*Update #3: I experimented with a physical exhibition of this Instagram collection, called #AustralianBeachspace at the CQUni Noosa Art Space in August – September 2017. More information, including the List of Works, available here.
*Update #2: I have recently published an article in M/C Journal that examines Instagram as a tool for research dissemination, using the #AustralianBeachspace as a case study. You can find it here.
*Update: I have provided context on the process and implementation of the project in three blog posts. I have also captured the original posts from the three months into a Storify that you can view here.
The Australian beach has and continues to be a significant component of the Australian culture and a way of life. In my PhD thesis, completed in 2013, I examined the Australian beach as a cultural site represented in popular literature and film. In the past, academic research has positioned the beach as a place of mythic importance (think of the beach you see on postcards!); or as a place of very ordinary, everyday activity (think of the beach you visit most regularly). I posited the term beachspace (utilising Edward Soja’s theory of Thirdspace  as a frame] to suggest the Australian beach is actually a bit more complex than these binary oppositions. I structured my thesis around five themes: the beach as a site of healing; the beach as a ‘badland’; the beach as an urban site; the beach as a lived site; and the beach as an egalitarian site.
It seems remiss that I have yet to utilise the power of Instagram, the visual social media, to capture some of my thoughts about the Australian beach. This project will provide some visual representations of the beach alongside some of my ideas and thoughts as generated during my PhD research and beyond. I will use the five themes as noted above to organise posts. While on one hand it’s an excuse to showcase beautiful images of our varied coastlines, it also forms a way for me to continually revisit and review some of my early findings in this area and where my research might take me next. The project will actively run for an initial three month period (until December 24, 2016), although the archive will remain indefinitely.
I encourage you to follow along using the #AustralianBeachspace hashtag, and contribute your own images of Australian beaches!
You can follow the project on Instagram (@drlizellison).
Please note: the photos featured on the site are a combination of my own (or my partner’s), and images used under a creative commons license (available for commercial use and not requiring attribution). Where possible I have provided attribution.