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I believe in the life-changing power of storytelling

 

ABOUT

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Luke Webster is a higher education equity practitioner, transmedia storytelling professional, and PhD candidate based in Perth, Australia.

I believe everyone has a story worth sharing, and that great stories come from storytellers who have mastered the art of listening. I'm passionate about uniting communities through the power of narrative.

 

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My PhD project, “Transmedia Storytelling and the Evolution of Popular Narrative in the Age of Social Media”, explores the transformation of entertainment in the digital age, and how it can be used to form communities and inspire real-world action.

Looking at Star Wars, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the DC multiverse, I suggest that our major cultural myths are shifting away from the Hero’s Journey, and towards Collective Journey structures that reflect our increasingly interconnected lives and the value of working in teams. These new storytelling tropes allow the creation of entire storyworlds that span media platforms and provide deep, immersive experiences capable of inspiring the civic imagination. Understanding these emerging communication strategies can allow storytellers to convey aspirational messages and unite communities, which has become increasingly important as we navigate the increasing politicisation of social media and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

My research is based in Internet Studies, in the School of Media, Culture and Social Inquiry at Curtin University, and is supervised by Dr. Tama Leaver and Dr. Eleanor Sandry.

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PHD PROJECT

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PUBLICATIONS & PRESENTATIONS

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Webster, Luke. 2021. “Marvel, Star Wars and the Risk of Being a Hero: Social Responsibilities for Transmedia Storytellers in the Age of Collective Journey.Cultural Science Journal, 12(1), pp. 59–67. [Open Access]

 

Webster, Luke. 2019. “Marvel, Star Wars and the Cosmic Quest for Peace: Commercial Transmedia and Emerging Social Responsibilities.” Open Literacy Research Symposium, Curtin University. 30 September – 1 October. [Abstract] [Video]

 

Webster, Luke, & Tama Leaver. 2016. “Gender, Paratexts and Everyday Superheroes from #WheresRey to ‘the Chewbacca Mum’.” Superhero Identities Symposium, Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Melbourne. 8-9 December. [Abstract] [Slides] [Listen]

Webster, Luke. 2012. “I think therefore I am (online): How the use of Facebook is changing notions of identity and privacy in networked communities.” CommUnity: Online Conference on Networks and Communities, Curtin University. 23 April – 11 May. [Abstract]

 
 

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

I've spent over a decade working in the tertiary sector, specialising in community development, communications and marketing.

As the Team Leader for Curtin University’s AHEAD program, I lead a team of educators to inspire and empower school students and communities traditionally underrepresented in higher education to aspire to and pursue educational opportunities they may not realise they can achieve.

Throughout my career, I have combined my passion for storytelling and social justice to build communities and create positive social change. My proudest career highlight is leading the creation of the state and national award-winning Humans of Curtin transmedia campaign.

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