Welcome to the inaugural Screening Melbourne conference presented by the Melbourne Screen Studies Group in association with Deakin University, RMIT University, Monash University, Swinburne University of Technology, La Trobe University and the University of Melbourne, and co-presented with partners, the Ian Potter Foundation, the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Experimenta Media Arts, Multicultural Arts Victoria and the Centre for Contemporary Photography.

Screen media form the connective tissue of Melbourne’s cultural life. From key moments in early cinema, such as the production of the world’s first feature film The Story of the Kelly Gang, to the broadcast of national events like the Melbourne Cup and AFL Grand Final, to early video game developers such as Beam Software setting up in the city, there is barely a section of Melbourne that is not illuminated by screen culture. The conference has been organised across five primary strands of investigation:


Melbourne on Screen

From dramas like Romper Stomper to suburban soap opera Neighbours and the superhero adventure Ghost Rider, the diversity of Melbourne’s landscape, architecture, and people allow the city to tell any number of screen stories. Screening Melbourne considers how Melbourne is depicted on screen for local and international audiences, and even how the city is used as an anonymous space. It examines issues of multiculturalism and migration, celebrity, authorship, special effects/affects, authenticity, emotional histories and tourism.


Screen Cultures in Melbourne

Melbourne offers a fertile example of how a city can engage with screen culture, from historic movie palaces and film societies to public screenings and events. Papers will examine screen cultures and the institutions that support them, as well as the interrelated roles of gaming and advertising in citizens’ everyday and screen-related experiences of place and aesthetics. Documentary and experimental forms will be explored alongside the use of mobile screens, digital exhibition, distribution and platforms. Screen memories and experiences are captured in both research-based and practice-led approaches.


Seeing Difference

As a city, Melbourne’s identity has been actively cultivated through references to difference, political action and alternative culture. Screen texts as diverse as Annie’s Coming Out, Head On, and Please Like Me are suggestive of the variety of ways in which difference has helped bring Melbourne to the screen. These intersections between politics, identity, and difference are explored in a variety of papers and panel events.


Early and Silent Melbourne

Melbourne is home to many milestones and major works of early and silent cinema, including the 1896 Melbourne Cup carnival, the 1900 multimedia work Soldiers of the Cross, and, of course, the 1906 feature film The Story of the Kelly Gang. This energetic early period in Melbourne’s screen life is charted in various sessions and events including a screening at the Old Melbourne Gaol and a tour of the historic Limelight Department studios.


Melbourne on Page and Screen

Melbourne has inspired artists in a range of forms. Papers and panels will consider how Melbourne-set stories have made the transition from page to screen such as Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, On The Beach, and Monkey Grip, as well as texts that utilise literary motifs and/or transmedia paradigms.


A special dossier of the best papers from the symposium will be published in a forthcoming edition of Senses of Cinema. Submission requirements and deadlines will be emailed to delegates in coming weeks. For enquiries, please email screeningmelbourne@gmail.com.