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Care, Media and Ritual

Creative, social and ethnographic interventions in care

New media is increasingly mediating the role of care and ritual around ageing (and dying). For example, in Japan where a large percentage of the population is elderly, the role of care and ritual is being recalibrated. New media and digital mobile technologies are affording families new ways to care-at-a-distance. What does care, media and ritual look like when replicated by new technologies? 

We’re exploring some of the practices and challenges in thinking through the entanglement of care, media and ritual. Drawing from experts in anthropology, environmental science, digital media, social work and design we explore various scenarios of use (past, present and future) so that we might provide creative, design, social and ethnographic interventions to this real-world problem.

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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).

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.

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 & 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.

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.

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).

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.

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
VC Postdoctoral Fellow, RMIT University
School: Art

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

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

4th Annual MARC Symposium

Redefining Quality in Ageing and Aged Care

Australia’s population is ageing. By researching ageing now and creating an evidence base for all the aspects of life and society affected by ageing we are helping to build a better future for all.

This event provided an opportunity to hear from leaders from across the continuum of ageing and aged care services, from hospitals and aged care to allied health and primary health, to economic and policy contexts. An expert panel also discussed how we define quality in both ageing and aged care.

See the Symposium agenda here.

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CaTPin

Conversation as therapy

CaTPin was the finalist for the 2018 DCP Design Challenge.

The Design Challenge was a joint initiative between Telstra and the Design & Creative Practice ECP which sought to tackle the real-world issue: How do we design for Ageing Well Futures?

CaTPin presented the idea of conversation as therapy’. It aimed to address the issue of loneliness due to a lack of social interaction by developing a discreet, low-cost wearable. Taking the form of a lapel pin or brooch, designed in collaboration with the wearer, the device detects the presence or absence of conversation. It is founded on the premise that loneliness is manifest in a poverty of conversation, hence using the number of words spoken a day as a surrogate marker for social isolation and loneliness.

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Leah Heiss
School: Communication Design

99253494
Personal website
leah.heiss@rmit.edu.au

Leah Heiss is a Melbourne-based designer whose practice is located at the nexus of design, technology and health. Within her projects she collaborates widely — working with experts from nanotechnology, medicine, hearing and manufacturing through to fashion design.

Leah is an academic in the RMIT Interior Design program, a researcher at the RMIT Centre for Advanced Materials and Performance Textiles, and a practicing designer whose work has both commercial and research outcomes. Her design work has been exhibited and presented both locally and globally, and attracted significant local and international press across all platforms. She recently received a Good Design Award – Social Innovation for her design contribution to the IHearYou system with Blamey Saunders Hears.

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.

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.

FireLens

Using mobile phone image-making to improve the safety of planned burning

How do organisations manage images to share information and knowledge? The FireLens project is utilising everyday media practices, peer production, mobile and platform technologies to create an image management system for government organisations. Digital photos and videos are composed of imagery, which can communicate complex visual and logistical information.

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Seth Keen
Lecturer
School: Media and Communication

+61 3 9925 3017
Personal website
seth.keen@rmit.edu.au

Dr Seth Keen is a new media educator, researcher, and designer in the School of Media and Communication. Seth brings together media and co-design practices to engage with contemporary wicked problems. His track record of expertise is in the design of audiovisual media and image-based platforms. He has worked on collaborative projects with academic and industry research partners in the areas of development aid, cultural geography, social services and disaster resilience. Seth is a winner of a prestigious Good Design Australia Award in Social Impact, 2018.

Seth Keen is interested in talking to ARC Linkage collaborators in the areas of Service Design, Computer Science (mobile applications, cloud-based systems) and Bushfire Fuel Management.

Games for Change

Designing games for social change

Games for Change takes a play-focused, iteration-based approach to game design. Our first Games for Social Change Workshop saw participants engage in experimental learning and social engagement surrounding a particular topic: ecosystem problems. Young students learnt about game designing and what makes a good’ game. They considered specific environmental issues and then worked together to design and test a game that would help solve that problem. 

Game design involves a creative and iterative process guided by prototyping, playing and testing and then refining. Through our Games for Change Workshops we’re making the game design process accessible and actionable for any topic and varying participants.

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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.

News and updates

20.06.2018

RMIT Europe Symposium: Rethinking Healthcare for the Future

Exploring how design and technology can transform healthcare for an ageing population. Read more

10.10.2018

Shortlisted teams announced

In September 2018 the DCP launched its first Design Challenge, the Designing for Ageing Well Challenge. This called for interdisciplinary teams to develop innovative ideas that reimagine the future of digital health, social innovation and ageing well. We are excited to announce our four shortlisted teams and their projects here. Read more

17.10.2018

2nd MARC END OF LIFE CARE FORUM

The Melbourne Ageing Research Collaboration (MARC) is hosting the 2nd MARC End of Life Care Forum at RMIT University. Speakers will provide detailed examples of recent research to stimulate ideas. 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

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

19.07.2019

DCP Lectures | Dr Anne Galloway

Cosmopolitical Relations & More-Than-Human Design Ethnography
Monday 19 August, 5:30 – 6:30pm
RMIT City Campus, Building 80.10.16 Read more

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

Facett – Winner 2018 Good Design Award of the Year

The overall winner of the 2018 Good Design Awards, was Blamey Saunders’ Facett hearing aid, which also took out the CSIRO Design Innovation Award and Best in Class for Product Design and Social Impact. The Blamey Saunders hears Facett hearing aid was designed by Professor Peter Blamey, Yaniv Kaufman and RMIT University’s very own Leah Heiss. Read more

People

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.

