As part of the inaugural Engaging for Impact conference, the DCP ECP and Telstra ran a concept-generation workshop which brought together expertise around the creative, social, cultural, educational and ethnographic dimensions of technology and care to provide greater insights into practices now and in the future. The workshop considered some of the challenges and opportunities in the emergent fields of locative media, intergenerational care-at-a-distance, friendly surveillance and assisted living. Much of the discussion encircled key paradoxes around the following concepts:
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).
Over the past few years, studies internationally have identified the power of the arts to improve wellbeing and health. At RMIT, we specialise at arts-based, codesign and ethnographic approaches to address social, ecological and health challenges. The DCP HDR Working Group on Wellbeing and Belonging are developing short term and long term projects around understanding HDR wellbeing and developing human-centred approaches to digital innovation. It seeks to address issues around the 2020 crisis (bushfires, climate change and COVID-19) and how we can empower HDRs for sustaining futures.
Within the working group, there is expertise in terms of ethnographic, user-experience methods, co-design frameworks, digital media curriculum and evaluation. This working group is researching the role of social and digital innovation for addressing impact of social isolation and associated emotional distress on wellbeing of HDR students during the COVID-19 crisis. The findings of this study will be deployed for future strategies for HDR students wellbeing.
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.
Catherine Gomes is an Associate Professor in RMIT University’s School of Media and Communication. Catherine is an ethnographer whose work contributes to the understanding of the evolving migration, mobility and digital media nexus. As a migration and mobility scholar, Catherine specialises on the social, cultural and communication spaces of transient migrants, especially international students, their wellbeing, their social groups and their digital engagements. Catherine’s work covers the themes of identity, ethnicity, race, memory and gender. She is a specialist on the Asia-Pacific with Australia and Singapore being significant fieldwork sites. Catherine has experience in mixed methods and interdisciplinary research.
Catherine’s work on transient migration and digital technology is advancing work on migration and mobility because of the transient-digital nexus she pioneers. Moreover, as founding editor of Transitions: Journal of Transient Migration Migration (Intellect), editor of the Culture, Media and Communication in Migrant Societies book series (Amsterdam University Press) and lab leader of the Migration and Digital Media Research Lab housed in the Digital Ethnography Research Centre (DERC), Catherine facilitates intellectual discussions with the aim of generating practical outcomes to address and assist policymakers and stakeholders interested in transient migration and international mobility.
Professor Ingrid Richardson has been teaching, supervising and researching in the fields of digital media, mobile media and games for over twenty years. She has a broad interest in the human-technology relation and has published widely on the phenomenology of games and mobile media, digital ethnography and innovative research methods, the relation between technology use and wellbeing, and the cultural effects of urban screens, wearable technologies, virtual and augmented reality, remix culture and web-based content creation and distribution. Ingrid has led or co-led 14 funded research projects, the most recent being an ARC DP [Games of Being Mobile] with Larissa Hjorth. She is contributing co-editor of Studying Mobile Media (Routledge, 2011) and co-author of Gaming in Social, Locative and Mobile Media (Palgrave, 2014), Ambient Play (MIT, 2020), Understanding Games and Game Cultures (Sage, 2020), Exploring Minecraft: Ethnographies of Play and Creativity (Palgrave, forthcoming), and Mobile Media and the Urban Night (Palgrave, forthcoming). Ingrid brings ten years’ experience in university-level HDR management and during this time has actively championed and supported creative methods and practice-led postgraduate research. Over the past five years she has also developed a passion for teaching critical web literacy skills to undergraduate students across all disciplines.
Natalie Hendry is a Vice Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Media and Communications. Her research explores everyday social media and digital technology practices in the context of critical approaches to education, mental health, media, wellbeing, youth studies and policy. This brings together her experience prior to academia, working in community education, secondary schools and hospital settings, and consulting for health organisations and industry. Using digital ethnography and creative workshop methods, her postdoctoral research explores emerging and potential online opportunities to enhance digital outreach and media-based support for young people whose parents or adult family members are experiencing mental ill-health.
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.
Dr Ruth De Souza (FACN) is a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at RMIT, based in the School of Art and DCP Research Platform. She is a nurse, academic and a community-engaged researcher in gender, race, health and digital technologies. Ruth’s Fellowship will engage health professionals in finding new ways to understand, co-design and implement sustainable cultural safety initiatives in a range of health contexts in response to health inequities.
Prior to moving to Australia in 2013, Ruth worked at AUT University where she taught in the School of Nursing, led the Bachelor of Health Promotion, and was a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Asian and Migrant Health Research. Since her arrival in Australia, Ruth has undertaken a wide range of roles, including leading an undergraduate nursing program at Monash University’s Berwick campus; spearheading a unique community-engaged joint research appointment with North Richmond Community Health exploring how wearables and other digital technologies are perceived by people from culturally and linguistically different backgrounds and co-ordinating an interdisciplinary Data Systems and Society Research Network across the University of Melbourne. Ruth has also investigated the applicability of cultural safety in Australia, working closely with The Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM), presenting at their National Professional Development Conferences and delivering training on cultural safety. She has also undertaken a two-year cultural safety project with cohealth (a not-for-profit community health organisation) and Our Watch who work for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children.
This pilot study set out to disrupt the dominant understandings of queer youth centred on narratives of vulnerability and distress.
Working with LGBTQI+ youth based in regional Victoria, Rainbow Ranges investigated how these young people understood and experienced vitality and aliveness through a series of creative arts-based workshops. The project team and young people co-created a concept for digital intervention to promote a sense of belonging, foster social connections, and improve the wellbeing of LGBTIQ+ identifying individuals and communities.
Dr Troy Innocent is an artist, academic, designer, coder, educator, and VC Senior Research Fellow at RMIT University, where his creative practice research explores the city as platform for play through an inventive blend of live art, game design and public art. Over the past ten years he has explored the lived experience of cities through mixed realities; situating his work in Melbourne, Bristol, Barcelona, Istanbul, Ogaki, Sydney and Hong Kong. As Melbourne Knowledge Fellow, Innocent expanded his ‘urban codemaking’ practice for situating play in cities to develop Playable City Melbourne, a three-year project bringing together an interdisciplinary urban play community. He is currently artistic director of 64 Ways of Being, a playable city-wide platform for augmented reality experiences supported by a Creative State Commission.
Professor Katherine Johnson is Director of the Social and Global Studies Centre at RMIT University.
Katherine has been a visiting professor in gender studies at the University of Sydney, Australia (2007), in social psychology and psychosocial interventions at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (2009−2012), in participatory-action research and LGBT health inequalities at the Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo, Brazil (2016) and the Universidad de Colima, Mexico (2016). She is currently Visiting Professor at the University of Brighton, UK where she previously established the Division of Applied Psychology & Psychotherapy and the Centre for Research Excellence, Transforming Sexuality and Gender.
Her research is in the field of gender, sexuality and mental health, with specialisms in critical community psychology and psychosocial studies, qualitative, participatory and visual research methods, and interdisciplinary research about LGBTQ lives. Her research collaborations and partnerships focus on improving the lives of LGBTQ+ people and have impacted on social policy and practice, particularly in the field of suicide prevention, mental health and end of life care.
Katherine is an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, Past Chair of the Psychology of Women and Equalities Section, and a member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). She is on the Editorial Board of Feminism and Psychology and Feminist Encounters: A journal of critical studies in culture and politics. She is also series editor with Professor Kath Browne (Maynooth, Ireland) of the Routledge book series, Transforming LGBTQ Lives. Katherine has served as a panel member for the ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund on global mental health, UK and the Irish Research Council.
The SASCCAR project is working to establish a “Space and Spatial Capability Cluster” at RMIT. The cluster aims to provide a sustainable and interdisciplinary community of practice in “space” and “spatial”, bringing together spatial experts across RMIT University, and supporting early-career researchers and HDR students working in the spatial sciences. The cluster aims to enhance collaboration, increase the visibility of RMIT’s world-class expertise in spatial knowledge, and ultimately support relevant applications to large interdisciplinary funding schemes, including CRCs and Centres of Excellence.
Phase 2 of the SASCCAR project saw skills development workshops on mapping with Tableau; Frontier SI workshop; Workshop with Mark McMillan on Indigenous Knowledge of Place; Joint workshop with the Sir Lawrence Wackett Centre and defence industry (Textron) on major Next Gen Technology Fund application; as well as a presentation at the 2019 Engaging For Impact Event on Advancing Space and Spatial Capabilities with Dr Amanda Caples.
Space is a USD$345 billion global industry which has doubled over the previous decade, with strong growth expected to continue in the medium term. Australia’s Space and Spatial industries are undergoing a rapid change and growth including everything from rockets, satellites and sensors, through to the specialists who derive insights from space based information such as location data and satellite imagery. These diverse technologies are having more impact than ever across Australia’s economy, particularly our Agricultural, mining, environmental, health, transport, defence, and built environment industries.
