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Reports

2020

Thinking About Treaty Spatially

June 2020

Exploring Implications for the Land and Geospatial Profession for Building a Shared Future

Serene Ho, Prashanti Mayfield, Mariana Dias Baptista, Maria Vasardani, Libby Porter, Ani Landau-Ward, Matt Duckham, Mark McMillan

Summary

In 2018, the Victorian government passed Australia’s first-ever treaty law (State Government of Victoria, 2018) but the new treaty legislation is startingly silent on any direction on spatiality. This reflects a wider silence in both Victorian and federal legislative frameworks which ignore the spatial dimension of treaty negotiations. It leads to the questions: to what places does a negotiated treaty apply, and how should/​will treaty affect the use, management, access and ownership of Country, embodying land, water, air, flora, fauna and mineral resources?

Many land and geospatial professionals will find themselves playing a role in helping to address these questions, whether as researchers, consultants, or public servants. The use of spatial data and geographic information systems (GIS) have become mainstreamed as a policy tool, but there are recognised difficulties in applying western-oriented GIS to Indigenous knowledge. Therefore, the central question addressed in this Concept Paper is: What might the spatial implications of treaty be for land and geospatial professionals?

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Citation
Ho, S., Mayfield, P., Dias Baptista, M., Vasardani, M., Porter, L., Landau-Ward, A., Duckham, M. and McMillan, M. (2020). Thinking About Treaty Spatially: Exploring Implications for the Land and Geospatial Profession for Building a Shared Future. RMIT Enabling Capability Platform Concept Paper Series 2019 (CP 1904). Melbourne: RMIT University.

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Digital-Fairer Start

Digital Innovation for Social Inclusion: Responding to COVID-19 and beyond

The pandemic has radically transformed how we do things in our life, school, work, and leisure. Digital pivots have rolled out unevenly, amplifying existing inequalities such as digital access and literacy. The present changes are profound enough, but as we move toward a so-called new normal”, impacts will continue to ripple outward, with far reaching effects. The use of digital technology and social media has grown exponentially, raising the need for a fairer normal. This means addressing the challenges of the pandemic in terms of digital innovations for social inclusion.

RMIT has vast expertise in understanding the role of the digital in everyday life. Researchers from the Digital Ethnography Research Centre (DERC), the Centre of People, Organisation & Work (CPOW), the Blockchain Innovation Hub, the Centre for Information Discovery & Data Analytics (CIDDA) and the Centre for Cyber Security Research & Innovation (CCSRI) have many decades of experience building and testing innovative methods around home, work, and social contexts. Using ethnographic techniques that focus on practice and motivation, they can glean insights which complement big data approaches.

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COVIDSafe: Perceptions and Practices

October 2020

Summary Report

Larissa Hjorth, Ingrid Richardson, Mark Andrejevic, Ruth De Souza, Hugh Davies

Recognising the social, civil and governance impact of the COVID-19 crisis, COVIDSafe: Perceptions and Practices has sought to discover how Australians are understanding and responding to these changes at a community and personal level.

Beginning in June 2020, the project initially aimed to understand people’s experiences and practices of the COVIDSafe App in Australia, both in terms of use and non-use. We distributed a 25 question Qualtrics survey via social media to explore what people thought about the app, relating to privacy concerns, efficacy, clarity of government information and processes. In addition, we asked them if they had downloaded the app (or not) and the range of reasons for doing so or not (e.g. concerns about the health of oneself and others, concerns about privacy of information and tracking apps, etc.) 

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People


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

RMIT staff profile
larissa.hjorth@rmit.edu.au

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).


Hugh Davies
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
School: Games

Personal website
hugh.davies@rmit.edu.au

Hugh Davies is an artist, curator and researcher of games and play. His practice explores histories of media devices and cultures of games in the Asia Pacific Region. Awarded a PhD in Art, Design and Architecture from Monash University in 2014, Hugh’s studies in game cultures have been supported with fellowships from Tokyo Art and Space, M+ Museum of Visual Culture and the Hong Kong Design Trust. Hugh is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at RMIT in Melbourne, Australia.


