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Care, Media and Ritual

Creative, social and ethnographic interventions in care

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Connecting Insights around Care-at-a-distance

Concept-generation workshop with Telstra

As part of the inaugural Engaging for Impact conference, the DCP ECP and Telstra ran a concept-generation workshop which brought together expertise around the creative, social, cultural, educational and ethnographic dimensions of technology and care to provide greater insights into practices now and in the future. The workshop considered some of the challenges and opportunities in the emergent fields of locative media, intergenerational care-at-a-distance, friendly surveillance and assisted living. Much of the discussion encircled key paradoxes around the following concepts:

  • vulnerable agency (elderly, young children, animals); 
  • security and surveillance; 
  • privacy vs findability; and
  • datafication.

Workshop Summary Report

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If you would like to get involved with this project, fill out the form below or reach out to project leaders via the contact info provided alongside each bio.

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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).

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.

Smartphone use during a crisis

Finding and managing information, emotions and networks in times of crisis

These workshops explored how, as smartphone users, participants were using mobile and non-mobile media to find and manage
information, emotions and networks during the 2019 – 2020 Australian summer bushfire crisis. 

Using 3 creative codesign methods, we mapped the key themes, common feelings and practices that emerged during the group discussions. The exercises, and subsequent mapping, generated discussions about key practices and perceptions of how individuals and their communities care during times of crisis. The following preliminary findings emerged:

  1. Tactics of care
  2. Care-at-a-distance
  3. Care literacies
  4. Direct and indirect affective witnessing

Read the Workshop Summary Report to find out more.

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If you would like to get involved with this project, fill out the form below or reach out to project leaders via the contact info provided alongside each bio.

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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.


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.


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).

Designing for social futures

How might we live and die well?

We interrogate how we might embed care in all facets of formal and informal, digital and material context to create new pathways towards inclusive and just futures in this rapidly ageing, socially precarious, and digitally networked era. 

In 2018, we initiated transdisciplinary, cross-sectoral, and co-creative engagements to identify challenges and opportunities for living-and-dying-well-futures beyond traditional medicine and healthcare interventions. The initial engagements included the Designing for Social Futures of Ageing Communities and Places in Japan, and the Rethinking Health: Thick Data for Ageing Well workshop in Barcelona. Building on these, we continue to explore non-disciplinary-bounding tools and methods for research and practice focused on care and wellbeing across the world.

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Jaz Hee-jeong Choi
Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow
School: Design 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.

CaTPin

Conversation as Therapy

CaTPin was the finalist for the 2018 DCP Design Challenge.

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

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

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Leah Heiss
School: Communication Design

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

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

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

Design for Wellbeing Network

Working to improve the design of healthcare environments

What are the gaps in healthcare design? Focusing specifically on hospitals and other formal healthcare settings, the Design for Wellbeing Network (DfW) aims to improve the understanding of how people experience these services and environments. The group of international and interdisciplinary researchers are working towards improvements in these experiences through rigorous qualitative and practice-based research.

The DfW is committed to deploying their research through partnerships with external organisations such as hospital groups, designers, architects and government.

Visit the DfW website.

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Multisensory Embodiment

Music, Movement & Memory in Dementia

This project builds technical capacity and facilitates proof of concept testing of the impact of multisensory integration of music, movement and memory, specifically exploring embodied audio and agency-free kinesis to maximise the power of music for dementia patients. This project is creating and building a dedicated chair for this purpose and will explore both the therapeutic and commercial potential of this technology.

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Jenny Robinson
Senior Lecturer, Design and Social Context
School: Media and Communication

+61 3 9925 5049
RMIT staff profile
jenny.robinson@rmit.edu.au

Dr Jenny Robinson is a lecturer in Media and Communication, teaching classes in audience research and strategic communication. Her research is in media psychology, most recently using biometrics and experimental methodology to investigate audience reception of multi-platform advertising models. She is interested in understanding how people respond to mediated communication whether that is TV, online content, public interaction or art.

Robinson brings an interdisciplinary approach to the study of audience experience, with a BA (hons) in psychology and PhD in mass communication, MA in TV and film, and Grad Dip in science communication.

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.

SCHEDULE

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.

Sharing animal pictures on social media

Pandemic Strategies of Care

We are researchers from RMIT. We invite you to take part in this research project exploring the sharing of animal pictures on social media as part of pandemic strategies of care. 

