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Writers Immersion and Cultural Exchange

Changing the stories we tell and listen to

Perspectives shift and networks expand when writers step out of their comfort zone and into unfamiliar cultural spaces where they can connect and share ideas with other writers. Writers Immersion and Cultural Exchange (WrICE) program contributes to an Asia-Pacific community of writers in a collaborative way, influencing broader societal perspectives and changing the stories we tell and listen to. It provides a framework for intercultural and intergenerational dialogue — the exchange and furthering of knowledge, creativity, skills and cultural perspectives. 

Visit the WrICE website.

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Francesca Rendle-Short
Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Writing and Publishing
School: Media and Communication

+61 3 9925 9052
Personal website
francesca.rendle-short@rmit.edu.au

Francesca Rendle-Short is Associate Dean Writing and Publishing in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. She is co-founder of the non/​fictionLab research group and co-director of WrICE (Writers Immersion and Cultural Exchange). She has a Doctor of Creative Arts from the University of Wollongong, was a recipient of an International Nonfiction Writers Fellowship to the University of Iowa, and was showcased in the Outstanding Field at Victoria College of the Arts, University of Melbourne.

Francesca Rendle-Short is an award winning novelist, memoirist and essayist. Her books include Bite Your Tongue, Imago, and The Near and The Far; also the forthcoming 100 Love Letters, and No Notes (This is writing). Her artwork is in the collection of the State Library of Queensland.


David Carlin
Professor of Creative Writing, Co-Director of the non/fictionLab, Co-Director WrICE
School: Media and Communication

9225 3934
Personal website
david.carlin@rmit.edu.au

David Carlin is a writer, creative artist and scholar. His books include The Abyssinian Contortionist, Our Father Who Wasn’t There, and (forthcoming) The After-Normal for Rose Metal Press, and 100 Atmospheres: Studies in Scale and Wonder for Open Humanities Press. David’s essays, plays, radio features, exhibitions, documentary and short films have won awards and featured at numerous international festivals. He co-edited a cross-cultural anthology of Asian and Australian writers, The Near and the Far (with Francesca Rendle-Short, Scribe 2016) and Performing Digital (Routledge, 2015), about the Circus Oz Living Archive project he led. Co-President of the NonfictioNOW Conference, the world’s leading conference in literary nonfiction, David is a Professor at RMIT University, Australia, where he co-directs WrICE and non/​fictionLab.

Creative Agency

Networking creative change-makers

Creative Agency is a community of creative makers, academics, industry professionals and organisations committed to arts, education and social change. The Agency is both a virtual and material co-share workspace in and beyond Melbourne’s urban centre where creativity finds expression through co-designed research, events and cross-sector partnerships.

Visit the Creative Agency website.

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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.

The Exchange at Knowledge Market

Prototyping community engagement in Melbourne’s Docklands Precinct

Knowledge Market is a creative hub for sharing ideas. Since its inception in 2016, it has hosted inspirational mentors and facilitators and fostered many new creative projects and partnerships. The Exchange at Knowledge Market is the next phase in the evolution of this innovation space. 

The Exchange explores the concept of community and new ways of understanding the shared urban environment through a curated series of public workshops, exhibitions, forums and community events. This year-long living lab is a space created by the community for the community. 

Visit the Knowledge Market website.

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Ross Mcleod
Program Manager, Design Innovation and Technology
School: Architecture and Urban Design

+61 3 9925 3493
RMIT staff profile
ross.mcleod@rmit.edu.au

Ross McLeod is Program Manager of Design Innovation and Technology at RMIT University, Melbourne. Over the past twenty years Ross has worked as both a designer and as an academic, completing a wide range of one-off and production furniture designs, interior architecture projects, exhibitions designs and sculptural works both locally and internationally.

As a designer, educator and academic he is committed to the development and realisation of design projects, teaching practices and research activities that extend the boundaries of contemporary design and the sensibilities that surround it. His experience in the fields of product design, furniture design, interior design and architecture have been instrumental in the establishment of a creative practice that spans the design disciplines.

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.

