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Articles categorized as ‘James Cook University Arts Programs’

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

JCU lecturer publishes book about legendary Australian aviator

Creative and academic writing students at James Cook University have the real deal: a published author, JCU Arts Lecturer Chrystopher Spicer.

Spicer’s book The Flying Adventures of Jessie Keith “Chubbie” Miller was compiled after years of research and based on Jessie Miller’s own words and writing, this is the first book to focus on the flying career of this pioneer aviatrix, whose important place in aviation history has up until now been largely forgotten. Jessie flew into airspace where no woman and very few men had ever flown before, and so she left behind an important legacy as an international pioneer of flight. As the first aviatrix from the Southern hemisphere to become famous in the Northern hemisphere, she was the first woman to truly unite the world of flight.

Sydney Dental School

JCU Arts Lecturer Chrys Spicer (Photo credit: JCU)

Australian pioneer aviatrix Jessie Keith “Chubbie” Miller made a significant contribution to international aviation history. The first woman to travel from England to Australia in the air, with her close friend Bill Lancaster in 1928, Jessie Miller was also the first woman to fly more than 8000 miles (much further that Amelia Earhart at the time), to cross the equator in the air, to cross the South China and Timor Seas in the air, and to traverse the Australian continent by air from north to south.

In terms of how this book came about, Chrystopher describes it:

Well, it started many years ago when I was in Ohio doing some research on the actor Clark Gable for one of my books. I was having dinner with friends and someone asked me if I’d ever heard the story of an Australian aviatrix who had landed in a field outside of a small town called Xenia during an air race in 1929. I had no idea any Australian woman was flying in the US that early, and so I began to investigate the life of Jessie Keith “Chubbie” Miller, friend of Amelia Earhart, founding member of the Ninety Nines—the very first (and still existing) organisation for women pilots, and the first woman to travel from England to Australia in the air. In short, she was the first woman from the Southern hemisphere to break records and compete in air races in the Northern hemisphere.

I wrote about her in my earlier book, Great Australian World Firsts, but due to lack of interest from Australia publishers I’d given up on publishing an entire book about Jessie until I was asked by director Andrew Lancaster to become involved in the making of the film The Lost Aviator in 2014, about the mysterious disappearance of Jessie Miller’s friend Bill Lancaster. As a result of that work, I was able to take the project to an American publisher and now I’ve finally had the chance to give this remarkable woman her own voice in this new book, The Flying Adventures of Jessie Keith “Chubbie” Miller.

James Cook University lecturer Chrystopher J. Spicer has written extensively about Australian and American film and cultural history in such acclaimed books as Clark Gable: Biography (McFarland, 2002), and Great Australian World Firsts (Allen & Unwin, 2012). In 2015, he contributed to Andrew Lancaster’s film about Bill Lancaster and Jessie Miller, The Lost Aviator.


Find out more about studying arts at James Cook University!

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

JCU survey shows Aussies’ love and concern for their Great Barrier Reef

A James Cook University researcher has found more than three quarters of Australians regard the Great Barrier Reef as part of their national identity and nearly 90 per cent believe it is under threat from climate change.

JCU’s Jeremy Goldberg commissioned two professional surveys of around 1,000 people each as part of his PhD, conducted at JCU and CSIRO.

James Cook University

Survey shows Aussies feel climate change threatens the Great Barrier Reef (Picture by Matt Curnock)

He said the survey’s results were surprising. “We expected people to care about the Reef, but the strength of that connection was a revelation.”

Seventy-seven per cent of people felt the Great Barrier Reef was part of their identity as Australians and 43 per cent of people listed it as the most inspiring Australian icon, more than five times the level of Uluru, the second most inspiring icon.

Mr Goldberg said the results produced another surprise too, with a huge number of Australians concerned about the effect of climate change on the Reef.

“Eighty-nine per cent of people thought climate change was a threat to the Reef and fifty-four per cent said they would be personally affected if the health of the Great Barrier Reef declined,” he said.

