’s have some fun, let’s watch some telly!

I, yet again, have come across a writing block when it comes to this weeks topic, Qualitative Ethnographic Research.

Honestly, I hardly even know what those words even mean, but according to the Oxford Journal, Qualitative Ethnographic Research ‘is a disciplined inquiry examining the personal meanings of individuals’ experiences and actions in the context of their social and cultural environment’. It studies the process of how individuals ‘perceive, describe and explain the world’ (Oxford Journal). Last week I conducted my own Qualitative Ethnographic Research when it came to my great grandmother. I was able to delve into her thoughts about television and its impact on both the world and her.  Qualitative Research is an important tool to gather descriptive data, as opposed to numerical and statistical data, which can ‘position the investigator as close as possible to its subjects, so to gain access to them and describe personal experiences’ (Oxford Journal). 

If you are still confused, I believe this image paints a pretty good picture of how the process works. This research process allows us to discover and magnify certain opinions and behaviours of individuals within society.Basic RGB

In order to figure out my nan’s view on television, I conducted an interview, which is a ‘productive research technique for the study of human communication‘ (Lull, 1987). Professor James Lull of Radio-Television-Film at the San Jose State University, discusses Traudt’s idea about ethnographic research, explaining that in order to discover the importance of ‘the fabric of everyday life’ the interviewer has to notice routine behaviour of the individual being studied, this must then take place in the natural setting (i.e. living room) where the behaviour occurs, and lastly draw conclusions, after careful observations, from both the subtle and obvious communication behaviours.

While the Oztam reading was informative about the varying screens (tablets, smartphones, computers or televisions) that supply us with access to television content, the research provided still had gaps about the popularity of certain screens. Oztam compares the popularity of the varying technology through age groups, and as a result, they have only looked at Australia holistically. They have neglected to look at varying cultures and geographic locations as they play a pivotal role in media consumption, as well as device purchase.

I think it would be interesting to conduct a study into the popularity of screens among different communities within Australia, also through the different cultures living here in ‘the lucky country’.

Reading a handful of blogs from the BCM240 class, allowed me to conduct a small ethnographic qualitative research. However, I believe that it would be hard to come to a full understanding of the role and impact the television had on each interviewee as I was not present at each meeting. While each student recalls a family or friend’s experience, they may have left out important bodily behaviours, dialogue, or context which would allow me to draw accurate conclusions. ‘Everyday life is an inclusive concept‘, meaning it is only meaningful in research if we can observe all aspects of it. ‘We study the small details of life in relation to each other in order to see how television, or any other medium, contributes to the construction of particular ways of thinking and acting‘.


Lull, James. ‘Audience Texts And Contexts’. Critical Studies in Mass Communication 4 (1987)

Traudt, Paul, James Anderson, and Timothy Meyer. ‘Phenomenology, Empiricism, And Media Experience’. Critical Studies in Mass Communication 4.3 (1987) 

Readings for Week 3: Oztam and Oxford Journal