A quick Q&A with Professor Kathy Andrews

Professor Kathy Andrews

Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery (GRIDD), Professor Kathy Andrews discusses her career, research tips and writing a children’s book.

1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be so many things when I was growing up! An artist, an author and a scientist. In the end, I was able to mix some of these things together into one great job. Being a scientist is very creative and involves not only solving interesting questions but also communicating your findings to other scientists and the public.

2. Tell us about a previous job (work experience/volunteer work) that you’ve had.
My first job was wrapping presents at Christmas time in a department store!

3. Which 3 apps do you use the most on your mobile device?
iBooks (because I read constantly), Notes (to remind myself of things) and Twitter (still getting used to this one)

4. Which 5 celebrities would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?
That’s a hard one. If my daughter was involved, I would have to say five members of the Firebirds netball team!

5. Tell us about your favourite fictional character.
I don’t have particular favourites, but I am quite taken by the elven characters in Lord of the Rings.

6. What’s the best thing about your current role?
The best thing about my current role is the diversity of things that I am involved in. I work with fantastic staff and students on exciting research projects focused on developing new medicines for malaria, teach undergraduate students about infectious diseases and also talk to people in the community about how great science is.

7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I hope that in five years I will have developed a new type of antimalarial drug. Fingers crossed!

8. What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
The highlight of my career really is in seeing my amazing research students graduate and go on to do wonderful things with their lives and careers. Very rewarding!

9. You are involved in Griffith’s That’s Rad Science project. Tell us about that.
I have always been involved in science communication and in 2016 I decided to try something new that also combined my skills in project management and writing. I wanted to inspire as many children as possible by telling them about the amazing worlds of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). I started That’s RAD! Science with the vision of producing a series of 12 books authored by Queenslanders working in STEM areas. The aim is to distribute the books widely to primary school children and interest them in STEM from an early age. I am authoring the first book about parasites (think pet poo parasites, scratchy head lice, and malaria mini-vampire parasites!)

UPDATE: Check out Kathy’s book launch.

10. What wise advice do you have for new researchers?
Make sure you find something you are passionate about to work on!

11. What’s the best resource you’ve discovered in your Griffith University Library?
The best Griffith University Library resource has to be the ability access online journal articles. When I started as a scientist, I often had to order articles and wait several weeks for them to arrive by post!

12. Can you give us your 3 best research tips?
Take detailed notes, set aside time to think about your research project what it means, and think outside the box as you never know what you might find!


A quick Q&A with Professor Ciaran O’Faircheallaigh

Professor Ciaran O’Faircheallaigh

 

School of Government and International Relations academic, Professor Ciaran O’Faircheallaigh discusses his work in environmental conservation, staying at Griffith University and his work with Indigenous cultures.

1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be a vet because I loved animals, especially horses.

2. Tell us about a previous job (work experience/volunteer work) that you’ve had.
When I studied at University people didn’t have part time jobs during semester, they worked during the summer holidays to keep them going during the academic year. I worked two summers in a bottling plant attached to a brewery. Seven or eight weeks without a  day off, shift work Monday to Friday, work all day Saturday and Sunday (double time, hoorah for penalty rates!), and saved a heap of money. This meant we were able to be full time students and really enjoy the whole university experience. I feel sorry for students today, a lot of them are under so much pressure with work and study, they miss out on a lot of what university has to offer outside the class room.

3. Which 3 apps do you use the most on your mobile device?
Calendar to know where I’m supposed to be and when; Google maps to get there; and Optus Sport to keep track of Aussie Rules and English Premier League.

4. Which 5 celebrities would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?
My kids will tell you that I’m not well up on celebrities. Rick Stein to cook and talk about food. James Halliday to talk about wine and bring a few great bottles from his cellar. Hilary Mantell to discuss writing and books. Diana Krall to sing for us after dinner. And Kevin Spacey just because I think he’s amazing.

5. Tell us about your favourite fictional character.
Fictional character or character in fiction? Thomas Cromwell, the central character in Hilary Mantell’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. Like many really interesting characters, a complex mix. Calculating, ruthless, utterly unforgiving in pursuit of anyone who did him harm; but fiercely loyal, protective of people wronged by the powerful, and a loving father.

