Stuart Cunningham AM, FAHA, FAcSS, FRSA is one of Australia’s leading proponents of the new and applied humanities. He is internationally recognised for his contributions to media, communications and cultural studies and for exemplifying their relevance to industry practice and government policy. He has made a number of distinctive and high-impact contributions to the academic discipline fields in which he works and through these, has had widely-acknowledged influence on industry practice and policy development beyond the academy. The contributions, in summary, are: disciplinary consolidations in the relatively new fields of media, cultural and communication studies; the articulation of a policy approach into cultural and media studies; significantly shaping the international creative industries research agenda; leading the development of the relationship of creative industries to innovation studies and policy; and understanding digital transformations of the screen sector. In addition to his research contributions, he has considerable senior leadership and management experience as director of an ARC Centre of Excellence, faculty director of research and research training, head of school, and acting Executive Dean. He has served the profession, the community and the polity in several leadership roles in advocacy, advice and governance in research and higher education, and in the screen and library sectors.
He is author, co-author or co-editor of fifteen books, twenty five reports, over 200 chapters and articles, and a wide range of general articles and public communications. He wrote Featuring Australia (1991), a study of the career of pioneering Australian filmmaker Charles Chauvel, and Framing Culture (1992), an influential critique of the limits of cultural studies as applied to cultural policy. With Toby Miller, he wrote Contemporary Australian Television (1993). He co-wrote or co-edited a number of studies of the global dimensions of audiovisual culture with John Sinclair and Elizabeth Jacka: New Patterns in Global Television (1996), Australian Television and International Mediascapes (1996), and Floating Lives: The Media and Asian Diasporas (2001). He has co-edited two textbooks with Graeme Turner, The Australian TV Book (2001) and The Media and Communications in Australia (last edition, 2010). He has co-authored several major reports for bodies such as National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (UK), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Geneva), the Australian departments of education, communications, and arts, the Australian Broadcasting Authority, the Australia Council, the Queensland state government and the Brisbane City Council.
His recent work includes the single-authored What Price a Creative Economy? (Platform Papers, 2006); In the Vernacular: A Generation of Cultural Criticism and Controversy (University of Queensland Press, 2008); and Hidden Innovation: Policy, Industry and the Creative Sector (University of Queensland Press, 2013 and Rowman & Littlefield/Lexington Books, 2014). It also includes Dina Iordanova and Stuart Cunningham eds, Digital Disruption: Cinema Moves Online (St Andrews Film Studies, 2012); John Hartley, Jason Potts, Stuart Cunningham, Terry Flew, John Banks, Michael Keane, Key Concepts in Creative Industries (London, Sage, 2013); Screen Distribution and the New King Kongs of the Online World (Palgrave, with Jon Silver, 2013); Stuart Cunningham and Sue Turnbull eds, The Media and Communications in Australia (Allen & Unwin, 2014); and Stuart Cunningham, Terry Flew and Adam Swift, Media Economics(Palgrave, 2015). His standing in the field and as a contributor to research and higher education policy, communications, culture and media have seen him appointed or elected to numerous national, state and international bodies and awarded several honours:
- invested as a Member of the Order of Australia, 2015, for ‘significant service to higher education, particularly to the study of media and communications, as an academic and researcher’
- awarded a Fulbright Senior Scholarship, 2014-15
- elected to the UK-based Academy of Social Sciences, 2013- (FAcSS)
- appointed to Cooperative Research Centre Committee, 2012-2015;
- appointed director of Screen Queensland, 2012-15;
- appointed to reference panel, National Cultural Policy reference group, 2011-12;
- appointed to NSW Creative Industries Task Force 2012-2013;
- Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA)
- elected President, Council of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS), 2006-08;
- appointed member of the Library Board of Queensland, 2008-11 and 2011-14;
- appointed member of the Australian Research Council’s College of Experts 2005-7, and Chair of the Humanities and Creative Arts Panel of the College, 2007;
- ARC assessor over 17 years;
- international assessments by invitation for research bodies in Canada, EU, Holland, South Africa, Denmark, New Zealand;
- Adjunct Professor, Australian National University 2006-8; Visiting Professor City University, London 2008-11, Leverhulme Foundation Visitor, University of St Andrews 2008-9;
- Commissioner of the Australian Film Commission 1992-98;
- foundation Chair of QPIX, Queensland’s Screen Development Centre, 1997-2005;
- elected inaugural Fellow of the Cultural and Communication section of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, 1997 (FAHA) and elected Treasurer, and Council and Executive member of the Academy, 2003-6;
- Node Convenor, Cultural Technologies, for the ARC Cultural Research Network (CRN), 2004-6;
- elected board member of the Council of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS), 2005-6, 2008-9, 2009-10, 2010-11;
- appointed to UNESCO’s Australian National Commission Social Science Network, 2005-;
- Centenary Medal (Australian Honours list) 2003 in recognition of contribution to the humanities in Australia;
- Honorary Life Member, Cultural Studies Association of Australia, 2000-.
A pre-eminent research grants track record nationally is evidenced by over twenty successful ARC project grants as a named Chief Investigator and a wide range of local, state, national and international commissioned research. This is in addition to being a named investigator on the successful applications for the Australian Key Centre for Cultural and Media Policy (CMP) in 1994, the Australasian Co-operative Research Centre for Interaction Design (ACID) in 2002, and as Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCI) in 2004. The total number of grants of all kinds awarded is over 50 and, omitting CMP and ACID, the total value of awarded research funding is well over $A24 million. He has supervised thirty three completed higher research degrees. His mentorship of research students, and early and mid career researchers, have seen several in entry level academic and professional positions, or in receipt of promotions, or research career opportunities through co-publication and grant success. He has given invited addresses and keynotes in academic, industry and government conferences, symposia, and like events, around Australia, and in New Zealand, Singapore, Korea, China, Hong Kong, India, South Africa, United States, Canada, Brazil, Taiwan, United Kingdom, Germany and Austria.