The HEALTH Network

Interdisciplinary health research

The HEALTH Network brings together collaborators from the social sciences, humanities, medicine, arts, and science and technology. It will draw on contributions from a wide range of academic researchers, health practitioners, health service users, and early career researchers. HEALTH aims to ignite creative connections and collaborations among members.

Visit the HEALTH Network website.

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Jacinthe Flore
ECR Convenor, The HEALTH Network
School: Global, Urban and Social Studies

+61 3 9925 5086
RMIT staff profile
jacinthe.flore@rmit.edu.au

Dr Jacinthe Flore is an early career researcher and the Co-Convenor of the HEALTH Network. Jacinthe is based in the Health, Society and Medicine Research Program at RMIT University. She writes in the intersections of technology, medicine, psychiatry and history. Jacinthe has published internationally on a diverse range of topics, including pharmaceuticals and subjectivity, histories of psychiatric concepts, and more broadly on the history of medical discourses of sexuality.


Renata Kokanovic
Convener, The HEALTH Network; Professor
School: Global, Urban & Social Studies

RMIT staff profile
renata.kokanovic@rmit.edu.au

Professor Renata Kokanovic’s works at the intersections of health, society and medicine, with a particular focus on interdisciplinary mental health research.​She combines empirical research with interdisciplinary theoretical and methodological scholarship while collaborating with industry partners and health care users to facilitate greater understanding of lived experiences of health and illness.

She co-founded Healthtalk Australia, a digital repository of health and illness narrative accounts designed to support people experiencing ill health, and inform health and social care delivery and policy.

Being Wiradjuri Together

Co-designing self determination

What does it mean to be non-Indigenous and design with, and in response to, Indigenous peoples and knowledge? How can design be of substantial, long-lasting benefit to Indigenous people?

Being Wiradjuri Together is about Wiradjuri people who are self-determining — renewing cultural practices and expressing what it means to be Wiradjuri. This is catalyzed through co-designing with Wiradjuri to create various mechanisms — print, video, social media, digital platform and community events — to connect, share and be Wiradjuri together.

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Peter West
Lecturer, Communication Design
School: Media and Communication

RMIT staff profile
peter.west@rmit.edu.au

Peter West is a Communication Design lecturer and PhD candidate. He has a diverse teaching practice which moves across areas such as communications strategy, art direction and design for social change. He draws upon practical industry experience as both a freelance art director and copy writer within both multinational communications agencies and health related communications strategies within the not for profit sector. 

His research focuses on ways in which Non-Indigenous creative practitioners can better understand their subject position in relation to Indigenous sovereignty. West is as a chief investigator on Sovereign Weaving Project: Practicing Sovereign Relations through Weaving a Treaty’. The project seeks to support Indigenous Nations to practice their sovereignty, through the realisation of a woven treaty as the conclusion of their diplomatic responsibilities.

GAHSPH Research Network

Facilitating the improvement of refugee housing design

Never has the demand been so urgent for development and research into refugee housing design. The Global Humanitarian Shelter and Public Health Sectors (GAHSPH) Research Network focuses on innovations in refugee housing design, which can radically improve and ensure better health outcomes for refugees worldwide. The significance of this Network lies in facilitating research collaboration between the shelter, education and public health sectors.

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Esther Charlesworth
Professor
School: Architecture and Urban Design

9225 2876
RMIT staff profile
esther.charlesworth@rmit.edu.au

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).

Creative Citizenship

New ways to connect young people to the world

Creative Citizenship, in partnership with local cultural organisations, is encouraging youth to learn in inspiring environments. 

The project explores:
 — learning outside of the classroom;
 — social inclusion through youth-generated teaching and learning materials; and
 — improving digital literacies and social capital of young people through the creative exchange. 

Visit the Creative Citizenship website.

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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.

Design for Wellbeing Network

Working to improve the design of healthcare environments

What are the gaps in healthcare design? Focusing specifically on hospitals and other formal healthcare settings, the Design for Wellbeing Network (DfW) aims to improve the understanding of how people experience these services and environments. The group of international and interdisciplinary researchers are working towards improvements in these experiences through rigorous qualitative and practice-based research.

The DfW is committed to deploying their research through partnerships with external organisations such as hospital groups, designers, architects and government.

Visit the DfW website.

