The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everybody, but we know that its impact has been worse for older people who live independently. We also know that if you come from other countries or if English is your second language your social networks can sometimes be further away and physical distancing and lockdowns can make you feel isolated.
As part of the Alone Together project we are inviting older people from culturally and linguistic diverse communities to talk with one of our research team. We would like to know how COVID-19 has impacted your everyday life; how you are coping with these changes; and what type of services have been useful.
These conversations will help us to understand how to provide better support to older people from these communities in the future.
Research team: Dr Ruth De Souza (RMIT University); Distinguished Professor Larissa Hjorth (RMIT University); Ms Maria Dimopoulos (Special Adviser, Multicultural Communities, Department of Justice & Community Safety); Associate Professor Bianca Brijnath (NARI); Ms Deidre Ellem (Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) Consumer –Collaborative Pairs Program); Dr Barbara Barbosa Neves (Monash University); Ms Kate Renzenbrink (Bendigo Health and Clinical Reference Lead for the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) and Collaborative Pairs Program; Dr Jenny Waycott (University of Melbourne); Dr Juan Sanin (RMIT University).
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.
Recognising the social, civil and governance impact of the COVID19 crisis, COVIDSafe: Perceptions and Practices highlights how Australian’s are understanding and responding to these changes at a community and personal level.
We want to hear your voice.
This research project responds to the shifting environment of COVID19, exploring questions as they emerge. Questions include:
• From government contact tracing through the COVIDSafe app, to more informal practices such as details at cafes and restaurants, how do Australians respond to their information and locations being monitored and recorded?
• With the emergence of new norms in public space such as mask wearing and social distancing, how have people adjusted to differing understandings of civic responsibility toward public health?
• How is ethnicity, age and background informing responses to public health messaging?
• To what extent do individuals perceive the COVID-19 crisis as bringing about community solidarity. Or, alternately, bringing to the fore existing inequalities?
Against the backdrop of the COVID-19, this research seeks to understand how we negotiate, trust and relate to the government, the community and each other.
You can find out more details about the research through this Participant Information Sheet.
If you are in anyway struggling during the COVID19 crisis, there are a range of free services and support available that can assist you or a loved one at this time that you can access here.
With many pet owners experiencing social isolation during the pandemic, RMIT researchers are collaborating with Cherished Pets Foundation and its affiliated veterinary social enterprise towards improving social inclusion in the local community. The initiative has received community funding to bring an interactive, playful, and creative spin through a game designed to promote social engagement and healthy ageing.
Jacob Sheahan is a PhD Candidate in the School of Design and Research Assistant in the Shaping Connections research program. Trained as an Industrial Designer, his research practice focuses on ageing futures, emerging technologies, and design for health and wellbeing. Utilising a design anthropology and interaction design skillset, he benefits from a socio-technical and project-grounded approach, innovating through collaborative and constructive methods.
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.
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.
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.
“Culture is the framework through which we connect to our Country, our Belonging. It defines and makes us who we are. Our language, stories, songs, dance, artefacts, cultural knowledge and practices demonstrate our continuing connections.” — Vicki Couzens.
Possum skin cloaks were a vital part of Aboriginal peoples lives in pre-European times. To make a cloak was a very labour intensive and time-consuming process. Telling the story of the Possum Skin Cloak strengthens cultural identity, connection to country and health, and education and justice within an indigenous community context. The impact of the revival of possum skin cloaks as a community cultural practice has been significant and profound.
Dr Couzens is Gunditjmara from the Western Districts of Victoria. She acknowledges her ancestors and elders who guide her work.
Dr Couzens has worked in Aboriginal community affairs for almost 40 years. Her contributions in the reclamation, regeneration and revitalisation of cultural knowledge and practice extend across the ‘arts and creative cultural expression’ spectrum including language revitalisation, ceremony, community arts, public art, visual and performing arts, and writing. She is a Senior Knowledge Custodian for Possum Skin Cloak Story and Language Reclamation and Revival in her Keerray Woorroong Mother Tongue.
Vicki is employed at RMIT as a Vice Chancellors Indigenous Research Fellow developing her Project ‘watnanda koong meerreeng , tyama-ngan malayeetoo (together body and country, we know long time)’ The key objective of this Project is to produce model/s, pathways and resources for continuing the reinvigoration of Aboriginal Ways of Knowing Being and Doing with a special focus on language revitalisation.
