The UA Blog

Where Are They Now Wednesday: Joanna Batsakis’ Jewellery and Journals!

Joanna Elena Batsakis from Monash University was the 2016 Oceania Regional Winner for Art History, Music, Film & Theatre for her paper:

“YO MOOKIE! STAY BLACK!” – A comparison in the cinematic realism and fantasy of Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing and Miguel Gomes’ Tabu

Let’s see what she’s been up to since!


This year I will begin my PhD degree in Cinema Studies, in Melbourne, Australia. My thesis will analyse the directorial works of my favourite artist, Dennis Hopper. My writing is different in the film academic field because I combine two disciplines – film theory along with visual art theory – allowing for a network of theoretical frameworks to inform each other in my analysis.

My PhD will analyse how Hopper documented the creative, political and social tensions within particular sub and minority cultures across the globe as a photographer, where he then used and translated his photographic studies into cinematic projects either during his time as a director or as an actor. Hardly any academic research has been published in regards to Hopper’s cinema works, and I hope to draw attention to this important area of study.

Outside of academic writing, I am also a jewellery designer. I create under my own label, ‘mitchumvsbogart jewellery‘ (named after Robert Mitchum and Humphrey Bogart). My designs are a mixed-media approach to costume jewellery. Each piece is for the most part, inspired by cinema in some way – but some of my pieces are more personal, for example, inspired by the works of my favourite painter Julian Schnabel, or by figures of history such as Cleopatra and Mark Antony, or other surrealist designers I aspire to be like, such as Delfina Delettrez.

In March 2017, the Australian film journal Senses of Cinema published two articles of mine. The first is a ‘Great Directors’ paper I wrote about Dennis Hopper, which introduces and analyses his 6 directorial works for anyone to read. The second is an annotation about Robert Mitchum titled ‘The Philosophy of Mitchum: Fatal Poet’. Finally, I am writing a chapter for an upcoming edited book Screening Scarlett Johansson. My chapter ‘La Bella Figura: Scarlett Johansson’s performance as an Italian cultural icon’, will discuss Johansson’s work with in relation to Sofia Coppola, Federico Fellini and Martin Scorsese.”

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