Congratulations to Erik Champion, Professor of Cultural Visualisation, a 2014 Western Australian Aspire Award Winner— an annual scholarship awards program run by the Perth Convention Bureau.
June 18, 2014 3:13 am
It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing on 5 June 2014 of one of Curtin’s most admired and respected colleagues, Professor NIALL LUCY, after a long illness.
Niall was the founder of the Centre for Culture and Technology, and a Senior Research Fellow and Professor of Critical Theory in the School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts (MCCA).
Tim Dolin, Dean of Research and Graduate Studies, Faculty of Humanities, recognised Niall as: “a brilliant critical theorist and philosopher, a world authority on Derrida and deconstruction, and a formidably learned literary and cultural critic. He was also a major figure in the Western Australian popular music scene, and wrote extensively about it, especially the music of David McComb and The Triffids.”Left: Niall Lucy (centre) with John Hartley (right) and Garry Gillard (left) at the Social Club, Murdoch University, ca 1990. xxxxx Below: Niall Lucy (right) with Steve Mickler, mid-1990s. xxxxxxx
News of Niall’s passing reached CCAT members at the Culture + 8 International Research Symposium on early Thursday morning, 5 June where friend and colleague, Steve Mickler, spoke a few words in memorium: “Scholar, thinker, writer, publisher, teacher, supervisor, mentor and friend, his passing is an immense and sharply painful loss”. He noted that Niall would have been: “a star performer at the symposium had he been well enough to attend”.
Steve also delivered the following tribute to Niall’s academic work at the 11 June funeral:
Professor Lucy obtained his PhD from the Department of English at the University of Sydney in 1990. It did not take him long to make academic waves with his first book, his opening shot, as it were.
Debating Derrida was both a dauntless defense of Jacques Derrida’s explosive ideas about writing and meaning, and a typical Lucyan dare to the Old Guard — prove me, and Derrida, wrong, if you can. I don’t believe they did.
The book caused the great French philosopher himself to write a letter to the younger academic. I remember the day Niall got it.
Over the intervening decades Niall wrote and co-wrote or edited — he was a great collaborator — another 11 books, and he had a further 3 books in the works at the time of his death. He also published 14 book chapters and about 40 scholarly journal articles, many in cutting edge international journals, and presented and wrote many dozens of conference papers, creative pieces, reviews, and journalistic articles.
Of all his intellectual work, Niall loved writing and producing books the most.
The titles of the books he has left us with, such as Postmodern Literary Theory, The War on Democracy, Vagabond Holes (about rock musicians David McComb and the Triffids), The Ballad of Moondyne Joe give an idea of the breadth and scope of his interests and enthusiasms. From the most complex literary theory to Australian rock music, from the work of continental philosophers to 18th century Australian bushrangers
A highly-respected global authority on Derrida and Deconstruction, and postmodern literary theory, Niall is today read around the world.
Peggy Kamuf, Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California said of Niall’s 2004 book A Derrida Dictionary: “There is sharpness, wit and high seriousness in every entry”.
I think that pretty much sums up the seductive power of Niall’s writing style.
It is so important to understand that driving Niall’s intellectual work was his unrelenting desire to help secure the triumph of democratic rationalities over age-old moralities of privilege, social hierarchy and exploitation.
You don’t need to read very far in his work and there he is, defending the interests of us all against the ideas behind inequality and tyranny, and then with particularly devastating sweeps of critical prose, taking on the literate enemies of oppressed people, such as Indigenous people and gay and lesbian people.
Niall’s work as an institutional academic must also be acknowledged — especially his work as a leader and builder of schools and research centers and journals.
Among the important academic posts and roles he held between 1998 to 2014 were:
- Head of the School of Arts and Chair of English at Murdoch University.
- Research Fellow with the Australia Research Institute, Curtin University.
- Curtin Senior Research Fellow and Professor of Critical Theory, School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts at Curtin University.
- Australia Research Council International Expert Assessor.
- Founder and co-director of Centre for Culture and Technology, or CCAT at Curtin University from 2010. CCAT is today a thriving center of research in media and culture directed now by Niall’s long-time colleague and friend John Hartley.
- He was an editorial board member of leading journals such as Cultural Studies Review, Fibreculture and others.
- He was founding editor along with his close collaborator Robert Briggs of the online international journal Ctrl-Z: New Media Philosophy, in which capacity he served up until his death. He was mightily proud of this new Journal, and so are we.
Niall was a teacher of undergraduate students (many hundreds), a sought after PhD supervisor and a mentor to many early career researchers.
He was central to obtaining large ARC research funding grants, the latest of which is exploring, with a team including Noongar scholars, Noongar Aboriginal language and knowledge recovery.
Professor Niall Lucy was one of WA’s most unorthodox and trailblazing academics and intellectuals in the Humanities. His colleagues, students and friends at Curtin University, and at Murdoch University, and beyond mourn his passing and celebrate his exceptional work while in our midst.