“There seems to be a difference between the level of concern the public has for the health of the Reef due to climate change and the level of concern expressed in the media.”

It was the first nationally representative poll about the Great Barrier Reef in terms of location, gender, age and other demographic variables. “We sought to have a solid representation of the Australian public, not just Queensland stakeholders or capital cities as other studies have done,” said Mr Goldberg.

Mr Goldberg said the connection between people and special places is rarely quantified, and policymakers find it difficult to incorporate human dimensions into decision-making processes.

“We’ve described the personal concern and connection Australians have with the Great Barrier Reef and discuss how the results may help with its management,” he said.

“Now we have a clearer understanding of how deeply people do connect. It seems that people see it as much more than just a Reef, but think of it as part of the culture and protecting the Reef may be part of what it means to be Australian, or that letting it continue to decline would be un-Australian.”

The study forms part of a social and economic long-term monitoring program (SELTMP) for the Great Barrier Reef, established by JCU and CSIRO scientists, funded by the Australian Government’s National Environmental Research Program.

Other key points from the survey

  • 86% of Australians were proud that the Great Barrier Reef is a World Heritage Area, and most agreed that it was the responsibility of all Australians to protect it (81%).
  • 77% were concerned about the impacts of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef.
  • 44% of Australians have visited the Great Barrier Reef and 8% visited within a year before survey.
  • Nearly half of the respondents (49%) had never been to the Great Barrier Reef but would like to at some stage.


Want to learn more about studying climate change and other environmental sciences programs at JCU? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Environmental Sciences Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com.

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

JCU researcher says tattoo growth still strong

With nearly a third of women in their 20s now sporting a tattoo, a James Cook University researcher says the growth of the ‘ink’ industry shows no sign of slowing down.

Dr Eduardo de la Fuente said a quarter of people aged 18 to 30 are now tattooed, with that figure approaching 33 percent for women in their 20s.

James Cook University

A little faded now… (a Gen X tattoo)

He said what was used to show membership of a group morphed into the mark of an outsider and then came back full circle.

“Sailors were the first to discover tattooed cultures,” he said. “In those traditional societies it identified you as part of the society you belonged to. Then sailors, prisoners, gang members—that is, groups who were not very respectable—adopted it to show they were outside the mainstream.”

Dr de la Fuente said non-respectable behaviour became more respectable with the youth revolution of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that tattoos became more mainstream.

“The body became the focus of more attention. Fashion and haircuts used to be the concern of women. But with the emergence of the metrosexual, men became obliged to work on their body. Celebrities and pop-stars were, in some cases, first-adopters and they made tattooing glamourous. As tattooing became the norm, some would say rebellion became institutionalised.”

The James Cook University researcher said a reason people regret their tattoo (as a third do) may be related to the pace of change in modern life. “Traditionally a tattoo was about belonging to a community where you expected to live your entire life. But now people have several different personas and belong to several different tribes in their lifetime. As you get older there may be a new persona you wish to convey instead.”

He said full sleeve tattoos are popular among those who want to show they are serious about tattooing and that the art form is more than just a fad to them.

Dr de la Fuente said data shows it is Generation Y (born in the 1980s) and those who come after who are predominantly getting tattoos. But lately there has also been a big increase in the number of people over 45 getting their first tattoo. Dr de la Fuente said that suggests that the “aestheticisation of the body is becoming more popular even amongst middle-aged people.”

Dr de la Fuente recently took up the position of Senior Lecturer in Creativity and Innovation in the Arts and Creative Media Academic Group. He has previously held academic positions in sociology and communications programs at the University of Tasmania, Macquarie University, Monash University and Flinders University.

Dr de la Fuente will be releasing a book on everyday aesthetics—including aesthetics of the body—in 2016.

Fun trivia: Only 5 of 12 OzTREKK employees have tattoos!


