Personal profile


Denise Chapman is a counternarrative storyteller, poet, critical autoethnographer, and academic who lectures in children’s literature and inclusive children’s media at Monash University. She has served as a literacy specialist for diverse communities in Australia, Fiji, Kenya, Singapore, UAE, and the USA.  Denise is keen for teachers to see themselves as critical curators and creatives of media that support student belonging.

Denise’s scholarly engagements centre around critical media literacy with a special focus on the impact of representation on imagination and the importance of critical curation and use of children’s literature. She uses oral stories, children’s literature, poetry, and digital images as counternarrative windows for social change and liberation.

Her counter-hegemonic creative work continues the traditions of her Gullah heritage and explores themes of home, immigration, belonging, epistemic injustice, Black motherhood, as well as eco-racism.  Denise’s artistic work has been presented at The Wheeler Centre, The State Library Victoria, LaMama Poetica, Thin Red Lines, Radio Laria, The University of Melbourne’s Digital Studio, the RMIT Non/Fiction Lab’s Present Tense, as well as A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

Denise was runner-up for Poetryspective’s 2019 Retro Slam and shortlisted for the Queensland Poetry’s 2022 XYZ Prize for Excellence in Spoken Word. Her poetry-film work was featured within the Volume: Bodies of Knowledge exhibition at Brisbane MetroArts (2022) and the Counihan Gallery (2023) as well as at the Making Connection: Mapping Creative Encounters via the virtual space of DotDot Studios (2024).

The combination of Denise’s scholarship and creative work led the way for her to be the 2023 Mem Fox Visiting Research Fellow and a plenary speaker for the 2023 and 2024 Australian Association for the Teaching of English / Australian Literacy Educators’ Association conference. This year Denise was also honoured to be a featured spoken word artist at Labrish, the community program for the season of The Hate Race, a theatrical adaptation of Maxine Beneba Clarke’s bestselling memoir.  Denise is excited to have the opportunity to present a collection of her spoken word poems coupled with digital quilts this September at the Furious Flower Poetry Conference VI, which convenes every 10 years for scholars and writers from around the world to explore contemporary trends in Black literature, culture, and thought, and also publish a signature volume of poetry, poetics, and criticism to commemorate each conference.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research area keywords

  • Media literacy
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Critical race studies
  • Technology use
  • Culturally responsive digital learning spaces
  • Inclusive Education

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or