Knowledge Market is a creative hub for sharing ideas. Since its inception in 2016, it has hosted inspirational mentors and facilitators and fostered many new creative projects and partnerships. The Exchange at Knowledge Market is the next phase in the evolution of this innovation space.
The Exchange explores the concept of community and new ways of understanding the shared urban environment through a curated series of public workshops, exhibitions, forums and community events. This year-long living lab is a space created by the community for the community.
Visit the Knowledge Market website.
Ross McLeod is Program Manager of Design Innovation and Technology at RMIT University, Melbourne. Over the past twenty years Ross has worked as both a designer and as an academic, completing a wide range of one-off and production furniture designs, interior architecture projects, exhibitions designs and sculptural works both locally and internationally.
As a designer, educator and academic he is committed to the development and realisation of design projects, teaching practices and research activities that extend the boundaries of contemporary design and the sensibilities that surround it. His experience in the fields of product design, furniture design, interior design and architecture have been instrumental in the establishment of a creative practice that spans the design disciplines.
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
The growing community concern around violence in disability support and aged care services promoted RMIT researchers to consider ways to improve the lives of both service users and workers in home and community-based support and care. Through a series of workshops, this project provided an opportunity for Victorian advocacy groups, unions and researchers to identify common concerns and interests around gender-based violence in both individualised aged care and disability support services, and consider ways to tackle these issues.
This project led to a 2020 Scoping Study for Worksafe Victoria see report here.
Sara Charlesworth is Professor of Work, Gender & Regulation and Deputy Head of School, (Research & Innovation) in the School of Management. She is an executive member of the Centre for People, Organisation & Work in the College of Business. Sara has published and presented widely in a wide range of academic, policy and community fora and has been involved in a number of key gender equality policy reviews and debates. She was a panel member on the 2012 ACTU Independent Inquiry into Insecure Work, and an advisor to the Australian Human Rights Commission on their 2014 Pregnancy and Return to Work National Review and 2018 National Sexual Harassment Prevalence Survey.
In 2017 Sara was appointed to the Equal Workplaces Advisory Council, a founding reform of the Victorian government’s Gender Equality Strategy. She is currently a member of the Victoria Police VEOHRC Review Academic Governance Board, on the Steering Group of the Migrant Workers Rights Campaign and co-convenor of the Work+Family Policy Roundtable. Sara is a Fellow of the Future Social Services Institute and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Industrial Relations.
Sara’s research interests centre on gender inequality in employment at the labour market, industry and organisational levels. She has undertaken a number of Australian Research Council-funded projects. Much of her recent research has focused on paid care work. Together with A/Prof Deb King (Flinders), she completed a large three year Department of Health-funded project, ‘Quality Jobs and Quality Care: Improving work practices to deliver quality aged care jobs & aged care services for older Australians’, in partnership with Brightwater Care, HammondCare, Helping Hand and United Voice.
Creative Care researchers and students engage in creative research that intersects with health, wellbeing and the human lived experience. Creative Care projects are undertaken through diverse mediums; they are site specific social practices. The collaborative and interdisciplinary research is realised through exhibitions, performances, events, publications, or undertaken within health and social care settings, and with industry partners.
In August 2019, Creative Care presented Hand Festival at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne. The team, along with Professor Rebecca Hilton (University Arts Stockholm), organised the social practice choreographed event designed with a focus on the hand for trust and intimate hand activities. Seventeen artists, colleagues, student nurses from RMIT, and Peter Mac staff and patients participated in hand drawing, origami, hand massages, wax modelling, mbira, knitting, cat’s cradle and more. Later that month, the team ran Hands + Mouth: Boundaries of the Body, an experimental and participatory “world cafe” event which explored the boundaries of the body at the end of life (touch, embodiment, gestures and more) through roving conversations about end of life scenarios with a focus on death and dying, ageing and illness and how they intersect with culture, the senses and place.
You can find out more about the Creative Care project on the CAST Website.
Keely Macarow is Coordinator of Postgraduate Research in the School of Art at RMIT. Keely’s research is focused on socially engaged art and the nexus between creative arts, social justice, health and wellbeing, and social and natural science. Currently, Keely is a member of The Untitled (a collective of artists, urban and graphic designers, architects and housing researchers based in Melbourne and Stockholm) who produce creative works, publications and interventions in Australia and Sweden to advocate for Homefullness (rather than homelessness). Her film, video and exhibition projects have been presented in Australia, the UK, the US, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Sweden, Hungary, France, Scotland and Denmark.