Ingrid Richardson
Professor
School: Media and Communication

RMIT staff profile
ingrid.richardson@rmit.edu.au

Professor Ingrid Richardson has been teaching, supervising and researching in the fields of digital media, mobile media and games for over twenty years. She has a broad interest in the human-technology relation and has published widely on the phenomenology of games and mobile media, digital ethnography and innovative research methods, the relation between technology use and wellbeing, and the cultural effects of urban screens, wearable technologies, virtual and augmented reality, remix culture and web-based content creation and distribution. Ingrid has led or co-led 14 funded research projects, the most recent being an ARC DP [Games of Being Mobile] with Larissa Hjorth. She is contributing co-editor of Studying Mobile Media (Routledge, 2011) and co-author of Gaming in Social, Locative and Mobile Media (Palgrave, 2014), Ambient Play (MIT, 2020), Understanding Games and Game Cultures (Sage, 2020), Exploring Minecraft: Ethnographies of Play and Creativity (Palgrave, forthcoming), and Mobile Media and the Urban Night (Palgrave, forthcoming). Ingrid brings ten years’ experience in university-level HDR management and during this time has actively championed and supported creative methods and practice-led postgraduate research. Over the past five years she has also developed a passion for teaching critical web literacy skills to undergraduate students across all disciplines.


Ruth De Souza
VC Research Fellow
School: School of Art

Personal website
ruth.de.souza@rmit.edu.au

Dr Ruth De Souza (FACN) is a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at RMIT, based in the School of Art and DCP Research Platform. She is a nurse, academic and a community-engaged researcher in gender, race, health and digital technologies. Ruth’s Fellowship will engage health professionals in finding new ways to understand, co-design and implement sustainable cultural safety initiatives in a range of health contexts in response to health inequities.

Prior to moving to Australia in 2013, Ruth worked at AUT University where she taught in the School of Nursing, led the Bachelor of Health Promotion, and was a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Asian and Migrant Health Research. Since her arrival in Australia, Ruth has undertaken a wide range of roles, including leading an undergraduate nursing program at Monash University’s Berwick campus; spearheading a unique community-engaged joint research appointment with North Richmond Community Health exploring how wearables and other digital technologies are perceived by people from culturally and linguistically different backgrounds and co-ordinating an interdisciplinary Data Systems and Society Research Network across the University of Melbourne. Ruth has also investigated the applicability of cultural safety in Australia, working closely with The Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM), presenting at their National Professional Development Conferences and delivering training on cultural safety. She has also undertaken a two-year cultural safety project with cohealth (a not-for-profit community health organisation) and Our Watch who work for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children.

In a time of uncertainty: supporting belonging and well being of HDR students

May 2020

DeSouza, R., Hendry, N., Stevens, R., Gomes, C., Harris, A., Hjorth, L., Richardson, I., & Kokanovic, R.

Summary

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruption, stress and uncertainty for Australian Higher Degree Research (HDR) students (Kariotis, 2020) — exacerbating the demands of an already challenging journey towards completion (Batty et al., 2019; Creely & Laletas, 2020).

HDR students constitute society’s future knowledge workers (Mackie & Bates, 2019) and the repercussions of COVID-19 represent a significant loss of potential for students, with implications for their research aspirations and current and future employment. As Universities grapple with how to best support HDR students through this crisis, we offer a contribution to the understanding that acknowledges the complexity of journey as an intellectual development that has emotional and affective components (Owens et al., 2020).

Becoming a graduate researcher is a transformative identity journey involving becoming an expert in a particular field and becoming a scholar or researcher (Barnacle & Mewburn, 2010). We take a social ecological approach to the challenges that COVID-19 presents to acknowledge that there are multiple factors in both the University environment and the student’s social world that exert a cumulative and combined influence on wellbeing”’ (Mackie & Bates, 2019).

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Suggested Citation
DeSouza, R., Hendry, N., Stevens, R., Gomes, C., Harris, A., Hjorth, L., Richardson, I., & Kokanovic, R. (2020). In a time of uncertainty: supporting belonging and wellbeing for HDR students. Melbourne: RMIT University.

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Design & Creative Practice ECP Four Year Report

This report marks the four years of the Design & Creative Practice ECP. The research platforms have been committed to fostering interdisciplinary collaboration to address real-world issues. In the first year we codesigned with internal and external stakeholders to determine our key priorities around 1. Resilience, Health and Care; 2. Playful Digital and Material Encounters; 3. The Social and Sustainable; 4. Design & Creative Practice Industries. In years two and three we built capability (expertise, partnerships and systems) around these areas through grants, networks and design
challenges.