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Shanti Sumartojo
Vice Chancellor's Research Fellow
School: Media and Communication

Personal website
shanti.sumartojo@rmit.edu.au

Dr Shanti Sumartojo is a Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow, based in the Digital Ethnography Research Centre in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University. 

She collaborates with a range of national and international colleagues in academia and the public sector, including industry-partnered applied projects, most recently in Australia with Exemplar Health, the City of Melbourne and Lendlease. Sumartojo’s research explores how people experience their spatial surroundings, including both material and immaterial aspects, with a particular focus on the built environment, using design and sensory ethnography and creative practice methodologies.

Developing Game Regions

Exploring regional growth in game cultures and gaming industries in Vietnam

The Developing Games Regions project aims to establish games industry connections and research partners within SE Asia-Oceania. As a thriving sector in SE Asia, this project explores gaming industries in Vietnam. Over 33.9 million people play games in Vietnam, but little is known about these game cultures. RMIT is in a unique position to cultivate enduring relationships with Vietnamese gaming industries as research partners, and cross-institutional scholarship by connecting with leading games experts in SE Asia. Strengthening relationships between RMIT Melbourne/​Vietnam, local industries and regional expertise enhances the potential to address the Vietnamese games industry as an emerging market for production and play.

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Emma Witkowski
Senior Lecturer, Digital Design Cluster
School: Games

+61 3 9925 4756
Personal website
emma.witkowski@rmit.edu.au

Dr Emma Witkowski is the Director for Playable Media and a Lecturer in the School of Media and Communication. As the Program Manager for the Bachelor of Games Design degree, Witkowski teaches theoretical units on Game Cultures and Game Studies.

Witkowski received her PhD in Game Studies in 2012 from the IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark, taking a qualitative exploration of networked high performance play, considered through a lens of sociology and phenomenology, sports and game studies. She has been working in the field of computer game cultures since 2005, the same year she co-founded the Danish state and privately funded initiative Letzplay, a project aimed at increasing young women’s access to ICT’s and computer gaming knowledge.

Her current research looks at various aspects of computer game cultures, including high performance networked teamplay, esports, gender and games and serious leisure practices. She has written and presented on topics such as identity and play, livestreaming and spectatorship, Mega-LANs, running aesthetics, and the phenomenology of high-performance networked teams.

Social Play Tool Kit

Encouraging social play and games literacies in the classroom.

Play is a source of culture, a form of expression, and a creative way of engaging with the world. It is a crucial human ability for adaptation and expression. 

In collaboration with our research partners and young people, we have developed a Social Play Tool Kit that encourages social play and game literacies in the classroom. Exploring socially-engaged gameplay and creativity across digital and material contexts, these tools are freely downloadable PDF’s for use in a variety of Primary School age learning environments.

INTRODUCTION TO THE SOCIAL PLAY PROJECT

CLASSROOM POSTERS

CLASSROOM CASE STUDY GAME PAMPHLETS

SOCIAL PLAY TOOL KIT

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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).

The Hydrating Bungaribee

Rethinking waste water recovery

The Hydrating Bungarribee project brought together varied expertise from across different schools to creatively reimagine how public open space can transform waste water to contribute to positive recreational, environmental and social outcomes in the face of increasingly extreme climatic events.

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Anton James
Professor of Landscape Architecture
School: Architecture and Urban Design

Personal website
anton.james@rmit.edu.au

Professor Anton James, who trained as a landscape architect and visual artist, has over a period of 20 years designed projects in Australia, Europe and the USA. He has won numerous awards and competitions, both in Australia and overseas. His work continues to focus on design as a means to explore a site’s spatial, environmental and material tension for their potential to enrich the urban experience. 

As a working director of JMD design, Anton’s focus on design and innovation continues to contribute to the quality of the built environment. In 2011 he was the recipient of the Australian Medal for Landscape Architecture for the Paddington Reservoir.