Want to know more about James Cook University and the JCU Faculty of Arts? Contact OzTREKK Admissions Officer Rachel Brady for more information about how you can study in Australia! Email Rachel at rachel@oztrekk.com or call 1-866-698-7355 (toll free in Canada).

Friday, December 19th, 2014

JCU archaeology researcher says rare tree carvings may not last

James Cook University archaeologists believe Aboriginal tree carvings in Far North Queensland are as rare as the Giant Panda—and just as endangered.

A project led by JCU postgraduate researcher Alice Buhrich, with the support of the Jirrbal and Mamu Traditional Owners, is investigating the preservation of tree markings, called dendroglyphs.

James Cook University

There are fewer than 15 recorded sites containing Indigenous dendroglyphs in rainforest, and all are within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area

Worldwide, there are fewer than 15 recorded sites containing Indigenous dendroglyphs in rainforest, and all are within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

Ms Buhrich says the carvings are impossible to date exactly, but all are certainly more than 100 years old. “We don’t know exactly what they represent, other than they are of decorative rather than practical use,” she said.

Mamu people, in the Innisfail region, have located a number of dendroglyphs that hadn’t been seen since logging ended in 1988.

Ms Buhrich is working with both groups of Traditional Owners to understand how resilient the trees are to extreme weather events such as cyclones.

She said the age of the dendroglyphs’ trees meant they were fragile and would become more vulnerable to fungal growth and insect attack.

The JCU researcher said the dendroglyphs connected the rainforest to culture and tradition, making the management of the sites a complex task.

“As carvings on living trees, dendroglyphs embody both natural and cultural values, so managing these sites is a balancing act.

“Protecting natural sites often means limiting access, to prevent weed and feral animal incursion, but that could work against the desire of Aboriginal people to visit and care for rainforest dendroglyphs as part of a living cultural landscape.

“We found, particularly on Jirrbal country in the Ravenshoe area, that road closures can make it difficult for Traditional Owners to visit some sites and share their knowledge about the trees with younger generations.”

Ms Buhrich said both the Jirrbal and Mamu Traditional Owners are considering ways to preserve and display the carvings, that don’t require removing them from the forest.

“There is the option of using 3D laser scanners, to document them and preserve the images in a non-invasive way,” she said.

Ms Buhrich plans to work with other rainforest Aboriginal groups who have dendroglyphs on their traditional land.

Program: Bachelor of Archaeology
Location: Townsville or Cairns, Queensland
Semester intakes: February and July
Duration: 3 years

Apply to an Arts Degree at James Cook University!


Find out more about arts degrees available at the the JCU Faculty of Arts. Contact OzTREKK Admissions Officer Rachel Brady for more information about how you can study in Australia! Email Rachel at rachel@oztrekk.com or call 1-866-698-7355 (toll free in Canada).

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

JCU archaeologist studies unmarked graves

A James Cook University archaeologist says dozens of European settlers may lie in unmarked graves on the Queensland coast, with records from Townsville’s Magnetic Island suggesting it is ‘dotted’ with burial sites.

James Cook University

Study archaeology at James Cook University!

JCU’s Associate Professor Mike Rowland said after reading journals of early explorers, along with reports in newspapers of the day, it appears there are a significant number of Europeans buried in unmarked graves on Queensland’s coast and offshore islands.

He believes the majority of the graves would be from the mid-19th century, but it is possible bodies were buried in unmarked sites up to the 1930s.

“For example, the anthropologist John Taylor has noted that unmarked and unofficial graves dot certain parts of Magnetic Island, but the records have been lost in council archives,” he said.

Associate Professor Rowland said in addition to a significant mortality among the European population from various causes, more than 400 ships were wrecked or run aground on the Great Barrier Reef route between 1891 and 1919, with more than 160 fatalities. Some of these were buried on the coast and on offshore islands.

“The graves might have originally been marked with stones or crosses or coral, but those markings are now long gone,” he said.