6. What’s the best thing about your current role?
Doing research with fascinating people in some amazing places.

7. What sparked your interest in Indigenous and environment governance?
Doing PhD field work in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, at the Panguna copper mine, where poor governance of Indigenous issues and of environmental impacts  eventually led to an armed rebellion, the forced closure of one of the world’s biggest copper mines, and a civil war that resulted in the loss of thousands of lives.

8. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Not anywhere else, as I have no desire to leave Griffith. Maybe working less than full time and spending more time with my grandsons.

9. What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
Doing field work with Aboriginal traditional owners in Cape York and the Kimberley.

10. Tell us about a project/research you are working on at the moment.
I’m working with Conservation International and Oxfam America to help develop the negotiation capacity of their Indigenous partners from different parts of the world.

11. What wise advice do you have for new researchers?
Pick a research area you’re passionate about and make a long term commitment to building up your expertise in that area. You may have to take on other projects for career reasons, but plan to stay focused on your core research area for decades rather than years.

12. What’s the best resource you’ve discovered in your Griffith University Library?
Without doubt electronic access to journals and electronic document delivery.  Maybe only researchers who, like me, started their careers working with hard copies of journals that you couldn’t search electronically and couldn’t take out of the library can appreciate what a boon this is.

13. Can you give us your 3 best research tips?
See answer 11. for my best research tip. Two more. Don’t get discouraged if articles get rejected – some of the world’s best writers have had quite a few rejection slips early in their careers. Work on developing links between teaching and research – some great research ideas come from interactions with students, and students love to feel they’re getting access to ‘hot off the press’ research.


A quick Q&A with Professor Kathy Andrews

Professor Kathy Andrews

Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery (GRIDD), Professor Kathy Andrews discusses her career, research tips and writing a children’s book.

1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be so many things when I was growing up! An artist, an author and a scientist. In the end, I was able to mix some of these things together into one great job. Being a scientist is very creative and involves not only solving interesting questions but also communicating your findings to other scientists and the public.

2. Tell us about a previous job (work experience/volunteer work) that you’ve had.
My first job was wrapping presents at Christmas time in a department store!

3. Which 3 apps do you use the most on your mobile device?
iBooks (because I read constantly), Notes (to remind myself of things) and Twitter (still getting used to this one)

4. Which 5 celebrities would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?
That’s a hard one. If my daughter was involved, I would have to say five members of the Firebirds netball team!

5. Tell us about your favourite fictional character.
I don’t have particular favourites, but I am quite taken by the elven characters in Lord of the Rings.

6. What’s the best thing about your current role?
The best thing about my current role is the diversity of things that I am involved in. I work with fantastic staff and students on exciting research projects focused on developing new medicines for malaria, teach undergraduate students about infectious diseases and also talk to people in the community about how great science is.

7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I hope that in five years I will have developed a new type of antimalarial drug. Fingers crossed!

8. What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
The highlight of my career really is in seeing my amazing research students graduate and go on to do wonderful things with their lives and careers. Very rewarding!

9. You are involved in Griffith’s That’s Rad Science project. Tell us about that.
I have always been involved in science communication and in 2016 I decided to try something new that also combined my skills in project management and writing. I wanted to inspire as many children as possible by telling them about the amazing worlds of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). I started That’s RAD! Science with the vision of producing a series of 12 books authored by Queenslanders working in STEM areas. The aim is to distribute the books widely to primary school children and interest them in STEM from an early age. I am authoring the first book about parasites (think pet poo parasites, scratchy head lice, and malaria mini-vampire parasites!)

UPDATE: Check out Kathy’s book launch.

10. What wise advice do you have for new researchers?
Make sure you find something you are passionate about to work on!

11. What’s the best resource you’ve discovered in your Griffith University Library?
The best Griffith University Library resource has to be the ability access online journal articles. When I started as a scientist, I often had to order articles and wait several weeks for them to arrive by post!

12. Can you give us your 3 best research tips?
Take detailed notes, set aside time to think about your research project what it means, and think outside the box as you never know what you might find!


A quick Q&A with Dr Campbell Fraser

Dr Campbell Fraser

Griffith University, Department of International Business and Asian Studies, Senior Lecturer, Dr Campbell Fraser discusses his career, research tips and organ trafficking.

1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
At the age of 4, growing up in Glasgow, Scotland, I wanted to be a “bin man”, what would now be known as a refuse collector. The reason – the Glasgow “bin men” drove around in big blue trucks. I befriended my local bin men and they used to take me with them on their rounds – so every Thursday I got to ride in the big blue truck. Would never be allowed now!