The aim of this research is to understand the motivations, and collect examples, of sharing animal pictures on social media as part of pandemic strategies of care. It seeks to provide details into meanings as part of this cultural practice.

If you decide you want to take part in the research project, you can access the Participant Information and Consent Form below. It tells you about the research project and explains the processes involved with taking part. Knowing what is involved will help you decide if you want to take part in the research. 

PARTICIPANTS INFORMATION

Participation is easy. Just email your images and comments to the lead researcher, Professor Larissa Hjorth: larissa.​hjorth@​rmit.​edu.​au

We would love to have you and your pets involved!

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If you would like to get involved with this project, fill out the form below or reach out to project leaders via the contact info provided alongside each bio.

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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).

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.

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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Care Futures Beyond Data

Co-creative explorations into new and emerging care services and technologies in Japan.

This project investigates the perceptions, practices, and aspirations around emerging care systems, especially those using electronic health records and big data, among the members of public and professionals in related fields in Japan. The project employs creative methods to generate nuanced insights into current dynamics and engage different stakeholders to imagine future cyberphysical systems of care that are meaningful to local contexts.

This project questions how we might understand and design cyberphysical systems for health care in Japan particularly in the context of the introduction of the Next Generation Medical Infrastructure law, making available medical big data to be used anonymously for research purposes across sectors.
This transdisciplinary and co-creative project aims to: 

1) Investigate how healthcare technologies are understood and experienced, and how its impacts are imagined by members of the public and professionals, including perceived benefits and concerns 

2) Co-create different futures of cyberphysical systems for care 

3) Engage and raise awareness of such systems and their impacts among different stakeholders. 

To achieve this, it employs ethnographic and participatory methods involving different members of public and healthcare professionals in Tokyo and Kyoto. 

Find out more about the Care-Full Design Lab

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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.

Games of Being Mobile

First National Survey of Mobile Games in Australia

This project contextualised mobile games as part of broader practices of play, both in the home and extending out into neighbourhoods, urban public spaces and online networks. The Games of Being Mobile project followed nearly sixty households over three years (2013– 2016) in five of Australia’s capital cities: Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane. It is the first national survey of mobile games. 

The project identified the diverse agencies of mobile media users and players, and the multiple modalities of play. As we face a challenging future, it is our hope that the power of mobile games and playful practices can fuel innovative forms of care, mindful engagement and ethical sociality.

View the report here.

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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.


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.

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.

Pet Playing for Placemaking

Designing playful technologies for social engagement and healthy ageing

With many pet owners experiencing social isolation during the pandemic, RMIT researchers are collaborating with Cherished Pets Foundation and its affiliated veterinary social enterprise towards improving social inclusion in the local community. The initiative has received community funding to bring an interactive, playful, and creative spin through a game designed to promote social engagement and healthy ageing. 

Pet Playing for Placemaking Survey Report — October 2020
2021 Give Where You Live Community Connections Grant

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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).


Jacob Sheahan
PhD Candidate
School: School of Design

0424056233
Personal website
jacob.sheahan@student.rmit.edu.au

Jacob Sheahan is a PhD Candidate in the School of Design and Research Assistant in the Shaping Connections research program. Trained as an Industrial Designer, his research practice focuses on ageing futures, emerging technologies, and design for health and wellbeing. Utilising a design anthropology and interaction design skillset, he benefits from a socio-technical and project-grounded approach, innovating through collaborative and constructive methods.

Social Play Tool Kit

Encouraging social play and games literacies in the classroom.

Play is a source of culture, a form of expression, and a creative way of engaging with the world. It is a crucial human ability for adaptation and expression. 

In collaboration with our research partners and young people, we have developed a Social Play Tool Kit that encourages social play and game literacies in the classroom. Exploring socially-engaged gameplay and creativity across digital and material contexts, these tools are freely downloadable PDF’s for use in a variety of Primary School age learning environments.

INTRODUCTION TO THE SOCIAL PLAY PROJECT

CLASSROOM POSTERS

CLASSROOM CASE STUDY GAME PAMPHLETS

SOCIAL PLAY TOOL KIT

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 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.

PHASEREPORT

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If you would like to get involved with this project, fill out the form below or reach out to project leaders via the contact info provided alongside each bio.

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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.

