RMIT BA(IS) student wins State round of the BIG IDEA COMPETITION

b I.jpg

A big CONGRATULATIONS to BAIS student Meaghan Galindo who has made it through to the national finals of the Big Idea Competition! Reaching the finals of this competition is a brilliant achievement in itself and we have our fingers crossed for Meaghan with the Awards night at PwC coming up on 4 December! Good luck, Meaghan, and see you there!

Meaghan will be presenting a social enterprise project proposal that has evolved from an assignment with her teammates (Charlotte, Juliet, Olivia, Eliza and Hannah) within the 3rd year course International Professional Practice (now Global Professional Practice). This social enterprise opportunity is available to all BAIS students when they do this core course in 3rd year (now available to students in both semesters).

Background note: Former BAIS graduates Jessica Heron and Michael Marinelli were the first BAIS students to make it to the Big Idea finals a few years ago. They continued working on their project beyond graduation, and their project went from strength to strength thanks to their ongoing hard work and enthusiasm . It's exciting to know that these assignments can come to life and make a difference in the real world!

Internship Insights from Megat Iskandar Shahriman

Iskandar (1).jpg

An interview with a third year BA(IS)er and imminent graduate Megat Iskandar Shahriman conducted by a third year BA(IS)er and imminent graduate Jessica Orchard in regards to what a second year BA(IS)er would benefit from hearing about on internships and studies in general

Jessica: What is your internship role?

Iskandar:  “I’m doing my internship at the RMIT European Union Center. My main job was to conduct a research report on regional development in Malaysia and how we can implement European Union Smart Specialisation Strategies in regional development in Malaysia. I did general research on EU regional development and EU Smart Specialisation Strategies. I also helped with planning events and met lots of academics who specialise in this kind of field. Last Wednesday there was a seminar conducted by the Ukrainian Vice President which I went to and was pretty cool”

Jessica: What was your experience in finding an internship (in general?) And how did you discover this particular internship?

“It was not scary but difficult but the BA(IS) had a lot of resources – everyone involved in the school of GUSS were happy to give me a hand in finding one and in doing so it gave me a lot of prerequisite skills in actually looking for a job. For this internship, the tutors in the BA(IS) were super helpful in recommending to me internship placements and I followed their advice and applied and I got this one.”   

Jessica: What was the most interesting thing about your role?

Iskandar: “I got the opportunity to explore my passion because I am very interested in development and policy work and it was great that I could explore this very particular sector. The networking was pretty cool, I got to meet so many different academics and people from different companies – the center does work with the Latrobe Valley authority who does work in Gippsland and I got to meet people from there. I also got the chance to apply my knowledge and refine my skills learnt in the BA(IS) degree such as professional communication skills and administrative skills. I also learnt more comprehensively about a variety of EU policies – learning how the EU works a bit more especially with all of the things coming out of the EU i.e. Brexit, so this role was good timing. Also it was super interesting to see how academic institutions and government institutions are linked.”

Jessica: How do you think this would benefit you if you were currently studying and thinking about your future internship?

Iskandar: “I learnt a lot about research what it involves and what it doesn’t. It was good to have this experience to conduct research but it is not something I necessarily see myself doing in the future. The internship has taught me more about what I like and don’t like and where my passions really lie. It also helped me practically apply my knowledge learnt in the BA(IS). So at the end of the day pick something you are interested in and really like and then as you go along you will see if your interest in it is consolidated or if your interests change and that’s okay too.”  

Jessica: What advice would you have for a student starting their search for an internship?

Iskandar: “Just be confident, even if it is scary once you get into it it’s not that hard - you get more confident over time. Make sure to utilise all of the resources you have in the BA(IS) including the advice of your BA(IS) lecturers and tutors that’s what really helped me the most.”

A Win for BA(IS) students in the 2018 Big Idea Competition

A team of BAIS students from the 3rd year course 'International Professional Practice' has just won the RMIT round of the Big Idea Competition (

The team (Meaghan Galindo, Eliza Gore, Olivia Guthrie, Charlotte Borthwick, Jue Li, and Hannah Bolton) will go on to represent RMIT in the Big Idea semi-finals with their social business project proposal 'Feed 4 Thought'.

Another BAIS team took out 3rd place in the RMIT judging (Caroline Alchin, Ioannis Razos, Greta Bartels, Gemma Portelli, Charmaine Chan, and Claire O'garey) for their project proposal - 'The Pause Room'. A Big Congratulations to all of the students involved for their hard work and achievements!


Tommaso Durante reflects on 'the Image as Global Political Theory'

Writing in the publication global-e, Dr Durante continues his focus on images and global studies with his latest publication, "‘Visible Discourses and Invisible Ideologies? The Image as Global Political Theory”.

Durante’s essay ‘combines theory and practice to address the image as global political theory. Precisely, the study explores to what extent visual images in their own right are able to produce global politics, while contributing to the emergence of a ‘global visual culture’ under present conditions of neoliberal globalization.’

Read it here <LINK>

RMIT Hosts Conference of the Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics.