Emma Witkowski
Games

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.

Jacinthe Flore
Global, Urban and Social Studies

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
Global, Urban & Social Studies

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.

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.

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.

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).

Martyn Hook
Architecture and Urban Design

Dr Martyn Hook is Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor Partnerships in the College of Design and Social Context at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. He also holds the position of Dean at RMIT’s School of Architecture & Design alongside his role as Professor of Architecture. In addition to his work at RMIT Martyn is a director of multi award winning iredale pedersen hook architects, a studio practice based in Melbourne and Perth dedicated to appropriate design of effective sustainable buildings with a responsible environmental and social agenda.

Hook has particular expertise in the implementation of strategic vision in creative practice and driving organisational change through the lens of an integrated scholarship model that links teaching and research. Prior to this appointment he was Acting Dean of the School of Architecture & Design and Acting Head of the School of Art.

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.

Darrin Verhagen
Digital Media

Dr Darrin Verhagen is a senior lecturer in Media and Communication, and runs the Audiokinetic Experiments [AkE] Lab.

Verhagen teaches into the Sound Design specialisation in the Digital Media Program. His work in the AkE Lab uses sound, motion simulators, 4D cinema seating, light and VR to create and audit works that explore the relationship between hearing, vision, movement and vibration. With a background as a soundtrack composer and sound designer for theatre, dance, film and installation, his research interests interrogate the psychophysiology of aesthetic experience, and explore practical applications of such knowledge beyond art.

Ross Mcleod
Architecture and Urban Design

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.

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.

Fleur Watson
Design

Dr Fleur Watson is a curator and editor specialising in architecture and design.

Fleur Watson is the Curator at RMIT Design Hub – a building dedicated to cross-disciplinary design research and experimentation. Fleur has managed and co-curated a diverse range of exhibitions for Design Hub including Las Vegas Studio, Brook Andrew : De Anima, The Future Is Here (in collaboration with London’s Design Museum), 100 Chairs in 100 Days: Martino Gamper and, most recently, Occupied curated with Otherothers. Extending upon her curatorial role, Watson leads the RMIT University design partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria and recently contributed as an invited judge for the NGV’s architecture competition towards the 2016 NGV Summer Architecture Commission. 

In 2013, Watson was an invited architecture and design curator for the National Gallery of Victoria’s Melbourne Now exhibition and co-produced the installation Sampling The City. She also founded Pin-up Architecture & Design Project Space – an independent exhibition space in Collingwood (2011−2014). Watson is a former editor of Monument magazine (2001−2007), the editor of the Edmond & Corrigan monograph Cities of Hope: Remembered/​Rehearsed and, most recently, co-edited an issue of Architectural Design UK (May/​June 2015) with RMIT University’s Innovation Professor of Architecture Leon van Schaik AO. In 2015, she completed a practice-based PhD at RMIT University entitled The Agency of Encounter: Performative curatorial practice for architecture and design.

Gwyllim Jahn
Architecture and Urban Design

Gwyllim Jahn is a Lecturer in the School of Architecture & Urban Design at RMIT in Melbourne where he is currently completing his PhD. His design practice has been internationally awarded and exhibited and is concerned with complex geometry and behavioural design systems, mixed reality environments, autonomous robotic fabrication and creative applications of machine learning.

Hugh Davies
Games

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
Media and Communications

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.

Jenny Kennedy
Design and Social Context

Jenny Kennedy is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Media and Communication at RMIT University, Melbourne. Her research interests cover media practices in everyday life, social discourses around technology use and material culture, especially in domestic contexts. She is a core member of the Technology, Communication and Policy Lab in DERC.

She is currently working on projects around digital inclusion, and AI and automation in home environments.

Leah Heiss
Communication Design

Leah Heiss is a Melbourne-based designer whose practice is located at the nexus of design, technology and health. Within her projects she collaborates widely — working with experts from nanotechnology, medicine, hearing and manufacturing through to fashion design.

Leah is an academic in the RMIT Interior Design program, a researcher at the RMIT Centre for Advanced Materials and Performance Textiles, and a practicing designer whose work has both commercial and research outcomes. Her design work has been exhibited and presented both locally and globally, and attracted significant local and international press across all platforms. She recently received a Good Design Award – Social Innovation for her design contribution to the IHearYou system with Blamey Saunders Hears.

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.