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*Fully-funded PhD opportunity at the University of Western Australia*

Automation and Creative Labour


Deadline for Expressions of Interest: 25 May 2021 

The University of Western Australia is pleased to invite applications for a
full PhD studentship, awarded under the ARC’s Discovery Project scheme to
the project ‘A Cultural and Intellectual History of Automated Labour’, CIs
Sarah Collins (UWA), Ionat Zurr (UWA), Oron Catts (UWA), and Elizabeth
Stephens (UQ) - 

The project examines the history of automated labour through the lens of
aesthetics. It aims to:
• map key changes in how automated labour has been depicted in literature,
music, fine art and the biological arts, and to explore the interaction
between these shifting artistic representations and contemporaneous debates
about labour automation in economic, scientific and philosophical texts, as
well as in newspapers, government policy and in personal accounts.
• analyse how perceptions and experiences of labour automation have been
shaped by aesthetic categories. This will involve tracing the parallel
shifts in concepts that are significant to both art and labour, such as
'value', 'judgement', 'creativity', 'production' and 'consumption'.
• explore historical and contemporary practices of exhibiting technologies
of labour automation for public spectacle, as well as artistic practices
that incorporate automated technologies or processes. We will analyse how
these curatorial and artistic practices partake in changing attitudes
toward agency and toward human interactions with non-human entities -
including both mechanised and synthetically-created biological entities -
involved in the automation of artistic labour.

The dissertation may focus an historical topic, looking at the
interrelation between technologies and practices of automation in labour
and art of the past. Or it may focus on the impact of a recent technology
of automation or AI on artistic labour today.

The award will cover the standard ARC grant towards living expenses for
three years, plus a top-up from UWA, totalling $AUD 30,000 per year.

For informal enquiries about the scope and details of the project, contact
Associate Professor Sarah Collins (sarah.collins -at-


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