News and updates

18.05.2018

Being Wiradjuri Together – Winner 2018 Good Design Award, Social Impact

An interactive Wiradjuri-RMIT project is among the winners in the social impact category at the 2018 Good Design Awards. Read more

18.05.2018

Centre for Innovative Justice Perpetrator Service Mapping – 2018 Good Design Award, Communication Design Print

RMIT’s Centre of Innovative Justice worked with ThinkPlace to transform a complex dataset which maps the roles and responsibilities of all government and non-government agencies and service providers who have contact with perpetrators of family violence in Victoria into a stunning set of visualisations. Read more

21.03.2018

WrICE Program Partners with Leading Asian Literary Centre

RMIT’s Writers Immersion and Cultural Exchange Program (WrICE), now in its fifth year, will partner with the Jakarta Post Writing Center in 2018. Read more

15.06.2018

Doing Digital Methods – Workshop Summary

In June 2018, the DCP ECP and Ritsumeikan University (RU) jointly hosted a workshop at Ritsumeikan University (Japan) on interdisciplinary and critical creative methods, within mixed reality contexts, when considering social innovative futures. Read more

13.02.2018

EFI Conference 2018

At Engaging for Impact 2018 Conference, RMIT’s eight Enabling Capability Platforms will share their knowledge and demonstrate how their expertise can address the world’s most critical issues. The Social Change ECP and Design and Creative Practice ECP, along with Biomed ECP, have curated The Future of Care stream. Read more

People

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.

Anne Harris
Education

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.

Francesca Rendle-Short
Media and Communication

Francesca Rendle-Short is Associate Dean Writing and Publishing in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. She is co-founder of the non/​fictionLab research group and co-director of WrICE (Writers Immersion and Cultural Exchange). She has a Doctor of Creative Arts from the University of Wollongong, was a recipient of an International Nonfiction Writers Fellowship to the University of Iowa, and was showcased in the Outstanding Field at Victoria College of the Arts, University of Melbourne.

Francesca Rendle-Short is an award winning novelist, memoirist and essayist. Her books include Bite Your Tongue, Imago, and The Near and The Far; also the forthcoming 100 Love Letters, and No Notes (This is writing). Her artwork is in the collection of the State Library of Queensland.

Julienne Van Loon
Media and Communication

Dr Julienne van Loon is a Vice Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow with non/​fictionLab, and a leading Australian novelist and essayist. Her first novel, Road Story, won The Australian/Vogel’s award in 2005 and was shortlisted for the WA Premier’s Award for Fiction and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best First Book Award (Asia and Pacific). She has held residencies at various international arts organisations and universities, including the University of Iowa, where she was sponsored by the Paul and Hauling Engle Fund to take part in the International Writing Program in 2017. van Loon co-edits the leading scholarly Creative Writing journal TEXT, and is a peer-assessor for the Australia Council for the Arts. Her forthcoming essay collection, The Thinking Woman, includes interviews with key women thinkers from the Australia, Europe and the United States. Her scholarly research interests include the role of play in research and creative practice.

Helen Rayment
RMIT Collections & Venues

Helen Rayment is RMIT Gallery’s Acting Director and Senior Exhibition Coordinator. She is an experienced arts administrator and curator with a demonstrated history of working across the art museum sector and in higher education. She has a Master of Arts in Visual Art from Monash University. In 2018 she was awarded a professional development grant by the Australia Council to further her significant work in Asia.

Kate Rhodes
Design

Kate Rhodes is a curator at RMIT Design Hub, a new, purpose-built, 10-storey home for design exhibitions, programs and research in Melbourne. Kate has been creative director of the State of Design Festival, and curator of its Design for Everyone program. She has worked as adjunct curator at Object: Australian Centre for Craft and Design, and as editor of Artichoke, an architecture and design magazine. She has also worked as a curator at the National Design Centre and at Craft Victoria, and was assistant curator of Photography and Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Victoria for five years. She completed a Masters of Art Curatorship at the University of Melbourne in 2002, and a Masters of Design Research in RMIT’s Faculty of Architecture and Design in 2010. Kate is a founding member of the Office for Good Design, and is currently an editorial advisor at ARTAND Australia magazine.

Leon De Bruin
Education

Leon de Bruin, is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at RMIT University. He is an educator, musician, composer and researcher. He has extensive research work and has authored over 20 peer reviewed articles and book chapters relating to meta-cognition, creativity, performing arts/​artistic practices, STEM/STEAM, creativity in education and the arts. He has been the recipient of the Monash University Vice-Chancellors commendation for excellence (2017), and the ASME Callaway Award (2017) and the Monash University Postgraduate Publications Award (2016).