Associate Professor Rowland said the study was of particular concern because he helped police develop policy on the handling of human remains back in the early 1980s.

“This focused on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander remains, and that focus established an expectation that human remains exposed by erosion in coastal dunes and on islands would be Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

“The indications are that this cannot be assumed in all cases, and that further investigation might be needed to ensure that the appropriate community is liaised with when remains are found.”

Associate Professor Rowland said some ancestors of early settlers are still curious about what happened to their relatives and the ‘lonely grave’ filled an important space in the Australian ethos.

He suggested a live, crowd-sourced database of European burials on the coast and islands of Queensland be established, to which new evidence could be added.

What is archaeology?

Archaeology is the study of past human societies. The JCU Bachelor of Arts Archaeology major covers historical and human evolutionary topics as well as practical fieldwork skills, including a Rock Art Field School.

This JCU Faculty of Arts program makes the most of the North Queensland environment, investigating the deep past of Australian Indigenous people as well as the last 200 years of Indigenous-settler history. It also explores the archaeology and heritage of Australia’s Pacific and Asian neighbours, early European societies and human origins.

Making the most of the northern Queensland environment, you will investigate Indigenous and colonial Australia, our Pacific and Asian neighbours, as well as the origins of European society.

Getting real experience

Archaeology students at JCU will gain fieldwork skills through projects at archaeological sites around Townsville and Cairns. This provides experience in research and skills needed for a professional career in archaeology.

Getting a job

Archaeologists can work as consultants conducting cultural heritage impact studies or with cultural heritage agencies such as the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP), who are responsible for managing cultural heritage.

Archaeology graduates also have careers in

  • mining and development projects;
  • government departments and local councils;
  • universities (as teachers and researchers); and
  • forensic science.

Program: Bachelor of Archaeology
Location: Townsville or Cairns, Queensland
Semester intakes: February and July
Duration: 3 years

Apply to an Arts Degree at James Cook University!


Find out more about arts degrees available at the the JCU Faculty of Arts. Contact OzTREKK Admissions Officer Rachel Brady for more information about how you can study in Australia! Email Rachel at rachel@oztrekk.com or call 1-866-698-7355 (toll free in Canada).

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

JCU film to explore justice issues

The Stolen Generations, health, poverty, child safety, genocide and the media are the focus of a film screening at James Cook University tomorrow.

Journalist and filmmaker John Pilger’s latest documentary, Utopia, will be screened concurrently at JCU in Townsville and Cairns on May 14.

Utopia, named after the Aboriginal community 350 km north east of Alice Springs, examines the gap between white Australia and Traditional Owners.

JCU Faculty of Arts

JCU’s Social Justice Cluster film studies the gap between white Australia and its Traditional Owners



Utopia sees Pilger bring his early work to a new audience and asks if Australia has changed since the days of colonisation.

It is the first film screening for JCU’s Social Justice Cluster, a group of academics looking at social justice issues in the community in the Faculty of Arts, Education and Social Sciences.

JCU Social Justice Cluster researcher, Dr Theresa Petray, said screening Utopia was a good opportunity to initiate a dialogue on a topical Australian issue.

“It is a great opportunity to open up some discussions about Indigenous inequality and, more importantly, what we can do about it,” Dr Petray said.

“As a free community event, it’s a chance for us to explore how social science and education academics can use our skills and resources for the benefit of the community.”

John Pilger is an award-winning Australian journalist based in the UK and is renowned for raising awareness of the injustices suffered by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

James Cook University Faculty of Arts, Education and Social Sciences

The Faculty of Arts, Education and Social Sciences at James Cook University also incorporates the School of Indigenous Australian Studies. The Faculty of Arts offers a learning environment where staff and students from diverse cultural, demographic and learning backgrounds are welcomed and supported to excel in scholarship, research and professional development with particular emphasis on research into issues of relevance to people, identity and places in the tropics.

