Winners are announced and their photographs displayed at the Postgraduate Conference on Friday, 03 November 2017. Four prizes of $50-$100 to be won, including people's choice. Prize money has been donated by the Life Course Centre.


2017 Photo Competition Entries:









Title: Remembering Karbala

Caption: For Shia Muslims Commemoration of Ahsura, the day when prophet Muhammad’s grandson was killed in a battle in Karbala, Iraq, has great socio-political significance in countries where they have been a minority community. Mourning processions and rituals of Ashura are seen as a form of resistance against oppressive regimes. Other sects of Islam such as Sunnis never commemorate the day in public spaces in such way. Yet the Urdu-speaking community in Bangladesh commemorates Ashura in a manner similar to the Shias despite themselves being Sunnis. However, for the Urdu-speaking community it is a day of not mourning but of grand processions, colorful carnivals, and street performances. For the 300,000 members of the Urdu-speaking community confined for an indefinite period in highly congested camps in Bangladesh and often identified as a de facto stateless minority, Ashura commemoration has become a way of claiming space and visibility in the city, and a form of resistance against the non-recognition of the majoritarian state. Photograph shows youth from the Urdu-speaking community performing fire breathing on one of the busiest streets of Dhaka that has been closed down for the day by the police to regulate the processions and carnivals.

Entrant: Kazi Fattah

Location: Dhaka, Bangladesh

Date: 01 October 2017








Title: Resistance at Work

Caption: This photo captures the anarchic nature of contemporary resistance in the workplace. There are few places to legally rest for the casual employee in the contemporary workplace. While individually vulnerable, these workers seek security through local, and interpersonal engagements. In the absence of an organised space to rest, one worker takes a break while the other continues to work and
keep watch. This picture highlights the importance of friendship and humanity to combat the isolation of modern capitalism that allows these workers to look out for each other while recovering from physical labour.

Entrant: Peter (PJ) Holtum

Location: Brisbane, Australia

Date: 2-9-17









Title: Dream and despair

Caption: Bina, the girl wearing cream colour dress in the picture, is a garment worker. Her father is sick and incapable of earning an income. So she migrated to Dhaka with her father and two sisters three years ago and got a job in a nearby garment factory with the help of her neighbours. When she got the job, she thought her income would be sufficient to support the family. However, her income is not enough for her father’s treatment and sisters’ schooling after paying the house rent. She also had a dream of meeting a nice guy and getting married. Instead of meeting a nice guy, she was verbally and physically assaulted by some musclemen one night on the way back home after finishing a late night shift at the factory. That night a fellow garment worker saved her. Since then her father accompanies her on the way back home if she has a late night shift. Nowadays she is afraid of dreaming anything. She said, “We are poor people. We should not dream big, sister”.

The theme of the photograph is to show how women’s access to public space is constrained by their experience of sexual and verbal harassment.

Entrant: Lutfun Lata

Location: Sattola slum, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Date: 5 December, 2015







Title: Logging meets Locals in Solomon Islands

Caption: In the last two decades the Solomon Islands has seen environmental devastation and social conflict, left behind from the influx of large-scale logging. The practice has been the foundation of the economy since the 1990s, highlighting its significance and scale. However, logging at such an unsustainable rate has also led to biodiversity loss, soil erosion, habitat loss, water pollution, and community conflict. Local tribes have bared the brunt of this, their livelihoods being affected by the environmental and social disturbances, with little financial reimbursement in return.

The photograph depicts this struggle by contrasting the overwhelmingly powerful logging ship next to the humble canoe used by locals. It was taken on our journey to Sasamunga village, where we would meet the Sirebe tribe. Determined to preserve their forests, this tribe is undertaking projects to enhance conservation and generate sustainable income. They give us hope for Solomon Islands' forests despite the threatening presence of international logging interest.

Entrant: Ashley Mallett-Wallace

Location: Choiseul Province, Solomon Islands

Date: 10/02/17









Title: Day to Day Cookery: Recipes for different times

Caption: Capturing this Australian research participant opening kitchen cupboards speaks to the experimental
approach of my study – to undertake digital ethnographic research in the private domain of people’s homes.
As part of an anthropological study of everyday food practices in urban Australian and Indonesian households,
the kitchen setting also epitomises a focus on the everyday.

The conversation that accompanied this photograph was about cookbooks. Angela* described how they aren’t
used anymore because her cooking has become much simpler since her children had grown up and her
husband died. As she flicked through them they clearly evoked different times in her life. It was a moment of
mixed emotions, of sadness but also pragmatism. Angela has a lifelong health concern which she has
managed mostly through a raw vegetable diet. Now, with just herself to feed, she has been freed up from
making meals to suit three different tastes of other family members. She has a very busy social life out of the
home and sees her adult children regularly. This moment thus speaks to one of ethnography's values, in
understanding peoples' experiences holistically (Bell 2001).

