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Academic research

Laura's research interests include the rise, subversion, and fall of genre conventions and boundaries, particularly in speculative fiction; continuities and congruences that run from the earliest Victorian-era speculative fiction through to current writers' work; the use of speculative fiction as social commentary; speculative performance writing; and artistic collaboration, including internet-facilitated projects. Her publications and presentations include:
  • "It Has Ever Been Thus: Science Fiction as the Message Bearer". Science Fiction: A Review of Speculative Literature (forthcoming).

  • "Estrangement: The One True Genre", presented at the 2017 World Science Fiction Convention, Helsinki, Finland.

  • "Uncertain Borders: The Rise and Fall of Genre?" Science Fiction: A Review of Speculative Literature, Volume 18, Number 1, pp. 20-67 (2016) (download).

  • "Genre Boundaries: The Beginning of the End?", presented at the 2015 annual conference of the Popular Culture Association of Australia and New Zealand, Wellington, June 30-July 2.

  • "Uncertain Borders: The Rise and Fall of Genre?", presented at the 2012 World Science Fiction Convention, Chicago, Illinois.

  • "Hidden Heroes: Radio's Role in Emergencies", presented at the 2004 Commercial Radio Australia national conference, Broadbeach, Queensland.

  • "Orange on the Scene: the SES Media Officer Program", presented at the 2003 Australian Disaster Conference, Canberra (with Peter O'Neill); paper also published in the Australian Journal of Emergency Management, March 2005 (peer-reviewed).

Her practice-led research has included readings and full productions of speculative performance writing, including radio plays, operas, stage plays, and performance poetry. She co-produced with composer Houston Dunleavy the innovative project The Cabinet of Oddities: a performance of new musical compositions linked with new writing and artwork from some of Australia's best-known speculative-fiction practitioners, who provided work of exceptional quality and range. The producers matched the writers and artist with composers to work collaboratively on a performance piece. The resulting pieces were performed by four top-level flutists, including the internationally regarded Peter Sheridan, specialist in low flutes. The Cabinet of Oddities received two performances: in Canberra in October 2015, in conjunction with the Australian Flute Festival; and in Melbourne in September 2016, as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

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