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Aesthetics, Politics and Histories: The Social Context of Art

AAANZ Conference 2018

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.

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

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 201516) 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.

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ARTIST PROGRAM

ABSTRACTS AND BIOS

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

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

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


Daniel Palmer
Associate Dean
School: School of Art

RMIT staff profile
daniel.palmer@rmit.edu.au

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.

Creative Ecologies

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

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

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

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

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

You can find out more about CREATIVE ECOLOGIES here.

VIEW THE REPORT

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

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

Cold Climate Landscapes and Atmospheres

Examining the effects of global warming on cold climate ecologies

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.

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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 swiss​info​.ch, This is what the changing Alps sound like, 20 December 2019.

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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.

Rainbow Ranges

Co-creating digital tools for vitalism with LGBTQI+ youth

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

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

PROJECT FLYER

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

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

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

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


Troy Innocent
VC Research Fellow
School: School of Design

Personal website
troy.innocent@rmit.edua.u

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


Katherine Johnson
Professor
School: Social and Global Studies

Personal website
katherine.johnson2@rmit.edu.au

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

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

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

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

Addressing Gender-Based Violence in Aged Care & Disability Support Services in Individualised Settings

Building stakeholder capacity in Victoria

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.

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Sara Charlesworth
Distinguished Professor
School: Management

sara.charlesworth@rmit.edu.au

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.

Doubting Writing/Writing Doubt

Expanded writing program

This project brought together writers of diverse disciplinary and creative backgrounds to explore new methodologies for arts writing and criticism in response to the exhibition On Vulnerability and Doubt at ACCA. Following a public call-out, that attracted over 60 applicants, ten writers were selected to participate in a series of workshops, a public readings event and to co-design a digital publication. 

Doubting Writing/​Writing Doubt took the exhibition themes of doubt and vulnerability as provocations from which to write about art. It built on the success of 2018’s Writing in the Expanded Field, which explores diversification in contemporary critical writing. 

The project was a great success, attracting excellent applicants, high public interest, connections with the arts publishing industry, and firmly consolidating the partnership between non/​fictionLab and ACCA.

Digital Publication
ACCA Program Page
Podcast of Public Readings Event

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Lucinda Strahan
School: Media and Communication

lucinda.strahan@rmit.edu.au

Lucinda Strahan is a writer and researcher of expanded nonfiction. Lucinda’s own expanded writing practice spans journalism and arts criticism, auto-ethnographic and personal essaying, editing and publishing, and exploratory literary-visual methods. She is the currently Writer in Residence at Linden New Art, St Kilda and in 2017 was Writer in Residence Residence at Grey Projects, Singapore as part of her ongoing interest in interdisciplinary critical/​creative writing practices. Lucinda is a Lecturer in the Professional Communication program in the School of Media and Communication.

FireLens

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

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

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Seth Keen
Lecturer
School: Media and Communication

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

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

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

Trades Hall GBV Training Package

Evaluate, Enhance & Embed

How might we co-design for cultural change for workplaces of the future? How can we co-design with inclusivity at the core? How can we co-create opportunities for social change in workplaces?

This collaboration built on the Victorian Trades Hall Council’s (VTHC) gender-based violence in the workplace training package, designed to advance the rights of people working across Victoria through cultural change towards inclusion, equality, and diversity. The project aim was to have the package evaluated, enhanced and for measurements to be embedded to ensure the aim of the package to change workplace cultures is able to be rolled-out.

To address this aim, the project utilised a series of mixed methods deploying ethnography (interviews and role play scenario case studies), SWOC analysis, multi-sensorial mapping and cultural probes to evaluate, enhance and reflect upon measuring social change.

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Larissa Hjorth
Distinguished Professor and Director, Design and Creative Practice
School: Enabling Capability Platforms

RMIT staff profile
larissa.hjorth@rmit.edu.au

Larissa Hjorth is a digital ethnographer, artist, Distinguished Professor and director of the Design & Creative Practice ECP platform at RMIT University. With Professor Heather Horst, she co-founded the Digital Ethnography Research Centre (DERC). Previously, Hjorth was Deputy Dean, Research & Innovation, in the School of Media & Communication (2013−2016). Hjorth served on the inaugural Australian Research Council (ARC) Engagement & Impact Pilot study assessment panel for humanities and creative practice.