You can find out more about the SASCCAR project here.
Matt Duckham is a Professor of Geospatial Sciences at RMIT University. At RMIT, he has occupied a number of senior leadership roles including: Acting Dean STEMM Diversity and Inclusion, Associate Dean of Geospatial Science, and Deputy Head of the School of Mathematical and Geospatial Sciences, Science Director for the CRC for Spatial Information (CRCSI) Rapid Spatial Analytics Program. Prior to joining RMIT, Matt was Professor in Geographic Information Science within the department of Infrastructure Engineering at the University of Melbourne, when he also held a visiting Professor position and the University of Greenwich.
Matts research focuses on the area of Geographic Information Science, particularly distributed and robust computation and visualisation with uncertain spatial and spatiotemporal information, within the domain of mobile, location aware and sensor enabled systems. He has taught a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in connection with spatial computing, in particular, spatial visualisation and spatial databases.
This project involved a studio partnership between RMIT and Abacus Learning Centre for pre-school children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and addressed autism and its relationship to interior spaces. A key aspect of this research has been to move away from framing autism as a disorder, to instead help children better understand how they make sense of their surroundings, and subsequently make their learning environment more suitable for the way they learn. New learning ecologies lead to improved quality of life for children with ASD.
The project translates Abacus’s activities into spatial and temporal diagrams for a future design brief that would create this new learning environment. This partnered studio has led to a publication and an ongoing research project addressing autism and interior design. A roundtable discussion – Learning Lines – was held in December 2019 and brought together RMIT colleagues from Schools of Education and Architecture and Urban Design with potential industry partners to foster potential collaborations and develop future projects.
Since 1991, Associate Professor Suzie Attiwill’s freelance practice has involved exhibition design, curatorial work and writing on interdisciplinary projects in Australia and overseas. Her practice poses questions of interior and interiority in relation to contemporary conditions of living, inhabitation, subjectivity, pedagogy and creative practice. Research is conducted through a practice of designing with a curatorial inflection attending to arrangements (and re-arrangements) of spatial, temporal and material relations. Projects include: urban + interior – a collaborative publication project bringing together an editorial team situated in Milan, Madrid and Melbourne; beyond building with Gregory Nicolau (Australian Childhood Trauma Group); Abacus Learning Centre – for children on the autism spectrum; and a series of curatorial experiments in ecologies of learning – physical, social and mental. Suzie is recognised internationally for her contribution to the discipline of interior design including workshop intensives: Radical Learning, Milan International Architecture Week; and Urban Interiorities in Nicosia, Cyprus; texts: ‘interiorizt’, 2014; and ‘Urban and Interior: techniques for an urban interiorist’, 2011. Artistic director of Craft Victoria (1996−99); board member/chair, West Space (2006−10); chair, IDEA (Interior Design/Interior Architecture Educators Association, 2006-12); executive board member, International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers (2020−21).
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.
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.
Australia and New Zealand have each enjoyed a high degree of success in managing outbreaks of COVID 19. Both countries have been early adopters of mask use and contact tracing. The COVID travel bubble organised between Australia and New Zealand speaks to the cultural proximity of the two countries and the shared approaches in tackling the pandemic.
This study seeks to interview participants from across Australia and New Zealand to record their shifting perceptions towards the infrastructural changes and biometrics brought by COVID-19. Specifically, we want to enquire about people’s perceptions and practices of:
• Masks and other PPE use
• Contact tracing via apps, QR codes, pen and paper
• COVID testing and temperature monitoring
Our aim is to record the experiences and conditions of participants in New Zealand and Australia to discover how new technologies and practices add new layers of both work and technological awareness to daily routines. We seek to reveal ways of improving techniques of technological delivery and the lives of people that these processes affect.
We welcome all participants however we are especially interested in hearing from underrepresented communities, CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) participants, elderly participants as well as frontline and essential workers; individuals who, to perform their roles, come into direct contact with the public.
To participate just let us know at the GET INVOLVED link at the bottom of this page.
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.
Mark Andrejevic (Professor, School of Media, Film, and Journalism, Monash University) contributes expertise in the social and cultural implications of data mining, and online monitoring. He writes about monitoring and data mining from a socio-cultural perspective, and is the author of three monographs and more than 60 academic articles and book chapters. He was the Chief Investigator for an ARC QEII Fellowship investigating public attitudes toward the collection of personal information online ($390,000; 2010 – 2014).
Andrejevic has experience conducting both quantitative and qualitative research and is experienced in the focus group and interview methodologies. His work on the personal information project, for example, generated a book, 11 articles and book chapters, and a report on Australian attitudes toward online privacy that was launched by the Federal Privacy Commissioner.
Recognising the social, civil and governance impact of the COVID19 crisis, COVIDSafe: Perceptions and Practices highlights how Australian’s are understanding and responding to these changes at a community and personal level.
We want to hear your voice.
This research project responds to the shifting environment of COVID19, exploring questions as they emerge. Questions include:
• From government contact tracing through the COVIDSafe app, to more informal practices such as details at cafes and restaurants, how do Australians respond to their information and locations being monitored and recorded?
• With the emergence of new norms in public space such as mask wearing and social distancing, how have people adjusted to differing understandings of civic responsibility toward public health?
• How is ethnicity, age and background informing responses to public health messaging?
• To what extent do individuals perceive the COVID-19 crisis as bringing about community solidarity. Or, alternately, bringing to the fore existing inequalities?
Against the backdrop of the COVID-19, this research seeks to understand how we negotiate, trust and relate to the government, the community and each other.
You can find out more details about the research through this Participant Information Sheet.
If you are in anyway struggling during the COVID19 crisis, there are a range of free services and support available that can assist you or a loved one at this time that you can access here.
Design always matters, but designing for impact changes lives. For impact to be felt in diverse cultural contexts, we need to understand how cultures need and value design. Design for Social Innovation (DSI) is an approach for working on complex social and environmental challenges. It uses design principles to explore different ways of understanding and responding to those challenges.
Our work helps ensure that projects are of the greatest value to the communities that they are undertaken with, and that researchers are better able to communicate the impact of their projects.
View the report here.
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.
Haptic Pathways is the winning entry for the 2019 DCP Design Challenge.
The 2019 Design Challenge was a joint initiative between the City of Melbourne and the Design & Creative Practice ECP which sought to tackle the real-world issue: How do we design for inclusive cities?
Haptic Pathways reimagines the suburban street creating diverse sensory experiences that explicitly include urban residents or visitors of all mobilities and neurodiversities. The project intends to create everyday incidental urban pathways that focus on the under-emphasised and under-explored facets of sensory connection, such as touch and smell. These immersive nature experiences will include such design elements and interventions as block plantings of native species; accessible sensory spaces; and braille graffiti walls.
Botanist, quantitative plant ecologist; Research Fellow, ICON Science, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University Melbourne. Freya is a plant ecologist working as a Research Fellow at RMIT on an ARC-Linkage project which focuses on designing urban green spaces for human wellbeing and for biodiversity.
Freya is a botanist whose professional work has spanned many Australian ecosystems and she has a thorough knowledge of Australian native flora. Her PhD focused on building and evaluating quantitative predictive models of plant growth. She also has experience working for the State Government on developing and implementing long term vegetation monitoring programs. Her current research at RMIT focuses on evaluating how urban green spaces influence human wellbeing but also how plant choice in cities influences other organisms like birds, bees and butterflies. Freya is passionate about plants and interested in various ways plants can be wholly appreciated and incorporated into urban areas.
Interdisciplinary conservation scientist, Senior Research Fellow, NESP Threatened Species Recovery Hub; Senior Lecturer, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies; ICON Science Research Group, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University, Melbourne
Georgia is an ecologist and conservation scientist. She is a Senior Research Fellow in RMIT’s ICON Science Research Group and Centre for Urban Research, and Senior Lecturer in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, where she teaches Ecological Foundations of Planning. For over a decade, she has conducted research that addresses the critical challenge of conserving and enhancing biodiversity in urban environments. Her protocol for Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design, codeveloped with Prof Sarah Bekessy, was a finalist in the Banksia Sustainable Cities Award 2016. Georgia has contributed to and led projects on biodiversity sensitive urban design for greenfield and urban renewal development projects, with local government (City of Melbourne), industry (GHD) and philanthropic (The Myer Foundation) organisations. She also co-leads projects for the National Environmental Science Program’s Threatened Species Recovery Hub and the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning that aim reconnect people with nature in a way that fosters care and stewardship for nature. She is a CI on a current ARC Linkage Project (Designing green spaces for biodiversity and human well-being), with project partners the City of Melbourne, ARUP, Greening Australia and Phillip Johnson Landscapes.