Never has the demand been so urgent for development and research into humanitarian shelters. The research network on Design, Development and Disaster focuses on innovations in refugee housing design, which can radically improve and ensure better health outcomes for refugees and those living through disaster worldwide. The significance of this Network lies in facilitating research collaboration between key UN and NGO agencies, academics and disaster and development agencies, to explore the design, disaster and development space and improve global social and environmental sustainability.
Read the Research Forum Report here.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Playable cities connect people and place through creative technologies, making the city a platform for play. Playable City Melbourne is a three-year project bringing together an interdisciplinary urban play community.
During Melbourne International Games Week 2019, Playable City Melbourne is calling for a diverse community of designers, game developers, scientists, writers, architects, artists, producers, performers, players, bureaucrats etc to learn more about urban play and join in the conversation. This conference will explore other ways of being in public space, First Peoples connection to place, and more-than-human infrastructure. Playable City Melbourne talks to the city’s multi-layered civic identity – as a creative city, technological city, a diverse and multicultural city, knowledge city and liveable city that is growing fast.
The SASCCAR project is working to establish a “Space and Spatial Capability Cluster” at RMIT. The cluster aims to provide a sustainable and interdisciplinary community of practice in “space” and “spatial”, bringing together spatial experts across RMIT University, and supporting early-career researchers and HDR students working in the spatial sciences. The cluster aims to enhance collaboration, increase the visibility of RMIT’s world-class expertise in spatial knowledge, and ultimately support relevant applications to large interdisciplinary funding schemes, including CRCs and Centres of Excellence.
Phase 2 of the SASCCAR project saw skills development workshops on mapping with Tableau; Frontier SI workshop; Workshop with Mark McMillan on Indigenous Knowledge of Place; Joint workshop with the Sir Lawrence Wackett Centre and defence industry (Textron) on major Next Gen Technology Fund application; as well as a presentation at the 2019 Engaging For Impact Event on Advancing Space and Spatial Capabilities with Dr Amanda Caples.
Space is a USD$345 billion global industry which has doubled over the previous decade, with strong growth expected to continue in the medium term. Australia’s Space and Spatial industries are undergoing a rapid change and growth including everything from rockets, satellites and sensors, through to the specialists who derive insights from space based information such as location data and satellite imagery. These diverse technologies are having more impact than ever across Australia’s economy, particularly our Agricultural, mining, environmental, health, transport, defence, and built environment industries.
You can find out more about the SASCCAR project here.
Matt Duckham is a Professor of Geospatial Sciences at RMIT University. At RMIT, he has occupied a number of senior leadership roles including: Acting Dean STEMM Diversity and Inclusion, Associate Dean of Geospatial Science, and Deputy Head of the School of Mathematical and Geospatial Sciences, Science Director for the CRC for Spatial Information (CRCSI) Rapid Spatial Analytics Program. Prior to joining RMIT, Matt was Professor in Geographic Information Science within the department of Infrastructure Engineering at the University of Melbourne, when he also held a visiting Professor position and the University of Greenwich.
Matts research focuses on the area of Geographic Information Science, particularly distributed and robust computation and visualisation with uncertain spatial and spatiotemporal information, within the domain of mobile, location aware and sensor enabled systems. He has taught a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in connection with spatial computing, in particular, spatial visualisation and spatial databases.
Perspectives shift and networks expand when writers step out of their comfort zone and into unfamiliar cultural spaces where they can connect and share ideas with other writers. Writers Immersion and Cultural Exchange (WrICE) program contributes to an Asia-Pacific community of writers in a collaborative way, influencing broader societal perspectives and changing the stories we tell and listen to. It provides a framework for intercultural and intergenerational dialogue — the exchange and furthering of knowledge, creativity, skills and cultural perspectives.
Visit the WrICE website.
Francesca Rendle-Short is Associate Dean Writing and Publishing in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. She is co-founder of the non/fictionLab research group and co-director of WrICE (Writers Immersion and Cultural Exchange). She has a Doctor of Creative Arts from the University of Wollongong, was a recipient of an International Nonfiction Writers Fellowship to the University of Iowa, and was showcased in the Outstanding Field at Victoria College of the Arts, University of Melbourne.