Hjorth studies the socio-cultural dimensions of mobile media and play practices in the Asia-Pacific region with an emphasis on interdisciplinary, collaborative and cross-cultural approaches. She has published a dozen co-authored books, edited over a dozen Handbooks/​Companions and has over 40 journal articles. 

More recently, Hjorth’s work has become concerned with how we can bring creative, social and design solutions to the growing ageing populations and, in turn, how we might consider scenarios of what it means to die well. She is also studying how our more-than-human” companions can teach us about new media in everyday life. Hjorth’s last book, Haunting Hands (Oxford Uni Press) looked at how mobile media is being deployed in situations of grief and trauma, her previous book explored how art practice can teach us new acumen into the climate change debate.

Hjorth’s books include Haunting Hands (with Cumiskey 2017), Screen Ecologies (with Pink, Sharp & Williams 2016), Digital Ethnography (Pink et al. 2016) Mobile Media in the Asia-Pacific (2009), Games & Gaming (2010), Online@AsiaPacific (with Arnold 2013), Understanding Social Media (with Hinton 2013), and Gaming in Locative, Social and Mobile Media (with Richardson 2014).


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

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

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

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

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


Jenny Kennedy
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
School: Design and Social Context

Personal website
jenny.kennedy@rmit.edu.au

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.

Social Practice Network

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

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

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

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

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

Creative Agency

Networking Creative Change-Makers

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

Visit the Creative Agency website.

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

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

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

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

The HASH Network

Interdisciplinary health research

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

Visit the HASH Network website.

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

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

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

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

DCP HDR Working Group on Wellbeing and Belonging

Understanding HDR Wellbeing in and post COVID-19

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.

Further Information

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

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

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

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


Catherine Gomes
Associate Professor
School: Media and Communication

catherine.gomes@rmit.edu.au

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.


Larissa Hjorth
Distinguished Professor and Director, Design and Creative Practice
School: Enabling Capability Platforms

RMIT staff profile
larissa.hjorth@rmit.edu.au

Larissa Hjorth is a digital ethnographer, artist, Distinguished Professor and director of the Design & Creative Practice ECP platform at RMIT University. With Professor Heather Horst, she co-founded the Digital Ethnography Research Centre (DERC). Previously, Hjorth was Deputy Dean, Research & Innovation, in the School of Media & Communication (2013−2016). Hjorth served on the inaugural Australian Research Council (ARC) Engagement & Impact Pilot study assessment panel for humanities and creative practice.

Hjorth studies the socio-cultural dimensions of mobile media and play practices in the Asia-Pacific region with an emphasis on interdisciplinary, collaborative and cross-cultural approaches. She has published a dozen co-authored books, edited over a dozen Handbooks/​Companions and has over 40 journal articles. 

More recently, Hjorth’s work has become concerned with how we can bring creative, social and design solutions to the growing ageing populations and, in turn, how we might consider scenarios of what it means to die well. She is also studying how our more-than-human” companions can teach us about new media in everyday life. Hjorth’s last book, Haunting Hands (Oxford Uni Press) looked at how mobile media is being deployed in situations of grief and trauma, her previous book explored how art practice can teach us new acumen into the climate change debate.

Hjorth’s books include Haunting Hands (with Cumiskey 2017), Screen Ecologies (with Pink, Sharp & Williams 2016), Digital Ethnography (Pink et al. 2016) Mobile Media in the Asia-Pacific (2009), Games & Gaming (2010), Online@AsiaPacific (with Arnold 2013), Understanding Social Media (with Hinton 2013), and Gaming in Locative, Social and Mobile Media (with Richardson 2014).


Ingrid Richardson
Professor
School: Media and Communication

RMIT staff profile
ingrid.richardson@rmit.edu.au

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
VC Research Fellow
School: Media and Communication

Personal website
natalie.hendry@rmit.edu.au

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.


