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Pet Playing for Placemaking

Designing playful technologies for social engagement and healthy ageing

With many pet owners experiencing social isolation during the pandemic, RMIT researchers are collaborating with Cherished Pets Foundation and its affiliated veterinary social enterprise towards improving social inclusion in the local community. The initiative has received community funding to bring an interactive, playful, and creative spin through a game designed to promote social engagement and healthy ageing. 

Pet Playing for Placemaking Survey Report — October 2020
2021 Give Where You Live Community Connections Grant

Get involved

If you would like to get involved with this project, fill out the form below or reach out to project leaders via the contact info provided alongside each bio.



Larissa Hjorth
Distinguished Professor and Director, Design and Creative Practice
School: Enabling Capability Platforms

RMIT staff profile

Larissa Hjorth is a digital ethnographer, artist, Distinguished Professor and director of the Design & Creative Practice ECP platform at RMIT University. With Professor Heather Horst, she co-founded the Digital Ethnography Research Centre (DERC). Previously, Hjorth was Deputy Dean, Research & Innovation, in the School of Media & Communication (2013−2016). Hjorth served on the inaugural Australian Research Council (ARC) Engagement & Impact Pilot study assessment panel for humanities and creative practice.

Hjorth studies the socio-cultural dimensions of mobile media and play practices in the Asia-Pacific region with an emphasis on interdisciplinary, collaborative and cross-cultural approaches. She has published a dozen co-authored books, edited over a dozen Handbooks/​Companions and has over 40 journal articles. 

More recently, Hjorth’s work has become concerned with how we can bring creative, social and design solutions to the growing ageing populations and, in turn, how we might consider scenarios of what it means to die well. She is also studying how our more-than-human” companions can teach us about new media in everyday life. Hjorth’s last book, Haunting Hands (Oxford Uni Press) looked at how mobile media is being deployed in situations of grief and trauma, her previous book explored how art practice can teach us new acumen into the climate change debate.

Hjorth’s books include Haunting Hands (with Cumiskey 2017), Screen Ecologies (with Pink, Sharp & Williams 2016), Digital Ethnography (Pink et al. 2016) Mobile Media in the Asia-Pacific (2009), Games & Gaming (2010), Online@AsiaPacific (with Arnold 2013), Understanding Social Media (with Hinton 2013), and Gaming in Locative, Social and Mobile Media (with Richardson 2014).

Jacob Sheahan
PhD Candidate
School: School of Design

Personal website

Currently undertaking a PhD in Design at RMIT School of Design, Jacob explores socially engaging technology in later life and its shaping by designers. Approaching design research through investigating the materiality of artifacts, and our interactions with them, Jacob seeks to uncover social-technical practices through dialogical and anthropological means.

Alongside his doctorate research, Jacob is involved in Co-designing Participatory Strategies With Older Adults ‘ (Shaping Connections) and Enabling an Ageing Workforce’ (Safeness by Design) research projects. As a sessional lecturer in Design Studies, Jacob hopes to foster research-led and collaborative design practices in socially complex contexts. With a diverse background in the design industry, he is interested in locating design research practice in wider discourses and interrogating its impact.