In year four, 2020, these themes have become prescient in how we move forward out of the pandemic. In 2020 we have focused on the new ECP Restarts — five key areas (greener, fairer, healthier, digital, better work) to curate and amplify RMIT expertise to address challenges from the pandemic. Guided by the principles of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Restarts are taking a variety of formats — from Living Labs and white papers to policy briefs. This report showcases some of the highlights in the Design & Creative Practice ECP journey. We have come so far in conceptualising our research in terms of engagement and impact — a crucial narrative for research moving forward in this country. As we have seen during the pandemic, research not only matters — it saves lives.

All of these collaborations highlight the commitment of RMIT staff and students to the SDGs, Indigenous ways of knowing, and co-designing for social, digital innovation and inclusion.

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HDR Belonging: Practices and Perceptions during COVID-19

August 2020

Ingrid Richardson, Natalie Hendry, Catherine Gomes, Gretchen Coombs, Larissa Hjorth, Ruth DeSouza and Anne Harris

Summary

In this report we have outlined some of the key themes, issues, practices and perceptions experienced by HDR candidates relating to:
• Belonging and Communities of Practice
• Working from Home
• Uncertain Futures and Precarious Work
• International Candidates’ Experience
RMIT Systems and Services
• Ethics of Care

COVID-19 has recalibrated everything — work, life and study — as many of these activities become compressed in the home. Digital amplification can be felt palpably on all areas — in good and less positive ways. For HDRs, this recalibration has added another layer of complexity and instability in an already undulating journey that is both intellectual and psychological. Work futures have rapidly come under revision — compounding the feelings of uncertainty, loss and change.

By listening to the lived experience of HDRs we can work collaboratively to develop nuanced systems and processes that nurture growth during these uncertain times. While digital engagement can help, digital pivots can only provide a certain amount of connection. Connection doesn’t always translate to belonging. Understanding and addressing belonging during the pandemic means developing more agile co-designed methods for engagement and communities of practice to foster a collaborative and sustainable future — both as part of the HDR journey and beyond.

This report has sought to give a voice to the diverse and divergent lived experiences of current HDRs, across different fields of research and stages of the research.

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Digital Engagement Strategies in Cultural Sector During COVID-19 A Preliminary Report

June 2020

Summary

Museums across Australia and the world have responded to the COVID-19 crisis with new strategies of digital engagement. With physical venues have closed, many institutions have found ways to create, curate and translate modes of engagement for digital contexts. No longer a mere platform for institutional marketing and promotion, social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok and YouTube have all become sites for creative intervention.1 For many, it has been a time of quick digital literacy acquisition and recalibration of curatorial and public engagement methods.

This pandemic has unveiled huge questions about equality, access, how we socialise with each other, and who and what we value and, for our purposes here, and what role of the museum can play as we move forward. Technological solutions in the form of digital engagement have helped combat the epidemic and give us access to arts and culture. According to a recent Patternmakers’ Audience Snapshot Report – COVID-19 Audience Outlook Monitor (AS), 75% of respondents have participated in online arts and culture activities, like watching arts video content (52%), watching live-streamed events (42%), or doing online classes or tutorials (36%) (AS 11).2 In other words, the cultural sector digital engagement has helped communities cope with the quarantine and physical distancing offering alternative way to connect to each other and what we love.

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2019

GAMES OF BEING MOBILE

November 2019

Larissa Hjorth, Ingrid Richardson, Hugh Davies, William Balmford

Summary

The Games of Being Mobile project followed nearly sixty households over three years (2013 – 2016) in five of Australia’s capital cities: Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane. It is the first national survey of mobile games. Our ethnographic project sought to put mobile games in context: socially, intergenerationally and culturally. Using ethnography allowed us deep insights into motivations, practices and perceptions. 

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Suggested Citation
Hjorth, L., Richardson, I., Davies, H., Balmford, W. (2019). Games of Being Mobile Report. Melbourne: RMIT University.

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People


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

RMIT staff profile
larissa.hjorth@rmit.edu.au

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).