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

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

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

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


Ruth De Souza
VC Research Fellow
School: School of Art

Personal website
ruth.de.souza@rmit.edu.au

Dr Ruth De Souza (FACN) is a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at RMIT, based in the School of Art and DCP Research Platform. She is a nurse, academic and a community-engaged researcher in gender, race, health and digital technologies. Ruth’s Fellowship will engage health professionals in finding new ways to understand, co-design and implement sustainable cultural safety initiatives in a range of health contexts in response to health inequities.

Prior to moving to Australia in 2013, Ruth worked at AUT University where she taught in the School of Nursing, led the Bachelor of Health Promotion, and was a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Asian and Migrant Health Research. Since her arrival in Australia, Ruth has undertaken a wide range of roles, including leading an undergraduate nursing program at Monash University’s Berwick campus; spearheading a unique community-engaged joint research appointment with North Richmond Community Health exploring how wearables and other digital technologies are perceived by people from culturally and linguistically different backgrounds and co-ordinating an interdisciplinary Data Systems and Society Research Network across the University of Melbourne. Ruth has also investigated the applicability of cultural safety in Australia, working closely with The Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM), presenting at their National Professional Development Conferences and delivering training on cultural safety. She has also undertaken a two-year cultural safety project with cohealth (a not-for-profit community health organisation) and Our Watch who work for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children.

Writers Immersion and Cultural Exchange

Changing the stories we tell and listen to

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

Visit the WrICE website.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

4th Annual MARC Symposium

Redefining Quality in Ageing and Aged Care

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

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

See the Symposium agenda here.

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Creative Care

Exploring creative practice and teaching in health and wellbeing

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.

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Keely Macarow
Associate Professor
School: School of Art

RMIT staff profile
keely.macarow@rmit.edu.au

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.

Cultural Value and Impact Network (CVIN)

Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Inventive Methods

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

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

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Bronwyn Coate
Senior Lecturer
School: Economics, Finance and Marketing

RMIT staff profile

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


Gretchen Coombs
Post Doctoral Research Fellow
School: Design and Creative Practice

RMIT staff profile
gretchen.coombs@rmit.edu.au

Gretchen Coombs is a Post Doctoral Research Fellow in the Design & Creative Practice Enabling Capability Platform at RMIT. She researches socially engaged art practices in the US, the UK and Australia, with a particular focus on how they are practiced in urban contexts. She’s a core member of the Cultural Value and Impact Network (CVIN) and contributes to Creative Care in the School of Art. Gretchen has a PhD in social and cultural anthropology and a MA in visual criticism: her writing uses a combination of ethnographic methods and visual analysis. She is a co-author of Creative Practice Ethnographies (Rowan & Littlefield 2019) and her monograph, The Lure of the Social: Encounters with Contemporary Artists (Intellect 2021 ) is an experimental ethnography about contemporary artists working at the intersection of art, aesthetics, and politics.


Kit Wise
Professor
School: School of Art

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

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

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

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

Design and Social Innovation in Asia-Pacific Network

Capacity building in the Asia-Pacific region

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

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

Visit the DESIAP website.

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

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

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

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

Developing Game Regions

Exploring regional growth in game cultures and gaming industries in Vietnam

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

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Emma Witkowski
Senior Lecturer, Digital Design Cluster
School: Games

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

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

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

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

Playable City Melbourne

Making the City a Platform for Play

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.

Playable City Melbourne website.

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Troy Innocent
VC Research Fellow
School: School of Design

Personal website
troy.innocent@rmit.edua.u

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

Possum Skin Cloak Story

Reconnecting Communities and Culture

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.

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Vicki Couzens
VC Indigenous Research Fellow
School: Design and Social Context

vicki.couzens@rmit.edu.au

Dr Couzens is Gunditjmara from the Western Districts of Victoria. She acknowledges her ancestors and elders who guide her work.

Dr Couzens has worked in Aboriginal community affairs for almost 40 years. Her contributions in the reclamation, regeneration and revitalisation of cultural knowledge and practice extend across the arts and creative cultural expression’ spectrum including language revitalisation, ceremony, community arts, public art, visual and performing arts, and writing. She is a Senior Knowledge Custodian for Possum Skin Cloak Story and Language Reclamation and Revival in her Keerray Woorroong Mother Tongue.

