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Haptic Pathways

Co-Designing Inclusive, Civic and Sensorial Moments in the City

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.

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Freya Thomas
Research Fellow, ICON Science
School: Centre for Urban Research

freya.thomas@rmit.edu.au

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.


Georgia Garrard
Senior Lecturer & Senior Research Fellow, NESP Threatened Species Recovery Hub
School: Global, Urban and Social Studies

georgia.garrard@rmit.edu.au

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.


Sarah Bekessy
ARC Future Fellow & Professor
School: Centre for Urban Research

sarah.bekessy@rmit.edu.au

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.


Zoe Myers
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.

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.

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).

Cold Climate Landscapes and Atmospheres

Examining the effects of global warming on cold climate ecologies

This project explores the impact of extreme climate and weather events on rarefied wilderness environments through the process of sound mapping to reveal the transformations occurring on the margins of our planet, and yet central to the health and wellbeing of everyone. Art is a powerful agent and advocate in how these transformations are perceived and the actions required to mitigate destructive behaviours and their long-term consequences.

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I’m not a scientist but I’m using art to articulate some of these observations and concerns to a much broader audience.
 — Lead researcher, Philip Samartzis in SWI swiss​info​.ch, This is what the changing Alps sound like, 20 December 2019.

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

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

Gamified Research Translation (GREAT)

Where business research meets gamification to create impact

The GREAT challenge
During the last decade, games have become a common part of people’s daily lives. Digital promise of Ed Tech and growing research on gamification has drawn attention to translation of valid science-based research for capability development. Activities and outputs that are not traditionally perceived as game-like are increasingly gamified.

In its most basic form, business research translation with gamification involves multi-disciplinary tasks of taking research findings, human psychology and technology of game-design, and applying them to business contexts — to achieve impact through change in behavior, cognition or emotional states.

However, current business research translation activities tend to rely on traditional academic outputs which may not deliver the intended societal impact — a challenge highlighted at local and international level. 

The GREAT mission
Increase awareness and knowledge on gamification of business research. To encourage researcher-industry integration to solve business challenges through games. To foster and deploy a cross-disciplinary network of GREAT experts, specialists and enthusiasts 

The GREAT cause
GREAT serves as a catalyst and anchor for capability development and a forum for faculty, specialists and practitioners to develop coherent and collective thought leadership on how might we develop and implement game-based tools and gamification as the means of research translation to achieve societal impact. 

The GREAT purpose
The purpose of GREAT is to catalyse meaningful inter-disciplinary knowledge exchange, develop best practices in gamification of business research and increase research-practice integration. 

The GREAT call
We have embarked on a meaningful journey of shaping our collective future through gamification of business research.
We cannot do this alone – we need you – your expertise, your experience and your passion for the human side of business.

Find out more about Gamified Research Translation [GREAT] here.

Research topics

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Hardik Bhimani
PhD candidate
School: Economics, Finance and Marketing

RMIT staff profile

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

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

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

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

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

Young people and the Anthropocene

Critical perspectives for well-being, resilience and enterprise

The social sciences and humanities must critically engage with the debates about the Anthropocene since humans are by definition driving the issues facing the these planetary-wide changes and the consequences that ensue. We need to find new ways of thinking through and understanding the unfolding crisis of planetary environmental systems by developing divergent forms and methods of communicating.

This project has as its aim instigating an international agenda for collaborative knowledge production and exchange that centre around well-being, resilience and enterprise for children and young people around the globe. 

You can find out more about Young people and the Anthropocene here.

Research topics

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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://​young​peo​plean​thro​pocene​.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).

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Sarah Bekessy
Centre for Urban Research

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.

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.

Freya Thomas
Centre for Urban Research

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.

Bronwyn Coate
Economics, Finance and Marketing

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

Claus-Christian Carbon
Department of General Psychology and Methodology, University of Bamberg

Claus-Christian Carbon studied Psychology (Dipl.-Psych.), followed by Philosophy (M.A.), both at the University of Trier, Germany. After receiving his PhD from the Freie Universität Berlin and his Habilitation” at the University of Vienna, Austria, he worked at the University of Technology Delft, Netherlands and the University of Bamberg, Germany, where he currently holds a full professorship leading the Department of General Psychology and Methodology and the Forschungsgruppe EPAEG” — a research group devoted to enhancing the knowledge, methodology and enthusiasm in the fields of cognitive ergonomics, psychological aesthetics and Gestalt (see www​.exper​i​men​tal​-psy​chol​ogy​.com and www​.epaeg​.de for more details). He is the author of more than 400 publications including more than 160 peer-reviewed international journal articles, mainly addressing aesthetics topics, has conducted more than a dozen research projects with a total budget amount of approx. €3 million and a renowned contributor and invited speaker on international research conferences. CCC is Editor-in-Chief of the scientific journal Art & Perception, Section Editor of Perception and i-Perception, Associate Editor of Frontiers in Psychology, Frontiers in Neuroscience and Advances in Cognitive Psychology and a member of the Editorial Boards of Open Psychology, Musicae Scientiae and Leadership, Education and Personality.

Jenny Robinson
Media and Communication

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.

Seth Keen
Media and Communication

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

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

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.

Nancy Mauro-Flude is
Digital Design Cluster

Nancy Mauro-Flude is an artist and theorist. Administer of a home-brewed feminist web server, she leads the Holistic Computing Network Research group and practices experiential pedagogy, in her role as coordinator Emerging Digital/​Media Cultures, Bachelor of Design (Digital Media), College of Design and Social Context @RMIT University. Mauro-Flude’s research contributes to the interdisciplinary space of feminist science and technology studies, computer subculture and performance art. Her artworks radically intervenes into public space by the aesthetic application of networking infrastructure, playfully and critically she experiments with signal transmission in order to draw upon contested knowledges and advance broader understandings emergent technologies as they arise as key actors in our embodied life.

Zoe Myers
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.

Projects