Interdisciplinary conservation scientist; ARC Future Fellow; Professor, ICON Science Research Group, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University.
Professor Sarah Bekessy leads the Interdisciplinary Conservation Science research group at RMIT University. She is interested in the intersection between science and policy in environmental management and is currently involved in an interdisciplinary range of research projects, including an ARC Future Fellowship titled ‘Socio-ecological models for environmental decision making’ and an ARC linkage project titled ‘Designing green spaces for biodiversity and human well-being’. She leads projects in two National Environment Science Program Hubs (Threatened Species Hub and Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub) and is a Chief Investigator in the European Commission-funded project Urban Greenup, which seeks to evaluate nature-based solutions for cities. She co-developed the Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design protocol that is now being used by numerous developers, governments and non-government organisations to design innovative urban biodiversity strategies.
Urban designer and Lecturer
School: Urban Design Research Centre
Zoe is an urban designer and lecturer working at the Australian Urban Design Research Centre (AUDRC), part of the School of Design at the University of Western Australia, where she teaches in the Master of Urban Design. She has led and participated in research projects and design communication for local and State government on topics such as the challenges, perceptions, and spatial issues relating to medium density housing and transit-oriented development, implications of river and sea-level rise for cities, and co-design strategies for urban renewal. Zoe has over 15 years’ experience across the private, public, and tertiary sectors, in project management, policy and planning, and senior strategic communications, including experience in statutory planning, strategic planning policy, and legislative and parliamentary processes. She sits on the City of Vincent Environmental Advisory Group, which has overseen projects such as drain conversion into public park space. Zoe’s current research at AUDRC is focused on how evidence-based urban design can enhance mental health and restoration through connection to nature in our cities, and the remaking of overlooked spaces and hard infrastructure as ecologically and emotionally regenerative places. She is the author of Wildness and Wellbeing: Nature, Neuroscience and Urban Design (Palgrave Macmillan).
Dr Zoe Myers is the team leader for Haptic Pathways, the finalist for the 2019 DCP Design Challenge.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everybody, but we know that its impact has been worse for older people who live independently. We also know that if you come from other countries or if English is your second language your social networks can sometimes be further away and physical distancing and lockdowns can make you feel isolated.
As part of the Alone Together project we are inviting older people from culturally and linguistic diverse communities to talk with one of our research team. We would like to know how COVID-19 has impacted your everyday life; how you are coping with these changes; and what type of services have been useful.
These conversations will help us to understand how to provide better support to older people from these communities in the future.
Research team: Dr Ruth De Souza (RMIT University); Distinguished Professor Larissa Hjorth (RMIT University); Ms Maria Dimopoulos (Special Adviser, Multicultural Communities, Department of Justice & Community Safety); Associate Professor Bianca Brijnath (NARI); Ms Deidre Ellem (Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) Consumer –Collaborative Pairs Program); Dr Barbara Barbosa Neves (Monash University); Ms Kate Renzenbrink (Bendigo Health and Clinical Reference Lead for the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) and Collaborative Pairs Program; Dr Jenny Waycott (University of Melbourne); Dr Juan Sanin (RMIT University).
Playgrounds are physical manifestations of how we do urban play and civic engagement and are as such in situ places to play with present and future scenarios. The metaphor of the playground is fertile ground for talking about, and playing with, intergenerational connection in public space. It can be a way of rethinking urban design which puts people and play at the centre.
This creative and interdisciplinary workshop brought together international experts across playable cities artists, game designers, ethnographers, play theorists and designers to consider the possibilities of action research and co-design experiments in and around the Superilla located outside of RMIT Europe as part of Barcelona’s Design Week.
We deployed the Superilla as a prompt, invitation, interface and living lab for codesigning for inclusive and playful urban futures.
Visit the ToyBox website.
Creative Ecologies is a collaborative investigation into what makes Australia’s creative landscapes tick. The aim is to understand what it takes to build thriving creative communities and then develop tools to foster their growth.
The goal of the project is to develop a simple way of articulating the complex ways creative ecologies operate. Core to this will be highlighting connections to the wider society and demonstrating value beyond purely economic indicators. The long-term ambition of Creative Ecologies is to expand our understanding and appreciation of creative exertion – and have its central place in Australia’s national character recognised. It will do this by developing and raising awareness of a framework and resource for policymakers, practitioners and advocates. This will be a live, interactive visual map of the nation’s creative ecologies, combining data, case studies and avenues for connection across the sector.
The project began in late 2017 and the arising work and findings including a national survey, one-on-one consultations, interactive workshops were presented at the Engaging For Impact conference in February 2018. Creative Ecologies now has an expanded list of RMIT researchers on board
○Jan van Schaik, Senior Lecturer, School Architecture & Urban Design
○Marnie Badham, Vice Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Art
○Bronwyn Coate, Senior Lecturer, Economics, Finance and Marketing
○Gretchen Coombs, Postdoctoral Fellow, DCP ECP
○Christine Phillips, Senior Lecturer, Architecture & Urban Design
○Professor Jason Potts, Economics, Finance and Marketing
○Noel Waite, Senior Lecturer, Communication Design
○ Professor Ellie Rennie, Digital Ethnography Research Centre
○Professor Mark Sanderson, Computer Science and Information Technology
You can find out more about CREATIVE ECOLOGIES here.
Jan van Schaik
School: Architecture and Urban Design
Jan van Schaik is a practising architect at MvS Architects, a researcher and senior lecturer at RMIT Architecture & Urban Design, and a creative and cultural industries strategist at Future Tense. His is the leader of the ‘Culture and Society’ research stream, and a PhD superrvisor of established architects conducting post-professional reflective practice research. Jan is the founder of the WRITING & CONCEPTS lecture and publication series which reflects of the role that writing plays in visual arts practice. Jan is also one of the founders of Creative Ecologies„ a collaborative investigation into what makes Australia’s creative landscapes tick. The aim is to understand what it takes to build thriving creative communities and then develop tools to foster their growth.
Games teach us many things – how to play, how to strategize, and how to have fun with others. Yet, in our globalised world, people are increasingly exposed to individuals from different cultural backgrounds, and often people feel alienated from people and things that are unfamiliar. The Cultural Commonalities Memory Game (CCMG) might just be one way bridge across cultures and help people connect and belong.
Social inclusion is a key factor in fostering the benefits of a diverse society. Bringing together design, psychology and behavioural economics, the CCMG aims to increase social and reduce bias in intercultural contexts. Players categorise images associated with different cultures together in a common group, highlighting commonalities across cultures whilst keeping their differences apparent. The game is designed so that players feel valued in their own individuality and experience a sense of belonging to the world as a whole.
More from the RMIT Behavioural Business Lab.
School: Economics, Finance, and Marketing
Ananta is a Lecturer in Economics specialising in Behavioural, Development and Experimental economics. His academic research focuses on the impact of social institutions (like gender norms) on individual decision making and behavioural effects of rewards. He has successfully published his work in top-tier economics journals such as the Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organization and Economics Letters. Ananta also has conducted multiple impact evaluation projects and has provided consultancy services to Plan International, World Bank, International Organization for Migration, Swiss Development Corporation and the Consumer Policy Research Centre. Ananta received his PhD from Monash University in 2014.
School: Department of General Psychology and Methodology, University of Bamberg
Claus-Christian Carbon studied Psychology (Dipl.-Psych.), followed by Philosophy (M.A.), both at the University of Trier, Germany. After receiving his PhD from the Freie Universität Berlin and his “Habilitation” at the University of Vienna, Austria, he worked at the University of Technology Delft, Netherlands and the University of Bamberg, Germany, where he currently holds a full professorship leading the Department of General Psychology and Methodology and the “Forschungsgruppe EPAEG” — a research group devoted to enhancing the knowledge, methodology and enthusiasm in the fields of cognitive ergonomics, psychological aesthetics and Gestalt (see www.experimental-psychology.com and www.epaeg.de for more details). He is the author of more than 400 publications including more than 160 peer-reviewed international journal articles, mainly addressing aesthetics topics, has conducted more than a dozen research projects with a total budget amount of approx. €3 million and a renowned contributor and invited speaker on international research conferences. CCC is Editor-in-Chief of the scientific journal Art & Perception, Section Editor of Perception and i-Perception, Associate Editor of Frontiers in Psychology, Frontiers in Neuroscience and Advances in Cognitive Psychology and a member of the Editorial Boards of Open Psychology, Musicae Scientiae and Leadership, Education and Personality.
