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Dr Jocelyn McKinnon

Lecturer

School of Creative Arts

Perform, inform and transform

Tying together elements of time, space, bodies and audiences, Dr Jocelyn McKinnon's imaginative art pieces are serving as critical reflections of society's manifold ills, influences and idiosyncrasies.

Jocelyn McKinnon 

Dr Jocelyn McKinnon is creativity personified. A jack – and master – of many trades, she seamlessly juggles and juxtaposes her extensive knowledge of avant-garde performances with two decades' worth of experience in community-based theatre making, unafraid to push boundaries and experiment with features of sight and sound.

"I have a particular interest in multimedia and post-dramatic forms," the University of Newcastle lecturer shares.

"My work is currently exploring the differences between the live and mediated body, for example, within technology-driven cultures."

"I think people have an appetite to learn about what it means to be human." 

Consequently believing arts research is as valuable as it is value-laden, Jocelyn concedes her field has "an awful lot to offer" the contemporary world. Habitually taking into account both visual and social aesthetics, the energetic educator similarly affirms the significance of collaboration and collective action.

"I've worked with a range of marginalised groups over the past 15 years, such as youths, the disabled, women and Indigenous peoples," she asserts.

"My goal has been and always will be to give them a voice."

Simultaneously invested in the development "cutting edge" curricula and interdisciplinary pedagogy, Jocelyn is also studying the relationship between arts policy, industry and tertiary teachings at national and international levels.

"You have a greater appreciation for ideas if you look at them from multiple angles," she suggests.

"We draw from philosophy and politics and other subjects to create our performances."

"The professional climate of the 21stcentury calls for flexible art makers, initiators and independent conceptual thinkers."

"Institutions need to prepare and encourage students accordingly."

Write to be understood, speak to be heard

Jocelyn began her research career with a PhD at North Queensland's James Cook University in 1992. Based on her decades' worth of work as a practitioner, the artistic scholar's four-year probe sought to cement a technical, nuanced understanding of community theatre.

"At the time, I realised my colleagues and I weren't having an impact at the policy level," she comments.

"If you want to get support or funding – and let's face it, we don't do these things for the sake of it, we want to get paid too – you need to be able to analyse your work and position it next to the mainstream in the high arts."

"You are ignored if you don't state who you are and what separates you from the rest."

Seeking to do just that, Jocelyn identified and uniformly defined a number of key terms in the specialist area. Right-brained and revolutionary, the ambitious investigator also worked towards "developing theories about social practice" throughout her candidature.

"I aspired to have some input in government decision-making," she declares.  

"Introducing a shared vocabulary was the first step."

Receiving her award in 1996, Jocelyn elected to relocate to the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) and take on a lecturing role in its prestigious Drama Department. Looking to "completely reinvent" herself a short time later, the theatre maker moved back to James Cook University and outside of her academic comfort zone in 1998.

"I founded a youth theatre there called 'La Luna,'" she reveals.

"It's similar, in many ways, to the experimental arts lab I established while at USQ."

"I set up an alternative performance company called 'WINQ' and consulted on a handful of special education programs too."

Passionate and pioneering

Desiring a change of scenery and change of pace, Jocelyn found a new home at the University of Newcastle's Ourimbah Campus in 1999. Aiming to give students the "opportunity to explore, play and take risks," the inventive researcher created and implemented its interdisciplinary BA Creative Arts major, as well as its celebrated and ongoing 'Grotto Project.'

"Performances need to be safe so they make money and don't flop at the Box Office, but we're teaching our undergraduates that you don't grow if you don't fail," she explains.

"We get them to work with professional artists and critics."

"We're about real, integrated learning experiences."

Swiftly switching practice-based research for research-based practice, Jocelyn additionally undertook a three-year performance venture in 2001. Aptly titled 'Listening: Indigenous stories from the Central Coast,' the endeavour saw the creative collaborator head an all-Aboriginal cast and steering committee – some of whom are recognised leaders in health and public affairs.  

"Together, we interviewed some of the Darkinjung peoples," she recalls.

"Their words were then transcribed and used in a verbatim theatre piece."

"I think we learned a lot from each other."

Selected as the Faculty of Education and Arts 'Research project demonstrating innovation and excellence,' this work was presented to politicians in Canberra in 2004.

