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Her Place Women's Museum Research Project

A discussion on feminism in the 21st century

This project addressed a central problem: how can a women’s museum engage diverse communities and age groups in the twenty-first century, in the context of changing ideas of gender and feminism? 

The basis for the Her Place Museum is the well-documented lack of representation of women in mainstream collecting institutions in Australia and in broader narratives of Australian history. To expand this understanding, RMIT researchers and students collaborated with Her Place and ran two workshops involving 40 key stakeholders. In these workshops, stakeholders developed engagement strategies for young people and people from CALD communities; a communication strategy for cross-generational dialogue; and recommendations for a digital platform.

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Grace McQuilten
Senior Lecturer
School: School of Art

Grace is a published art historian, curator and artist with expertise in contemporary art and design, public art, social practice, social enterprise and community development.

Grace’s research challenges and transforms conventional understandings of the relationship between margin and centre in relation to the cultural economy, contemporary art practice and art history. She has pioneered work on the field of art-based social enterprise in Australia, and has worked extensively in migrant and refugee settlement. She has a multidisciplinary approach that engages with a range of fields including art, design, architecture, sustainability, sociology, business and international development. In addition, through her leadership of the CAST research group, she collaborates with industry and across disciplines to develop research projects that address issues of access, equity and justice.

Grace is a Chief Investigator on the ARC Discovery Project The underworld: outsider artists and the reformulation of Australian art,’ (2018−2020) and the ARC Discovery Project Art-based Social Enterprises and Marginalised Young Peoples Transitions,’ (2017−2019). She has published numerous articles in refereed and unrefereed publications, published creative works in literary journals, authored exhibition catalogues and worked as an editor on local newspapers and engaged widely with local and national media. Grace is the founding CEO & a current Board Director of The Social Studio, a fashion and art based social enterprise working with young people from humanitarian migrant backgrounds in Melbourne.

Alone Together

Understanding the experiences of older people from culturally and linguistic diverse community backgrounds during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everybody, but we know that its impact has been worse for older people who live independently. We also know that if you come from other countries or if English is your second language your social networks can sometimes be further away and physical distancing and lockdowns can make you feel isolated.

As part of the Alone Together project we are inviting older people from culturally and linguistic diverse communities to talk with one of our research team. We would like to know how COVID-19 has impacted your everyday life; how you are coping with these changes; and what type of services have been useful.

These conversations will help us to understand how to provide better support to older people from these communities in the future.

Find out more

Participant Information


Research team: Dr Ruth De Souza (RMIT University); Distinguished Professor Larissa Hjorth (RMIT University); Ms Maria Dimopoulos (Special Adviser, Multicultural Communities, Department of Justice & Community Safety); Associate Professor Bianca Brijnath (NARI); Ms Deidre Ellem (Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) Consumer –Collaborative Pairs Program); Dr Barbara Barbosa Neves (Monash University); Ms Kate Renzenbrink (Bendigo Health and Clinical Reference Lead for the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) and Collaborative Pairs Program; Dr Jenny Waycott (University of Melbourne); Dr Juan Sanin (RMIT University).

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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.

Social Practice Network

Collaborative methods to work with people and across inter-sectoral partnerships

Using human relations as method, social practice connects creative practitioners with communities, industries and institutions to address contemporary social issues. This conversation series, podcast, and symposium aims to develop a regional network across art and design to establish RMIT’s identity as a leader in social practice pedagogy as well as to develop new industry collaborations across Australia. The series explores; collaboration in urban and regional communities, the potential for risk and harm in engagement, and new social economies in art and design.

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Marnie Badham
Senior Research Fellow/ Senior Lecturer
School: School of Art

RMIT staff profile
marnie.badham@rmit.edu.au

With a twenty-five-year history of art and social justice practice Australia and Canada, Marnie’s research sits at the intersection of socially engaged art, community-based research methodologies and the politics of cultural measurement. Marnie is currently focused on a series of creative cartographies registering emotion in public space; expanded curation projects on the aesthetics and politics of food; and a book project The Social Life of Artist Residencies: connecting with people and place not your own. Marnie is Senior Research Fellow at the School of Art following the prestigious award of Vice Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow at RMIT University. Marnie co-leads the Cultural Value Impact Network and is acting Leader for CAST Contemporary Art and Social Transformation research group.