2. Tell us about a previous job (work experience/volunteer work) that you’ve had.
My first job was as a sausage maker. I worked with some really interesting characters in that job –  a real education!  From there I went into banking, before going on to uni full time.

3. Which 3 apps do you use the most on your mobile device?
The BBC news– that is where I first go to in the morning when I wake up, Gmail app, and Washington Post – I am now an avid follower of US politics since the 2016 election result.

4. Which 5 celebrities would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?
I’d love to see what great leaders of the past would make of today’s politicians. So I would have Winston Churchill, Robert Menzies and Mahatma Gandhi on one side of the table, with Donald Trump and Rodrigo Duterte on the other. Now that would make an interesting dinner party!

5. Tell us about your favourite fictional character.
Simon Templar – AKA “The Saint”, by Leslie Charteris. A great series of adventure novels adapted for TV in the 1960s. Escapism at its best.

6. What’s the best thing about your current role?
Without a doubt, it is the people I get to meet.  By investigating organ trafficking, I have the privilege to work with some amazing people – people who save lives day in, day out. Often working on a shoestring budget in some of the poorest and dangerous areas of the world; these are truly remarkable people.

7. What sparked your interest in human/organ trafficking?
A few years ago, I had kidney failure and spent a year on dialysis before I received the ultimate gift of a donor kidney. I met a number of people involved in the international organ trade at this time, and as they say, one thing led to another…

8. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I would be very happy if I am still able to do exactly what is I am doing now.  My colleagues and I have made major progress in the fight against human trafficking, but much work remains to be done.

9. What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
This year, I was invited by the Pope to the Vatican to present my work, and this has led to several invitations to speak around the world. While these are certainly highlights, the biggest highlight has been knowing that we are making a difference in the lives of some of the poorest people on our planet.  That is more important than anything else.

10. Tell us about your current research.
I’m currently investigating the links between organ trafficking in the Middle East and terrorism funding. I am working in collaboration with colleagues from the US government in Washington DC. This is taking my work in a whole new direction.

11. What wise advice do you have for new researchers?
Follow your nose and see where it leads you. Try to find a topic that is poorly understood, and that will maximise your scope. Never give up. If your research topic is important to you, then it is important, regardless of what others may tell you.

12. What’s the best resource you’ve discovered in your Griffith University Library?
Online journal access has fundamentally changed the way academics work. I can now be in a village in the Philippines and access the Griffith Library by VPN on my device. This is a huge timesaver. Griffith Library has online access to a vast number of journals relevant to my work, and I wouldn’t be able to function without it.

13. Can you give us your 3 best research tips

  • Be very cautious of information you find online – I would say probably 75% of reports of organ trafficking found online is false, and is written to promote political objectives. I always make sure I meet the people involved so I can obtain the information at the source. Understand the difference between truths, and reports which are based on a true story!
  • Remain courteous and professional when conducting investigations. On occasions, I have had to interview people-traffickers and their brokers, and no matter how much disgust I have for them, I have to keep a professional demeanour.  Always take the high road, you never know when you might need someone’s help in the future. You want to show Griffith University in a good light!
  • Always think of ways to increase your audience. The media is a great way to bring your research findings to a wider range of people who don’t read academic journals. Think about what would make a great story – and learn how to pitch it to journalists. This will increase the impact of your research, and get you noticed. Journalists are always on the lookout for exciting stories that their readers are likely to click on!

A quick Q&A with Dr Michael Westaway

Dr Michael Westaway

Dr Michael Westaway

Griffith University, Environmental Futures Research Institute, Research Fellow, Dr Michael Westaway discusses his career, research tips, and skeletal remains.

1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I can remember going to a careers and university planning day in Year 11 and bringing home a brochure on studying archaeology and palaeoanthropology at UNE. I hadn’t heard of the discipline of palaeoanthropology until that stage. From Year 11, I started to think archaeology might be a career I could try and pursue.

2. Tell us about a previous job that you’ve had.

My first really exciting job was working as a state project archaeologist for Aboriginal Affairs Victoria (AAV). I had never lived in Melbourne before and was paired up with a senior project archaeologist and our job was to develop a list of 50 key sites, as nominated by Aboriginal communities, that would be the subject of further investigation and management.

As I had also studied biological anthropology, I was given the role at AAV to investigate reports of Aboriginal skeletal remains, and I liaised very closely with the Coroners Department during this work. Quite often the skeletal remains that were reported were non-human, but we undertook a lot of really interesting rescue investigations of Aboriginal skeletal remains.