Conflate, innovate and evaluate

Intending to maintain and strengthen these connections, Jocelyn transferred to the University's Callaghan Campus in 2014 and commenced work with its proud Wollotuka Institute. Culminating in 'Immersion,' a Create 2308 event, the esteemed visionary's efforts encouraged meaningful and purposeful cultural exchanges between students and staff of different backgrounds.

"We invited everyone – all ethnicities and origins – to sing, dance, drum, yarn, eat and tell stories around a campfire," she describes.

"It was simply about celebrating who we are as individuals."

Eager for new challenges, Jocelyn's relocation at Callaghan also saw her take over as Deputy Head of the School of Teaching and Learning.

"Most recently, I have been assisting in the restructuring of courses in the Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Music programs," she states.

"Planning is underway for a Master of Creative Industries with a Bachelor of Creative Industries to follow."

"It's really exciting."

Perform, inform and transform

Tying together elements of time, space, bodies and audiences, Dr Jocelyn McKinnon's imaginative art pieces are serving as critical reflections of society's ma

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Career Summary

Biography

Research Expertise
The three areas that constitute my main research interests are: Community/Political Theatre & Performance, Creative Arts pedagogy and Experimental Theatre & Performance. With a practice-based research focus, my work in politically driven community based performance has involved working with a range of socially marginalized groups over the past fifteen years. Covering a diverse range of social groups including youth, women, and Indigenous communities, the main medium of publication has been performance. Each research project has involved intensive time periods (up to 2 years per project) working 'with' the community at all stages of the process to develop a social voice for the specific community via the means of theatre and performance. Most projects have been supported by local government and university seeding grants, with one major research based performance "Listening: Indigenous stories from the Central Coast" receiving a major grant from the Theatre Board of the Australian Council of the Arts, The Gosford City Council and the University of Newcastle. This project was also selected as the Faculty of Education & Arts "Research project demonstrating innovation and excellence" for presentation to politicians in Canberra (2004). In addition to theatrical performance, the research outcomes for a range of these projects have been presented at local, national and international conferences. Pedagogy in the Creative Arts is a current research interest and is especially motivated by my work in pioneering and implementing the interdisciplinary BA major in Creative Arts at the University of Newcastle, Ourimbah campus. With planning now underway to develop a dedicated degree in the Creative and Performing Arts (BCA) at this university, research based on contemporary and cutting edge issues in developing curricula for the Creative Arts is a primary focus. As a sole researcher in this area, I have a particular interest in the relationship between arts policy, industry, and creative arts curricula at national and international levels. I am also researching the role of the undergraduate student as researcher, and the preparation of students as social citizens and culture-makers as central to creative arts curriculum in the 21st century. As a collaborative researcher I am working closely with my colleague, Dr.Sean Lowry, to explore the relationship between theory and practice in the Creative Arts as well as the nature of interdiciplinarity in Creative Arts curricula (especially between Performance, Visual Arts & New Media). With national and international joint conference papers already presented and a key article published this ongoing research will largely be published in the form of journal articles and book chapters. Experimental Theatre and Performance has been a long term interest and has included research based practice outcomes generated from some of the projects that I led with two main experimental companies/laboratories at the University of Southern Queensland (La Salle) and the University of Newcastle (Imagined Arts). In pioneering these companies I have been researching the nature of experimental performance that combines undergraduate, postgraduate, staff and professional performing artists. With a particular focus on multi media and post-dramatic forms, the role of the university in the current professional climate that requires flexible arts makers, initiators and independent conceptual thinkers, is a major research focus. 


Qualifications

  • PhD, James Cook University
  • Bachelor of Education, James Cook University
  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours), James Cook University
  • Diploma in Education, Toorak Teacher's College

Keywords

  • Curriculum Development
  • Experimental Theatre and Performance
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Pedagogy in the Creative Arts
  • Political and Community Performance
  • Student centered learning

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
190499 Performing Arts and Creative Writing not elsewhere classified 100

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Lecturer University of Newcastle
School of Creative Arts
Australia

Academic appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/01/1996 - 1/12/1997 Drama Lecturer University of Southern Queensland
Academic Division- Theatre
1/01/1988 - 1/12/1994 Theatre Lecturer James Cook University
Academic Division- Theatre
Australia
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Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Journal article (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2012 McKinnon JE, Lowry SC, 'Embracing failure through performative pedagogy: A report from the margins', Performance Research, 17 47-50 (2012) [C1]
Citations Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1
Co-authors Sean Lowry