Discipline studies in areas such as Anthropology, Archaeology, Sociology, Political Science, History, Languages, English and Indigenous Australian Studies provide students with a rich understanding of Australia’s place in the world and of the importance of international affairs in shaping how we live as global citizens.

Graduates from the Faculty of Arts, Education and Social Sciences find worthwhile and rewarding careers in fields that make a difference such as media and publishing, advertising, in government departments and non-government organisations, in health, private practice, education and welfare services, teaching in schools and the tertiary sector, in policy, cultural heritage, community development, and public and foreign affairs.

Postgraduate study to Masters and PhD is available across all disciplines in the faculty. The faculty contributes to several research foci of the university with its greatest emphasis in the area designated “People, Identity and Place” which focuses on people and societies in the tropics. JCU researchers investigate individual, social, cultural and political issues and applying individual, community, regional and global approaches to problem solving. JCU Arts students and staff come from many different countries and cultures and take a global perspective to learning. The Faculty of Arts at James Cook University aims to provide solutions for a better life for people in the tropics worldwide.


Find out more about arts degrees available at the the Faculty of Arts at James Cook University. Please contact OzTREKK Admissions Officer Rachel Brady for more information about how you can study in Australia! Email Rachel at rachel@oztrekk.com or call 1-866-698-7355 (toll free in Canada).

Friday, June 14th, 2013

OzTREKK Funny Friday

Three men—an editor, a photographer, and a journalist—were covering a political convention in Miami.

They decided to walk up and down the beach during their lunch hour. Halfway up the beach, they stumbled upon a lamp.

As they rubbed the lamp a genie appeared and said, “Normally, I would grant you three wishes, but since there are three of you, I will grant you each one wish.”

The photographer went first. “I would like to spend the rest of my life living in a huge house in Saint Thomas with no money worries.” The genie granted him his wish and sent him on off to Saint Thomas.

The journalist went next. “I would like to spend the rest of my life living on a huge yacht cruising the Mediterranean with no money worries.” The genie granted him his wish and sent him off to the Mediterranean.

Last, but not least, it was the editor’s turn. “And what would your wish be?” asked the genie.

“I want them both back after lunch,” snapped the editor. “The deadline for tomorrow’s newspaper is in about ten hours.”


There are many arts, journalism, and media programs available at Australian universities. Contact OzTREKK Admissions Officer Rachel Brady for more information about Australian journalism programs and other Australian arts degrees!

Email rachel@oztrekk.com or call 1-866-698-7355 (toll free in Canada). Learn how OzTREKK can help you to study in Australia!


Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Read all about it: Australian journalism programs

With newspapers and magazines falling by the wayside, many people are wondering what’s to become of the future of media. Is traditional journalism dead? Are reporters going the way of the dinosaur? On the contrary. News still happens, and the medium is still the message. The internet age is changing daily, with world news being zinged across the globe in mere seconds. No profession is changing faster than journalism. Besides writing and reporting, there are a host of other career opportunities in the field of journalism:

  • photography
  • radio
  • mobile journalism
  • television
  • law
  • teaching
  • advertising
  • public relations
  • foreign affairs…

According to Service Canada, the introduction of specialty channels, the development of specialized media, new methods of distributing information and the ever-growing demand for information has created numerous journalist, researcher and newscaster positions. In order for candidates to stand out, they must have excellent general knowledge, must perfect the language they write, and have a command of investigation, interviewing and writing techniques. In addition, journalists must be able to use major writing software, research on the Internet and use email; have great ability for analysis and synthesis; work effectively on a team; be independent and resourceful; be curious and thorough; demonstrate superior skills in communication and have a critical mind with intellectual honesty. In Canada, bilingualism is most often obligatory and knowledge of a third language is an asset. For radio and television positions, candidates have to be able to speak clearly and easily. Having a pleasing and interesting voice is a major asset.

