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Design for Wellbeing Network

Working to improve the design of healthcare environments

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

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

Visit the DfW website.

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Shanti Sumartojo
Vice Chancellor's Research Fellow
School: Media and Communication

Personal website
shanti.sumartojo@rmit.edu.au

Dr Shanti Sumartojo is a Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow, based in the Digital Ethnography Research Centre in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University. 

She collaborates with a range of national and international colleagues in academia and the public sector, including industry-partnered applied projects, most recently in Australia with Exemplar Health, the City of Melbourne and Lendlease. Sumartojo’s research explores how people experience their spatial surroundings, including both material and immaterial aspects, with a particular focus on the built environment, using design and sensory ethnography and creative practice methodologies.

GAHSPH Research Network

Facilitating the improvement of refugee housing design

Never has the demand been so urgent for development and research into refugee housing design. The Global Humanitarian Shelter and Public Health Sectors (GAHSPH) Research Network focuses on innovations in refugee housing design, which can radically improve and ensure better health outcomes for refugees worldwide. The significance of this Network lies in facilitating research collaboration between the shelter, education and public health sectors.

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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).

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).

Designing for social futures

How might we live and die well?

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

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

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Jaz Hee-jeong Choi
Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow
School: Design & Social Context

Personal website
jaz.hee-jeong.choi@rmit.edu.au

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

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

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

FoodCHI 2017

Technologically enabled food futures

How does design and technology impact food futures? FoodCHI (Computer-Human Interaction) brings together experts and innovators across design, digital media, technology, art, sociology, and food. We examine the role of design and technology in shaping of future foodscapes and work with industry to chart robust approaches for technologically enabled food futures. 

Visit the FoodCHI website.

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Rohit Ashok Khot
Postdoctoral Fellow, Digital Design Cluster
School: Games

+61 3 9925 2594
Personal website
rohitashok.khot@rmit.edu.au

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.

Mixed Reality Applications for Architecture and Construction

Experiencing architecture before it's built

As digital technology allows architects to imagine increasingly complex forms, mixed reality (MR) will make it clearer, if not easier, for the construction industry to execute these forms. This project explores the application of a newly developed technology, Rhino Holographic, in enabling efficiency and enhanced opportunity in the architecture and construction industries.

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Paul Minifie
Associate Professor, Design and Social Context
School: Architecture and Urban Design

+61 3 9925 3508
RMIT staff profile
paul.minifie@rmit.edu.au

Paul Minifie is a senior lecturer for the Architecture program in RMIT’s School of Architecture and Urban Design and a Director of Minifie van Schaik Architects.

The HEALTH Network

Interdisciplinary health research

The HEALTH 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. HEALTH aims to ignite creative connections and collaborations among members.

Visit the HEALTH Network website.

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Jacinthe Flore
ECR Convenor, The HEALTH Network
School: Global, Urban and Social Studies

+61 3 9925 5086
RMIT staff profile
jacinthe.flore@rmit.edu.au

Dr Jacinthe Flore is an early career researcher and the Co-Convenor of the HEALTH Network. Jacinthe is based in the Health, Society and Medicine Research Program at RMIT University. She writes in the intersections of technology, medicine, psychiatry and history. Jacinthe has published internationally on a diverse range of topics, including pharmaceuticals and subjectivity, histories of psychiatric concepts, and more broadly on the history of medical discourses of sexuality.


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.

Canadian & Australian Book Industries Conversation

Exploring new collaborative opportunities in publishing

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.

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Julienne Van Loon
Senior Research Fellow, Design and Social Context
School: Media and Communication

+61 3 9925 9564
RMIT staff profile
julienne.vanloon@rmit.edu.au

Dr Julienne van Loon is a Vice Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow with non/​fictionLab, and a leading Australian novelist and essayist. Her first novel, Road Story, won The Australian/Vogel’s award in 2005 and was shortlisted for the WA Premier’s Award for Fiction and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best First Book Award (Asia and Pacific). She has held residencies at various international arts organisations and universities, including the University of Iowa, where she was sponsored by the Paul and Hauling Engle Fund to take part in the International Writing Program in 2017. van Loon co-edits the leading scholarly Creative Writing journal TEXT, and is a peer-assessor for the Australia Council for the Arts. Her forthcoming essay collection, The Thinking Woman, includes interviews with key women thinkers from the Australia, Europe and the United States. Her scholarly research interests include the role of play in research and creative practice.