School: Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology
Dr. Jan Schoormans (1956) is a Professor of Consumer Behaviour at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Delft, the Netherlands. His research focuses on consumer preferences and behavior towards (the design of) new products. He has published on these topics in marketing journals like the International Journal of Research in Marketing, Psychology and Marketing, the Journal of Product Innovation Management, in psychological journals like Perception and the British Journal of Psychology, in engineering journals like Applied Energy, Journal of Cleaner Production, and in design journals like Design Studies, Journal of Engineering Design and the Design Journal.
School: Economics, Finance, and Marketing
Janneke Blijlevens is a Senior Lecturer in Design Thinking and Experimental Methods within the Marketing Discipline. With a Masters in Psychology, a PhD in consumer behaviour and design, and work experience in both design and business schools her research is truly interdisciplinary. Janneke uses her ability to understand different ways of thinking to design innovative solutions to complex societal and business problems. Her approach uses behavioural insights obtained in both qualitative and quantitative research to affect positive behaviour change in society. Her research covers areas such as product (design) perception and evaluation by consumers, the social roles that products can play to consumers, how to design products for social change, and psychological factors influencing the adoption of highly innovative products by consumers. She has published in top-tier academic journals such as Psychology & Marketing, International Journal of Design, Acta Psychologica, British Journal of Psychology, Journal of Psychology in Aesthetics, Creativity, and Arts, and Journal of Design, Business and Society. The project ‘Sans Forgetica, a font to remember (sansforgetica.rmit)’ gained world-wide acclaim.
School: Economics, Finance, and Marketing
Joanne Peryman (Laban) is a Lecturer in Economics. She holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Exeter, a Masters in Behavioural Economics from the University of Nottingham, and a BCom (Hons) in Economics from the University of Canterbury. Using mainly experimental methods, Jo’s research focuses on cultural differences in decision making, especially in situations involving uncertainty or risk. She has presented the results from this work at conferences in the UK, The Netherlands, and China. Jo is also keen to apply behavioural insights to policy. During her PhD she completed an internship with a UK Government Department, where she applied ideas from behavioural economics to real-life problems. Her work has attracted funding from the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council, as well as numerous small grants from the University of Exeter’s Behaviour, Decisions and Markets Research Centre.
School: Economics, Finance and Marketing
Johanna E. Prasch is a PhD student and a research assistant and tutor in the School of Economics, Finance and Marketing and the BBL. After completing her Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Regensburg, and her Masters in Psychology from the University of Bamberg (both Germany), she started her PhD program in the BBL in February 2018. For her PhD project in consumer behaviour, Johanna got awarded a Stipend Scholarship from RMIT University. Her research interests centre around combining experimental methods from psychology and consumer behaviour to investigate mechanisms behind intercultural communication and behaviour. Currently, Johanna is investigating how to increase social inclusion and cooperation in multicultural settings.
The Cultural Value and Impact Network (CVIN) is building RMIT University’s expertise in interdisciplinary collaboration and inventive methods for articulating, measuring, evaluating cultural value and social impact. With practitioners and academics from across the University, we are building strong creative teams that use new interdisciplinary methods attuned to cultural complexity and diverse communities to enable high impact research partnerships with the arts and cultural sectors, government and NGO community. We have been mapping the capabilities with our colleagues in Art, Economics, Education, Finance and Marketing, Global Urban Studies, Media and Communication, Design, Architecture, and affiliates of DCP ECP, Global Business and Innovation and Social Change. We have collated existing research methods and industry projects through a survey and interviews to identify existing approaches, drivers, current gaps, and future interdisciplinary methodological possibilities for student training and partnerships.
Find out more about the Cultural Value and Impact Network [CVIN.
Dr Bronwyn Coate is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Economics, Finance and Marketing who specialises in cultural economics. Bronwyn’s research involves economic analysis of the arts and creative industries using a range of economic and experimental techniques including approaches from behavioural economics and behavioural science. Areas her research has focused upon include art markets, artists/cultural labour, and cultural/creative industries. Much of Bronwyn’s research is undertaken within mult-idisciplinary teams and focused upon addressing issues with policy relevance for the arts and cultural sector. Bronwyn is a member of a number of a number of research groups including the Cultural Value Impact Network (CVIN), Kinomatics Research Group, Behavioural Business Lab (BBL) and Placemaking Economics Research Group. She is also the current Secretary/Treasurer of the Association for Cultural Economics International (ACEI).
Gretchen Coombs is a Post Doctoral Research Fellow in the Design & Creative Practice Enabling Capability Platform at RMIT. She researches socially engaged art practices in the US, the UK and Australia, with a particular focus on how they are practiced in urban contexts. She’s a core member of the Cultural Value and Impact Network (CVIN) and contributes to Creative Care in the School of Art. Gretchen has a PhD in social and cultural anthropology and a MA in visual criticism: her writing uses a combination of ethnographic methods and visual analysis. She is a co-author of Creative Practice Ethnographies (Rowan & Littlefield 2019) and her monograph, The Lure of the Social: Encounters with Contemporary Artists (Intellect 2021 ) is an experimental ethnography about contemporary artists working at the intersection of art, aesthetics, and politics.
After graduating from Oxford University and the Royal College of Art with an MFA in Sculpture, Kit Wise received the Wingate Rome Scholarship in Fine Art in 1999, to study at the British School at Rome. He moved to Australia in 2002 and completed his PhD at Monash University in 2012.
Wise has held senior educational leadership and leadership and governance roles since 2008. He is a Board Member for Deans and Directors of Creative Arts (DDCA) and Deputy Chair of the Executive Council of the Australian Council of University Art and Design Schools (ACUADS).
He is Professor of Fine Art and Dean of the School of Art at the RMIT University; and an Adjunct Professor at Monash University and the University of Tasmania. He is represented by Sarah Scout Presents, Melbourne and continues to practice as an artist, art writer and curator.
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.
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.
How can different mobile media innovations be usefully applied to understand the complex relationship between people, place and technologies? #SiteAnalytics is using data capture technology to solve environmental and technological challenges. More specifically, we’re using maps, mobile media and apps to generate new understandings about consumer behavior, site visitations and target audience reach and impact. We’re using this information to examine the usefulness of big data and mobile data capture technologies, and to translate this knowledge into practical and relevant solutions for industry.
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.
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.
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.
TIMeR is an Augmented Reality audio-walk featuring stories of land, river and sky with Boonwurrung elder N’Arweet Carolyn Briggs. Participants are transformed into wayfarers as they move across the RMIT campus to uncover alternate cartographies bringing new insights to familiar routes.
Acknowledging the importance of cross-cultural dialogue, we recognise the unceded ancestral and traditional places of the Eastern Kulin Nations. TIMeR is the first in a series of projects exploring stories of place from multiple positions grounded in Indigenous knowledge, developed with collaboration from the Ngarara Willim Centre, Elders in Residence.
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.
In this series of hands-on workshops, leaders in the field demonstrated how to engage and translate practice and research into real-world benefits. Presented by RMIT’s non/fictionLab, Screen & Sound Cultures, School of Design and RMIT Culture, the project focused on the specific challenges faced by creative practice disciplines such as visual art, design, advertising, creative writing and screen and involved both creative practice researchers and industry creatives.
Michelle Aung Thin is a writer, former advertising copywriter and scholar. She is a Lecturer at RMIT University and teaches across the disciplines of Creative Writing and Advertising. Her most recent novel, Hasina (Allen & Unwin 2019) is about Rohingya ethnic cleansing and is published as Crossing the River Farak (Annick 2020) in Canada and the USA. Her first novel, The Monsoon Bride, (Text 2011) is set in colonial Burma and was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary awards as an unpublished manuscript. Her writing has been included on VCE reading lists and republished on the SBS website. In 2017, she was a National Library of Australia Creative Arts Fellow (supported by the Eva Kollsman and Ray Mathew Trust) and in 2014, the first Asialink writer in residence to Myanmar (funded by Arts Victoria).
Michelle was a co-director of the non/fictionLab in 2018 and 2019, is currently a co-director of WrICE, Writers Immersion and Cultural Exchange and has served on the board of The Lifted Brow. Her research interests range from the cultural history of southeast Asian hybrid identities to contemporary creative practices in Myanmar and the ethics of writing about difference. Current research includes a project addressing diversity in publishing and a pilot study that aims to reduce sexist advertising by educating the next generation of advertising creatives about harmful stereotypes.
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.
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 Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL) at the Georgia Institute of Technology, USA established a Collaborative Design Environment more than two decades ago. It has been applied to many complex problems and grand challenges. Inspired by this, Professors Cees Bill & Pier Marzocca invited Professor Dimitri Mavris, director of ADSL, to share lessons learned from and outcomes of their facility, in order to establish a similar facility at RMIT.