Francesca Rendle-Short is an award winning novelist, memoirist and essayist. Her books include Bite Your Tongue, Imago, and The Near and The Far; also the forthcoming 100 Love Letters, and No Notes (This is writing). Her artwork is in the collection of the State Library of Queensland.
David Carlin is a writer, creative artist and scholar. His books include The Abyssinian Contortionist, Our Father Who Wasn’t There, and (forthcoming) The After-Normal for Rose Metal Press, and 100 Atmospheres: Studies in Scale and Wonder for Open Humanities Press. David’s essays, plays, radio features, exhibitions, documentary and short films have won awards and featured at numerous international festivals. He co-edited a cross-cultural anthology of Asian and Australian writers, The Near and the Far (with Francesca Rendle-Short, Scribe 2016) and Performing Digital (Routledge, 2015), about the Circus Oz Living Archive project he led. Co-President of the NonfictioNOW Conference, the world’s leading conference in literary nonfiction, David is a Professor at RMIT University, Australia, where he co-directs WrICE and non/fictionLab.
cohealth@365 brings together interdisciplinary methods and expertise to collect the diverse stories of a community. We co-created and co-designed with the cohealth Collingwood community to capture their stories and hear their voices as core to cohealth’s past, present and future. The different research activities included co-creative workshops, researching the archive, digital storytelling, ethnographic research, an interactive community chalkboard, multisensorial design and other creative activities.
This pilot project sought to empower the community by having their vision included as central to cohealth’s transition. Through this process, cohealth@365 provides a vehicle for community advocacy across a variety of key stakeholders and sectors.
Son Vivienne is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at Creative Agency and the Digital Ethnography Research Centre at RMIT. Their principal expertise is digital self-representation, online activism, queer identity, and rhetorical strategies/feminist practices for speaking and listening across difference. Son is also involved in community development and arts as an activist, workshop facilitator and media-maker. Son is author of Digital Identity and Everyday Activism: Sharing Private Stories with Networked Publics (Palgrave Macmillan) and co-author/co-editor of Negotiating Digital Citizenship: Control, Contest, Culture (Rowman & Littlefield).
Son curates several collective storytelling websites for queer and gender-diverse communities and has over twenty years of multi-media production and distribution experience. As an award winning writer/director/producer of drama and documentaries, they tackled subjects as diverse as youth suicide; drug cultures in Vietnamese communities; and lesbian personal columns. Their film work includes multi-lingual (Vietnamese-English and Adnyamathanha-English) and multi-modal (animation, micro-docs, digital storytelling and interactive web-platforms) projects that reflect their comparative, cross-cultural and critical approaches to communication and storytelling.
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.
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.
How healthy is the bookselling and publishing industry in Australia? And what are the key reasons for this state of wellbeing (or illness)?
Canadian and Australian Book Industries Conversation (CABIC) brings together leading academics and industry figures to explore themes important to Australian and Canadian authors, illustrators and publishers, including the importance of local content, the book industry policy climate, and regulatory changes and challenges.
CaTPin was the finalist for the 2018 DCP Design Challenge.
The Design Challenge was a joint initiative between Telstra and the Design & Creative Practice ECP which sought to tackle the real-world issue: How do we design for Ageing Well Futures?
CaTPin presented the idea of “conversation as therapy’. It aimed to address the issue of loneliness due to a lack of social interaction by developing a discreet, low-cost wearable. Taking the form of a lapel pin or brooch, designed in collaboration with the wearer, the device detects the presence or absence of conversation. It is founded on the premise that loneliness is manifest in a poverty of conversation, hence using the number of words spoken a day as a surrogate marker for social isolation and loneliness.
Leah Heiss is a Melbourne-based designer whose practice is located at the nexus of design, technology and health. Within her projects she collaborates widely — working with experts from nanotechnology, medicine, hearing and manufacturing through to fashion design.
Leah is an academic in the RMIT Interior Design program, a researcher at the RMIT Centre for Advanced Materials and Performance Textiles, and a practicing designer whose work has both commercial and research outcomes. Her design work has been exhibited and presented both locally and globally, and attracted significant local and international press across all platforms. She recently received a Good Design Award – Social Innovation for her design contribution to the IHearYou system with Blamey Saunders Hears.