Niall was my great friend and colleague for more than twenty years. I would not attempt to calculate the part he has played in shaping my thinking.
In saluting our friend, I choose a simple Latin phrase from which Niall took great inspiration. It is the battle cry of the Enlightenment as nominated by German philosopher Emmanuel Kant: ‘Sapere Aude’: Dare to Know!
Among the many tributes to Niall, was an article written by friend and colleague John Kinsella published in the 11 June 2014 edition of the West Australian. John outlines Niall’s academic and creative achievements, while drawing attention to the man behind the numerous successes. “Niall was a generous and committed collaborator in research and creative projects … a facilitator of other people’s creativity … he would never hesitate to make himself vulnerable in the cause of someone under siege. I know, because he stood up for me at times when it would have been equally brave simply to remain silent. But he wouldn’t and couldn’t.” (Read John’s full tribute to Niall.)
- The inaugural Niall Lucy Award 2015
- Ctrl-Z founding co-editor Rob Brigg’s tribute “Who will have come to have read this? In memory of Niall Lucy”, Ctrl-Z Journal, Issue 4, June 2014.
- Professor John Kinsella’s obituary “Vale free-flowing Niall”, The West Australian, June 11, 2014.
- Professor Niall Lucy’s Wikipedia Page
- Professor Niall Lucy’s Academia Page
May 27, 2014 2:25 am
On Monday 19 May, Professors John Hartley and Erik Champion attended the Curtin Sustainable Showcase – at Government House and were on hand to answer questions about CCAT to interested parties after the talk by Professor Jeffrey Sachs, of the Earth Institute at Columbia University New York. Jeffrey Sachs, professor of economics, is a leader in sustainable development, senior UN advisor and bestselling author, he explained how poverty could and should fall as a percentage of the world population, but he also powerfully and dramatically spoke about the economic and social implications of not responding directly and immediately to the consequences of climate change. He pointed out the importance of Australia, along with India, China, United States and Russia, in any response to climate change, due to its role as one of the world’s greatest coal producers and exporters. He suggested various steps to control the carbon deficit from coal production and suggested various ways in which research could minimise the damage of coal extraction. He was introduced by John Curtin Distinguished Professor Peter Newman and Vice Chancellor Deborah Terry and his Excellency Malcolm McCusker AC CVO QC, Governor of Western Australia also spoke at the event.
May 20, 2014 4:31 am
Associate Professor Lucy Montgomery has been appointed CCAT Principal Research Fellow. She was formerly a Vice–Chancellor’s Research Fellow at QUT, and continues in her role as Deputy Director for Knowledge Unlatched, a not-for-profit organisation piloting a new approach to funding open access scholarly books. Her work explores the role of digital technology and intellectual property in business model innovation in the creative industries.
Lucy trained as a China specialist at the University of Adelaide, before completing a PhD in Media and Cultural Studies at Queensland University of Technology. She has a decade of experience as both a researcher and as project manager, working on major international research projects. She is particularly interested in understanding the impact of transformative technological change on IP and the growth of the creative economy. Her book, China’s Creative Industries: Copyright, Social Network Markets and the Business of Culture in a Digital Age is published by Edward Elgar.
We welcome Lucy who will also direct CCAT’s New Models of Publishing program.
May 20, 2014 4:03 am
Research and events for the Dirk Hartog 400 year commemoration is well underway. Hartog was the first European (Dutch) seaman to make landfall in Western Australia in October 1616.
Dutch historian Nonja Peters together with WA Dutch Consul, Arnold Stroobach, have been been helping to bring together various researchers and interested parties through the inception of the Dirk Hartog Committee.
In mid-May 2014, Nonja introduced committee members to the Curtin Hub for Immersive Visualisation and eResearch, known as the HIVE, to understand the possibilities and the potential of high-end computers with advanced professional graphics for the interpretation, presentation and communication of research data. The response clearly reflected growing interest in rapidly expanding new technologies. Attending were representatives from the Dutch Consulate, National Archives of Australia, the National Trust, WA State Library, State Records Office, John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library, UWA Cultural Precinct, Murdoch University, Royal WA Historical Society, private art collections, together with various scholars from Curtin University specialising in creative visualisation, Indian Ocean studies, Strategic Projects, and Research and Graduate Studies.
In the same week, Nonja delivered a joint Centre for Culture and Technology / Australia-Asia-Pacific Institute seminar, ‘The impact of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) on the history the Indian Ocean Region’.Above, from left: Professor Tim Dolin, Dean Research & Graduate Studies, Faculty of Humanities; Mr Arnold Stroobach, Dutch Consul WA; Dr Nonja Peters; Mr Tom Perrigo, CEO National Trust WA and Professor Len Collard, UWA.