Hugh Davies
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
School: Games

Personal website
hugh.davies@rmit.edu.au

Hugh Davies is an artist, curator and researcher of games and play. His practice explores histories of media devices and cultures of games in the Asia Pacific Region. Awarded a PhD in Art, Design and Architecture from Monash University in 2014, Hugh’s studies in game cultures have been supported with fellowships from Tokyo Art and Space, M+ Museum of Visual Culture and the Hong Kong Design Trust. Hugh is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at RMIT in Melbourne, Australia.


Ingrid Richardson
Professor
School: Media and Communication

RMIT staff profile
ingrid.richardson@rmit.edu.au

Professor Ingrid Richardson has been teaching, supervising and researching in the fields of digital media, mobile media and games for over twenty years. She has a broad interest in the human-technology relation and has published widely on the phenomenology of games and mobile media, digital ethnography and innovative research methods, the relation between technology use and wellbeing, and the cultural effects of urban screens, wearable technologies, virtual and augmented reality, remix culture and web-based content creation and distribution. Ingrid has led or co-led 14 funded research projects, the most recent being an ARC DP [Games of Being Mobile] with Larissa Hjorth. She is contributing co-editor of Studying Mobile Media (Routledge, 2011) and co-author of Gaming in Social, Locative and Mobile Media (Palgrave, 2014), Ambient Play (MIT, 2020), Understanding Games and Game Cultures (Sage, 2020), Exploring Minecraft: Ethnographies of Play and Creativity (Palgrave, forthcoming), and Mobile Media and the Urban Night (Palgrave, forthcoming). Ingrid brings ten years’ experience in university-level HDR management and during this time has actively championed and supported creative methods and practice-led postgraduate research. Over the past five years she has also developed a passion for teaching critical web literacy skills to undergraduate students across all disciplines.

ACMI PILOT STUDY (PHASE 1 REPORT): Social Media, Digital Wayfaring and the Future of Museum Audiences

May 2019

Jacina Leong, Indigo Holcombe-James, Adelina Onicas and Larissa Hjorth

Summary

This ethnographic research design was driven by consultation with members of the ACMI team. Through audience conversations, we developed a series of broad themes that guided our work:

  1. Feelings: how ACMI audiences felt about the digital and non-digital spaces; 
  2. Behaviours: how ACMI audiences engaged with both digital and non-digital spaces; 
  3. Co-present sociality: how, or whether, ACMI audiences enacted sociality in both digital and non-digital contexts; 
  4. Places & wayfaring: how digital and non-digital spaces were represented and influenced engagement; 
  5. Programming: how ACMI programming influenced digital and non-digital spaces. 

The ethnographic research revealed complex relationalities between the places, wayfaring, co-presence (physical and/​or digital proximity), and digital sociality that ACMI itself enacted, and that in turn was enacted by ACMI’s audiences. Through combining close analysis of the enacted digital participation by both parties with rich ethnographic data, we demonstrate an opportunity for alignment between institutional and audience-led digital practices. 

Based on this insight, we provide recommendations to calibrate differences between perceived and lived participation, through integrating institutional and informal digital practices.

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People


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

RMIT staff profile
larissa.hjorth@rmit.edu.au

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).


Jacina Leong
PhD candidate
School: Media and Communication

Personal website
jacina.leong@rmit.edu.au

Jacina Leong is an artist-curator and PhD candidate in the School of Media and Communications, RMIT. Her research explores critical-creative and careful curatorial approaches to social innovation practices by museums and galleries.

Over the past decade, she has worked in hybrid new media spaces, universities, national and international festivals, regional museums and galleries, libraries and schools — to vision and deliver a diverse range of trans-disciplinary engagement programs, via highly collaborative, experimental and site-responsive processes. Most recently, Jacina was curator for Robotronica, project lead and founding member of the Guerrilla Knowledge Unit, guest facilitator of the Future Innovators Summit (Ars Electronica Tokyo Initiative), and co-curator of the provocation, Curating In The Age of Automation (RMIT & Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto).

From 2012 to 2017, Jacina worked at The Cube (QUT), establishing the inaugural STEAM engagement program for school and university students, educators and pre-service teachers. This program involved key collaborations with local, national and international organisations including Ars Electronica, LEGO Education, and Brisbane City Council. She has also worked in public program development at the Ipswich Art Gallery, collaborative learning strategy in universities, gallery management at Jan Murphy Gallery, and was advisor to the inaugural Make Nice at VIVID Festival.