This project explores the impact of extreme climate and weather events on rarefied wilderness environments through the process of sound mapping to reveal the transformations occurring on the margins of our planet, and yet central to the health and wellbeing of everyone. Art is a powerful agent and advocate in how these transformations are perceived and the actions required to mitigate destructive behaviours and their long-term consequences.
“I’m not a scientist but I’m using art to articulate some of these observations and concerns to a much broader audience.”
— Lead researcher, Philip Samartzis in SWI swissinfo.ch, This is what the changing Alps sound like, 20 December 2019.
Philip is an Associate Professor within RMIT School of Art, and leader of the Sound Art and Audio Culture Lab.
Associate Professor Samartzis is a sound artist, scholar and curator with a specific interest in the social and environmental conditions informing remote wilderness regions and their communities. His art practice is based on deep fieldwork where he deploys complex sound recording technology to capture natural, anthropogenic and geophysical forces. The recordings are used within various exhibition, performance and publication outcomes to demonstrate the transformative effects of sound within a fine art context. He is particularly interested in concepts of perception, immersion and embodiment in order to provide audiences with sophisticated encounters of space and place. Philip is the recipient of three Australian Antarctic Division Arts Fellowships (2009, 2015, 2020), which he is using to document the effects of extreme climate and weather events in Eastern Antarctica, Macquarie Island, and the Southern Ocean over a 12-year period.
Creative Agency is a community of creative makers, academics, industry professionals and organisations committed to arts, education and social change. The Agency is both a virtual and material co-share workspace in and beyond Melbourne’s urban centre where creativity finds expression through co-designed research, events and cross-sector partnerships.
Visit the Creative Agency website.
The Cultural Value and Impact Network (CVIN) is building RMIT University’s expertise in interdisciplinary collaboration and inventive methods for articulating, measuring, evaluating cultural value and social impact. With practitioners and academics from across the University, we are building strong creative teams that use new interdisciplinary methods attuned to cultural complexity and diverse communities to enable high impact research partnerships with the arts and cultural sectors, government and NGO community. We have been mapping the capabilities with our colleagues in Art, Economics, Education, Finance and Marketing, Global Urban Studies, Media and Communication, Design, Architecture, and affiliates of DCP ECP, Global Business and Innovation and Social Change. We have collated existing research methods and industry projects through a survey and interviews to identify existing approaches, drivers, current gaps, and future interdisciplinary methodological possibilities for student training and partnerships.
Find out more about the Cultural Value and Impact Network [CVIN.
Dr Bronwyn Coate is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Economics, Finance and Marketing who specialises in cultural economics. Bronwyn’s research involves economic analysis of the arts and creative industries using a range of economic and experimental techniques including approaches from behavioural economics and behavioural science. Areas her research has focused upon include art markets, artists/cultural labour, and cultural/creative industries. Much of Bronwyn’s research is undertaken within mult-idisciplinary teams and focused upon addressing issues with policy relevance for the arts and cultural sector. Bronwyn is a member of a number of a number of research groups including the Cultural Value Impact Network (CVIN), Kinomatics Research Group, Behavioural Business Lab (BBL) and Placemaking Economics Research Group. She is also the current Secretary/Treasurer of the Association for Cultural Economics International (ACEI).
After graduating from Oxford University and the Royal College of Art with an MFA in Sculpture, Kit Wise received the Wingate Rome Scholarship in Fine Art in 1999, to study at the British School at Rome. He moved to Australia in 2002 and completed his PhD at Monash University in 2012.
Wise has held senior educational leadership and leadership and governance roles since 2008. He is a Board Member for Deans and Directors of Creative Arts (DDCA) and Deputy Chair of the Executive Council of the Australian Council of University Art and Design Schools (ACUADS).
He is Professor of Fine Art and Dean of the School of Art at the RMIT University; and an Adjunct Professor at Monash University and the University of Tasmania. He is represented by Sarah Scout Presents, Melbourne and continues to practice as an artist, art writer and curator.
The Developing Games Regions project aims to establish games industry connections and research partners within SE Asia-Oceania. As a thriving sector in SE Asia, this project explores gaming industries in Vietnam. Over 33.9 million people play games in Vietnam, but little is known about these game cultures. RMIT is in a unique position to cultivate enduring relationships with Vietnamese gaming industries as research partners, and cross-institutional scholarship by connecting with leading games experts in SE Asia. Strengthening relationships between RMIT Melbourne/Vietnam, local industries and regional expertise enhances the potential to address the Vietnamese games industry as an emerging market for production and play.