Vicki is employed at RMIT as a Vice Chancellors Indigenous Research Fellow developing her Project watnanda koong meerreeng , tyama-ngan malayeetoo (together body and country, we know long time)’ The key objective of this Project is to produce model/​s, pathways and resources for continuing the reinvigoration of Aboriginal Ways of Knowing Being and Doing with a special focus on language revitalisation.

Social Games for Change

Japan Workshop

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

The Social Games For Change Workshop introduces and encourages STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths) skills and capabilities in the primary School classroom. This iteration of the workshop took place on Thursday the 7th June at Kyoto International Primary School, Japan. The workshop was conducted in English and delivered to a class of 18 students.

VIEW THE REPORT

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Larissa Hjorth
Distinguished Professor and Director, Design and Creative Practice
School: Enabling Capability Platforms

RMIT staff profile
larissa.hjorth@rmit.edu.au

Larissa Hjorth is a digital ethnographer, artist, Distinguished Professor and director of the Design & Creative Practice ECP platform at RMIT University. With Professor Heather Horst, she co-founded the Digital Ethnography Research Centre (DERC). Previously, Hjorth was Deputy Dean, Research & Innovation, in the School of Media & Communication (2013−2016). Hjorth served on the inaugural Australian Research Council (ARC) Engagement & Impact Pilot study assessment panel for humanities and creative practice.

Hjorth studies the socio-cultural dimensions of mobile media and play practices in the Asia-Pacific region with an emphasis on interdisciplinary, collaborative and cross-cultural approaches. She has published a dozen co-authored books, edited over a dozen Handbooks/​Companions and has over 40 journal articles. 

More recently, Hjorth’s work has become concerned with how we can bring creative, social and design solutions to the growing ageing populations and, in turn, how we might consider scenarios of what it means to die well. She is also studying how our more-than-human” companions can teach us about new media in everyday life. Hjorth’s last book, Haunting Hands (Oxford Uni Press) looked at how mobile media is being deployed in situations of grief and trauma, her previous book explored how art practice can teach us new acumen into the climate change debate.

Hjorth’s books include Haunting Hands (with Cumiskey 2017), Screen Ecologies (with Pink, Sharp & Williams 2016), Digital Ethnography (Pink et al. 2016) Mobile Media in the Asia-Pacific (2009), Games & Gaming (2010), Online@AsiaPacific (with Arnold 2013), Understanding Social Media (with Hinton 2013), and Gaming in Locative, Social and Mobile Media (with Richardson 2014).


Hugh Davies
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
School: Games

Personal website
hugh.davies@rmit.edu.au

Hugh Davies is an artist, curator and researcher of games and play. His practice explores histories of media devices and cultures of games in the Asia Pacific Region. Awarded a PhD in Art, Design and Architecture from Monash University in 2014, Hugh’s studies in game cultures have been supported with fellowships from Tokyo Art and Space, M+ Museum of Visual Culture and the Hong Kong Design Trust. Hugh is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at RMIT in Melbourne, Australia.


Jacina Leong
PhD candidate
School: Media and Communication

Personal website
jacina.leong@rmit.edu.au

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.

The Exchange at Knowledge Market

Prototyping community engagement in Melbourne’s Docklands Precinct

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

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

Visit the Knowledge Market website.

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

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

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

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

The Future of Museum Audiences I

Social Media, Digital Wayfaring and Museum Audiences

This project explored how museums can engage with social media platforms beyond the blunt instrumentalization of hashtags, likes and follows, to co-create and co-future inventive and responsive engagements with and for diverse and intergenerational museum audiences. Deploying the notion of digital wayfaring that acknowledges that digital, social and material worlds are interconnected, the project used ethnographic techniques in the context of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). Ethnography provides insight into practice and lived experience — dynamic processes that big data can’t address.

PHASEREPORT

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Larissa Hjorth
Distinguished Professor and Director, Design and Creative Practice
School: Enabling Capability Platforms

RMIT staff profile
larissa.hjorth@rmit.edu.au

Larissa Hjorth is a digital ethnographer, artist, Distinguished Professor and director of the Design & Creative Practice ECP platform at RMIT University. With Professor Heather Horst, she co-founded the Digital Ethnography Research Centre (DERC). Previously, Hjorth was Deputy Dean, Research & Innovation, in the School of Media & Communication (2013−2016). Hjorth served on the inaugural Australian Research Council (ARC) Engagement & Impact Pilot study assessment panel for humanities and creative practice.