COHEALTH@365: PAST, PRESENT AND CO-FUTURES

February 2019

Gretchen Coombs, Adelina Onicas, Julienne Van Loon, Larissa Hjorth, Hugh Davies, William Balmford, Son Vivienne, Jaz Hee-jeong Choi 

Summary

The cohealth@365: past, present & co-futures report details how we co-created and co-designed with the cohealth community to capture their stories and hear their voices as core to cohealth’s past, present and future. These stories help to locate the community as central to cohealth’s transition to cohealth@365.

The research that informs this report reveals how important cohealth has been to the diverse communities it serves. Over three months, the interdisciplinary team staged a series of encounters to engage the with the community and help us understand cohealth’s importance in their lives. These activities included deploying multisensorial design, ethnography and creative activities to acknowledge the diversity of embodied experiences around places, people and material cultures. We engaged with cohealth’s multiple stakeholders including clients, staff, bi-cultural workers and the general community (Collingwood area).

VIEW THE REPORT

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People


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

RMIT staff profile
larissa.hjorth@rmit.edu.au

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).

ANNUAL REPORT 2019

DESIGN & CREATIVE PRACTICE

REPORT FORWARD:
2019 has seen the platform coalesce many of our key priority areas through networks and initiatives. These areas include creative interventions around social and health issues; urban play; mapping the value of creativity and creatives in future workforces; new models and methods for understandings social impact. 

Our interdisciplinary networks further facilitate and enable our unique expertise — ensuring we take our research to the next level. These include: Wearables & Sensing Network; Contemporary Indigenous Architecture and Placemaking Network; Cultural Value & Impact Network (CVIN); Designing for Social Innovation Network; Design for Social Impact; Health, Arts, Social sciences & Humanities (HASH) Network.

So too, we have many exciting initiatives that seek to build, strengthen, and coalesce our interdisciplinary collaboration. The Impact Observatory is the DCP go to for all projects and activities relating to Design & Creative practice. The portal has two roles — one outward-facing to showcase all the fantastic research to industry, the other private-facing around collecting, curating and supporting research on its translational journey to impact. As we move towards the Engagement and Impact Agenda it is key for us to develop the support mechanisms for translational research.

We continued the highly successful Design Challenge. Last year we partnered with Telstra Digital Health to explore Ageing Well. The winning entry, CatPin has gone on to win awards and prizes. This year we collaborated with City of Melbourne on co-designing inclusive, civic and sensorial moments in the city. The challenge asked teams to consider what does the city feel like, smell like, sound like. Is it different for children? Older adults? How do we co-design a city for neurodiversity? Or cultural and linguistic diversity? And how does this co-design reflect the unique experience of Melbourne?

We have run a series of workshops and events to engage different communities and partners including hosting the Melbourne Ageing Research Collaboration (MARC) annual conference (responding to The Royal Commission into Aged Care), workshops at RMIT Europe (such as the Cities as Playground event) and Urban Play symposium. We have also hosted many global experts at RMIT — such as Professor Colleen Macklin, Associate Professor Anne Galloway, Professor Maren Hartmann, Professor Helen Kennedy — to run postgraduate and early career researcher workshops on games for change, systems thinking, visualisation techniques, more-than-human research, and homelessness. We have had a few key achievements such as the two ARC DECRAs in creative practice as well as the 2020 CreaTures grant (Jaz Choi) exploring the power of creative practice to intervene in the social.

All of these collaborations highlight the commitment of RMIT staff and students to co-designing for social and digital innovation and inclusion. A special thanks goes to the Distributed Leaders Group (DLG) — Dr Julienne van Loon, Prof Daniel Palmer, Dr Jaz Choi, Prof Esther Charlesworth and Prof Renata Kokánovic. Also big thanks to the ever wonderful Adelina Onicas and Esther Pierini. Thanks to our engaged Executive group and to also our industry SERAG advisory board members — Michael Hudson (Creative Vic); Kaye Glamuzina (City of Melb); Seb Chan (ACMI); Emma Crimmings (Artbank); Zara Stanhope (GoMA); Simone Le Amon (NGV); (Chair) Professor Natalie King (VCA).