Dr Emma Witkowski is the Director for Playable Media and a Lecturer in the School of Media and Communication. As the Program Manager for the Bachelor of Games Design degree, Witkowski teaches theoretical units on Game Cultures and Game Studies.
Witkowski received her PhD in Game Studies in 2012 from the IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark, taking a qualitative exploration of networked high performance play, considered through a lens of sociology and phenomenology, sports and game studies. She has been working in the field of computer game cultures since 2005, the same year she co-founded the Danish state and privately funded initiative Letzplay, a project aimed at increasing young women’s access to ICT’s and computer gaming knowledge.
Her current research looks at various aspects of computer game cultures, including high performance networked teamplay, esports, gender and games and serious leisure practices. She has written and presented on topics such as identity and play, livestreaming and spectatorship, Mega-LANs, running aesthetics, and the phenomenology of high-performance networked teams.
Haptic Pathways is the winning entry for the 2019 DCP Design Challenge.
The 2019 Design Challenge was a joint initiative between the City of Melbourne and the Design & Creative Practice ECP which sought to tackle the real-world issue: How do we design for inclusive cities?
Haptic Pathways reimagines the suburban street creating diverse sensory experiences that explicitly include urban residents or visitors of all mobilities and neurodiversities. The project intends to create everyday incidental urban pathways that focus on the under-emphasised and under-explored facets of sensory connection, such as touch and smell. These immersive nature experiences will include such design elements and interventions as block plantings of native species; accessible sensory spaces; and braille graffiti walls.
Botanist, quantitative plant ecologist; Research Fellow, ICON Science, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University Melbourne. Freya is a plant ecologist working as a Research Fellow at RMIT on an ARC-Linkage project which focuses on designing urban green spaces for human wellbeing and for biodiversity.
Freya is a botanist whose professional work has spanned many Australian ecosystems and she has a thorough knowledge of Australian native flora. Her PhD focused on building and evaluating quantitative predictive models of plant growth. She also has experience working for the State Government on developing and implementing long term vegetation monitoring programs. Her current research at RMIT focuses on evaluating how urban green spaces influence human wellbeing but also how plant choice in cities influences other organisms like birds, bees and butterflies. Freya is passionate about plants and interested in various ways plants can be wholly appreciated and incorporated into urban areas.
Interdisciplinary conservation scientist, Senior Research Fellow, NESP Threatened Species Recovery Hub; Senior Lecturer, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies; ICON Science Research Group, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University, Melbourne
Georgia is an ecologist and conservation scientist. She is a Senior Research Fellow in RMIT’s ICON Science Research Group and Centre for Urban Research, and Senior Lecturer in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, where she teaches Ecological Foundations of Planning. For over a decade, she has conducted research that addresses the critical challenge of conserving and enhancing biodiversity in urban environments. Her protocol for Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design, codeveloped with Prof Sarah Bekessy, was a finalist in the Banksia Sustainable Cities Award 2016. Georgia has contributed to and led projects on biodiversity sensitive urban design for greenfield and urban renewal development projects, with local government (City of Melbourne), industry (GHD) and philanthropic (The Myer Foundation) organisations. She also co-leads projects for the National Environmental Science Program’s Threatened Species Recovery Hub and the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning that aim reconnect people with nature in a way that fosters care and stewardship for nature. She is a CI on a current ARC Linkage Project (Designing green spaces for biodiversity and human well-being), with project partners the City of Melbourne, ARUP, Greening Australia and Phillip Johnson Landscapes.
Interdisciplinary conservation scientist; ARC Future Fellow; Professor, ICON Science Research Group, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University.
Professor Sarah Bekessy leads the Interdisciplinary Conservation Science research group at RMIT University. She is interested in the intersection between science and policy in environmental management and is currently involved in an interdisciplinary range of research projects, including an ARC Future Fellowship titled ‘Socio-ecological models for environmental decision making’ and an ARC linkage project titled ‘Designing green spaces for biodiversity and human well-being’. She leads projects in two National Environment Science Program Hubs (Threatened Species Hub and Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub) and is a Chief Investigator in the European Commission-funded project Urban Greenup, which seeks to evaluate nature-based solutions for cities. She co-developed the Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design protocol that is now being used by numerous developers, governments and non-government organisations to design innovative urban biodiversity strategies.