Creative Ecologies

Creative Ecologies is a collaborative investigation into what makes Australia’s creative landscapes tick. The aim is to understand what it takes to build thriving creative communities and then develop tools to foster their growth. 

The goal of the project is to develop a simple way of articulating the complex ways creative ecologies operate. Core to this will be highlighting connections to the wider society and demonstrating value beyond purely economic indicators. The long-term ambition of Creative Ecologies is to expand our understanding and appreciation of creative exertion – and have its central place in Australia’s national character recognised. It will do this by developing and raising awareness of a framework and resource for policymakers, practitioners and advocates. This will be a live, interactive visual map of the nation’s creative ecologies, combining data, case studies and avenues for connection across the sector.

The project began in late 2017 and the arising work and findings including a national survey, one-on-one consultations, interactive workshops were presented at the Engaging For Impact conference in February 2018. Creative Ecologies now has an expanded list of RMIT researchers on board

LEAD RESEARCHER
○Jan van Schaik, Senior Lecturer, School Architecture & Urban Design

SUPPORTING RESEARCHERS
○Marnie Badham, Vice Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Art
○Bronwyn Coate, Senior Lecturer, Economics, Finance and Marketing
○Gretchen Coombs, Postdoctoral Fellow, DCP ECP
○Christine Phillips, Senior Lecturer, Architecture & Urban Design
○Professor Jason Potts, Economics, Finance and Marketing
○Noel Waite, Senior Lecturer, Communication Design
○ Professor Ellie Rennie, Digital Ethnography Research Centre
○Professor Mark Sanderson, Computer Science and Information Technology

You can find out more about CREATIVE ECOLOGIES here.

VIEW THE REPORT

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​Jan van Schaik
Senior Lecturer
School: Architecture and Urban Design

Jan van Schaik is a practising architect at MvS Architects, a researcher and senior lecturer at RMIT Architecture & Urban Design, and a creative and cultural industries strategist at Future Tense. His is the leader of the Culture and Society’ research stream, and a PhD superrvisor of established architects conducting post-professional reflective practice research. Jan is the founder of the WRITING & CONCEPTS lecture and publication series which reflects of the role that writing plays in visual arts practice. Jan is also one of the founders of Creative Ecologies„ a collaborative investigation into what makes Australia’s creative landscapes tick. The aim is to understand what it takes to build thriving creative communities and then develop tools to foster their growth.

Cultural Value and Impact Network (CVIN)

Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Inventive Methods

The Cultural Value and Impact Network (CVIN) is building RMIT University’s expertise in interdisciplinary collaboration and inventive methods for articulating, measuring, evaluating cultural value and social impact. With practitioners and academics from across the University, we are building strong creative teams that use new interdisciplinary methods attuned to cultural complexity and diverse communities to enable high impact research partnerships with the arts and cultural sectors, government and NGO community. We have been mapping the capabilities with our colleagues in Art, Economics, Education, Finance and Marketing, Global Urban Studies, Media and Communication, Design, Architecture, and affiliates of DCP ECP, Global Business and Innovation and Social Change. We have collated existing research methods and industry projects through a survey and interviews to identify existing approaches, drivers, current gaps, and future interdisciplinary methodological possibilities for student training and partnerships.

Find out more about the Cultural Value and Impact Network [CVIN.

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Bronwyn Coate
Senior Lecturer
School: Economics, Finance and Marketing

RMIT staff profile

Dr Bronwyn Coate is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Economics, Finance and Marketing who specialises in cultural economics. Bronwyn’s research involves economic analysis of the arts and creative industries using a range of economic and experimental techniques including approaches from behavioural economics and behavioural science. Areas her research has focused upon include art markets, artists/​cultural labour, and cultural/​creative industries. Much of Bronwyn’s research is undertaken within mult-idisciplinary teams and focused upon addressing issues with policy relevance for the arts and cultural sector. Bronwyn is a member of a number of a number of research groups including the Cultural Value Impact Network (CVIN), Kinomatics Research Group, Behavioural Business Lab (BBL) and Placemaking Economics Research Group. She is also the current Secretary/​Treasurer of the Association for Cultural Economics International (ACEI).