We thank you for your ongoing support and collaboration.
Larissa Hjorth DCP director

VIEW THE REPORT

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People


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

RMIT staff profile
larissa.hjorth@rmit.edu.au

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).

Design and Creative Practice ECP

2019 Highlights

SUMMARY:

Design and Creative Practice ECP: Committed to interdisciplinary solutions to real-world problems.

OPPORTUNITIES AND SUCCESSES

• 25 Capability Development Funds awarded
• 21 team entries for the City of Melbourne & RMIT Design Challenge for Inclusive Cities
• 2 Opportunity Funds
• 1 ECP Concept Paper
• 6 SCDF awarded

25 WORKSHOPS AND OTHER EVENTS ~500 total attendees 

• 5 International experts hosted
• 5 HDR workshops with key experts
• 3 Industry hosted events ~120 total attendees
• 6 DCP governance meetings with key stakeholders — 62 total attendees 

7 NEW DCP NETWORKS

• Creative Arts & Design (CAD) Network
• Design for Social Innovation Network
• Contemporary Indigenous Architecture & Placemaking Network
• Wearables & Sensing Network
• Cultural Value and Impact Network (CVIN)
• Health, Arts, Social sciences & Humanities (HASH) Network
• Designing Social Innovation in Asia-Pacific (DESIAP) Network

4 KEY PRIORITY AREAS 

  1. Health, resilience and care 
  2. Playful, material & digital encounters 
  3. Social & sustainable 
  4. Design & creative practice industries

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LOCATING THE MOBILE

December 2019

Larissa Hjorth, Kana Ohashi, Jolynna Sinanan, Heather Horst, Sarah Pink, Fumitoshi Kato, Baohua Zhou and Genevieve Bell.

Summary

This Australian Research Council Linkage with Intel, Locating the Mobile, followed ethnographically 12 households over three years (2014 – 17) within the three purposefully very distinct locations (Melbourne, Tokyo and Shanghai) to gain a sense of cultural differences and similarities with respect to intergenerational use of locative media. 

To understand how locative media fit into the rhythms of everyday life — with its mundane routines and intimacies — the researchers went beyond standard interviewing methods. Instead, they developed ethnographic techniques that enabled them to engage empathetically with people’s intimate experiences in mundane life.

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Suggested Citation
Hjorth, L., Ohashi, K., Sinanan, J., Horst, H., Pink, S., Kato, F., Zhou, B., and Bell, G., 2019. Locating the Mobile: Australian Research Council Report. RMIT University, Melbourne.

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

RMIT staff profile
larissa.hjorth@rmit.edu.au

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).

Innovative Methods to Understand Impact in Creative Practices: A Short Survey

March 2019

Report compiled by Dr Gretchen Coombs 

Summary

Creative practitioners are increasingly asked to demonstrate impact of their work, which has led to challenges to understand the complexity of artistic practice and its cultural value. How can we trace impact, and if there is impact, for whom — the creative practitioner, the community, the museum, all of the above? What is the benchmark for success — symbolic shift, demonstrable policy changes, increased funding, more industry partnerships? These questions need to respond to national assessment systems like the Australian Research Council (ARC) Engagement and Impact and the UK’s Research Evaluation Framework (REF). How can creative practices offer innovative methods as tools for tracking impact? 

Creative practices’ value has traditionally been the intrinsic and indeterminate yet in recent years has been measured by its instrumental, or economic value. In light of more socially-engaged practices and the turn towards community,” value takes on a more diffuse meaning. More often than not, the goal is social change, and this involves groups of community stakeholders who are consulted and become invested in the process and outcomes of the art project, and ultimately need to contribute to understanding its impact. Within this process, more and more non-art agencies and government departments — such as health and urban renewal (i.e., placemaking) — are seeking out socially-engaged projects. These shifts reinforce and broaden the scope of instrumentalisation in the arts based on its social use, and therefore compound the complexity of impact assessment because of the number of stakeholders who may or may not have differing definitions of success and impact.