Professor Dimitri Mavris’ presentation identified some of the challenges faced by designers and presented some of the key enablers that contribute to the generation and synthesis of knowledge and the formulation of informed decisions. It discussed the benefits to analysts and decision makers for Collaborative Design Facilities in the context of Engineering Design. The lecture concluded with a demonstration on Environmentally Responsible Aviation and GT Smart Campus Initiative. The project has initiated funds to establish a local facility, making use of preliminary work already conducted within RMIT’s School of Engineering.
Cees Bil is Professor within the School of Engineering at RMIT’s Bundoora campus. He is a member of Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), a member of the Dutch Association of Aerospace Engineers (NVvL) and a senior member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). His areas of research and consulting expertise include aerodynamics, Aerospace Design and Optimisation, Dynamics and Control, Computer-Aided Engineering as well as Simulation and Modelling.
How does design and technology impact food futures? FoodCHI (Computer-Human Interaction) brings together experts and innovators across design, digital media, technology, art, sociology, and food. We examine the role of design and technology in shaping of future foodscapes and work with industry to chart robust approaches for technologically enabled food futures.
Visit the FoodCHI website.
Dr Rohit Ashok Khot is the Deputy Director of the Exertion Games Lab; and Vice-Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at RMIT University, Australia. Rohit’s research embodies interdisciplinary strength and explores the amalgamation of design and technology in a creative way.
Dr Khot’s track record includes 39 scholarly publications in last 7 years, the majority of which appear in highly competitive HCI conferences and journals and include one best paper and one honorable mention (top 5%) award. Dr Khot’s research also appeared on 30+ press articles including a cover story on Mashable Australia, IEEE Spectrum and TV coverage on Channel 9 News and ABC News 24. He has won prestigious awards including IBM PhD fellowship (2014−2015), 2017 RMIT HDR Prize for Research Excellence (2017), RMIT Vice-chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (2017−2019) and SIGCHI Development Fund Grant (2017,2018). Dr Khot is also involved in organization and management of the Special Interest Group meetings, workshops and symposiums at leading international conferences specifically around food and play, besides serving on program committees for leading international HCI conferences, including DIS and TEI.
Rohit is passionate about playful Human-Food Interaction (HFI) and has an ambitious goal to alter the common perception that food cannot be healthy and pleasurable at the same time.
While artificial intelligence (AI) generates real value in many fields, it has seen few design applications. This activity intends to build partnerships with AI experts to implement state of the art machine learning frameworks and cloud computing infrastructure for applications within the design and construction industries. The anticipated outcome are manifold: to position RMIT as a leader in the development of creative applications of AI; to enhance RMIT’s innovation capability by combining the spatial reasoning expertise of architects with cutting edge machine learning capabilities; to develop new and far reaching design applications that may include automated 3d model synthesis, search and classification.
This project aims to develop a platform enabling creatives, consultants and contractors to collaborate within mixed reality environments and test the impact of this platform through speculative and applied design build projects.
Cameron Newnham explores how technology and architecture can intersect to extend the art of the possible. Using augmented reality and a deep understanding of architectural practice Cameron is striving to identify how technology can transform architecture and construction, speeding the delivery of complex buildings, and injecting new levels of craftsmanship into the built environment.
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.
Playable cities connect people and place through creative technologies, making the city a platform for play. Playable City Melbourne is a three-year project bringing together an interdisciplinary urban play community.
During Melbourne International Games Week 2019, Playable City Melbourne is calling for a diverse community of designers, game developers, scientists, writers, architects, artists, producers, performers, players, bureaucrats etc to learn more about urban play and join in the conversation. This conference will explore other ways of being in public space, First Peoples connection to place, and more-than-human infrastructure. Playable City Melbourne talks to the city’s multi-layered civic identity – as a creative city, technological city, a diverse and multicultural city, knowledge city and liveable city that is growing fast.
We are researchers from RMIT. We invite you to take part in this research project exploring the sharing of animal pictures on social media as part of pandemic strategies of care.
The aim of this research is to understand the motivations, and collect examples, of sharing animal pictures on social media as part of pandemic strategies of care. It seeks to provide details into meanings as part of this cultural practice.
If you decide you want to take part in the research project, you can access the Participant Information and Consent Form below. It tells you about the research project and explains the processes involved with taking part. Knowing what is involved will help you decide if you want to take part in the research.
Participation is easy. Just email your images and comments to the lead researcher, Professor Larissa Hjorth: firstname.lastname@example.org
We would love to have you and your pets involved!
These workshops explored how, as smartphone users, participants were using mobile and non-mobile media to find and manage
information, emotions and networks during the 2019 – 2020 Australian summer bushfire crisis.
Using 3 creative codesign methods, we mapped the key themes, common feelings and practices that emerged during the group discussions. The exercises, and subsequent mapping, generated discussions about key practices and perceptions of how individuals and their communities care during times of crisis. The following preliminary findings emerged:
Read the Workshop Summary Report to find out more.
Caitlin McGrane is a feminist researcher and activist. Her doctoral research investigates how women’s feelings about their smartphone uses and practices can help challenge normative and misogynistic notions of women’s communications. She leads Gender Equity Victoria’s (GEN VIC) ‘Enhancing Online Safety for Women’ project advocating for better support and conditions for women working in media. In 2018 – 2019 she worked with GEN VIC to design a toolkit and a series of videos encouraging prosocial bystander actions on social media. She has worked on projects with the Victorian Trades Hall Council Women’s Team building an online resource to supplement their Gender-Based Violence in the Workplace training package. Her previous research has explored how witnessing anti-feminist harassment can negatively affect individuals’ willingness to publicly identify as feminist and participate in online spaces.
Building on Phase 1, this project specifically sought to identify and develop socially thick understandings of the (digital and non-digital) experiences and potential opportunities for older adults in the museum sector.
Using a series of postcards aimed at discursive elaboration, we invited audiences to share cups of tea and biscuits as they wrote and discussed their responses. We engaged these audiences to ethnographically and creatively reflect upon how they view the museum as an institution, as a place for belonging, and what they would like their digital (and non-digital) experiences with the museum to involve.
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.
This innovative project uses a holistic approach to transforming how we experience noise from motorways. The motorway’s noise barriers in this project use a unique, low maintenance breathable greening system and a biophilic soundscape system. This transformative approach to Motorways’ Noise Barriers will create ecological buffers and corridors to reduce air pollution, transform noise and improve the liveability of the surrounding community and drivers. The ‘ecological buffers and corridors” encourage biodiversity, address habitat fragmentation, and give better access to the adjacent parks and pathways.
The modular retrofit system works by:
Dr Jordan Lacey is a transdisciplinary creative practice researcher and DECRA Fellow in the School of Design at RMIT University. He is the author of Sonic Rupture: a practice-led approach to urban soundscape design (Bloomsbury 2016), and various articles, which explore the role of sound installations in transforming urban life. Originally a musician and sound-artist, Jordan has become increasingly focused on the urban environment as evolving into sites-of-encounter that might exceed the typical day-to-day functions of city life. He has produced numerous sound art installations, funded by government and industry partners, that seek to influence approaches to urban design. Recently, he has become interested in posthuman critical theory as a means to question the meaning of being human in a changing world, and the ways in which sonic practices might contribute to this conversation.
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.
The growing community concern around violence in disability support and aged care services promoted RMIT researchers to consider ways to improve the lives of both service users and workers in home and community-based support and care. Through a series of workshops, this project provided an opportunity for Victorian advocacy groups, unions and researchers to identify common concerns and interests around gender-based violence in both individualised aged care and disability support services, and consider ways to tackle these issues.
This project led to a 2020 Scoping Study for Worksafe Victoria see report here.
Sara Charlesworth is Professor of Work, Gender & Regulation and Deputy Head of School, (Research & Innovation) in the School of Management. She is an executive member of the Centre for People, Organisation & Work in the College of Business. Sara has published and presented widely in a wide range of academic, policy and community fora and has been involved in a number of key gender equality policy reviews and debates. She was a panel member on the 2012 ACTU Independent Inquiry into Insecure Work, and an advisor to the Australian Human Rights Commission on their 2014 Pregnancy and Return to Work National Review and 2018 National Sexual Harassment Prevalence Survey.
In 2017 Sara was appointed to the Equal Workplaces Advisory Council, a founding reform of the Victorian government’s Gender Equality Strategy. She is currently a member of the Victoria Police VEOHRC Review Academic Governance Board, on the Steering Group of the Migrant Workers Rights Campaign and co-convenor of the Work+Family Policy Roundtable. Sara is a Fellow of the Future Social Services Institute and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Industrial Relations.
Sara’s research interests centre on gender inequality in employment at the labour market, industry and organisational levels. She has undertaken a number of Australian Research Council-funded projects. Much of her recent research has focused on paid care work. Together with A/Prof Deb King (Flinders), she completed a large three year Department of Health-funded project, ‘Quality Jobs and Quality Care: Improving work practices to deliver quality aged care jobs & aged care services for older Australians’, in partnership with Brightwater Care, HammondCare, Helping Hand and United Voice.