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.


Kit Wise
Professor
School: School of Art

99252219
RMIT staff profile
kit.wise@rmit.edu.au

After graduating from Oxford University and the Royal College of Art with an MFA in Sculpture, Kit Wise received the Wingate Rome Scholarship in Fine Art in 1999, to study at the British School at Rome. He moved to Australia in 2002 and completed his PhD at Monash University in 2012.

Wise has held senior educational leadership and leadership and governance roles since 2008. He is a Board Member for Deans and Directors of Creative Arts (DDCA) and Deputy Chair of the Executive Council of the Australian Council of University Art and Design Schools (ACUADS).

He is Professor of Fine Art and Dean of the School of Art at the RMIT University; and an Adjunct Professor at Monash University and the University of Tasmania. He is represented by Sarah Scout Presents, Melbourne and continues to practice as an artist, art writer and curator.

Design and Social Innovation in Asia-Pacific Network

Capacity building in the Asia-Pacific region

How does design accompany and accelerate economic growth? Economies within the Asia-Pacific region are facing challenges of balancing economic development with social and cultural sustainability. 

Design and Social Innovation in Asia-Pacific (DESIAP) is a learning platform, a community of practice and a network for collaboration and ongoing knowledge sharing for various practitioners, researchers, communities, and professionals working in the Design and Social Innovation (D&SI) space in this region. We facilitate rich exchanges on diverse, culturally respectful and contextually specific approaches to real-world problems. 

Visit the DESIAP website.

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Yoko Akama
Associate Professor, Communication Design Cluster
School: Communication Design

+61 3 9925 2805
RMIT staff profile
yoko.akama@rmit.edu.au

Yoko Akama is a design researcher at RMIT University, Australia. She co-leads the Design and Social Innovation in Asia-Pacific network and Design+Ethnography+Futures research program at RMIT

Her Japanese heritage has embedded a Zen-informed relational practice to carve a tao’ (path) in design and has published extensively on this topic. This practice is shaped by working with regional communities in Australia in strengthening their resilience for disaster preparedness, and with Indigenous Nations enact their sovereignty and self-determination. She is an Adjunct Fellow of a ecosystem innovation studio, Re:public Japan, and Visiting Fellow at the Centre of Excellence in Media Practice, Bournemouth University. She serves on several editorial boards of international journals, and conference review committees. She is a recipient of several major research grants in Australia and the UK and winner of the prestigious Good Design Australia Awards in 2014.

Designing for social futures

How might we live and die well?

We interrogate how we might embed care in all facets of formal and informal, digital and material context to create new pathways towards inclusive and just futures in this rapidly ageing, socially precarious, and digitally networked era. 

In 2018, we initiated transdisciplinary, cross-sectoral, and co-creative engagements to identify challenges and opportunities for living-and-dying-well-futures beyond traditional medicine and healthcare interventions. The initial engagements included the Designing for Social Futures of Ageing Communities and Places in Japan, and the Rethinking Health: Thick Data for Ageing Well workshop in Barcelona. Building on these, we continue to explore non-disciplinary-bounding tools and methods for research and practice focused on care and wellbeing across the world.

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Jaz Hee-jeong Choi
Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow
School: Design and Social Context

Personal website
jaz.hee-jeong.choi@rmit.edu.au

Dr Jaz Hee-jeong Choi is a Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow at the Digital Ethnography Research Centre at RMIT. Previously, she was a Founding Member and the Director of the QUT Urban Informatics Research Lab, a transdisciplinary research group exploring and designing at the intersection of people, places, and technologies. She also founded the SIGCHI FoodCHI Network. 

She is an advocate for transdisciplinary research, carefully balancing creativity and criticality. Her approach to urban sustainability recognises play’ as the core of transformative interactions in cities as complex techno-social networks. She builds on this to explore how various forms of digital and playful experiences are designed and evolve in different cultural contexts. Her current research explores designing with and for care for liveable and equitable urban futures across three inter-related domains: wellbeing and ageing; impactful research methods, and; co-creative urban transformation. 

