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Career Summary


Dr Susan Kerrigan is a Screen Production Scholar who specialises in creative screen practice through practice-led research in screen production. Susan is a current recipient of an ARC Linkage Grant entitled 'Creativity and Cultural Production: An Applied Ethnographic Study of New Entrepreneurial Systems in the Creative Industries'. She is a member of the Communication and Media Research (CAMR) group and is a member of the Hunter Centre for Creative Industries and Technology (HCIT). During 2012/2013 Susan was President of the Australian Screen Production, Education and Research Association (ASPERA) and in 2014 Susan convened the annual ASPERA Conference 'Screen Explosion'. Susan has examined PhDs and Masters (by reserach) for Screen Production, Screen writing and Television practices.

As a Senior Lecturer and Deputy Program Convenor for the Bachelor of Communication, she led the external review for the Bachelor of Communication Program in 2013. Susan’s teaching and research is informed by her past professional practice, as a TV Producer/Director for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, where she worked on the iconic children’s program ‘Play School’. Susan has taught, over the last decade, multiple Screen Production courses in the Media Production Major for the Bachelor of Communication program.  These include: Screenwriting Documentary and Drama, Media Production Television (multi-camera), Music Video, Screen Drama, Video and the final year course Media Production Project (20 units).

In 2010, Susan completed her PhD, on 'Creative Documentary Practice', she has presented this research at international conferences and has published internationally in the field of Creative Screen Practice. The creative work PhD investigated the Producer/Writer/Director's creative process for cross platform low budget documentary productions of two works titled 'Using Fort Scratchley' and 'Fort Scratchley a Living History' ( Susan has successfully supervised University Medalist's who received First Class Honours doing 'Creative Media Projects' where students can make a media project of their choice.

Susan's research is closely aligned with her past employment at ABC Television Sydney (1987-2003), where she worked across a variety of productions using multi-camera and single camera approaches. Susan produced and directed 20 episodes of Play School and 18 months of Mixy Breakfast Hostings. Other highlights include 40 hours of continuity credits on Australian Drama TV productions (including Wildside, GP, Big Sky) and 150 hours as a DA/PA on studio -based, live and pre-packaged television programming.




  • PhD (Communication & Media Arts), University of Newcastle, 21/06/2011
  • Graduate Certificate Practice of Tertiary Teaching, University of Newcastle, 14/07/2006
  • Bachelor of Arts (Communication Studies), University of Newcastle, 11/05/1990


Research keywords

  • Creativity
  • Documentary Practice
  • Media production
  • Screen Production

Research expertise

Susan researches 'creative labour' and 'creative screen labour', by applying creativity theories to film making practice.

Creativity is an idea, process or product that is recognised, by individuals or groups as being unique, novel or innovative (Csikszentmihalyi, 1999). The new knowledge created by this research helps to better explain the cultural and creative processes that practitioner's tacitly engage in during the making of screen/media works. This research is significant as it generates new knowledge and understandings which bridges the theory/practice nexus by aligning creative process theories (Bastick, 1982; Csikszentmihalyi, 1996; Wallas, 1976) and cultural industries approaches (Hesmondhalgh, 2007) to film, television and media production personnel. This creative practice research can be conducted through a self-reflective methodological approach or using more traditional qualitative methods to investigate media practitioner's creative processes and practices.


Bastick, T. (1982), Intuition, how we think and act, Chichester; New York: Wiley.

Csikszentmihalyi (1999), Implications of a Systems Perspective for the Study of Creativity., In R. Stenberg (Ed.), Handbook of Creativity (pp. 313-335). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hesmondhalgh D (2007) The Cultural Industries. 2nd edition. London and Los Angeles: SAGE.

Wallas, G. (1976), Stages in the Creative Process, In A. Rothenberg, & Hausman, C., (Ed.), The Creativity Question. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press.

Fields of Research

190200Film, Television And Digital Media60
200299Cultural Studies Not Elsewhere Classified20
190499Performing Arts And Creative Writing Not Elsewhere Classified20


Susan has collaborated with Dr Phillip McIntyre and Professor Mark Balnaves, on the ARC Linkage project "Creativity and Cultural Production in the Hunter". External to UoN, Susan has collaborated with Associate Professor Pieter Aquilia on Internationalising Screen Curriculum. As an active ASPERA member, Susan is collaborating with academics from QUT and RMIT on forthcoming publications about Screen Practice.


Teaching keywords

  • Screen Production

Teaching expertise

My teaching is professionally focused, and I teach media, television and screen based productions to students in the Bachelor of Communication Degree.



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

Click on a category title below to expand the list of citations for that specific category.