In September, the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies hosted the conference of the Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics. The conference was convened by Dr Vandra Harris, and was co-sponsored by RedR, with which Global Studies at RMIT works closely. There were three days of wonderful panels and speakers, and it was fantastic to see current students in the Master of International Development present and presenting, and a few alumni from the BA (International Studies), including Laura McCormark who now works for RedR (pictured here with Julian Lee, who also participated).


The conference theme was ‘Ethics in a Crowded World’, and the first day’s focus was on the intersections of ethics and humanitarian practice.

Tommaso Durante's new Website on Global Visual Imagery

Congratulations to Dr Tommaso Durante on the launch of his new website – Global Visual Politics. Dr Durante is a doctoral alumnus from the Global Studies discipline, where he also regularly teaches. He is also Instructor at the Centre for Global Politics of Freie Universität Berlin, Germany where he teaches Changing Global Landscapes: Globalization Challenges.

From Dr Durante about his new site:

"The GLOBAL VISUAL POLITICS  website is a digital media archive collecting visual images covering a broad range of political themes such as protest, peace, violence, religion and gender. [This] archive addresses visual images as a political theory—images always represent a defined, particular perspective. The “new” visual archive comes out of THE VISUAL ARCHIVE PROJECT OF THE GLOBAL IMAGINARY (2007-present) to celebrate more than a decade of image collection that has been used across the planet by universities and scholars of globalization. The new archive, a case study in itself, aims to understand how visual images displayed in their own right contribute to the emergence of a global visual culture and to the rise of global politics at local-global scale, under present conditions of globalization."

Screen Shot 2018-06-21 at 11.33.57 am.png

JN MCNicol Prize: Congratulations to Natassia Bell

Screen Shot 2018-06-20 at 10.55.08 am.png

BA(IS) student Natassia Bell has recently won RMIT's JN McNicol Prize. For this prize, "The selection panel look for someone with an outstanding academic record in a bachelor degree course who displays leadership potential and initiative."

 Natassia Bell (top right) with other award recipients in May, and their guests and representatives from RMIT.&nbsp;

Natassia Bell (top right) with other award recipients in May, and their guests and representatives from RMIT. 

 Natassia Bell (centre), with partner Eric Bendtsen (right), and global studies lecturer Julian Lee.

Natassia Bell (centre), with partner Eric Bendtsen (right), and global studies lecturer Julian Lee.

Since graduating in 2017, Ms Bell has been working for the The Australian Consortium for 'In-Country' Indonesian Studies (ACICIS), which is a non-profit consortium of universities that develops and coordinates high quality, in-country study options in Indonesia. Her work has included encouraging and enabling students at RMIT to take advantage of generously funded opportunities to study in Indonesia. She has also been working as a tutor for RMIT's Ngarara Willim Centre, and as a research assistant to Julian Lee in a project funded by Red Cross Australia on humanitarian sensibilities in Australia. 

BA(IS) Alumni Megan and Gab interviewed on ABC Radio about Ethical Fashion

RMIT BA(IS) alumni Megan O'Malley and Gab Murphy were interviewed this week on ABC Radio about their Walk Sew Good project! Congratulations Megan and Gab on your wonderful work in bringing stories behind ethical fashion to us... (We're so proud of you both!)

And you can see their live presentation at the Melbourne Museum on 21 June 2018. More info here:

Museum _ Walk Sew Good.jpg 

 Megan works a loom.

Megan works a loom.

New book on Women's Activism in Malaysia, by Dr Julian CH Lee

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 10.12.49 pm.png

Drawing on over a decade of first-hand experience as an academic-activist and on interviews with women in Malaysia’s women’s rights movement, Women's Activism in Malaysia: Voices and Insights, examines how, despite the considerable array of challenges to women's participation in the public and political spheres, the women's movement is especially vibrant in Malaysia. Presenting insights from feminist activists in Malaysia, the book explores the Women’s Candidacy Initiative’s efforts to promote independent women in Parliament; the work of women’s coalition the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality; how activists understand and experience the concept of feminism; and finally the place of men in feminism.

“Speaking as a male feminist anthropologist, Lee emphasises how the pursuit of women’s emancipation is intricately interwoven with the wider struggle against social oppression.” (Helen Ting, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia)

Dr Aiden Warren heads to US on Fulbright Scholarship

Global Studies Senior Lecturer Aiden Warren has won a prestigious Fulbright scholarship to examine what the United States' major investment in a modernised nuclear arsenal means for efforts to stop the spread of the deadly weapons across the globe.

Warren hopes that his research will develop pathways for keeping disarmament momentum ‘alive’ under conditions of weakening US disarmament leadership, and an increasingly challenging international environment.

For the full story, click here <LINK>

 Dr Aiden Warren will work with the Arms Control Association.

Dr Aiden Warren will work with the Arms Control Association.

Screen Shot 2018-02-22 at 1.39.10 pm.png

Professor Siracusa interviewed by the ABC about the Hawaii missile false alarm

Yesterday, our Professor Joseph Siracusa was interviewed about his reflections growing up in Cold War America and on the recent false alarm issued in Hawaii about an incoming missile. 

See his interview here:


New book by Val Colic-Peisker

Congratulations to Associate Professor Val Colic-Peisker on her new book, The Age of Post-Rationality.

