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.
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.
Games for Change takes a play-focused, iteration-based approach to game design. Our first Games for Social Change Workshop saw participants engage in experimental learning and social engagement surrounding a particular topic: ecosystem problems. Young students learnt about game designing and what makes a ‘good’ game. They considered specific environmental issues and then worked together to design and test a game that would help solve that problem.
Game design involves a creative and iterative process guided by prototyping, playing and testing and then refining. Through our Games for Change Workshops we’re making the game design process accessible and actionable for any topic and varying participants.
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).
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
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.
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).