The 2018 AAANZ conference opens critical dialogue on the histories of art by examining the social contexts of aesthetics and politics. Bringing together art historians, theorists, curators, critics, and artists from across the region, the conference offers a stimulating four-day program of panels and papers, publication prizes, masterclasses and encounters with Melbourne’s vibrant arts sector with a parallel artistic program to be announced in coming months.
The conference features distinguished keynote speakers who will present expanded and alternative frameworks for understanding the diverse contexts and histories of art. Gabi Ngcobo (South Africa), curator of the 10th Berlin Biennale; Genevieve Grieves (AUS), Head of the First Peoples Department at Museums Victoria; and Ema Tavola (Fiji), independent curator are each engaged in critical curatorial practices aimed at democratising and decolonising art institutions and opening up art collections to alternative perspectives and narratives traditionally overlooked by museums and galleries. Art historian Professor Griselda Pollock (UK) from Leeds University is renowned for her postcolonial, queer feminist analysis of the visual arts, visual culture and cultural theory and research of trauma and the aesthetic in contemporary art. Curator and Associate Professor David Teh specialises in contemporary art in Southeast Asia.
The intersection of art and society is where differing worldviews and opposing epistemologies can meet and clash. Art offers a site for modelling political alternatives, questioning dominant discourses, and producing new historical narratives. Responding to the political, economic and environmental tensions of the present moment, the conference explores the relationship of the arts to social life throughout history. Located in a region marked by multiple and overlapping colonial and postcolonial histories and contemporary processes of globalisation, the conference aims to initiate critical dialogues that foreground the complex contexts, diverse practices, multiple histories, and contested trajectories of art.
Genevieve Grieves is Worimi – traditionally from mid north coast New South Wales – and has lived on Kulin country in Melbourne for many years. She is an educator, curator, filmmaker, artist and oral historian who has accumulated nearly twenty years’ experience in the arts and culture industries. Some of her projects include the documentary, Lani’s Story; the video installation, Picturing the Old People; and, she was the Lead Curator of the internationally award-winning First Peoples exhibition at the Melbourne Museum. Genevieve has a role as a public intellectual and speaker and is undertaking her PhD in arts, memorialisation and frontier violence. She is Head of the First Peoples Department at Museums Victoria.
Gabi Ngcobo is the curator of the 10th Berlin Biennale. Since the early 2000s Ngcobo has been engaged in collaborative artistic, curatorial, and educational projects in South Africa and on an international scope. She is a founding member of the Johannesburg based collaborative platforms NGO – Nothing Gets Organised and Center for Historical Reenactments (CHR, 2010 – 14). NGO focusses on processes of self-organization that take place outside of predetermined structures, definitions, contexts, or forms. CHR responded to the demands of the moment through an exploration of how historical legacies impact and resonate within contemporary art.
Recently Ngcobo co-curated the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo, which took place in 2016 at the Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion in São Paulo, and A Labour of Love at Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt am Main in 2015⁄16) and travelled to the Johannesburg Art Gallery in 2017. She has been teaching at the Wits School of Arts, University of Witswatersrand, ZA, since 2011. Her writings have been published in various catalogues, books, and journals. She currently lives and works between Johannesburg and Berlin.
You can find out more about the event here.
With a twenty-five-year history of art and social justice practice Australia and Canada, Marnie’s research sits at the intersection of socially engaged art, community-based research methodologies and the politics of cultural measurement. Marnie is currently focused on a series of creative cartographies registering emotion in public space; expanded curation projects on the aesthetics and politics of food; and a book project The Social Life of Artist Residencies: connecting with people and place not your own. Marnie is Senior Research Fellow at the School of Art following the prestigious award of Vice Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow at RMIT University. Marnie co-leads the Cultural Value Impact Network and is acting Leader for CAST Contemporary Art and Social Transformation research group.
Daniel Palmer is Associate Dean of Research and Innovation in the School of Art at RMIT University.
Daniel Palmer’s research and professional practice focuses on contemporary art and cultural theory, with a particular emphasis on photography and digital media. Prior to joining RMIT in 2018, Palmer was Associate Dean of Graduate Research and Associate Professor in the Art History & Theory Program at Monash Art, Design & Architecture. He also has a long association with the Centre for Contemporary Photography in Melbourne, first as a curator and later on the board of management.
Palmer’s book publications include Photography and Collaboration: From Conceptual Art to Crowdsourcing (Bloomsbury 2017); Digital Light (Open Humanities Press, 2015), edited with Sean Cubitt and Nathaniel Tkacz; The Culture of Photography in Public Space (Intellect 2015), edited with Anne Marsh and Melissa Miles; Twelve Australian Photo Artists (Piper Press, 2009), co-authored with Blair French; and Photogenic (Centre for Contemporary Photography, 2005). His scholarly writings on photography and contemporary art have appeared in journals such as Photographies, Philosophy of Photography, Angelaki, Reading Room and the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art. Palmer has also published over sixty catalogue essays and fifty art reviews since 1997, in art magazines including Art and Australia, Photofile and Frieze.
Palmer has been the recipient of various awards and grants, and has been Chief Investigator on multiple ARC projects, including the ARC Discovery Project ‘Genealogies of Digital Light’ (2008 – 11) with Sean Cubitt and Les Walkling; an ARC Linkage Project ‘Photography as a Crime’ (2009 – 2012) with Anne Marsh, Melissa Miles, Mark Davison and the Centre for Contemporary Photography; and the ARC Discovery Project ‘Curating Photography in the Age of Photosharing’; (2015 – 2017) with Martyn Jolly. Palmer is currently a researcher on the ARC Discovery Project ‘Digital Photography: Mediation, Memory and Visual Communication’ (2020 – 2022) with Scott McQuire, Nikos Papastergiadis, Sean Cubitt and Celia Lury.
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.
How healthy is the bookselling and publishing industry in Australia? And what are the key reasons for this state of wellbeing (or illness)?
Canadian and Australian Book Industries Conversation (CABIC) brings together leading academics and industry figures to explore themes important to Australian and Canadian authors, illustrators and publishers, including the importance of local content, the book industry policy climate, and regulatory changes and challenges.
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.
This project investigates the perceptions, practices, and aspirations around emerging care systems, especially those using electronic health records and big data, among the members of public and professionals in related fields in Japan. The project employs creative methods to generate nuanced insights into current dynamics and engage different stakeholders to imagine future cyberphysical systems of care that are meaningful to local contexts.
This project questions how we might understand and design cyberphysical systems for health care in Japan particularly in the context of the introduction of the Next Generation Medical Infrastructure law, making available medical big data to be used anonymously for research purposes across sectors.
This transdisciplinary and co-creative project aims to:
1) Investigate how healthcare technologies are understood and experienced, and how its impacts are imagined by members of the public and professionals, including perceived benefits and concerns
2) Co-create different futures of cyberphysical systems for care
3) Engage and raise awareness of such systems and their impacts among different stakeholders.
To achieve this, it employs ethnographic and participatory methods involving different members of public and healthcare professionals in Tokyo and Kyoto.
Find out more about the Care-Full Design Lab
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.
This project explores the impact of extreme climate and weather events on rarefied wilderness environments through the process of sound mapping to reveal the transformations occurring on the margins of our planet, and yet central to the health and wellbeing of everyone. Art is a powerful agent and advocate in how these transformations are perceived and the actions required to mitigate destructive behaviours and their long-term consequences.
“I’m not a scientist but I’m using art to articulate some of these observations and concerns to a much broader audience.”
— Lead researcher, Philip Samartzis in SWI swissinfo.ch, This is what the changing Alps sound like, 20 December 2019.
Philip is an Associate Professor within RMIT School of Art, and leader of the Sound Art and Audio Culture Lab.
Associate Professor Samartzis is a sound artist, scholar and curator with a specific interest in the social and environmental conditions informing remote wilderness regions and their communities. His art practice is based on deep fieldwork where he deploys complex sound recording technology to capture natural, anthropogenic and geophysical forces. The recordings are used within various exhibition, performance and publication outcomes to demonstrate the transformative effects of sound within a fine art context. He is particularly interested in concepts of perception, immersion and embodiment in order to provide audiences with sophisticated encounters of space and place. Philip is the recipient of three Australian Antarctic Division Arts Fellowships (2009, 2015, 2020), which he is using to document the effects of extreme climate and weather events in Eastern Antarctica, Macquarie Island, and the Southern Ocean over a 12-year period.