Audience Lab

Exploring the future of audiences and engagement in an age of big data and social media

Cultural organisations — galleries, museums, archives and libraries — are designing new ways to engage with the public. Audience Lab brings together these institutional players with industry and academia to discuss the collaborative possibilities of a publicly-facing product testing ground for new ideas. Our focus lies in developing a Lab where industry can user-test ideas, publics can be introduced to the technologies employed in contemporary media creation and academics can interlace between both, to explore the larger questions facing the future of design and media.

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Martyn Hook
Dean
School: Architecture and Urban Design

RMIT staff profile
martyn.hook@rmit.edu.au

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

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

#SiteAnalytics

Using data capture technologies to solve environmental and technological challenges

How can different mobile media innovations be usefully applied to understand the complex relationship between people, place and technologies? #SiteAnalytics is using data capture technology to solve environmental and technological challenges. More specifically, we’re using maps, mobile media and apps to generate new understandings about consumer behavior, site visitations and target audience reach and impact. We’re using this information to examine the usefulness of big data and mobile data capture technologies, and to translate this knowledge into practical and relevant solutions for industry.

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Olivia Guntarik
Senior Lecturer, Design and Social Context
School: Media and Communication

+61 3 9925 1911
RMIT staff profile
olivia.guntarik@rmit.edu.au

Dr Olivia Guntarik is interested in the relationship between people, places and technologies. She has co-designed and curated place-based cultural walking trails with Indigenous community groups, using mobile apps as self-guided digital tour guides, and as a way to commemorate sites of historical significance. She has led numerous industry-based research projects that bring together writers, artists, designers and digital experts with geographers, sociologists, ethnographers and educators. She was awarded two distinguished Creative Victoria funding initiatives, co-supported through the Department of Education and Training under the Virtual Creative Professionals in Schools program, to provide schools in rural and regional locations with the highest quality creative and digital learning experiences. Research outcomes included the development of interactive mobile apps and site-specific public installations, providing new ways to document and understand user engagement, participation and impact.

News and updates

20.06.2018

RMIT Europe Symposium: Rethinking Healthcare for the Future

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

10.10.2018

Shortlisted teams announced

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

13.02.2018

EFI Conference 2018

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

15.06.2018

Doing Digital Methods – Workshop Summary

In June 2018, the DCP ECP and Ritsumeikan University (RU) jointly hosted a workshop at Ritsumeikan University (Japan) on interdisciplinary and critical creative methods, within mixed reality contexts, when considering social innovative futures. Read more

18.05.2018

Facett – Winner 2018 Good Design Award of the Year

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

20.06.2018

RMIT Europe Workshop: Creative Methods for Social Mapping

This workshop discusses best practices, provocative elements of, and ideas for the future of creative methods for impactful research. Read more

People

Jacinthe Flore
Global, Urban and Social Studies

Dr Jacinthe Flore is an early career researcher and the Co-Convenor of the HEALTH Network. Jacinthe is based in the Health, Society and Medicine Research Program at RMIT University. She writes in the intersections of technology, medicine, psychiatry and history. Jacinthe has published internationally on a diverse range of topics, including pharmaceuticals and subjectivity, histories of psychiatric concepts, and more broadly on the history of medical discourses of sexuality.

Jonathan Duckworth
Games

Dr Jonathan Duckworth is a digital media artist, designer and founding director of the CiART Lab (Creative interventions, Art and Rehabilitative Technology) RMIT University. Duckworth’s research spans media art, digital design, game technology and human computer interaction. He was awarded a RMIT Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellowship between 2012 – 2015.

Duckworth brings to RMIT a broad range of industry and research experience in digital media design from his practice called ZedBuffer. His practice specialises in research, development and production of novel interactive installations for government clients, museums, galleries and public venues using computer game technology. The practice also serves as a repository for his funded research activities, speculative designs and experimental interactive media art works.

Cameron Newnham
Architecture and Urban Design

Cameron Newnham explores how technology and architecture can intersect to extend the art of the possible. Using augmented reality and a deep understanding of architectural practice Cameron is striving to identify how technology can transform architecture and construction, speeding the delivery of complex buildings, and injecting new levels of craftsmanship into the built environment.

Rohit Ashok Khot
Games

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.

Ross Mcleod
Architecture and Urban Design

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.

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.

Shanti Sumartojo
Media and Communication

Dr Shanti Sumartojo is a Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow, based in the Digital Ethnography Research Centre in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University. 

She collaborates with a range of national and international colleagues in academia and the public sector, including industry-partnered applied projects, most recently in Australia with Exemplar Health, the City of Melbourne and Lendlease. Sumartojo’s research explores how people experience their spatial surroundings, including both material and immaterial aspects, with a particular focus on the built environment, using design and sensory ethnography and creative practice methodologies.

Peter West
Media and Communication

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.

Esther Charlesworth
Architecture and Urban Design

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

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