She has collaborated with leading international researchers, published in books and journals across various disciplines, and given invited talks at major international conferences including the inaugural Global Social Economy Forum in 2013 and the opening keynote at the 2010 UNESCO Creative Cities Conference.

Evaluating Design for Social Innovation

A case study for culturally grounded evaluation

Design always matters, but designing for impact changes lives. For impact to be felt in diverse cultural contexts, we need to understand how cultures need and value design. Design for Social Innovation (DSI) is an approach for working on complex social and environmental challenges. It uses design principles to explore different ways of understanding and responding to those challenges.

Our work helps ensure that projects are of the greatest value to the communities that they are undertaken with, and that researchers are better able to communicate the impact of their projects.

View the report here.

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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.

Rainbow Ranges

Co-creating digital tools for vitalism with LGBTQI+ youth

This pilot study set out to disrupt the dominant understandings of queer youth centred on narratives of vulnerability and distress.

Working with LGBTQI+ youth based in regional Victoria, Rainbow Ranges investigated how these young people understood and experienced vitality and aliveness through a series of creative arts-based workshops. The project team and young people co-created a concept for digital intervention to promote a sense of belonging, foster social connections, and improve the wellbeing of LGBTIQ+ identifying individuals and communities.

PROJECT FLYER

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Anne Harris
Associate Professor and Principal Research Fellow, Design and Social Context
School: Education

+61 3 9925 4459
RMIT staff profile
anne.harris@rmit.edu.au

Dr Anne M. Harris, PhD is an Associate Professor and Vice Chancellor’s Principal Research Fellow at RMIT University, and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2017 – 2021) studying intercultural creativity. Anne is an Honorary Research Fellow at University of Nottingham (UK) and an Adjunct Professor at Monash University (Australia).

Their research is in the areas of gender, creativity, diversity, performance and emerging digital ethnographies. Anne is a native New Yorker and has worked professionally as a playwright, teaching artist and journalist in the USA and Australia. They have authored or co-authored over 60 articles and 13 books on creativity, arts, and non-dominant culture formations, the latest being Queering Families/​Schooling Publics: Keywords (with Stacy Holman Jones, Sandra Faulkner, and Eloise Brook, Routledge 2017). Anne is the creator and series editor of the Palgrave book series Creativity, Education and the Arts, and recently completed an Australian Research Council DECRA on the commodification of creativity.


Troy Innocent
VC Research Fellow
School: School of Design

Personal website
troy.innocent@rmit.edua.u

Dr Troy Innocent is an artist, academic, designer, coder, educator, and VC Senior Research Fellow at RMIT University, where his creative practice research explores the city as platform for play through an inventive blend of live art, game design and public art. Over the past ten years he has explored the lived experience of cities through mixed realities; situating his work in Melbourne, Bristol, Barcelona, Istanbul, Ogaki, Sydney and Hong Kong. As Melbourne Knowledge Fellow, Innocent expanded his urban codemaking’ practice for situating play in cities to develop Playable City Melbourne, a three-year project bringing together an interdisciplinary urban play community. He is currently artistic director of 64 Ways of Being, a playable city-wide platform for augmented reality experiences supported by a Creative State Commission.


Katherine Johnson
Professor
School: Social and Global Studies

Personal website
katherine.johnson2@rmit.edu.au

Professor Katherine Johnson is Director of the Social and Global Studies Centre at RMIT University.

Katherine has been a visiting professor in gender studies at the University of Sydney, Australia (2007), in social psychology and psychosocial interventions at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (2009−2012), in participatory-action research and LGBT health inequalities at the Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo, Brazil (2016) and the Universidad de Colima, Mexico (2016). She is currently Visiting Professor at the University of Brighton, UK where she previously established the Division of Applied Psychology & Psychotherapy and the Centre for Research Excellence, Transforming Sexuality and Gender.