Conference (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2009 Lowry SC, McKinnon JE, 'The copulation of studio practice and theory: Toward the undergraduate student as practice based researcher', Studio Teaching Forum: Enriching Creative Arts Learning: Workshops and Concurrent Sessions (2009) [E3]
Co-authors Sean Lowry

Creative Work (5 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2012 McKinnon JE, The Grotto Project: Performance and multimedia 2012, Ourimbah, NSW, Australia (2012) [J2]
2010 McKinnon JE, The Grotto Project: performance and mulitmedia 2011, Ourimbah, NSW, Australia (2010) [J2]
2004 McKinnon J, Listening: Indigenous Voices on the Central Coast, Ourimbah, N.S.W (2004) [J2]
2002 McKinnon J, The Drag king of the sandpit. Performed by ImaginedARTS, written by Sandy O''Sullivan. Central Coast, NSW., Newcastle, (2002) [J2]
2001 McKinnon JE, Then Step Through, Na (2001) [J2]
Show 2 more creative works
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 5
Total funding $89,376

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20152 grants / $78,811

Building Aspiration in the Creative and Performing Arts$63,811

This project aims to raise aspirations and build capacity in students from low SES backgrounds who are currently under-represented in Creative and Performing Arts programs at the University of Newcastle.The proposal aims at developing skills in creative thinking, project design and realisation in the areas of music, visual arts and/or performance through an innovative process that rests on three pillars of collaboration, empowerment and technology to deliver positive outcomes for children from low SES backgrounds

Funding body: Department of Education

Funding body Department of Education
Project Team
Scheme Higher Education Participation Program
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2015
Funding Finish 2015
GNo
Type Of Funding Aust Competitive - Commonwealth
Category 1CS
UON N

Torres Strait Islander sacred music: protection, cultivation and revitalisation$15,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts

Funding body University of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts
Project Team Doctor Philip Matthias, Doctor Jocelyn McKinnon, Doctor Catherine Grant
Scheme Strategic Networks Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2015
Funding Finish 2015
GNo G1500900
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

20041 grants / $2,355

Diversity Conference, 6-9 July 2004, USA$2,355

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Doctor Jocelyn McKinnon
Scheme Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2004
Funding Finish 2004
GNo G0184297
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

20021 grants / $8,000

'Listening to Indigenous Voices on the Central Coast': a seeding project towards exploring national reconciliation in regional community performance$8,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Doctor Jocelyn McKinnon
Scheme Early Career Researcher Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2002
Funding Finish 2002
GNo G0181846
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

20001 grants / $210

Performance and Spectacle: Annual conference of Australasian Drama Studies Association, Newcastle 3-8 July 2000$210

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Doctor Jocelyn McKinnon
Scheme Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2000
Funding Finish 2000
GNo G0180211
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y
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Research Supervision

Number of supervisions

Completed3
Current3

Total current UON EFTSL

Masters0.65
PhD0.5

Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2015 Masters Testing the Western Scientific Framework of 'Genetic Memory' to Explore the Maintenance of a Connection to Country While Displaced in an Urban Environment Through Artistic Means
M Philosophy (Fine Art), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle
Principal Supervisor
2013 PhD Identity, the Object and Spaces in Between: Locational Intervention and the Performative Nature of Throwaway Culture in Contemporary Interdisciplinary, Inter-Media and Live Arts Practice
PhD (Fine Art), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle
Co-Supervisor
2012 Masters What's the Point? Exploring the Productive Tension Between Meaning and Meaninglessness in Conceptually Based Artistic Practices.
M Philosophy (Fine Art), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle
Co-Supervisor

Past Supervision

Year Level of Study Research Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2010 PhD Impossible Immediacies: Contemporary Painting 'After' Remediation
PhD (Fine Art), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle
Co-Supervisor
2010 Masters Marriage is Not a Natural State: Love, Truth, Fiction and the Photographic Image
M Philosophy (Fine Art), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle
Co-Supervisor
2009 Masters "One Time Ago": An Urban Aboriginal Tribalography
M SocialSc (AboriginalStud)[R], Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle
Principal Supervisor
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News

Award winning teachers Dr Mark Rubin and Dr Tim Connor

Teaching Staff Awarded

August 29, 2013

Prestigious awards for five University of Newcastle staff

Dr Jocelyn McKinnon

Position

Lecturer
School of Creative Arts
Faculty of Education and Arts

Contact Details

Email jocelyn.mckinnon@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4921 7112
Mobile 0418498356
Fax .

Office

Room SR288
Building Social Sciences Building
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
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