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Gretchen Coombs
Post Doctoral Research Fellow
School: Design and Creative Practice

RMIT staff profile
gretchen.coombs@rmit.edu.au

Gretchen Coombs is a Post Doctoral Research Fellow in the Design & Creative Practice Enabling Capability Platform at RMIT. She researches socially engaged art practices in the US, the UK and Australia, with a particular focus on how they are practiced in urban contexts. She’s a core member of the Cultural Value and Impact Network (CVIN) and contributes to Creative Care in the School of Art. Gretchen has a PhD in social and cultural anthropology and a MA in visual criticism: her writing uses a combination of ethnographic methods and visual analysis. She is a co-author of Creative Practice Ethnographies (Rowan & Littlefield 2019) and her monograph, The Lure of the Social: Encounters with Contemporary Artists (Intellect 2021 ) is an experimental ethnography about contemporary artists working at the intersection of art, aesthetics, and politics.

ACMI Pilot Study (Phase 2 Report): The Future of Museum Engagement, Data and Older Audiences

October 2019

Jacina Leong, Adelina Onicas, Larissa Hjorth, Gretchen Coombs, Hugh Davies

Summary

Over two weekends in September 2019, the RMIT ACMI Tea project invited matinee cinema audiences to share a cup of tea and a biscuit, and discuss their associations, connections and sense of belonging with ACMI. Across a variety of cultures, tea is understood as core to conversation and connection. Through this project, and building on Phase 1, we specifically sought to identify and develop socially- thick understandings of the (digital and non-digital) experiences and potential opportunities for older adults to engage with ACMI on its reopening.

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

RMIT staff profile
larissa.hjorth@rmit.edu.au

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).


Hugh Davies
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
School: Games

Personal website
hugh.davies@rmit.edu.au

Hugh Davies is an artist, curator and researcher of games and play. His practice explores histories of media devices and cultures of games in the Asia Pacific Region. Awarded a PhD in Art, Design and Architecture from Monash University in 2014, Hugh’s studies in game cultures have been supported with fellowships from Tokyo Art and Space, M+ Museum of Visual Culture and the Hong Kong Design Trust. Hugh is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at RMIT in Melbourne, Australia.


Jacina Leong
PhD candidate
School: Media and Communication

Personal website
jacina.leong@rmit.edu.au

Jacina Leong is an artist-curator and PhD candidate in the School of Media and Communications, RMIT. Her research explores critical-creative and careful curatorial approaches to social innovation practices by museums and galleries.

Over the past decade, she has worked in hybrid new media spaces, universities, national and international festivals, regional museums and galleries, libraries and schools — to vision and deliver a diverse range of trans-disciplinary engagement programs, via highly collaborative, experimental and site-responsive processes. Most recently, Jacina was curator for Robotronica, project lead and founding member of the Guerrilla Knowledge Unit, guest facilitator of the Future Innovators Summit (Ars Electronica Tokyo Initiative), and co-curator of the provocation, Curating In The Age of Automation (RMIT & Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto).

From 2012 to 2017, Jacina worked at The Cube (QUT), establishing the inaugural STEAM engagement program for school and university students, educators and pre-service teachers. This program involved key collaborations with local, national and international organisations including Ars Electronica, LEGO Education, and Brisbane City Council. She has also worked in public program development at the Ipswich Art Gallery, collaborative learning strategy in universities, gallery management at Jan Murphy Gallery, and was advisor to the inaugural Make Nice at VIVID Festival.

Mapping RMIT capabilities in Design for Social Innovation: A Conceptual Paper

November 2019

Project Lead: Professor Laurene Vaughan
Research Officer: Caroline Francis

Summary

This conceptual paper navigates the surrounding facets of Design for Social Innovation within the context of literature, the expertise, perspectives and activities within RMIT. Also considered here are the external competitors with potential learnings and partnering opportunities, the placed parameters required for the success of a Design for Social Innovation network, opportunities in social issues and identified funding sources, and finally outreach openings to existing RMIT branches beyond Australia to leverage networks in Vietnam and Barcelona. 

Worldwide we face unprecedented challenges whilst simultaneously being presented with previously unimaginable opportunities. These challenges and opportunities are social, cultural, technological and environmental. They are complex and beyond the domain of any
one discipline expertise. To address these, there is a greater need for researchers to collaboratively contribute on designs for social innovation that are effective in navigating our future by tackling issues of sustainability, health, technology, and social exclusion of vulnerable people. This research, maps and profiles the internal RMIT capabilities and expertise in the field of design for social innovation (DSI). Identified competitors and partners are reviewed for furthering RMIT’s strengths, synergies and research opportunities. Overall, aiming to validate the proposed DSI Network for meaningful and collaborative connections.