He works in the RMIT Creative Agency Research Lab, where he brings extensive qualitative and qualitative research experience, expertise in creativity in educational, environments, inderdisciplinarity, creativity and STEAM education, as well as vast educational experience, knowledge and connectivity to Australian Schools.

Tania Lewis
Media and Communication

Dr Tania Lewis is the Director of the Digital Ethnography Research Centre and is a Professor in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University. An ex-medical practitioner, her research critically engages with the politics of lifestyle, sustainability and consumption, and with global media and digital cultures.

Lewis has published over 50 journal articles and chapters and is the author of Smart Living: Lifestyle Media and Popular Expertise, and co-author of Telemodernities: Television and Transforming Lives in Asia, and Digital Ethnography: Principles and Practices. She is also the editor and co-editor of four collections with Routledge including Ethical Consumption: A Critical Introduction and Green Asia: Ecocultures, Sustainable Lifestyles and Ethical Consumption. She is currently writing a book for Bloomsbury Press entitled Digital Food: From Paddock to Platform.

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.

Larissa Hjorth
Enabling Capability Platforms

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).

Marnie Badham
Art

Dr Marnie Badham is a socially-engaged artist-researcher in Canada and Australia. Her participatory methodologies engage communities in questions of place, identity and cultural value. As Vice Chancellor’s Post Doctoral Research Fellow, School of Art, her current research The Social Life of Artist Residencies: engaging with people and places not your own examines themes of hospitality, exchange and dislocation. Marnie lectures in Art in Public Space, publishes her scholarly writing extensively, and practices through residencies, exhibition curation and community-based collaborations. Her 2015 book Making Culture Count: the politics of cultural measurement (Palgrave) extended her doctoral research on democratised forms of evaluation.

Olivia Guntarik
Media and Communication

Dr Olivia Guntarik is interested in the relationship between people, places and technologies. She has co-designed and curated place-based cultural walking trails with Indigenous community groups, using mobile apps as self-guided digital tour guides, and as a way to commemorate sites of historical significance. She has led numerous industry-based research projects that bring together writers, artists, designers and digital experts with geographers, sociologists, ethnographers and educators. She was awarded two distinguished Creative Victoria funding initiatives, co-supported through the Department of Education and Training under the Virtual Creative Professionals in Schools program, to provide schools in rural and regional locations with the highest quality creative and digital learning experiences. Research outcomes included the development of interactive mobile apps and site-specific public installations, providing new ways to document and understand user engagement, participation and impact.

Shanti Sumartojo
Media and Communication

Dr Shanti Sumartojo is a Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow, based in the Digital Ethnography Research Centre in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University. 

She collaborates with a range of national and international colleagues in academia and the public sector, including industry-partnered applied projects, most recently in Australia with Exemplar Health, the City of Melbourne and Lendlease. Sumartojo’s research explores how people experience their spatial surroundings, including both material and immaterial aspects, with a particular focus on the built environment, using design and sensory ethnography and creative practice methodologies.

Jaz Hee-jeong Choi
Design & Social Context

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.

Nella Themelios
Design

Nella Themelios is a curator, writer and producer. She currently holds the position of Creative Producer at Design Hub, RMIT and is also the Chair of the Board of Victorian artist run initiative, Bus Projects. Previous to this she was the Coordinating Curator at Craft Victoria, the peak body for craft and design in Melbourne. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Cultural Studies) and a Graduate Certificate (Art History) from the University of Melbourne and is currently completing a Masters degree in Curatorship at the same institution. She has written numerous catalogue essays and produced projects across a variety of disciplines. Recent curatorial projects include: Signature Style (2013) (a NETS touring exhibition); Dolci & Kabana: #thathautecouturefeeling (with Ricarda Bigolin) (2013); Bless: No 38 Windowgarden (2011); Play with your Food (with Drew Pettifer) (21010÷11), The Sound Playground (with Amelia Barikin) (2010); Chicks on Speed: Viva la Craft! (2009).

Laurene Vaughan
Design

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.