3. Which 3 apps do you use the most on your mobile device?

Very boring I’m afraid, mobile banking, the tide times and the Brisbane airport app are really the ones I use most. I wish I could say the Australian native bird identification app or something interesting like that, but I guess the tide times is the best one. I use it when I am heading to the sea for a swim (which I tried, reasonably successfully, to do every weekend this past summer).

4. Which 5 celebrities would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?

I’m not terribly inspired by modern celebrities, although I do like the way the philosopher Alain de Botton looks at life and relationships, so he is one (probably not technically a celebrity).

Barack Obama would be a great dinner guest but perhaps Angela Merkel would be better, she seems to be the most inspiring world leader at the moment. I am afraid the remainder are no longer alive, Thomas Huxley and Raymond Dart are people I’d like to chat to about their contributions to knowledge in evolution.

David Unaipon is another person (the man on the $50 note) who would be great to have a conversation with over dinner. He was such an inquisitive and intelligent individual, and from what I have read so far was the first Aboriginal person to consider scientific views of human origins at the time in the context of Aboriginal creation stories. He rallied enormous support from many Australians for Aboriginal human rights.

5. Tell us about your favourite fictional character.

I am a fan of the narrator in HG Wells’ War of the Worlds (not the Tom Cruise version, but the original seen through the eyes of the late 19th Century newspaper journalist whose name we never get to know).

6. What’s the best thing about your current role?

What is really exciting is the sense of discovery, whether it be going through museum collections and archives to find some piece of evidence that may lead to something far bigger, or investigating a remote landscape that might reveal an important new chapter into the past. The combination of research and fieldwork I find quite intoxicating, and it is really hard to curb my enthusiasm when in the midst of trying to make sense of something that doesn’t seem to fit into the current scheme of things. I undertake this type of fieldwork with students, and very importantly Traditional Owners, and I find it so inspiring when we all work together to try and make sense of Australia’s amazing Aboriginal past.

7. What sparked your interest in archaeology?

When I was a first-year student I had some inspiring and indeed life changing lecturers. The teaching staff inspired an interest in the archaeology of ancient Australia, placing its significance in the global context, and what I think certainly made the difference was the willingness and patience of the Head of School, Professor Isabelle McBryde, to take the time and discuss with me as a young first year student an exciting discovery of a shell midden I had made over the Easter Break.

8. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I would like to be continuing my role as a researcher at Griffith and teaching into a Master of Science program that is helping to building a new understanding of human evolution in our region, but very importantly also creating new insights into the complexity of Australia’s Aboriginal past. Critical to the success of this program will be the chance to provide training opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, so that they can ultimately be the drivers of this new national narrative.

9. What’s been the highlight of your career so far?

Moving to Griffith University has been the highlight, without a doubt. I was approached by Professor David Lambert who had read some of my work on the fossil human remains from the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area. He asked whether I thought the Elders from the three Tribal Groups at the Willandra would be interested in seeing if we could recover ancient DNA from their ancestors and I suggested we go and ask them. They were very interested, and Dave, his postdocs and PhD students and I have been busy writing a new population history of ancient Australia ever since.

10. Tell us about your research into the skeletal remains of first-nation people.

Since the late 1990s, I have been involved in investigating skeletal remains of Aboriginal people, initially as a state archaeologists working with Aboriginal communities and the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, but then as a biological anthropologist employed in the repatriation program at the National Museum of Australia.

11. What’s the best resource you’ve discovered in your Griffith University Library?

Definitely the books, much of the time they contain all kinds of important information. It is always a great relief to find that all our wisdom is not contained on the internet. I am a regular user of our library, the State Library (and particularly the John Oxley library) and also the Queensland Museum library. These institutions are very important, particularly for Queensland-based research into Aboriginal archaeology and culture.