Journal article (6 outputs)

2013Kerrigan S, 'Accommodating creative documentary practice within a revised systems model of creativity', Journal of Media Practice, 14 111-127 (2013) [C1]
2013Kerrigan S, Aquilia P, 'Student film collaboration: The east-west dilemma', Journal of International Communication, 19 147-166 (2013) [C1]
2011Kerrigan SM, Aquilia P, Holt J, Oughton N, 'Australian universities approaches to occupational risk management for screen production', Text, 15 1-14 (2011) [C1]
2011Kerrigan SM, Aquilia P, 'Globalising Australian screen production curricula', Text, 15 1-11 (2011) [C1]
2010Kerrigan SM, McIntyre KC, 'The 'creative treatment of actuality': Rationalizing and reconceptualizing the notion of creativity for documentary practice', Journal of Media Practice, 11 111-129 (2010) [C1]
2010Kerrigan SM, 'Creative practice research: Interrogating creativity theories through documentary practice', Text, 1-16 (2010) [C1]
Show 3 more

Conference (10 outputs)

2012Kerrigan SM, Aquilia P, Payne CL, 'Investigating a global tertiary curriculum through concepts of eastern and western creativity', Refereed Proceedings of the 2012 Australian and New Zealand Communication Association Conference, Adelaide, SA (2012) [E1]

Co-authors: Cathie Payne

2012Aquilia P, Kerrigan SM, Payne CL, 'Student film collaboration: The East-West dilemma', 62nd Annual Conference of the International Communication Association. Abstracts, Phoenix, AZ (2012) [E3]

Co-authors: Cathie Payne

2011Aquilia P, Kerrigan SM, 'East meets west: Student collaboration styles in screen production education', Australian Screen Production Education and Research Association 2011 Conference, Perth (2011) [E3]
2010Aquilia P, Chua LY, Kerrigan SM, 'Internationalising Australian media production curricula: A cross-cultural study', New Screens, New Producers, New Learning. Australian Screen Production Education and Research Association Conference, Sydney, NSW (2010) [E3]
2010Oughton N, Kerrigan SM, Holt J, 'Managing occupational risk in the creative industries: A new perspective', New Screens, New Producers, New Learning. Australian Screen Production Education and Research Association Conference, Sydney, NSW (2010) [E3]
2009Kerrigan SM, 'Applying creativity theories to a documentary filmmaker's practice', ASPERA 2009 Conference Papers, Adelaide, SA (2009) [E1]
2008Kerrigan SM, 'Collaborative and creative documentary production in video and online', Proceedings of ISEA2008: The 14th International Symposium on Electronic Art, Singapore (2008) [E1]
2007Kerrigan SM, 'Creating documentaries: Collaborative video and online practice', Create World 2007: Apple University Consortium. Sessions, Brisbane (2007) [E3]
2006Kerrigan SM, 'Reflecting on Documentary Video Practice', Speculation and Innovation: Applying practice led research in the creative industries, Queensland University of Technology (2006) [E1]
2005Kerrigan SM, 'Making Documentaries: Domain Acquisition and the Living History of Fort Scratchley', Research Higher Degree Students Congress June 2004, University of Newcastle (2005) [E2]
Show 7 more

Creative Work (2 outputs)

2008Kerrigan SM, Using Fort Scratchley re-deployed: The story of a location in transition, - (2008) [J1]
2007Kerrigan SM, Fort Scratchley, (2007) [J1]

Research Supervision

Number of current supervisions5
Total current UoN Masters EFTSL0.5
Total current UoN PhD EFTSL2.1

For supervisions undertaken at an institution other that the University of Newcastle, the institution name is listed below the program name.

Current Supervision

ProgramSupervisor TypeResearch Title
20142017M Philosophy (Comm&Med Arts)Principal SupervisorNewcastle's Creative Industries: Investigating Performing Arts Professional and Non-Professional Creative Economies With an Emphasis on Theatre
20142018PhD (Comm & Media Arts)Principal SupervisorCreative Industries in the Hunter: Building Capital Through Documentary Production
20142020PhD (Comm & Media Arts)Principal SupervisorWork, Health and Safety (WHS) Compliance in the Australian Film and Television (TV) Industry
20132017M Philosophy (Comm&Med Arts)Principal SupervisorThe Shoot Out - Targeting Creativity: Exploring the Creative Process Through the 24 Hour Filmmaking Festival
20132016PhD (Comm & Media Arts)Principal SupervisorTowards a New Cultural Paradigm: Fashion Blogging as a Metamodern Practice

Dr Susan Kerrigan

Work Phone(02) 4985 4517
Fax(02) 4921 5896
PositionSenior Lecturer
School of Design Communication and IT
Faculty of Science and Information Technology
The University of Newcastle, Australia
Focus AreaCommunication
ICT Building,
University Drive
Callaghan NSW 2308