Research in the Department of Creative Arts and English is grouped in several broad and frequently overlapping areas.

La Trobe’s research in Cultural Studies, Literary Studies and Performing Arts & Creative Writing ranks ‘at world standard’ (ERA 2015-2016 assessment).

Culture and Identity


Our researchers include specialists in the literature, film, theatre and visual art of colonial and contemporary Australia, and in the way Australian arts practices intersect with global concerns.


A special focus of our departmental research, allied to La Trobe's Research Focus Area Cluster on Indigenous Peoples, is on Australian Indigeneity as it is expressed in visual, performative and literary modes.

Post-colonial studies

Several scholars also work in post-colonial studies in a wider global context, including ongoing projects in the Caribbean, the Atlantic, in Australian/Canadian studies and in critical whiteness studies.


We have several scholars, especially in the field of screen performance, working on perceptions and constructions of aging, particularly in terms of gender. This work both critiques existing modes of representation and also seeks actively to make art, especially film, which deepens that critique through practice.

Life Writing

We specialise, both creatively and critically, in studies of life writing. Biography, autobiography, memoir, letters, diaries, blogs, social media and all sorts of other literary, mediatised and theatrical texts, artefacts and performances are included in this vibrant and expanding field of creative and critical enquiry.

Creative Practice as Research

Creative practice as Research is a unique strength of the Department of Creative Arts and English.

Creative Writing

Not only is the Department home to several award-winning novelists, short-story writers, playwrights and screenwriters, but graduates of these research and teaching programmes also regularly win awards. Our research strengths in this area include historical fiction, gender and young adult fiction and creative writing as research.

Art / Performance

Our researchers create and exhibit art in a wide range of forms and make national and international theatre work with students, with professionally trained actors and sometimes with a combination of the two. We also write, produce and direct films as well as an ongoing television series dedicated to telling important local stories.

Interdisciplinary Arts Practices

Our researchers specialise in asking the question: what happens when these two (usually discrete) modes of creative and intellectual enquiry are brought into conversation? We research at the intersection of: film/photography; theatre/site; theatre/games; music/circus; art/philosophy; and new media technologies;

Grand Narratives

Research in the department is also focused on canonical and classical texts, movements and practices. We have researchers working on the early modern period, particularly Shakespeare and his contemporaries, on Modernist fictions and forms, Chekhov to Churchill, Van Gogh to Von Armin, on transhistorical Women's writing, and on European, World and Australian cinema.

All of these research specialisms – Culture and Identity, Creative Practice and Grand narratives – feed into teaching subjects such as:

  • Narrative Analysis
  • Gothic Literature
  • Post Colonial Reading
  • Introduction to screen + sound
  • Making Networked Culture
  • Soundtracks: Film & Popular Music
  • World Cinema
  • Making Theatre
  • Modern Drama
  • Shakespeare in Performance
  • Visual & Material Culture
  • Photography: Concepts & Processes
  • Studio Practice

This is important because in the Department of Creative Arts and English at La Trobe University our critical and creative research feeds into our teaching and vice versa. And, at La Trobe you will be taught by the people conducting the research.