Here is a brief outline of OzTREKK’s Australian universities that offer postgraduate journalism programs:

University of Melbourne

Master of Journalism – 1.5 years

The University of Melbourne’s Master of Journalism program is designed for students who are dedicated to pursuing careers in journalism and journalism-related fields, and for journalists and other professional practitioners working in the contemporary media industry who wish to update their skills, develop additional advanced skills and expand their education.

The program teaches the full range of journalism skills and critically engages with the professional conventions of journalism, with ethical and legal issues that impact on journalism, and with contemporary questions such as how new media technologies influence journalism practices.

James Cook University

Master of Arts (Journalism) – 1.5 years

JCU’s Master of Arts in journalism program is aimed at journalism and non-journalism graduates who wish to gain practical journalism skills or gain an advanced level of professional skills such as those necessary for investigative journalism. The School of Arts and Social Sciences, Humanities Department, teaches this course. This school boasts award-winning teachers and a range of journalism-related research interests.

Monash University

Master of Journalism – 1.5 years

The Master of Journalism course at Monash University is both an entry-level qualification for a professional journalism career and a mid-career course for working journalists seeking to extend their expertise and refresh the intellectual basis of their practice. It has a national and international orientation designed to optimize the contribution graduates will make to their profession using a full range of media technologies.

University of Queensland

Master of Journalism – 1.5 years

UQ’s Master of Journalism program is a professional, career-oriented program that caters to existing journalists who wish to upgrade or broaden their qualifications, and for graduates from other disciplines who wish to develop skills in news gathering, news writing and investigative reporting. On completion of the program, students can expect to have a deep understanding of journalistic theories and principles, and advanced skills in news investigating, writing, and reporting. In addition to practical instruction in journalism, students study theoretical and reflective courses and have the opportunity to apply academic research methods. Journalism graduates will find career opportunities in a wide range of print and broadcast media organizations, in Australia and overseas.


There are many arts and media programs available at Australian universities. Contact OzTREKK Admissions Officer Rachel Brady for more information about Australian journalism programs and other Australian arts degrees!

Email rachel@oztrekk.com or call 1-866-698-7355 (toll free in Canada). Learn how OzTREKK can help you to study in Australia!


Friday, February 22nd, 2013

JCU education students welcomed with new digs

James Cook University students will be welcomed to the Townsville campus in fine style next week.

Students in the School of Education, in the Faculty of Arts, Education and Social Sciences have a new student hub and School of Education building waiting for them when they return to – or begin – their studies.

Providing a one-stop shop for student enrolments and inquiries on the ground floor along with a café and new lecture theatre, the multi-million dollar building is having the final touches and landscaping completed this week, JCU reports.

JCU states that the new building, which was designed by Wilson Architects in conjunction with Architects North, will become the hub where Townsville students can access a range of university support services. It has already proven popular during orientation week for those about to begin their studies, JCU said.

The building will also house JCU’s School of Education, providing trainee teachers with access to the latest technologies and teaching techniques.

Key components of the new building include a state-of-the-art teaching laboratory to address the chronic shortage of science teachers in northern schools. The building will also include a 36-seat flexible flat floor seminar and conference room, and peer-to-peer learning centre, JCU said.

The Pro Vice-Chancellor of JCU’s Faculty of Arts, Education and Social Sciences, Professor Nola Alloway, told the university that the classrooms of the future will be different from what are the standard.

“Schools face enormous challenges in attracting great teachers who are up to date with today’s techno-savvy students,” she told JCU. “With increasing use of communications technology and the speed and interconnectivity that will be available, we have an obligation to prepare the next generations of teachers for these changes now.”

Alloway went on to tell JCU that the building would also be home to JCU’s national award winning RATEP program, which focuses on delivering teacher education programs into communities for Indigenous students.


Find out more about exciting opportunities in the JCU Faculty of Arts, Education and Social Sciences! Apply to James Cook University with OzTREKK today.