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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Mediating everyday multiculturalism : performativity and precarious inclusion in Australian digital storytelling Trimboli, Daniella


This dissertation examines the intersection of everyday multiculturalism and digital storytelling in Australia. Using Judith Butler’s theory of performativity amongst others, the dissertation addresses the question: what are the ways in which Australian digital storytelling projects engage with concepts of “cultural diversity” to create complex and resistant material possibilities for “ethnic Australians”? Digital stories have become a popular tool in community-based arts projects, representative of an overall turn to the everyday in Australian contemporary arts practice. The growing popularity of everyday experiences in art is paralleled by the growing scholarship of everyday multiculturalism; a new field of study that explores the lived experiences of multicultural encounters in Australia. Digital stories thus form a social technology at the intersection of key movements in cultural studies. The dissertation analyses ACMI’s digital storytelling programme alongside Big hART’s Junk Theory to consider how ethnic bodies are constructed and mobilised in everyday Australian life in relation to the performative force of normative whiteness. It then moves to consider the capacity for digital storytelling to accommodate slippages in the performative chain. The new media practices of Curious Works are used to illustrate how the discursive force of whiteness can be disrupted via digital storytelling, making way for a reconstitution of a more complex “ethnic” body in everyday life.

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