Urban designer and Lecturer
School: Urban Design Research Centre
Zoe is an urban designer and lecturer working at the Australian Urban Design Research Centre (AUDRC), part of the School of Design at the University of Western Australia, where she teaches in the Master of Urban Design. She has led and participated in research projects and design communication for local and State government on topics such as the challenges, perceptions, and spatial issues relating to medium density housing and transit-oriented development, implications of river and sea-level rise for cities, and co-design strategies for urban renewal. Zoe has over 15 years’ experience across the private, public, and tertiary sectors, in project management, policy and planning, and senior strategic communications, including experience in statutory planning, strategic planning policy, and legislative and parliamentary processes. She sits on the City of Vincent Environmental Advisory Group, which has overseen projects such as drain conversion into public park space. Zoe’s current research at AUDRC is focused on how evidence-based urban design can enhance mental health and restoration through connection to nature in our cities, and the remaking of overlooked spaces and hard infrastructure as ecologically and emotionally regenerative places. She is the author of Wildness and Wellbeing: Nature, Neuroscience and Urban Design (Palgrave Macmillan).
Dr Zoe Myers is the team leader for Haptic Pathways, the finalist for the 2019 DCP Design Challenge.
This project builds technical capacity and facilitates proof of concept testing of the impact of multisensory integration of music, movement and memory, specifically exploring embodied audio and agency-free kinesis to maximise the power of music for dementia patients. This project is creating and building a dedicated chair for this purpose and will explore both the therapeutic and commercial potential of this technology.
Dr Jenny Robinson is a lecturer in Media and Communication, teaching classes in audience research and strategic communication. Her research is in media psychology, most recently using biometrics and experimental methodology to investigate audience reception of multi-platform advertising models. She is interested in understanding how people respond to mediated communication whether that is TV, online content, public interaction or art.
Robinson brings an interdisciplinary approach to the study of audience experience, with a BA (hons) in psychology and PhD in mass communication, MA in TV and film, and Grad Dip in science communication.
This pilot study set out to disrupt the dominant understandings of queer youth centred on narratives of vulnerability and distress.
Working with LGBTQI+ youth based in regional Victoria, Rainbow Ranges investigated how these young people understood and experienced vitality and aliveness through a series of creative arts-based workshops. The project team and young people co-created a concept for digital intervention to promote a sense of belonging, foster social connections, and improve the wellbeing of LGBTIQ+ identifying individuals and communities.
Professor Katherine Johnson is Director of the Social and Global Studies Centre at RMIT University.
Katherine has been a visiting professor in gender studies at the University of Sydney, Australia (2007), in social psychology and psychosocial interventions at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (2009−2012), in participatory-action research and LGBT health inequalities at the Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo, Brazil (2016) and the Universidad de Colima, Mexico (2016). She is currently Visiting Professor at the University of Brighton, UK where she previously established the Division of Applied Psychology & Psychotherapy and the Centre for Research Excellence, Transforming Sexuality and Gender.
Her research is in the field of gender, sexuality and mental health, with specialisms in critical community psychology and psychosocial studies, qualitative, participatory and visual research methods, and interdisciplinary research about LGBTQ lives. Her research collaborations and partnerships focus on improving the lives of LGBTQ+ people and have impacted on social policy and practice, particularly in the field of suicide prevention, mental health and end of life care.
Katherine is an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, Past Chair of the Psychology of Women and Equalities Section, and a member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). She is on the Editorial Board of Feminism and Psychology and Feminist Encounters: A journal of critical studies in culture and politics. She is also series editor with Professor Kath Browne (Maynooth, Ireland) of the Routledge book series, Transforming LGBTQ Lives. Katherine has served as a panel member for the ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund on global mental health, UK and the Irish Research Council.
This innovative project uses a holistic approach to transforming how we experience noise from motorways. The motorway’s noise barriers in this project use a unique, low maintenance breathable greening system and a biophilic soundscape system. This transformative approach to Motorways’ Noise Barriers will create ecological buffers and corridors to reduce air pollution, transform noise and improve the liveability of the surrounding community and drivers. The ‘ecological buffers and corridors” encourage biodiversity, address habitat fragmentation, and give better access to the adjacent parks and pathways.
