AuSI welcomes new Research Fellow: Dr Elisa deCourcy

Dr Elisa deCourcy | Photo courtesy: Evan Jewell, 2018
Thursday 21 November 2019

The Australian Studies Institute (AuSI) is pleased to announce that Dr Elisa deCourcy has been successful in the most recent ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) round.

“I am delighted that Elisa will be joining AuSI as a Research Fellow to carry out her project, Capturing foundational Australian photography in a globalising world”

- Professor Paul Pickering, Director, Australian Studies Institute

“I am very grateful to have been successful in my bid for ARC DECRA funding for my project. I have been fortunate to work on two photo-centric ARC Discovery project teams at ANU over the last three years. My pre-existing research strength in photography has benefited tremendously from the collegiality and generosity of members of these teams, the School of Art and Design, and the gallery and library relationships I've fostered over the course of these projects. I look forward to continuing these relationships and I appreciate the support AuSI has given me, as a rich interdisciplinary hub at ANU, to strengthen these ties and take this project forward.”

- Dr Elisa deCourcy, Australian Studies Institute

Dr deCourcy’s research will be focussed on Australian photography. Her project summary is set out below:

This project will combine archival research on the foundational years of Australian photography, 1839-54, with new methods of multimedia database design to network early photographs: daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and calotypes, with dispersed manuscripts, journalism and legal proceedings that document their creation. These images are prized by Australian collecting institutions but their significance to our cultural heritage remains unrecognised. This project will analyse how colonial Australian photographers’ distance from Europe prompted them to innovate with processes, materials and apparatuses. It will excavate this neglected dimension of colonial modernity, assessing its resonance for media heritage, culture, and law.

Dr deCourcy says: ‘In the age of the iPhone and Instagram, what photography is and how it is transacted, is transforming at a rapid rate. Yet, the presupposition that we are living through a unique period of media disruption fails to account for an equivalent sense of rupture felt during the foundational years of photographic practice. There is a really exciting story about early Australian photography not yet fully uncovered — one that centres on enguiniety, innovation, and a casual disregard for a raft of legal patents that regulated the practice elsewhere in the world. I am tremendously excited that this grant will give me the chance to explore new ways to translate the sense of wonder I feel working with these images for new contemporary audiences.'

The Australian Studies Institute would like to congratulate Elisa on this outstanding achievement.

Updated:  22 November 2019/Responsible Officer:  Institute Manager/Page Contact:  Institute Manager