Innovative design of solar modules enables new possibilities for their integration into new and old buildings, historical sites, public urban spaces, landscapes and media façades. When the characteristics of conventional Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) modules are modified with technological advances in colour and appearance, it opens up a whole new approach to creative, innovative and sustainable urban designs.
RMIT’s Dr Rebecca Yang partnered with City of Bendigo (Aurecon IEA PVPS Task 15 BIPV) for this project to display the approach to using coloured BIPV, wherein good architectural form is given to function and applied to make PV electricity part of our natural and cultural environment. The coloured and patterned solar panels form a paradigm shift in solar applications because of their aesthetic appeal and power generating attributes. These BIPV solutions could be adapted in variety of materials, colours and shapes that can be seen today in the centre of cities, where a diversity of buildings from different eras and construction solutions coexist with each other.
Rebecca Yang has developed a strong and passionate commitment to industry-focused research and teaching. Her research resonates with RMIT’s vision of transforming the built environment to create sustainable and resilient cities, and her current research focuses on solar energy applications in buildings, and construction innovation. She is the leader of Solar Energy Application Group. She is the leader of Solar Energy Application Group and the Australian expert in International Energy Agency PVPS Task 15 BIPV.
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.
Creative Care researchers and students engage in creative research that intersects with health, wellbeing and the human lived experience. Creative Care projects are undertaken through diverse mediums; they are site specific social practices. The collaborative and interdisciplinary research is realised through exhibitions, performances, events, publications, or undertaken within health and social care settings, and with industry partners.
In August 2019, Creative Care presented Hand Festival at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne. The team, along with Professor Rebecca Hilton (University Arts Stockholm), organised the social practice choreographed event designed with a focus on the hand for trust and intimate hand activities. Seventeen artists, colleagues, student nurses from RMIT, and Peter Mac staff and patients participated in hand drawing, origami, hand massages, wax modelling, mbira, knitting, cat’s cradle and more. Later that month, the team ran Hands + Mouth: Boundaries of the Body, an experimental and participatory “world cafe” event which explored the boundaries of the body at the end of life (touch, embodiment, gestures and more) through roving conversations about end of life scenarios with a focus on death and dying, ageing and illness and how they intersect with culture, the senses and place.
You can find out more about the Creative Care project on the CAST Website.
Keely Macarow is Coordinator of Postgraduate Research in the School of Art at RMIT. Keely’s research is focused on socially engaged art and the nexus between creative arts, social justice, health and wellbeing, and social and natural science. Currently, Keely is a member of The Untitled (a collective of artists, urban and graphic designers, architects and housing researchers based in Melbourne and Stockholm) who produce creative works, publications and interventions in Australia and Sweden to advocate for Homefullness (rather than homelessness). Her film, video and exhibition projects have been presented in Australia, the UK, the US, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Sweden, Hungary, France, Scotland and Denmark.
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.
Interests in creative, impactful research methods are growing; best practices of such methods are often discussed both in and out of academic research. The #FAILURISTS Collective initiates interdisciplinary explorations around one of the least talked about subject this in space: Failure.
We explore various tropes around failure – failure not just as a creative opportunity for re-calibrating methods, research questions and external expectations, but also as a way of knowing the world, and; most importantly, failure as a vehicle for critiquing larger issues around the challenges of the academic and political landscape.
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.
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.
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.
The GREAT challenge
During the last decade, games have become a common part of people’s daily lives. Digital promise of Ed Tech and growing research on gamification has drawn attention to translation of valid science-based research for capability development. Activities and outputs that are not traditionally perceived as game-like are increasingly gamified.
In its most basic form, business research translation with gamification involves multi-disciplinary tasks of taking research findings, human psychology and technology of game-design, and applying them to business contexts — to achieve impact through change in behavior, cognition or emotional states.
However, current business research translation activities tend to rely on traditional academic outputs which may not deliver the intended societal impact — a challenge highlighted at local and international level.
The GREAT mission
Increase awareness and knowledge on gamification of business research. To encourage researcher-industry integration to solve business challenges through games. To foster and deploy a cross-disciplinary network of GREAT experts, specialists and enthusiasts
The GREAT cause
GREAT serves as a catalyst and anchor for capability development and a forum for faculty, specialists and practitioners to develop coherent and collective thought leadership on how might we develop and implement game-based tools and gamification as the means of research translation to achieve societal impact.
The GREAT purpose
The purpose of GREAT is to catalyse meaningful inter-disciplinary knowledge exchange, develop best practices in gamification of business research and increase research-practice integration.
The GREAT call
We have embarked on a meaningful journey of shaping our collective future through gamification of business research.
We cannot do this alone – we need you – your expertise, your experience and your passion for the human side of business.
Find out more about Gamified Research Translation [GREAT] here.
Hardik Bhimani is a PhD student in the School of Economics, Finance and Marketing and is concurrently completing a Graduate Diploma in Psychology at Monash University. Hardik holds a Masters in Applied Finance from Kaplan Business School (Sydney) and is a member of the prestigious Strategic Management Society.
“Managers face many strategic decisions but they often make unsustainable choices. So the challenge for todays’ firms is – how to effectively make social, environmental and economic choices?”
Prior to joining RMIT, where Hardik currently teaches Strategic Management courses, he was an award winning strategist and subject matter expert at several multinational organisations. It was during this period that he cultivated a curiosity for behavioural strategy. Ultimately, the quest to advance his research found him a ‘home’ at RMIT University’s Behavioural Business Lab.
“The access to supportive supervisors and a team of like-minded critical thinkers means the research journey is not only pleasant, but also engaging.”
Hardik’s research aims to understand the micro foundations of the interplay between social, environmental and economic strategic choices. His mixed-method research takes a behavioural strategy perspective and explains psychological influences, which affect strategic decision-making. In turn, the findings could guide managers’ to effectively de-bias their decision-making process, for a more sustainable strategic choice.
This project addressed a central problem: how can a women’s museum engage diverse communities and age groups in the twenty-first century, in the context of changing ideas of gender and feminism?
The basis for the Her Place Museum is the well-documented lack of representation of women in mainstream collecting institutions in Australia and in broader narratives of Australian history. To expand this understanding, RMIT researchers and students collaborated with Her Place and ran two workshops involving 40 key stakeholders. In these workshops, stakeholders developed engagement strategies for young people and people from CALD communities; a communication strategy for cross-generational dialogue; and recommendations for a digital platform.
School: School of Art
Grace is a published art historian, curator and artist with expertise in contemporary art and design, public art, social practice, social enterprise and community development.
Grace’s research challenges and transforms conventional understandings of the relationship between margin and centre in relation to the cultural economy, contemporary art practice and art history. She has pioneered work on the field of art-based social enterprise in Australia, and has worked extensively in migrant and refugee settlement. She has a multidisciplinary approach that engages with a range of fields including art, design, architecture, sustainability, sociology, business and international development. In addition, through her leadership of the CAST research group, she collaborates with industry and across disciplines to develop research projects that address issues of access, equity and justice.
Grace is a Chief Investigator on the ARC Discovery Project ‘The underworld: outsider artists and the reformulation of Australian art,’ (2018−2020) and the ARC Discovery Project ‘Art-based Social Enterprises and Marginalised Young Peoples Transitions,’ (2017−2019). She has published numerous articles in refereed and unrefereed publications, published creative works in literary journals, authored exhibition catalogues and worked as an editor on local newspapers and engaged widely with local and national media. Grace is the founding CEO & a current Board Director of The Social Studio, a fashion and art based social enterprise working with young people from humanitarian migrant backgrounds in Melbourne.
This project builds technical capacity and facilitates proof of concept testing of the impact of multisensory integration of music, movement and memory, specifically exploring embodied audio and agency-free kinesis to maximise the power of music for dementia patients. This project is creating and building a dedicated chair for this purpose and will explore both the therapeutic and commercial potential of this technology.
Dr Jenny Robinson is a lecturer in Media and Communication, teaching classes in audience research and strategic communication. Her research is in media psychology, most recently using biometrics and experimental methodology to investigate audience reception of multi-platform advertising models. She is interested in understanding how people respond to mediated communication whether that is TV, online content, public interaction or art.
Robinson brings an interdisciplinary approach to the study of audience experience, with a BA (hons) in psychology and PhD in mass communication, MA in TV and film, and Grad Dip in science communication.
With many pet owners experiencing social isolation during the pandemic, RMIT researchers are collaborating with Cherished Pets Foundation and its affiliated veterinary social enterprise towards improving social inclusion in the local community. The initiative has received community funding to bring an interactive, playful, and creative spin through a game designed to promote social engagement and healthy ageing.
Jacob Sheahan is a PhD Candidate in the School of Design and Research Assistant in the Shaping Connections research program. Trained as an Industrial Designer, his research practice focuses on ageing futures, emerging technologies, and design for health and wellbeing. Utilising a design anthropology and interaction design skillset, he benefits from a socio-technical and project-grounded approach, innovating through collaborative and constructive methods.
