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Cultural Value and Impact Network (CVIN)

Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Inventive Methods

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

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

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Bronwyn Coate
Senior Lecturer
School: Economics, Finance and Marketing

RMIT staff profile

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


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

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

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


Kit Wise
Professor
School: School of Art

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

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

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

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

Design for Disaster

Facilitating the Improvement of Housing Design and Development

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.

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Esther Charlesworth
Professor
School: Architecture and Urban Design

9225 2876
RMIT staff profile
esther.charlesworth@rmit.edu.au

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).

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.

Cultural Commonalities Memory Game

Increasing social inclusion through a game

Games teach us many things – how to play, how to strategize, and how to have fun with others. Yet, in our globalised world, people are increasingly exposed to individuals from different cultural backgrounds, and often people feel alienated from people and things that are unfamiliar. The Cultural Commonalities Memory Game (CCMG) might just be one way bridge across cultures and help people connect and belong. 

Social inclusion is a key factor in fostering the benefits of a diverse society. Bringing together design, psychology and behavioural economics, the CCMG aims to increase social and reduce bias in intercultural contexts. Players categorise images associated with different cultures together in a common group, highlighting commonalities across cultures whilst keeping their differences apparent. The game is designed so that players feel valued in their own individuality and experience a sense of belonging to the world as a whole. 

More from the RMIT Behavioural Business Lab.

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Ananta Neelim
Lecturer
School: Economics, Finance, and Marketing

Ananta is a Lecturer in Economics specialising in Behavioural, Development and Experimental economics. His academic research focuses on the impact of social institutions (like gender norms) on individual decision making and behavioural effects of rewards. He has successfully published his work in top-tier economics journals such as the Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organization and Economics Letters. Ananta also has conducted multiple impact evaluation projects and has provided consultancy services to Plan International, World Bank, International Organization for Migration, Swiss Development Corporation and the Consumer Policy Research Centre. Ananta received his PhD from Monash University in 2014.


Claus-Christian Carbon
Professor
School: 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.


Jan Schoormans
Professor
School: Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology

Dr. Jan Schoormans (1956) is a Professor of Consumer Behaviour at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Delft, the Netherlands. His research focuses on consumer preferences and behavior towards (the design of) new products. He has published on these topics in marketing journals like the International Journal of Research in Marketing, Psychology and Marketing, the Journal of Product Innovation Management, in psychological journals like Perception and the British Journal of Psychology, in engineering journals like Applied Energy, Journal of Cleaner Production, and in design journals like Design Studies, Journal of Engineering Design and the Design Journal.


Janneke Blijlevens
Senior Lecturer
School: Economics, Finance, and Marketing

Janneke Blijlevens is a Senior Lecturer in Design Thinking and Experimental Methods within the Marketing Discipline. With a Masters in Psychology, a PhD in consumer behaviour and design, and work experience in both design and business schools her research is truly interdisciplinary. Janneke uses her ability to understand different ways of thinking to design innovative solutions to complex societal and business problems. Her approach uses behavioural insights obtained in both qualitative and quantitative research to affect positive behaviour change in society. Her research covers areas such as product (design) perception and evaluation by consumers, the social roles that products can play to consumers, how to design products for social change, and psychological factors influencing the adoption of highly innovative products by consumers. She has published in top-tier academic journals such as Psychology & Marketing, International Journal of Design, Acta Psychologica, British Journal of Psychology, Journal of Psychology in Aesthetics, Creativity, and Arts, and Journal of Design, Business and Society. The project Sans Forgetica, a font to remember (sans​for​get​ica​.rmit)’ gained world-wide acclaim.


Joanne Peryman
Lecturer
School: Economics, Finance, and Marketing

Joanne Peryman (Laban) is a Lecturer in Economics. She holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Exeter, a Masters in Behavioural Economics from the University of Nottingham, and a BCom (Hons) in Economics from the University of Canterbury. Using mainly experimental methods, Jo’s research focuses on cultural differences in decision making, especially in situations involving uncertainty or risk. She has presented the results from this work at conferences in the UK, The Netherlands, and China. Jo is also keen to apply behavioural insights to policy. During her PhD she completed an internship with a UK Government Department, where she applied ideas from behavioural economics to real-life problems. Her work has attracted funding from the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council, as well as numerous small grants from the University of Exeter’s Behaviour, Decisions and Markets Research Centre.


Johanna Prasch
School: Economics, Finance and Marketing

Johanna E. Prasch is a PhD student and a research assistant and tutor in the School of Economics, Finance and Marketing and the BBL. After completing her Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Regensburg, and her Masters in Psychology from the University of Bamberg (both Germany), she started her PhD program in the BBL in February 2018. For her PhD project in consumer behaviour, Johanna got awarded a Stipend Scholarship from RMIT University. Her research interests centre around combining experimental methods from psychology and consumer behaviour to investigate mechanisms behind intercultural communication and behaviour. Currently, Johanna is investigating how to increase social inclusion and cooperation in multicultural settings.

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

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

Catherine Gomes
Media and Communication

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.

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.

Jacinthe Flore
Global, Urban and Social Studies

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
Education

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).

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.

Leah Heiss
Communication Design

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.

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.

Tania Lewis
Media and Communication

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

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