Dr Catherine Summerhayes

ANU PhD Film and Cultural Studies; ANU B.Lit. Social Anthropology; University of Sydney B.Pharmacy
Researcher, Film and New Media Studies, School of Literature Languages and Linguistics
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Visual Cultures 190104
  • Interactive Media 190205
  • Cinema Studies 190201
  • Film, Television And Digital Media 1902
  • Drama, Theatre And Performance Studies 190404
  • Social And Cultural Anthropology 160104
  • Communication And Media Studies 2001

Research interests

Areas of interest includes new media/audiovisual studies, documentary studies,
cultural studies and theatre/performance studies: with a specific focus on
relationships between creative practice and narrative/cultural meanings available in
audiovisual communication. My research is concerned with the analysis of
cinemedia: television, cinema and new media in the context of critical theory, theatre
and performance theory. My current research is on websites as a new kind of historiography and the depiction of atrocity via the WWW.


Dr Summerhayes' thesis, 'Film As Cultural Performance' (Film Studies,
Australian National University, 2002) focused on the concept and practice of
theatrical performance in relation to film. Her major research areas are in
documentary film studies and new media theory and performance. In 2004,
she convened and directed AD - Art of the Documentary: a combined
international conference, film competition for emerging filmmakers and film
festival at the National Museum of Australia, ScreenSound, the National
Gallery of Australia. More recently she convened the international documentary studies conference: Visible Evidence XIX in 2012 at the Australian National University and the National Film and Sound Archives of Australia in Canberra.

Her most recent book is Google Earth: Outreach and Activism published by Bloomsbury Academic, 2015.Her work has recently been published in several national
and international journals and anthologies, including her major article,
'Haunting Secrets - Tracey Moffatt's beDevil' which was published in
the Fall 2004 issue of the University of California's film studies journal Film
Quarterly Vol. 58:1. Her monograph on Moffatt's films, The Moving
Images of Tracey Moffatt was published by Charta Edizione, Milan in
September 2007.

Dr. Summerhayes also holds the graduate degree of Bachelor of Letters from
ANU in Social Anthropology. Her thesis title for this degree was 'Film, Fiction
and Anthropology, An Exercise in Naivete.' She was a member of the Music
Committee for the Australia Council 1994-1996 and Chair of the Music
Committee on the ACT Cultural Council 1997-1999. She was also on the
Organisation Committee for the Australia Council special conference on the
music industry in the digital age: Music Unlimited (1995). She is a composer
and performer of voice and celtic harp who has produced six CDs, released on

Researcher's projects

Book Chapter: 'Celebrity/Activist/Photographer: Mia Farrow' to be published University of Edinburg Press volume on Women documentary Image Makers, 2017

Convening the Visible Evidence Documentary Studies Conference XIX at the Australian National University and the National Film and Sound Archive in December 2012

Past student projects

Vivien Silvey PhD (2012): 'Fate, Chance and Networks: the construction of Meaning in Reply to an Arbitrary Universe, American Cinema 1990-2008.

Jie Gu Phd (2012): 'Broadcasting Yourself and Watching YouTute: Understanding the Practices of New Media Consumption'.

Jasdeep Kaur MPhil (2013): 'The Masquerade: Indian Punjabi Sikh Women and the Renegotiation of Boundaries and Body Identity in Australia'.

Amin Palangi PhD (2014): 'The Role of the Filmmaker in Making a Dramatic Documentary'.

Damian Candusso PhD (2016): 'Sound Design in 3D Film'.

Johnny Milner PhD: (2017) 'The Cinematic Soundtrack and the environment: a comparative analysis on the sonic representations of landscape in cinema.'


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Updated:  23 June 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers