John Michael Swinbank

Murdoch University

Contact Details

Murdoch University


John Michael Swinbank is a communication and culture scholar, and Vietnamist, currently undertaking his doctoral studies at Murdoch University, Western Australia. He holds a Master in Communication Management, and a Master of Visual Communication & Cultural Studies (Research). In 2020, he was awarded a Murdoch University Research Training Program Scholarship and the Professor ST Leong Memorial Fellowship.

Based at the Asia Research Institute at Murdoch University, his PhD research focuses on Vietnamese revolutionary visual communication, and its role in nation building and social mobilisation. His research interests also include Asian Studies, Imperialism and Colonial Studies, French History, World History, Art History, and Visual Rhetoric and Propaganda. His research supervisors are Dr Kathryn Trees, Associate Professor Terence Lee, Dr Arjun Subrahmanyan.

John Michael's MA thesis "Girl with Lotus and M-16: The ambiguous lineage of Vietnamese revolutionary visual communication” examined the polyglot lineage of Vietnamese revolutionary art, finding a melange of influences including Vietnamese literary traditions and French visual innovations. As a result, the thesis "contextualised the origin of revolutionary visual communication within two very different developments" (Prof. Tuan Hoang). This thesis and related authorship can be accessed at the Murdoch University Research Repository.

John Michael has presented papers for the Engaging With Vietnam symposium and the Asia Studies Association of Australia conference, and published with World History Connected Journal (University of Illinois Press). For a general audience, he was commissioned by the 2017, Perth International Arts Festival to write an article on the inaugural visit to Australia by Nouveau Cirque du Vietnam and the company's poignant depiction of a rural community in transition, Ao Lang Pho.

John Michael’s academic research is animated by a professional 30-year career in strategic communication. He is a former State Councillor and Member of the Public Relations Institute of Australia (MPRIA). He continues to consult in the public sector and teaches postgraduate professional communications at Murdoch University. He is an art collector with an interest in modern Asian art, particularly paintings from Indochina and East Asia.