Genevieve Bell, 2001. ‘Looking Across the Atlantic: Using Ethnographic Methods to Make Sense of Europe’, Intel Technology
Journal Q3, 1-10.

Entrant: Kipley Nink

Location: Gympie, Australia

Date: 4 September 2017










Title: Saltwater Mermaid on her lunch break

Caption: This photo was taken in late 2016 during a day trip to Running Creek Beach, Princess Charlotte Bay, on eastern Cape York Peninsula, QLD. The trip concluded a series of community meetings of Lamalama traditional owners, of which Gina, pictured, is one. Over the last 25 years, Lamalama people have gained title to the majority of their country, established a land trust, corporation, and ranger program that employ young people like Gina and their families. My ethnographic research explores how the legacy of land rights and native title has shaped the everyday lives of Lamalama families, focusing on aspects of identity construction, connection to place, and experiences of work. This photo captures Gina’s delight at being on this beach, part of her homeland, a place that is inaccessible without a four-wheel drive vehicle, and closed to the public. With the onset of the corporation and ranger program, opportunities to visit and connect to such places have increased, strengthening identity claims and knowledge transfer. The seaweed skirt she has fashioned reveals her playful nature, at ease on her country: ‘I’m a saltwater mermaid!’, frolicking in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef, enjoying her lunch break during ‘just another day in the office’.

Entrant: Diana Romano

Location: Princess Charlotte Bay, Cape York Peninsula, QLD, Australia

Date: 17 November 2016








Title: Tibetan performers wait stage-side at an Indian Diwali festival

Caption: Members of a small Tibetan community group watch Bollywood dancers while waiting to go on stage. Many of the 2000-or-so Tibetans in Australia relocated from settlements in India, and festivals like this Indian-Australian Diwali celebration serve as platforms to showcase Tibetan culture and identity. This event strongly reflected my core research theme – how Tibetan subjectivities and performed Tibetanness are shaped by multi-generational migration experiences from Tibet to Australia. It also revealed insights into the tensions and unique challenges experienced by Tibetans in the wider diasporic setting, currently an emerging area of enquiry in Tibetan studies and Anthropology.

The Tibetan community’s Diwali performance was the culmination of members’ efforts to teach themselves various traditional dances. As very few people have received formal training in Tibetan performing arts institutions in China or India, videos shared on social media are often a vital point of reference. The performance also highlighted a deep sense of gratitude often expressed towards India for hosting Tibetan exiles since 1960. Instead of the typical “ Bhod gyalo! ” (Free Tibet) directed at Anglo-Australian audiences attending more intimate community gatherings, the dance was concluded with a rousing “ Bharat mata ki jai! ” invoking the national personification of India as a mother goddess. 

Entrant: Jennifer Rowe

Location: Brisbane, Australia

Date: 21/10/2016








Title: Teaching about the past, in the present, for the future

Caption: When I look back at my Ph.D., I think about how radical my four–year journey has been. While I have been working on Rapa Nui for 16 years, these last four years have been the biggest challenge and reward in my life. I explored hundreds of quarries and mines, reviewed countless artefacts, used state-of-the-art geochemical technologies, and established prehistoric patterns of interaction that invalidated interpretations put forward by the island’s collapse narrative. However, my favourite component of my research was to help develop and educate with Manu Iri (messenger birds), a cultural heritage project aimed at teaching the island’s future guardians. This picture is of the first graduating class and I am so proud of every single one of them. These motivated students proved to me that archaeological education is not only about the past and present, but also the future. I hope my little birds will continue with their heritage education and become the island’s future anthropologists and archaeologists. A student once commented to me: “I am glad I am here, but I am happier that you are here with me, teaching all of us”. I told him, “me too” and cried with joy the long–way home.

Entrant: Dale Simpson Jr.

Location: Hanga Rau ('Anakena), Rapa Nui, Chile

Date: June 13th, 2016




About Annual Postgraduate Photo Competition


About the competition

The HDR Committee invites postgraduate candidates within the School to enter the annual School of Social Science Postgraduate Photo Competition.

Students are invited to submit a photograph that represents a core theme or the main contribution of their research. The aim of the competition will be to capture in material/visual form the contributions that the postgraduate student body make to the intellectual culture of the School.

Entries must be accompanied by a short descriptive caption, explaining the photograph and its research theme.

Judging criteria

Entries will be judged on how well the image and accompanying caption capture the viewer’s attention and interest, articulate the student’s research theme, and communicate the significance of their contribution to the social sciences.

All entries must be the original work of the entrant and must be created exclusively by the entrant.


Further details about the competition, including the opening and closing dates for entires, the prizes, and the mechanisms for announcing winners will be provided in due course.