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Ailsa recently submitted her Masters thesis to Deakin University's School of Communications and the Creative Arts.

Her thesis is titled 'Lost Spaces of Popular Theatrical Entertainment, Ballarat Goldfields, 1850s - 1870s'. 


Ailsa's research interests are inter-disciplinary and incorporate: narrative non-fiction; cultural heritage; lost buildings; adaptive reuse of heritage buildings and streetscapes; the reinvention of cities; urban morphology; material culture; space and place; and historiography of theatrical entertainment on the Victorian Goldfields 1850s - 1870s.


Ailsa is the Community Representative on the City of Ballarat’s Heritage Advisory Committee  2017 - 2022.

Expert Input:

'Intriguing and unexpected’ news stories, for Ballarat Heritage Weekend Festival, May 2020.


The Mystery Gates (of the old Alfred Hall) by Prue Bentley, ABC Radio, October 2019.

'Hidden Theatre Unearthed on Sturt Street', by Caleb Cluff, The Courier, 24 February 2019. 

Articles in refereed journals: 

‘Flexible Theatrics in Early Goldfields Ballarat’, Australasian Drama Studies, 77, October 2020.

'Repairing the Disjointed Narrative of Ballarat's Theatre Royal’, M/C Journal, Vol 20, No 5, 2017.

‘The Wild West of Victorian Australia: Spaces of Theatrical Entertainment & Interaction in 1850s Ballarat', Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film, 2019, Submitted 18 Jan 2019.


Conference papers:

'The Wild West of Victorian Australia: Theatrical Entertainment & Interaction in 1850s Ballarat'- Presented to global scholars at the 'City, Space & Spectacle in 19th Century Performing Arts' Conference in Venice, Italy, hosted by Warwick University, June 2018.

‘Humble heritage and the fragile fabric of Ballarat East’- Presented to global scholars at the Association of Critical Heritage Studies Conference, Hosted by A.N.U., Dec. 2014

In Vicenza.jpg

Teatro Olimpico, Vicenza, Italia.

Rare books at the Ballarat Mechanics Institute

'Heritage Collections' Reading Room.

Palazzo Pesaro Papafava in Venice, Italy

Warwick University's European Campus

Public feedback:

You have a knack of making a building seem like a person. In this case it was a sad tale of a life cut short by prejudice and economic misfortune.  Forgive me for always thinking about film but it really would make a great movie. The Theatre Royal is such a great story. I was expecting it to be a bit dry, you know, "this extension was built on 1 Jan 1858, and was designed by Joe Smith" and the like. It had that but the fascinating back stories about thugs, royalty, class divides, religion etc. were great. - Jonathon Ryan, B.Arch., Kingswood, South Australia.

Recent Awards:

2018 'Professional Development Grant', covering the Airfare component of a European Field Trip on Performing Arts, through the Australian Federal Government’s Regional Arts Fund, provided through Regional Arts Australia, administered in Victoria by Regional Arts Victoria.

2017 'Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship' - August 2017 through until May 2020.

Reviewing, Examining and Supervising:


During 2016, Ailsa was an expert peer reviewer of QUT's Media & Culture Journal and an external examinor of Masters theses on Social Media Marketing for SCCA at Deakin University.  


During Semester Two, 2016, Ailsa supervised two Federation University student's industry placement for Marketing Research at BMI, and in Semester Two, 2015, a Deakin University student's internship for a cultural history project called 'Civic Stories'. 



In 2015 Ailsa was commissioned to produce a mixed media piece for the 'Leaving for the Front: Artist's Respond' exhibition at Ballarat's Backspace Gallery, commemorating the WW1 Centenary. Her oral history research for ‘Women Remember’ forms part of the source material for ‘The Last Goodbye’: a film by Wind & Sky Productions. Her words were also used for performance work at the Fed Uni Arts Academy. Ailsa was Chair of the 'Spaces Sub-Committee' of Ballarat Arts Alive during 2013, and back in 2006 Ailsa owned and operated a small commercial art gallery in Ballarat East called 'The Smoke House.'  

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