MISS 4: Media, Environment and Stories about Everyday Life

“Narrative is such a vital part of the process by which humans make sense of crises in public life, or feel inspired to work towards solutions. So, we need inspiring and inclusive narratives, and also to be more critical of narratives that push divisive messages.”

That was how Dr Meghan Downes framed her most engaging and powerful contribution to the Monash Indonesian Seminar Series on 9 May 2019, chaired by Professor Ariel Heryanto.

In her talk, entitled "Consuming Conservation: Media and the Environment in Indonesia", Dr Downes demonstrated how everyday narratives and power-structures influence people’s interactions with the environment. She made a case for how the study of media and pop culture can contribute to the environmental humanities, helping us to understand and confront these crises. Three case studies were highlighted: the advertisement for Meikarta, a new city being developed by the Lippo Group; the commercial feature film called 5cm; and the rise of nature tourism and eco-parks which she called “Insta-Environmentalism”.

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Click here for video of her seminar.

Dr Downes has recently completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the National University of Singapore’s Asia Research Institute. Her research areas include environmental humanities, urban youth, and the politics of media and popular culture, with a particular focus on contemporary Indonesia. She is the recipient of two Australian government Endeavour Awards, and she completed her PhD at the Australian National University.

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