Her research is in the field of gender, sexuality and mental health, with specialisms in critical community psychology and psychosocial studies, qualitative, participatory and visual research methods, and interdisciplinary research about LGBTQ lives. Her research collaborations and partnerships focus on improving the lives of LGBTQ+ people and have impacted on social policy and practice, particularly in the field of suicide prevention, mental health and end of life care.

Katherine is an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, Past Chair of the Psychology of Women and Equalities Section, and a member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). She is on the Editorial Board of Feminism and Psychology and Feminist Encounters: A journal of critical studies in culture and politics. She is also series editor with Professor Kath Browne (Maynooth, Ireland) of the Routledge book series, Transforming LGBTQ Lives. Katherine has served as a panel member for the ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund on global mental health, UK and the Irish Research Council.

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Son Vivienne
Education

Son Vivienne is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at Creative Agency and the Digital Ethnography Research Centre at RMIT. Their principal expertise is digital self-representation, online activism, queer identity, and rhetorical strategies/​feminist practices for speaking and listening across difference. Son is also involved in community development and arts as an activist, workshop facilitator and media-maker. Son is author of Digital Identity and Everyday Activism: Sharing Private Stories with Networked Publics (Palgrave Macmillan) and co-​author/​co-​editor of Negotiating Digital Citizenship: Control, Contest, Culture (Rowman & Littlefield).

Son curates several collective storytelling websites for queer and gender-diverse communities and has over twenty years of multi-media production and distribution experience. As an award winning writer/​director/​producer of drama and documentaries, they tackled subjects as diverse as youth suicide; drug cultures in Vietnamese communities; and lesbian personal columns. Their film work includes multi-lingual (Vietnamese-English and Adnyamathanha-English) and multi-modal (animation, micro-docs, digital storytelling and interactive web-platforms) projects that reflect their comparative, cross-cultural and critical approaches to communication and storytelling.

Yoko Akama
Communication Design

Yoko Akama is a design researcher at RMIT University, Australia. She co-leads the Design and Social Innovation in Asia-Pacific network and Design+Ethnography+Futures research program at RMIT

Her Japanese heritage has embedded a Zen-informed relational practice to carve a tao’ (path) in design and has published extensively on this topic. This practice is shaped by working with regional communities in Australia in strengthening their resilience for disaster preparedness, and with Indigenous Nations enact their sovereignty and self-determination. She is an Adjunct Fellow of a ecosystem innovation studio, Re:public Japan, and Visiting Fellow at the Centre of Excellence in Media Practice, Bournemouth University. She serves on several editorial boards of international journals, and conference review committees. She is a recipient of several major research grants in Australia and the UK and winner of the prestigious Good Design Australia Awards in 2014.

Philip Samartzis
School of Art

Philip is an Associate Professor within RMIT School of Art, and leader of the Sound Art and Audio Culture Lab.

Associate Professor Samartzis is a sound artist, scholar and curator with a specific interest in the social and environmental conditions informing remote wilderness regions and their communities. His art practice is based on deep fieldwork where he deploys complex sound recording technology to capture natural, anthropogenic and geophysical forces. The recordings are used within various exhibition, performance and publication outcomes to demonstrate the transformative effects of sound within a fine art context. He is particularly interested in concepts of perception, immersion and embodiment in order to provide audiences with sophisticated encounters of space and place. Philip is the recipient of three Australian Antarctic Division Arts Fellowships (2009, 2015, 2020), which he is using to document the effects of extreme climate and weather events in Eastern Antarctica, Macquarie Island, and the Southern Ocean over a 12-year period.

Esther Charlesworth
Architecture and Urban Design

Esther Charlesworth is a Professor in the School of Architecture and Design at RMIT University, and the Academic Director of the RMIT Master of Disaster, Design and Development degree [MoDDD]. She is also the founding Director of Architects without Frontiers (AWF). Since 2002, AWF has undertaken over 40 health, education and social infrastructure projects in 12 countries for vulnerable communities, and has been described by ABC radio broadcaster Phillip Adams as destined to develop into one of the greater forces of good on this battered planet’. 

Charlesworth has published seven books on the theme of social justice and architecture, including: Humanitarian Architecture (2014) and Sustainable Housing Reconstruction (2015).