Open Access

Interview as Archive: Moving in Disciplinary Space from Cultural Studies to Cultural Science. An Interview with John Hartley AM

   | Dec 22, 2021


On 19 July 2021 John and I met at Curtin University on the unceded lands of the Noongar people to discuss his passage from cultural studies to cultural science. For a short time I was the caretaker Editor-in-Chief and so it seemed appropriate that John and I have the conversation to mark the transition of the journal to a new home and team following the long editorship by John while Cultural Science resided in the Centre for Culture and Technology (CCAT) Curtin University. Appropriately, our conversation was bookended by morning coffee and then lunch with Lucy Montgomery, the Cultural Science Commissioning Editor, leader of the Innovation in Knowledge Communication research program at CCAT and co-lead of the Curtin Open Knowledge Initiative.

I framed the discussion around John’s career so far in an attempt to capture his contributions to the fields of cultural studies, creative industries, cultural science and the Humanities generally, and also to identify the complex of academics, individuals and institutions that he worked with and built up throughout his career inside the academy. John publishes prolifically, and the volume of his publications is extraordinary, as is his impact. This is clear in the way John is intellectually generous and innovative: he follows and creates trends and in the shaping of disciplines he remains focused on how to create and sustain communities of practice. What came out of the interview is that John’s academic core, his driving force through his life of work remains unchanged: contributions to culture – high or low – should be taken seriously, whether that be banal everyday television, comics, Paul Smith, Welsh nationalism or the climate activism of Greta Thunberg.

Dr Samantha Owen, Faculty of Humanities, Curtin University