Hjorth studies the socio-cultural dimensions of mobile media and play practices in the Asia-Pacific region with an emphasis on interdisciplinary, collaborative and cross-cultural approaches. She has published a dozen co-authored books, edited over a dozen Handbooks/​Companions and has over 40 journal articles. 

More recently, Hjorth’s work has become concerned with how we can bring creative, social and design solutions to the growing ageing populations and, in turn, how we might consider scenarios of what it means to die well. She is also studying how our more-than-human” companions can teach us about new media in everyday life. Hjorth’s last book, Haunting Hands (Oxford Uni Press) looked at how mobile media is being deployed in situations of grief and trauma, her previous book explored how art practice can teach us new acumen into the climate change debate.

Hjorth’s books include Haunting Hands (with Cumiskey 2017), Screen Ecologies (with Pink, Sharp & Williams 2016), Digital Ethnography (Pink et al. 2016) Mobile Media in the Asia-Pacific (2009), Games & Gaming (2010), Online@AsiaPacific (with Arnold 2013), Understanding Social Media (with Hinton 2013), and Gaming in Locative, Social and Mobile Media (with Richardson 2014).


Jacina Leong
PhD candidate
School: Media and Communication

Personal website
jacina.leong@rmit.edu.au

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.

The Future of Museum Audiences II

Museum Engagement, Data and Older Audiences

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.

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People


Larissa Hjorth
Distinguished Professor and Director, Design and Creative Practice
School: Enabling Capability Platforms

RMIT staff profile
larissa.hjorth@rmit.edu.au

Larissa Hjorth is a digital ethnographer, artist, Distinguished Professor and director of the Design & Creative Practice ECP platform at RMIT University. With Professor Heather Horst, she co-founded the Digital Ethnography Research Centre (DERC). Previously, Hjorth was Deputy Dean, Research & Innovation, in the School of Media & Communication (2013−2016). Hjorth served on the inaugural Australian Research Council (ARC) Engagement & Impact Pilot study assessment panel for humanities and creative practice.

Hjorth studies the socio-cultural dimensions of mobile media and play practices in the Asia-Pacific region with an emphasis on interdisciplinary, collaborative and cross-cultural approaches. She has published a dozen co-authored books, edited over a dozen Handbooks/​Companions and has over 40 journal articles. 

More recently, Hjorth’s work has become concerned with how we can bring creative, social and design solutions to the growing ageing populations and, in turn, how we might consider scenarios of what it means to die well. She is also studying how our more-than-human” companions can teach us about new media in everyday life. Hjorth’s last book, Haunting Hands (Oxford Uni Press) looked at how mobile media is being deployed in situations of grief and trauma, her previous book explored how art practice can teach us new acumen into the climate change debate.

Hjorth’s books include Haunting Hands (with Cumiskey 2017), Screen Ecologies (with Pink, Sharp & Williams 2016), Digital Ethnography (Pink et al. 2016) Mobile Media in the Asia-Pacific (2009), Games & Gaming (2010), Online@AsiaPacific (with Arnold 2013), Understanding Social Media (with Hinton 2013), and Gaming in Locative, Social and Mobile Media (with Richardson 2014).


Hugh Davies
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
School: Games

Personal website
hugh.davies@rmit.edu.au

Hugh Davies is an artist, curator and researcher of games and play. His practice explores histories of media devices and cultures of games in the Asia Pacific Region. Awarded a PhD in Art, Design and Architecture from Monash University in 2014, Hugh’s studies in game cultures have been supported with fellowships from Tokyo Art and Space, M+ Museum of Visual Culture and the Hong Kong Design Trust. Hugh is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at RMIT in Melbourne, Australia.


Jacina Leong
PhD candidate
School: Media and Communication

Personal website
jacina.leong@rmit.edu.au

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.


