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Dr Shashini Kurupanawa Gamage Academic, Sociology

Shashini Gamage is an academic, researcher and television journalist. She is currently working as a research assistant of the 'Ageing and New Media' project of La Trobe University, affiliated to the Department of Sociology. She has a PhD (Communication and Media - 2016) and a Master of Global Communication (2010) from La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. Her research focuses on media cultures and the intersections between media, gender, nationalism, migration, migrants and war, post-war societies, post-colonialism and identity. Her PhD thesis (2016) is a feminist ethnography of soap opera cultures and gender identities of Sri Lankan women who migrated during the three-decade civil war of the island nation, exploring diasporic Sri Lankan soap opera clubs in Melbourne. Her PhD was funded by an Australia Awards Leadership Scholarship (2012-16) – a prestigious international scholarship of the Australian Government.

Shashini has extensive experience as a television journalist and filmmaker in Sri Lanka in the areas of peace and conflict, peace journalism, gender, reconciliation, development and youth activism since 2004, having grown-up herself during the civil war in the island. She produced documentary films on women living in the Eastern war zones during the height of the armed ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka while working for activist-driven Young Asia Television (YATV), a public service broadcaster, affiliated to the Worldview International Foundation of Norway. She also produced the Bonsoir cultural television program of the Embassy of France in Sri Lanka, in collaboration with Canal France International (CFI), highlighting aspects of Sri Lankan cultural diversity and ethnic harmony. Shashini has experience covering the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami disaster and video-documenting the stories of disaster-affected communities in Sri Lanka’s Eastern war zones.

Upon completing her PhD, fulfilling a requirement of her scholarship, she returned to Sri Lanka to work as a television journalist, a researcher and filmmaker for two years. In 2017, she was awarded an Australia Awards Alumni Innovation Challenge competitive grant to initiate a research-based alternative online media space called Women Talk to document feminist activism in Sri Lanka’s post-war society during the country’s transitional justice and truth-seeking period. Shashini is also a short-fiction filmmaker. Her independent short-fiction film My Family, dealing with the impact of domestic violence on children, was awarded a merit award at the Bonjour Cinema International Film Festival of the French-speaking Countries, held in Colombo in 2007. She directed her second short film Kali’s Daughter, on the topic of violence against women, in 2018, funded by a grant from CARE International and the European Union.