This book, co-authored with Adrian Flitney,  'challenges the hegemonic view that economic calculation represents the ultimate rationality. The West legitimises its global dominance by the claim to be a rational, democratic, science-based and progressive civilisation. Yet, over the past decades, the dogma of economic rationality has become an ideological black hole whose gravitational pull allows no public debate or policy to escape. Political leaders of all creeds are held in its orbit and public language is saturated by it. This dogma has pervaded all spheres of life, ushering the age of post-rationality, especially in English speaking countries. The authors discuss several aspects of post-rational global capitalism still dominated by the Anglosphere: hyper-competition, hyper-consumption, inequality, volatile global financial markets, environmental degradation and the unforeseen effects of the internet-mediated communication revolution. The book concludes by discussing some utopian and dystopian future scenarios and asking whether the West can transcend its crisis of rationality.' 

See the publisher's website for more details.

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 1.55.57 PM.png

Formal Graduation Event at Docklands Stadium - More Congratulations!

On 14 December, the formal ceremony for conferring degrees took place at Docklands Stadium in Melbourne. It was amazing and moving. The entertainment would rival a music festival, with the national anthem and the after party entertainment being provided by Jessica Mauboy – among many other things, Australia’s representative at Eurovision.

However, the real stars were, of course, our graduates. Below are some pictures from both the parade in the morning along Swanston St, and of the event at the stadium. Graduates with pink trimming are from the BA (International Studies) whereas those with yellow are from the Master of International Development.

(If you are a graduate who I took a photo or selfie with and you would like a copy of that picture, please email me (Julian), as I only now have your probably-now-too-old student email address).

Congratulations once again!

Congratulations to the BA(IS) graduates of 2017!

On 12 December, we celebrated the graduation of many of our fabulous BA (International Studies) students (well, now former students). The occasion was incredibly heartwarming and a lovely prelude to the formal graduation event that followed the next day at the Docklands Stadium (see the adjacent blogpost for that). 

On this occasion, we also handed out several awards to students who managed great achievements and who gave outstanding service to the community around the BA (IS) degree. Those receiving awards this year are: 


For service through the International Studies Association

Sarah Pisarski

Eiza Marot

Gilda Good

Hannah Crabb

Annabel Turnbull

For service across every edition of our in-house magazine Here Be Dragons and acting as editors of the most recent edition

Natasha Karner

Emma Hutchinson


Emma Hutchinson

Natasha Karner


Maxwell Davie


Maxwell Davie

Natassia Bell


Tom Nairn Award

Ella Spence-King

Outstanding Thesis Award

Alice Bell

Isabella Fernandez


Below are a few photos from the event. On the one hand I (Julian) apologise for not getting good and typical photos of people receiving awards (and a couple were too blurry - so sorry!), however, on the other hand, I think the those photos reflect the happiness and camaraderie in the room, and the warmth of the occasion. (Click each photo to see a larger version of it. It might look pixelly at first, but it clears up after a few moments). 

Here Be Dragons editors meet University Leaders

Yesterday, three of the current editors of the Global Studies magazine Here Be Dragons met with two senior leaders in RMIT University, Pro Vice-Chancellor Paul Gough, and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education Belinda Tynan.

Emma Hutchinson, Natasha Karner and Natassia Bell represented the larger team of editors from the Bachelor of Arts (International Studies), the BA (IS) (Honours), and Master of International Development degrees, to hand over copies of the first three volumes of the magazine, and to discuss the origins, modus operandi, and future of the magazine.

Natasha (pictured to Belinda's right) remarked that "Both Belinda and Paul were really nice and very interested in the inspiration behind the magazine. It was great to sit down and talk about how Here Be Dragons has become a creative outlet for students, and our hopes that it will keep our BAIS alumni connected into the future."

Natassia (pictured to Paul Gough's left) said that "It was an honour to meet these senior individuals and have them recognise our efforts in Here Be Dragons, as well as to take the time to ask us about our goals and aspirations beyond graduation. It really shows the great community that we have here at RMIT."

Whilst speaking to Paul, Emma (pictured to Belinda's left) noted that her experiences with being involved in the magazine have already been useful because "I have been able to provide evidence of experience using certain skills during job and internship interviews. By referring to my work in Here Be Dragons, I can point to something concrete that demonstrates not only my writing and editing skills, but also my ability to work within a team and also lead a team."

Here Be Dragons is available for download here.

Tommaso Durante awarded the 2017 Erasmus Mundus Global Studies scholarship by Leipzig university


Dr Tommaso Durante, member of the Centre for Global Research and lecturer in Global Studies at the RMIT University was awarded the prestigious "Erasmus Mundus - Global Studies” (EMGS) scholarship by the Universität Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany. 

In November and December 2017 Tommaso will teach a series of lectures under the umbrella title “How do we research globalization? A discourse on the method” within the International research-based Master Programme in Global Studies at the Global and European Studies Institute (GESI), Faculty of Science and Philosophy of Universität Leipzig.

Notable scholars and teachers at Universität Leipzig include, Angela Merkel, Friedrich Nietzsche, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.