Gretchen Coombs
Post Doctoral Research Fellow
School: Design and Creative Practice

RMIT staff profile
gretchen.coombs@rmit.edu.au

Gretchen Coombs is a Post Doctoral Research Fellow in the Design & Creative Practice Enabling Capability Platform at RMIT. She researches socially engaged art practices in the US, the UK and Australia, with a particular focus on how they are practiced in urban contexts. She’s a core member of the Cultural Value and Impact Network (CVIN) and contributes to Creative Care in the School of Art. Gretchen has a PhD in social and cultural anthropology and a MA in visual criticism: her writing uses a combination of ethnographic methods and visual analysis. She is a co-author of Creative Practice Ethnographies (Rowan & Littlefield 2019) and her monograph, The Lure of the Social: Encounters with Contemporary Artists (Intellect 2021 ) is an experimental ethnography about contemporary artists working at the intersection of art, aesthetics, and politics.

News and updates

19.07.2019

DCP Lectures | Dr Anne Galloway

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

13.02.2018

EFI Conference 2018

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

02.08.2019

HDR HIGHLIGHT: Caitlin McGrane

Caitlin McGrane
PhD candidate in the Digital Ethnography Research Centre Read more

17.10.2018

2nd MARC END OF LIFE CARE FORUM

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

18.05.2018

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

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

18.05.2018

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

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

15.06.2018

Doing Digital Methods – Workshop Summary

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

20.08.2019

HDR Opportunity: Dr Anne Galloway Workshop

Practicing More-than-human Design Ethnography Workshop
Dr Anne Galloway, School of Design, Victoria University of Wellington, NZ
Tuesday 20 August 2019, RMIT City Campus Read more

23.03.2020

VC FELLOW HIGHLIGHT: DAVID CHESWORTH

David Chesworth
Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow in the School of Art Read more

People

Michelle Aung Thin
Media and Communication

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.

Vicki Couzens
Design and Social Context

Dr Couzens is Gunditjmara from the Western Districts of Victoria. She acknowledges her ancestors and elders who guide her work.

Dr Couzens has worked in Aboriginal community affairs for almost 40 years. Her contributions in the reclamation, regeneration and revitalisation of cultural knowledge and practice extend across the arts and creative cultural expression’ spectrum including language revitalisation, ceremony, community arts, public art, visual and performing arts, and writing. She is a Senior Knowledge Custodian for Possum Skin Cloak Story and Language Reclamation and Revival in her Keerray Woorroong Mother Tongue.

Vicki is employed at RMIT as a Vice Chancellors Indigenous Research Fellow developing her Project watnanda koong meerreeng , tyama-ngan malayeetoo (together body and country, we know long time)’ The key objective of this Project is to produce model/​s, pathways and resources for continuing the reinvigoration of Aboriginal Ways of Knowing Being and Doing with a special focus on language revitalisation.

Francesca Rendle-Short
Media and Communication

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

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

Nella Themelios
Design Hub

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).

Anne Harris
Education

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

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

Bronwyn Coate
Economics, Finance and Marketing

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).

Caitlin McGrane
Media and Communication

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.

Julienne Van Loon
Media and Communication

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

Olivia Guntarik
Media and Communication

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

Fleur Watson
Design Hub

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.

Helen Rayment
RMIT Collections & Venues

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

Kate Rhodes
Design Hub

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
Education

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

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

Yoko Akama
Communication Design

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

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

David Chesworth
School of Art

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.

Georgia Garrard
Global, Urban and Social Studies

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.

Jacina Leong
Media and Communication

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.

Janneke Blijlevens
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 (sans​for​get​ica​.rmit)’ gained world-wide acclaim.

Keely Macarow
School of Art

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.

Kit Wise
School of Art

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.

Lucinda Strahan
Media and Communication

Lucinda Strahan is a writer and researcher of expanded nonfiction. Lucinda’s own expanded writing practice spans journalism and arts criticism, auto-ethnographic and personal essaying, editing and publishing, and exploratory literary-visual methods. She is the currently Writer in Residence at Linden New Art, St Kilda and in 2017 was Writer in Residence Residence at Grey Projects, Singapore as part of her ongoing interest in interdisciplinary critical/​creative writing practices. Lucinda is a Lecturer in the Professional Communication program in the School of Media and Communication.

Philip Samartzis
School of Art

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

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

Son Vivienne
Education

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

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

Suzie Attiwill
Architecture and Urban Design

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).