The Spatial Capability Cluster at RMIT (SCCAR)

Phase 2

The SASCCAR project is working to establish a Space and Spatial Capability Cluster” at RMIT. The cluster aims to provide a sustainable and interdisciplinary community of practice in space” and spatial”, bringing together spatial experts across RMIT University, and supporting early-career researchers and HDR students working in the spatial sciences. The cluster aims to enhance collaboration, increase the visibility of RMIT’s world-class expertise in spatial knowledge, and ultimately support relevant applications to large interdisciplinary funding schemes, including CRCs and Centres of Excellence. 

Phase 2 of the SASCCAR project saw skills development workshops on mapping with Tableau; Frontier SI workshop; Workshop with Mark McMillan on Indigenous Knowledge of Place; Joint workshop with the Sir Lawrence Wackett Centre and defence industry (Textron) on major Next Gen Technology Fund application; as well as a presentation at the 2019 Engaging For Impact Event on Advancing Space and Spatial Capabilities with Dr Amanda Caples.

Space is a USD$345 billion global industry which has doubled over the previous decade, with strong growth expected to continue in the medium term. Australia’s Space and Spatial industries are undergoing a rapid change and growth including everything from rockets, satellites and sensors, through to the specialists who derive insights from space based information such as location data and satellite imagery. These diverse technologies are having more impact than ever across Australia’s economy, particularly our Agricultural, mining, environmental, health, transport, defence, and built environment industries.

You can find out more about the SASCCAR project here.

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Matt Duckham
Professor
School: Geospatial Science

Personal website
matt.duckham@rmit.edu.au

Matt Duckham is a Professor of Geospatial Sciences at RMIT University. At RMIT, he has occupied a number of senior leadership roles including: Acting Dean STEMM Diversity and Inclusion, Associate Dean of Geospatial Science, and Deputy Head of the School of Mathematical and Geospatial Sciences, Science Director for the CRC for Spatial Information (CRCSI) Rapid Spatial Analytics Program. Prior to joining RMIT, Matt was Professor in Geographic Information Science within the department of Infrastructure Engineering at the University of Melbourne, when he also held a visiting Professor position and the University of Greenwich. 

Matts research focuses on the area of Geographic Information Science, particularly distributed and robust computation and visualisation with uncertain spatial and spatiotemporal information, within the domain of mobile, location aware and sensor enabled systems. He has taught a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in connection with spatial computing, in particular, spatial visualisation and spatial databases.

News and updates

20.06.2018

RMIT Europe Symposium: Rethinking Healthcare for the Future

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

17.10.2018

2nd MARC END OF LIFE CARE FORUM

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

13.02.2018

EFI Conference 2018

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

24.03.2020

VC FELLOW HIGHLIGHT: RUTH DE SOUZA

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

10.10.2018

Shortlisted teams announced

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

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

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

18.05.2018

Facett – Winner 2018 Good Design Award of the Year

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

21.03.2018

WrICE Program Partners with Leading Asian Literary Centre

RMIT’s Writers Immersion and Cultural Exchange Program (WrICE), now in its fifth year, will partner with the Jakarta Post Writing Center in 2018. Read more

People

Gretchen Coombs
Design and Creative Practice

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.

Jaz Hee-jeong Choi
Design and Social Context

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

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

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

Renata Kokanovic
Global, Urban & Social Studies

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

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

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.

Marnie Badham
School of Art

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.

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.

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.

Grace McQuilten
School of Art

Grace is a published art historian, curator and artist with expertise in contemporary art and design, public art, social practice, social enterprise and community development.

Grace’s research challenges and transforms conventional understandings of the relationship between margin and centre in relation to the cultural economy, contemporary art practice and art history. She has pioneered work on the field of art-based social enterprise in Australia, and has worked extensively in migrant and refugee settlement. She has a multidisciplinary approach that engages with a range of fields including art, design, architecture, sustainability, sociology, business and international development. In addition, through her leadership of the CAST research group, she collaborates with industry and across disciplines to develop research projects that address issues of access, equity and justice.

Grace is a Chief Investigator on the ARC Discovery Project The underworld: outsider artists and the reformulation of Australian art,’ (2018−2020) and the ARC Discovery Project Art-based Social Enterprises and Marginalised Young Peoples Transitions,’ (2017−2019). She has published numerous articles in refereed and unrefereed publications, published creative works in literary journals, authored exhibition catalogues and worked as an editor on local newspapers and engaged widely with local and national media. Grace is the founding CEO & a current Board Director of The Social Studio, a fashion and art based social enterprise working with young people from humanitarian migrant backgrounds in Melbourne.

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.

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.