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Suggested Citation
Vaughan, L., Francis, C. (2019). Mapping RMIT Capabilities in Design for Social Innovation – A conceptual paper. Melbourne: RMIT University.

Research topics

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Laurene Vaughan
Professor and Dean
School: School of Design

RMIT staff profile
laurene.vaughan@rmit.edu.au

Professor Laurene Vaughan is Dean of the School of Design at RMIT. She is internationally recognised as a leader in interdisciplinary and applied design research and pedagogy. Professor Laurene Vaughan has a diverse research and teaching practice covering the areas of design, communication, fashion and embedded research in diverse industry sectors. Laurene currently also contributes to the University research community through being a Research Leader in the RMIT Design Research Institute.

2018

Annual Report 2018

Design & Creative Practice

REPORT FORWARD:

2018 has been a busy and exciting year for building externally facing partnerships and collaboration — especially around digital health, technology and the community sector. 

It began with the Engaging For Impact (EFI) 2018 conference in which we co-designed various workshops — including one with Telstra on the role of technology and Future of Care, another workshop on the social and creative dimensions of VR and AR with Oculus and yet another on One Good Death. 

We have further fostered partnerships with key industry such as Telstra through a series of initiatives.
For example, we began what will be an annual initiative, a Design and Creative Practice Design Challenge. This year we collaborated with Telstra and RMIT Industry Engagement around the designing Digital Health solutions for Ageing Well.
We also launched the Impact Observatory — an online repository for all our CDF projects. The portal has two roles — one outward-facing to showcase all the fantastic research to industry, the other private-facing around collecting, curating and supporting research on its translational journey to impact. As we move towards the Engagement and Impact Agenda it is key for us to develop the support mechanisms for translational research.

We have begun development around designing for social futures through a series of initiatives internationally (in Japan and Spain). We collaborated with RMIT Europe around their Digital Health priority areas through a symposium and co-creative workshop. This collaboration fostered our new cross-platform (DCP, Social Change, and Biomedical and Health Innovation) partnership with the Melbourne Ageing Research Collaboration (MARC). In November we host a workshop with MARC on End of Life Care.
We also piloted a Distributed Leaders Group (DLG) as part of the collaborative ethos of the platform to ensure representation and agency across schools and disciplines. Our DLG consists of Dr Julienne van Loon, Prof Daniel Palmer, Dr Jaz Choi, Prof Esther Charlesworth and Prof Renata Kokanovic.

We thank you for your ongoing support and collaboration.
Larissa Hjorth

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People


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

RMIT staff profile
larissa.hjorth@rmit.edu.au

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).

2017

Annual Report 2017

Design & Creative Practice

REPORT FORWARD:
Since taking up the role of Director of RMIT’s Design & Creative Practice ECP in February this year, the platform has evolved through a series of university-wide and industry consultations to ensure that key areas of expertise have been identified. This collaborative vision has been important to ensure DCP’s voice is diverse, inclusive and forward-looking. 

Design & Creative Practice researchers are inventive, playful, explorative and progressive in their approach to real-world problems that lie at the intersection of digital design, sustainability and material innovation. Focused on critical, agile and interdisciplinary practice-based research, this platform is committed to advancing social and digital innovation, and creating alternative pathways for impact through collaboration. 

During 2017 we have developed strategies to ensure that this key strength area for the university is supported towards taking our research into more impactful and applied contexts. Through aligning with the four priority areas, researchers have been able to tap into initiatives such as the Capability Development Fund (CDF) and ECP Opportunity Fund (EOF) to further develop research opportunities in these areas. 

The DCP ECP has seen the roll out of many exciting initiatives including the Impact Observatory and the Creative Agency, as well as numerous networks such as the HEALTH network, Design for Wellbeing and Network for Social Practice in Art & Design, to name but a few. In December we host our inaugural meeting for the DCP Sector Advisory Board that will ensure we are industry engaged in everything we do. I would like to thank everyone that has supported the implementation of the DCP and look forward to working together on a future for the platform that highlights social practice, digital innovation, impactful translation and sustainability as core objectives.

Many thanks
Larissa Hjorth
DCP Director

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People


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

RMIT staff profile
larissa.hjorth@rmit.edu.au

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).