“Culture is the framework through which we connect to our Country, our Belonging. It defines and makes us who we are. Our language, stories, songs, dance, artefacts, cultural knowledge and practices demonstrate our continuing connections.” — Vicki Couzens.
Possum skin cloaks were a vital part of Aboriginal peoples lives in pre-European times. To make a cloak was a very labour intensive and time-consuming process. Telling the story of the Possum Skin Cloak strengthens cultural identity, connection to country and health, and education and justice within an indigenous community context. The impact of the revival of possum skin cloaks as a community cultural practice has been significant and profound.
Cultural organisations — galleries, museums, archives and libraries — are designing new ways to engage with the public. Audience Lab brings together these institutional players with industry and academia to discuss the collaborative possibilities of a publicly-facing product testing ground for new ideas. Our focus lies in developing a Lab where industry can user-test ideas, publics can be introduced to the technologies employed in contemporary media creation and academics can interlace between both, to explore the larger questions facing the future of design and media.
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.
Exploring how design and technology can transform healthcare for an ageing population. Read more
An interactive Wiradjuri-RMIT project is among the winners in the social impact category at the 2018 Good Design Awards. Read more
Cosmopolitical Relations & More-Than-Human Design Ethnography
Monday 19 August, 5:30 – 6:30pm
RMIT City Campus, Building 80.10.16 Read more
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
Ruth De Souza
Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow in the School of Art Read more
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
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
PhD candidate in the Digital Ethnography Research Centre Read more
This workshop discusses best practices, provocative elements of, and ideas for the future of creative methods for impactful research. Read more
Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow in the School of Art Read more
Australia’s bushfire crisis has affected many of us. Smartphones, and the location data they gather, have played an important role in helping Australians stay informed about the loss of property, environment and lives.
If you used your smartphone to access bushfire information, updates, news or social media – we want to hear from you. Read more
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
Dr Fleur Watson is a curator and editor specialising in architecture and design.
Fleur Watson was 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.
Suzanne Davies was Director and Chief Curator, RMIT Gallery from 1996. She retired in 2018. Instrumental in building RMIT Gallery’s relationship with Germany she organized the inclusion of many German exhibitions in the RMIT Gallery program and strategically nurtured the relationship.
Evelyn Tsitas is RMIT Gallery’s Senior Communications and Outreach Advisor. An award winning published author and former journalist, Evelyn has a PhD in Creative Media and curated the 2018 exhibition My Monster: The human-animal hybrid, based on her doctoral research at RMIT.
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.
Dr Jonathan Duckworth is a digital media artist, designer and founding director of the CiART Lab (Creative interventions, Art and Rehabilitative Technology) RMIT University. Duckworth’s research spans media art, digital design, game technology and human computer interaction. He was awarded a RMIT Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellowship between 2012 – 2015.
Duckworth brings to RMIT a broad range of industry and research experience in digital media design from his practice called ZedBuffer. His practice specialises in research, development and production of novel interactive installations for government clients, museums, galleries and public venues using computer game technology. The practice also serves as a repository for his funded research activities, speculative designs and experimental interactive media art works.
Associate Professor Roland Snooks is a founding partner of Kokkugia and director of Studio Roland Snooks. He holds a B.Arch from RMIT University and a Master in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University where he studied on a Fulbright scholarship. Roland’s PhD (RMIT University) and current research is focused on establishing a methodological and conceptual basis for a behavioral approach to design. An algorithmic strategy drawing from the logic of swarm intelligence and operating through multi-agent algorithms. He is a senior lecturer at RMIT University where he directs the Architectural Robotics Lab having previously taught widely including at Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, SCI-Arc, Pratt Institute, UCLA, and USC. Roland has taught masterclasses, lectured and been an invited critic at institutions including Harvard, Yale, Aalto University, Milano Politecnic and the Architectural Association (AA.DRL).
Daniel Palmer is Associate Dean of Research and Innovation in the School of Art at RMIT University.
David Chesworth is a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at RMIT, based in the School of Art and DCP Research Platform. He is a cross-disciplinary artist, composer and researcher with an experimental background, He has created investigative artworks in visual art, music, screen-based media, performance and installation, and across the wider cultural sector, including major museums and artist run initiatives and the public domain. Recent artworks created with collaborator Sonia Leber were exhibited in the main programs of the Venice and Sydney Biennale’s and the satellite program of Moscow Biennale. His sound works have been presented internationally, including Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival and The Bang on a Can Marathon in New York, and Ars Electronica in Austria (Prix Ars Electronica Honorary Mention).
His recent award-winning PhD investigation into ontologies of listening within visual arts practice interrogated artworks at Dia:Beacon in upstate New York. This led to a practice-based research project as an Associate Investigator with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH) where he investigated, with Earth scientists and Indigenous traditional owners, different understandings of the world.
His postdoctoral research will involve the creation of three artworks that investigate sound archives: a collection of early Indigenous recordings, an experimental music archive, and a collection of recently unearthed séance tapes, this will be supplemented with a range of written research outputs. David is also co-creating a large-scale research artwork called What Listening Knows for exhibition in the UK later in the year.
Kate Rhodes was 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, 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.
Peter Kelly is Professor of Education and Head of UNESCO UNEVOC at RMIT University. His recent former role was as Associate Dean, Research and Innovation, in the School of Education at RMIT. Previous positions include at Edge Hill University (UK), Deakin University, Monash University, the University of Queensland (UQ).
Kelly is a social researcher who has published extensively on young people, social theory and globalisation. His current research interests include a critical engagement with young people and new cultures of education/work/democracy in the context of the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, and with the challenges associated with the emergence of the Anthropocene. He is currently the lead CI on an ARC Discovery Project (DP 170100547) Art Based Social Enterprises and Marginalised Young People’s Transitions.
With colleagues, Kelly leads a research program titled Young People’s Well-being, Resilience and Enterprise: Critical Perspectives for the Anthropocene: https://youngpeopleanthropocene.org/
Kelly has published extensively on young people and the practice of youth studies. His books include: Working in Jamie’s Kitchen: Salvation, Passion and Young Workers (2009), The Self as Enterprise: Foucault and the “Spirit” of 21st Century Capitalism (2013), The Moral Geographies of Children, Young People and Food: Beyond Jamie’s School Dinners (2014), A Critical Youth Studies for the 21st Century (2015), Young People and the Aesthetics of Health Promotion: Beyond Reason, Rationality and Risk (2016), and Neo-Liberalism and Austerity: The Moral Economies of Young People’s Health and Well-Being (2017). He has two recently published books: Rethinking Young People’s Marginalisation: Beyond neo-Liberal Futures? (2018), Young People and the Politics of Outrage and Hope (2018).
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).
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.
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.
Paul Minifie is a senior lecturer for the Architecture program in RMIT’s School of Architecture and Urban Design and a Director of Minifie van Schaik Architects.
Jacinthe Flore is a Vice-Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Social and Global Studies Centre at RMIT University. She is an interdisciplinary scholar whose research lies at the intersections of technology, health and society. With a particular interest in digital mental health, Jacinthe’s research examines the social and policy implications of innovations such as artificial intelligence, apps, wearables and fourth generation pharmaceuticals, and their circulations in people’s everyday lives.
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.
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.
Nancy Mauro-Flude is an artist and theorist. Administer of a home-brewed feminist web server, she leads the Holistic Computing Network Research group and practices experiential pedagogy, in her role as coordinator Emerging Digital/Media Cultures, Bachelor of Design (Digital Media), College of Design and Social Context at RMIT University. Mauro-Flude’s research contributes to the interdisciplinary space of feminist science and technology studies, computer subculture and performance art. Her artworks radically intervenes into public space by the aesthetic application of networking infrastructure, playfully and critically she experiments with signal transmission in order to draw upon contested knowledges and advance broader understandings emergent technologies as they arise as key actors in our embodied life.
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).
Acclaimed curator and fashion researcher Professor Robyn Healy is Head of RMIT’s School of Fashion and Textiles. Appointed in 2014, she will lead the School through a critical period of change and expansion. Prior to this appointment, Healy held the role of acting Head of School and Deputy Head of Research. She was also previously Program Director of the Bachelor of Design (Fashion) (2009−2012) and HDR Director (2011−2012) in the School of Architecture and Design. Healy has steered the development of the fashion research cohort, and reviewed and restructured the fashion program to facilitate vertically integrated studios, cross-disciplinary studios, and increased industry engagement, particularly with the professional practice stream.
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.
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.
Dr Zoe Myers is the team leader for Haptic Pathways, the finalist for the 2019 DCP Design Challenge.