12. Can you give us your 3 best research tips?

  • Universities have an increasingly important role to play in our society, and I think in the disciplinary areas that I work in, which straddles science and the humanities, it is very important to promote our research to a broader audience. Our scholarship is funded by taxpayers, and I feel very strongly that we should provide people with information that might help them make more informed decisions regarding the complex society we live in.
  • Communication is critical at all levels of research, and I have just finished rattling on about communication with the public and this, of course, should extend to all the stakeholders one works with. I think to take it to that next level, it is always good to try and undertake research in partnership with key stakeholders. In my research, I work very closely with Koori and Murri people, and together with my colleagues we always try to present and publish our research together.
  • I think it is important to appreciate and respect that your conclusions might not really be conclusions. Research is more to do with hypothesis testing, and on occasion, some researchers become so heavily wedded to their line of argument that they see any potential challenge to it is a threat to their reputation (in some cases perhaps it can be). I think the important thing is to recognise that new data can always emerge that may challenge your ideas, and perhaps if you are open-minded enough, maybe even change them!

A quick Q&A with Dr Adele Pavlidis

Dr Adele Pavlidis

Dr Adele Pavlidis

Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dr Adele Pavlidis discusses her career, the rise of roller derby and women’s AFL.

1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I went through a few things: psychologist, chemist, sportswoman. Interestingly, my strongest desire was to do a PhD and study philosophy! So I’ve ended up not that far from that goal.

2. Tell us about a previous job (work experience/volunteer work) that you’ve had.
I worked for about three years as a drug and alcohol worker at a residential rehabilitation facility. That time in my life taught me so much about compassion, boundaries, and effective communication. I met so many wonderful people who I still sometimes bump into. It was a privilege to watch residents’ change from complete hopelessness and despair to excitement and happiness about life. There was plenty of grief, but mostly joy and satisfaction.

3. Which 3 apps do you use the most on your mobile device?
Instagram, Facebook, and email. I am doing some research at the moment looking at the use of social media by sportswomen so some of my time on these apps is justified as work.

4. Which 5 celebrities would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?

  • Madonna – childhood favourite. She symbolised freedom and female independence to me. And she’s an amazing dancer.
  • Rosi Braidotti – contemporary feminist theorist. Her work is so cutting edge, but without being ridiculously inaccessible.
  • Tina Fey – her comedy is brilliant.
  • Lili Tomlin – brilliant comedian and actress. She made a huge impression on me as an 8-year-old when I watched Big Business
  • Bette Midler – such a star. Also in the 1988 film Big Business!

5. What’s the best thing about your current role?
I have time to think carefully about the types of projects that fulfil my curiosity and deliver a broader social benefit. I also love the flexibility and autonomy. Even though academic work can be demanding and stressful, it really is one of the most privileged jobs I can think of. There are not many occupations where you get to decide what you will spend your intellectual energy on, as well as decide on start times, etc.

6. What sparked your interest in sociology?
Working in the drug and alcohol field certainly sparked my interest in sociology. The more I learnt about the discipline in my undergraduate degree, the more I wanted to delve deeper and develop concepts for myself.

7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I would hope to be tenured, working on international collaborations, travelling between Australia and a couple of other countries where my collaborators are situated. I see myself still working in the sport and leisure field, hopefully contributing towards policy debates to support more inclusive and just societies.

8. What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
So many! Having my first book, Sport, Gender and Power: The Rise of Roller Derby, published just after finishing my PhD was pretty exciting. Securing funding to travel to Beijing, China to meet with academics working in the field of sport and gender, and talking with women playing roller derby over there was pretty amazing too. Also, traveling to Helsinki, Finland for an intensive summer school with the Finnish Youth Research Network was a highlight.

9. Tell us about your current research.
I am currently working on a suite of publications and data collection related to women in sport and feminism. Specifically, I am starting a one-year project focused on the AFL Women’s competition. It’s the very first year a professional women’s AFL competition is being held, and this means that there are lots of questions and challenges to overcome. Historically, AFL and many contact sports have been for men only. So, to have women play on network television (for some of the games), and get paid, is a huge change to the landscape of sport in Australia.

10. What wise advice do you have for new researchers?
Get great mentors. This doesn’t always mean the top researchers (though sometimes it does), but rather people who care about you and your career, people who have an ethics that they abide to, and people who maintain professionalism.

11. What’s the best resource you’ve discovered in your Griffith University Library?
I’ve always loved the library. I still love hardcopy books. Griffith library has a great collection of sociological, feminist and sport related books and I always have a pile of books checked out.

12. Can you give us your 3 best research tips?

  • Read a lot, but keep writing – don’t put off writing! Don’t wait until your ideas are ‘perfect’ before writing. Try out ideas in a research journal, take notes while you read.
  • Say yes to opportunities. It’s amazing what you can do with your time if you try. Organisation is one of my strongest skills, but do what you can to get organised and fit things in.
  • Collaborate. Working with others is one of the great things about academic work. When you meet people who are enthusiastic, whose work you really like, think about whether you could collaborate on something.

