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Being Wiradjuri Together

Co-designing self determination

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

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

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Peter West
Lecturer, Communication Design
School: Media and Communication

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

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

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

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.

Care-full Design Lab

Transformational Design Done Care-Fully

Doing care-full design calls for new ways of thinking about values, methods, and the scale/​speed of how we do research, as well as who needs to be engaged in what way and when. It requires strong experience in transdisciplinary research and practice, and capacity to balance creativity-criticality and strategic-tactical approaches in an agile manner. Care-full Design Lab brings together a unique group of researchers with these capabilities to become an internationally leading catalyst for transformational urban future-making.

Key areas
Creative care for health and wellbeing
Future-making in the more-than-human worlds
Co-creation of inclusive, sustainable, and playful cities
Response-able methods of research, practice, and engagement
Reconciling care, rights, and ethics surrounding emerging cyberphysical systems

Find out more about the Care-Full Design Lab

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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.

Colored and Patterned Solar Building Skin

Solar Panels for Creative and Sustainable Urban Design

Innovative design of solar modules enables new possibilities for their integration into new and old buildings, historical sites, public urban spaces, landscapes and media façades. When the characteristics of conventional Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) modules are modified with technological advances in colour and appearance, it opens up a whole new approach to creative, innovative and sustainable urban designs. 

RMIT’s Dr Rebecca Yang partnered with City of Bendigo (Aurecon IEA PVPS Task 15 BIPV) for this project to display the approach to using coloured BIPV, wherein good architectural form is given to function and applied to make PV electricity part of our natural and cultural environment. The coloured and patterned solar panels form a paradigm shift in solar applications because of their aesthetic appeal and power generating attributes. These BIPV solutions could be adapted in variety of materials, colours and shapes that can be seen today in the centre of cities, where a diversity of buildings from different eras and construction solutions coexist with each other.

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Rebecca Yang
Senior Lecturer
School: Construction Management

RMIT staff profile
rebecca.yang@rmit.edu.au

Rebecca Yang has developed a strong and passionate commitment to industry-focused research and teaching. Her research resonates with RMIT’s vision of transforming the built environment to create sustainable and resilient cities, and her current research focuses on solar energy applications in buildings, and construction innovation. She is the leader of Solar Energy Application Group. She is the leader of Solar Energy Application Group and the Australian expert in International Energy Agency PVPS Task 15 BIPV.

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.

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.

The Hydrating Bungaribee

Rethinking waste water recovery

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

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

Personal website
anton.james@rmit.edu.au

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

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

News and updates

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

24.03.2020

VC FELLOW HIGHLIGHT: RUTH DE SOUZA

Ruth De Souza
Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow in the School of Art Read more

People

Hardik Bhimani
Economics, Finance and Marketing

Hardik Bhimani is a PhD student in the School of Economics, Finance and Marketing and is concurrently completing a Graduate Diploma in Psychology at Monash University. Hardik holds a Masters in Applied Finance from Kaplan Business School (Sydney) and is a member of the prestigious Strategic Management Society.

Managers face many strategic decisions but they often make unsustainable choices. So the challenge for todays’ firms is – how to effectively make social, environmental and economic choices?”

Prior to joining RMIT, where Hardik currently teaches Strategic Management courses, he was an award winning strategist and subject matter expert at several multinational organisations. It was during this period that he cultivated a curiosity for behavioural strategy. Ultimately, the quest to advance his research found him a home’ at RMIT University’s Behavioural Business Lab.

The access to supportive supervisors and a team of like-minded critical thinkers means the research journey is not only pleasant, but also engaging.”

Hardik’s research aims to understand the micro foundations of the interplay between social, environmental and economic strategic choices. His mixed-method research takes a behavioural strategy perspective and explains psychological influences, which affect strategic decision-making. In turn, the findings could guide managers’ to effectively de-bias their decision-making process, for a more sustainable strategic choice.

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.

Martyn Hook
Architecture and Urban Design

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

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

Esther Charlesworth
Architecture and Urban Design

Esther Charlesworth is a Professor in the School of Architecture and Design at RMIT University, and the Academic Director of the RMIT Master of Disaster, Design and Development degree [MoDDD]. She is also the founding Director of Architects without Frontiers (AWF). Since 2002, AWF has undertaken over 40 health, education and social infrastructure projects in 12 countries for vulnerable communities, and has been described by ABC radio broadcaster Phillip Adams as destined to develop into one of the greater forces of good on this battered planet’. 

Charlesworth has published seven books on the theme of social justice and architecture, including: Humanitarian Architecture (2014) and Sustainable Housing Reconstruction (2015).

Rebecca Yang
Construction Management

Rebecca Yang has developed a strong and passionate commitment to industry-focused research and teaching. Her research resonates with RMIT’s vision of transforming the built environment to create sustainable and resilient cities, and her current research focuses on solar energy applications in buildings, and construction innovation. She is the leader of Solar Energy Application Group. She is the leader of Solar Energy Application Group and the Australian expert in International Energy Agency PVPS Task 15 BIPV.

Ruth De Souza
School of Art

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.

Tania Lewis
Media and Communication

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

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