The modular retrofit system works by:
Exploring how design and technology can transform healthcare for an ageing population. Read more
Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow in the School of Media and Communications Read more
An interactive Wiradjuri-RMIT project is among the winners in the social impact category at the 2018 Good Design Awards. Read more
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
Ruth De Souza
Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow in the School of Art Read more
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
This workshop discusses best practices, provocative elements of, and ideas for the future of creative methods for impactful research. Read more
RMIT’s Writers Immersion and Cultural Exchange Program (WrICE), now in its fifth year, will partner with the Jakarta Post Writing Center in 2018. Read more
Jacinthe Flore is a Vice-Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Social and Global Studies Centre at RMIT University. She is an interdisciplinary scholar whose research lies at the intersections of technology, health and society. With a particular interest in digital mental health, Jacinthe’s research examines the social and policy implications of innovations such as artificial intelligence, apps, wearables and fourth generation pharmaceuticals, and their circulations in people’s everyday lives.
Peter Kelly is Professor of Education and Head of UNESCO UNEVOC at RMIT University. His recent former role was as Associate Dean, Research and Innovation, in the School of Education at RMIT. Previous positions include at Edge Hill University (UK), Deakin University, Monash University, the University of Queensland (UQ).
Kelly is a social researcher who has published extensively on young people, social theory and globalisation. His current research interests include a critical engagement with young people and new cultures of education/work/democracy in the context of the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, and with the challenges associated with the emergence of the Anthropocene. He is currently the lead CI on an ARC Discovery Project (DP 170100547) Art Based Social Enterprises and Marginalised Young People’s Transitions.
With colleagues, Kelly leads a research program titled Young People’s Well-being, Resilience and Enterprise: Critical Perspectives for the Anthropocene: https://youngpeopleanthropocene.org/
Kelly has published extensively on young people and the practice of youth studies. His books include: Working in Jamie’s Kitchen: Salvation, Passion and Young Workers (2009), The Self as Enterprise: Foucault and the “Spirit” of 21st Century Capitalism (2013), The Moral Geographies of Children, Young People and Food: Beyond Jamie’s School Dinners (2014), A Critical Youth Studies for the 21st Century (2015), Young People and the Aesthetics of Health Promotion: Beyond Reason, Rationality and Risk (2016), and Neo-Liberalism and Austerity: The Moral Economies of Young People’s Health and Well-Being (2017). He has two recently published books: Rethinking Young People’s Marginalisation: Beyond neo-Liberal Futures? (2018), Young People and the Politics of Outrage and Hope (2018).
Dr Rohit Ashok Khot is the Deputy Director of the Exertion Games Lab; and Vice-Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at RMIT University, Australia. Rohit’s research embodies interdisciplinary strength and explores the amalgamation of design and technology in a creative way.
Dr Khot’s track record includes 39 scholarly publications in last 7 years, the majority of which appear in highly competitive HCI conferences and journals and include one best paper and one honorable mention (top 5%) award. Dr Khot’s research also appeared on 30+ press articles including a cover story on Mashable Australia, IEEE Spectrum and TV coverage on Channel 9 News and ABC News 24. He has won prestigious awards including IBM PhD fellowship (2014−2015), 2017 RMIT HDR Prize for Research Excellence (2017), RMIT Vice-chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (2017−2019) and SIGCHI Development Fund Grant (2017,2018). Dr Khot is also involved in organization and management of the Special Interest Group meetings, workshops and symposiums at leading international conferences specifically around food and play, besides serving on program committees for leading international HCI conferences, including DIS and TEI.
Rohit is passionate about playful Human-Food Interaction (HFI) and has an ambitious goal to alter the common perception that food cannot be healthy and pleasurable at the same time.
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.
Professor Laurene Vaughan is Dean of the School of Design at RMIT. She is internationally recognised as a leader in interdisciplinary and applied design research and pedagogy. Professor Laurene Vaughan has a diverse research and teaching practice covering the areas of design, communication, fashion and embedded research in diverse industry sectors. Laurene currently also contributes to the University research community through being a Research Leader in the RMIT Design Research Institute.
Dr Zoe Myers is the team leader for Haptic Pathways, the finalist for the 2019 DCP Design Challenge.