A quick Q&A with Creative Director, Richard Fabb

Photo of Richard Fabb and Hugo Weaving

Richard Fabb with Hugo Weaving

LiveLab, Creative Director, Richard Fabb discusses his career, winning a BAFTA and working with talented YouTubers.

1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
The first thing I ever wanted to be was an actor. I did lots of school plays and amateur dramatics (front-end of a pantomime horse). When I was ten, my mum took me to see Bugsy Malone which I thought looked like the most fun you could ever have.

2. Tell us about a previous job (work experience/volunteer work) that you’ve had.
In London, I was a volunteer for Samaritans, a charity offering emotional support to people in distress or at risk of suicide. Despite the sometimes harrowing calls, it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.

3. Which 3 apps do you use the most on your mobile device?
Facebook, The Guardian, and Apple Music. Facebook is something I only joined after I moved to Australia, as a way to keep in touch with friends and family overseas. But I also use it now for industry connections and as admin on LiveLab’s page. I spent ten years in broadcast news (Channel 4 News in the UK). I remain a bit of a news junkie and always want to know what’s happening. The Guardian remains my paper of choice – and love that it now has an Australian edition. I’ve only recently moved over to Apple Music – and a part of me mourns the end of my vinyl and CD buying days.

4. Which 5 celebrities would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?
This is hard! Joni Mitchell (who I worship), the American writer Paul Auster, broadcaster Jeremy Isaacs (first Chief Exec of Channel 4), Bjorn Borg and Lord (Neil) Kinnock. I have no idea how they’d get along but they’ve all been big influences and I admire each one of them.

5. Tell us about your favourite fictional character.
I could easily say Jed Bartlet from The West Wing, or Ralph from Lord of the Flies. But I have to go for Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza from Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I know they are a couple but the story tells how their love survives a lifetime unrequited, so I couldn’t bear to separate them here.

6. What’s the best thing about your current role?
It’s unique. Griffith is the only film school with a permanent, full-time production studio. The heart of what I do is to get students working on external projects. I spend most of my time overseeing productions. I’m a big believer that student filmmakers can create outstanding work, such as the short film we produced with Hugo Weaving, called Ky’s Story – Living With Autism.

7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully still at LiveLab! We’ve done a lot in two years but there is plenty still to do. Griffith Film School is the largest film school in Australia; I’d like to think LiveLab can play a part in making it not just the biggest but the best.

8. What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
Winning a BAFTA was certainly a night to remember, but After Dark remains special. It was a live, late-night discussion show, originally on Channel 4, described by The Guardian as ‘one of the most inspired and effective uses of airtime yet devised’. It had no fixed end time and the conversation ran its natural course (usually between 2 – 3 hours long) into the small hours.

9. What wise advice do you have for new lecturers?

  • Pace yourself
  • Learn to love the portal (all of human existence is in it)
  • Tap into the knowledge and support of your colleagues (who at GFS have been a tower of strength)
  • Realise how young some of the students are and how fragile they can be, but also remember they have huge potential and talent.

10. Tell us about the YouTube project.
I’m part of the team running Create Queensland. It’s a collaboration between YouTube, Queensland Government, Screen Queensland, QUT and Griffith Film School (through LiveLab). It is the first YouTube project of its kind in the world. The focus is on nurturing the online and YouTube creative community – something that’s increasingly relevant to our students. There’s $900,000 over three years, helping to fund new content, pairing YouTube Creators with university students, facilities and expertise.

We’re also hosting three workshop/symposium events a year, called Queensland Creator Days. We’ll host one at GFS in late November looking at animation on YouTube.

11. How has LiveLab supported the winners of the Creator Originals prizes?
We’ve been working with two Youtube Creators: Elly Awesome, and Stephanie Hames who runs SasEffects (special effects makeup tutorials). We’ve produced a new interview series with Elly where she chats and has a meal with some of the top YouTube stars. And for Stephanie, we’re making five short horror films to profile the characters she creates in her tutorials.

12. Do any of your students have a YouTube channel that you’d like to plug?
I’m a fan of Crackermilk; a comedy channel run by some graduating 3rd years. Comedy is very hard to get right but they show real promise (strong language, adult themes, as the classifiers say).