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DCP HDR Working Group on Wellbeing and Belonging

Understanding HDR Wellbeing in and post COVID-19

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.

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Anne Harris
Associate Professor and Principal Research Fellow, Design and Social Context
School: Education

+61 3 9925 4459
RMIT staff profile
anne.harris@rmit.edu.au

Dr Anne M. Harris, PhD is an Associate Professor and Vice Chancellor’s Principal Research Fellow at RMIT University, and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2017 – 2021) studying intercultural creativity. Anne is an Honorary Research Fellow at University of Nottingham (UK) and an Adjunct Professor at Monash University (Australia).

Their research is in the areas of gender, creativity, diversity, performance and emerging digital ethnographies. Anne is a native New Yorker and has worked professionally as a playwright, teaching artist and journalist in the USA and Australia. They have authored or co-authored over 60 articles and 13 books on creativity, arts, and non-dominant culture formations, the latest being Queering Families/​Schooling Publics: Keywords (with Stacy Holman Jones, Sandra Faulkner, and Eloise Brook, Routledge 2017). Anne is the creator and series editor of the Palgrave book series Creativity, Education and the Arts, and recently completed an Australian Research Council DECRA on the commodification of creativity.


Catherine Gomes
Associate Professor
School: Media and Communication

catherine.gomes@rmit.edu.au

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.


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).


Ingrid Richardson
Professor
School: Media and Communication

RMIT staff profile
ingrid.richardson@rmit.edu.au

Professor Ingrid Richardson has been teaching, supervising and researching in the fields of digital media, mobile media and games for over twenty years. She has a broad interest in the human-technology relation and has published widely on the phenomenology of games and mobile media, digital ethnography and innovative research methods, the relation between technology use and wellbeing, and the cultural effects of urban screens, wearable technologies, virtual and augmented reality, remix culture and web-based content creation and distribution. Ingrid has led or co-led 14 funded research projects, the most recent being an ARC DP [Games of Being Mobile] with Larissa Hjorth. She is contributing co-editor of Studying Mobile Media (Routledge, 2011) and co-author of Gaming in Social, Locative and Mobile Media (Palgrave, 2014), Ambient Play (MIT, 2020), Understanding Games and Game Cultures (Sage, 2020), Exploring Minecraft: Ethnographies of Play and Creativity (Palgrave, forthcoming), and Mobile Media and the Urban Night (Palgrave, forthcoming). Ingrid brings ten years’ experience in university-level HDR management and during this time has actively championed and supported creative methods and practice-led postgraduate research. Over the past five years she has also developed a passion for teaching critical web literacy skills to undergraduate students across all disciplines.


Natalie Hendry
VC Research Fellow
School: Media and Communication

Personal website
natalie.hendry@rmit.edu.au

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.


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.


Ruth De Souza
VC Research Fellow
School: School of Art

Personal website
ruth.de.souza@rmit.edu.au

Dr Ruth De Souza (FACN) is a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at RMIT, based in the School of Art and DCP Research Platform. She is a nurse, academic and a community-engaged researcher in gender, race, health and digital technologies. Ruth’s Fellowship will engage health professionals in finding new ways to understand, co-design and implement sustainable cultural safety initiatives in a range of health contexts in response to health inequities.

Prior to moving to Australia in 2013, Ruth worked at AUT University where she taught in the School of Nursing, led the Bachelor of Health Promotion, and was a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Asian and Migrant Health Research. Since her arrival in Australia, Ruth has undertaken a wide range of roles, including leading an undergraduate nursing program at Monash University’s Berwick campus; spearheading a unique community-engaged joint research appointment with North Richmond Community Health exploring how wearables and other digital technologies are perceived by people from culturally and linguistically different backgrounds and co-ordinating an interdisciplinary Data Systems and Society Research Network across the University of Melbourne. Ruth has also investigated the applicability of cultural safety in Australia, working closely with The Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM), presenting at their National Professional Development Conferences and delivering training on cultural safety. She has also undertaken a two-year cultural safety project with cohealth (a not-for-profit community health organisation) and Our Watch who work for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children.

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).

Mixed Reality Environments

Machine Learning Applications for Design and the Built Environment

While artificial intelligence (AI) generates real value in many fields, it has seen few design applications. This activity intends to build partnerships with AI experts to implement state of the art machine learning frameworks and cloud computing infrastructure for applications within the design and construction industries. The anticipated outcome are manifold: to position RMIT as a leader in the development of creative applications of AI; to enhance RMIT’s innovation capability by combining the spatial reasoning expertise of architects with cutting edge machine learning capabilities; to develop new and far reaching design applications that may include automated 3d model synthesis, search and classification.

This project aims to develop a platform enabling creatives, consultants and contractors to collaborate within mixed reality environments and test the impact of this platform through speculative and applied design build projects.

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Cameron Newnham
Associate Lecturer, Industry Fellow
School: Architecture and Urban Design

Personal website
cameron.newnham@rmit.edu.au

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.


Gwyllim Jahn
Lecturer
School: Architecture and Urban Design

RMIT staff profile
gwyllim.jahn@rmit.edu.au

Gwyllim Jahn is a Lecturer in the School of Architecture & Urban Design at RMIT in Melbourne where he is currently completing his PhD. His design practice has been internationally awarded and exhibited and is concerned with complex geometry and behavioural design systems, mixed reality environments, autonomous robotic fabrication and creative applications of machine learning.

#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.

The Exchange at Knowledge Market

Prototyping community engagement in Melbourne’s Docklands Precinct

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.

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Ross Mcleod
Program Manager, Design Innovation and Technology
School: Architecture and Urban Design

+61 3 9925 3493
RMIT staff profile
ross.mcleod@rmit.edu.au

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.

TIMeR

Multisensorial and Contested Modes of Place Making

TIMeR is an Augmented Reality audio-walk featuring stories of land, river and sky with Boonwurrung elder N’Arweet Carolyn Briggs. Participants are transformed into wayfarers as they move across the RMIT campus to uncover alternate cartographies bringing new insights to familiar routes.

Acknowledging the importance of cross-cultural dialogue, we recognise the unceded ancestral and traditional places of the Eastern Kulin Nations. TIMeR is the first in a series of projects exploring stories of place from multiple positions grounded in Indigenous knowledge, developed with collaboration from the Ngarara Willim Centre, Elders in Residence. 

www​.rmit​timer​.net

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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.


Hugh Davies
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
School: Games

Personal website
hugh.davies@rmit.edu.au

Hugh Davies is an artist, curator and researcher of games and play. His practice explores histories of media devices and cultures of games in the Asia Pacific Region. Awarded a PhD in Art, Design and Architecture from Monash University in 2014, Hugh’s studies in game cultures have been supported with fellowships from Tokyo Art and Space, M+ Museum of Visual Culture and the Hong Kong Design Trust. Hugh is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at RMIT in Melbourne, Australia.


Troy Innocent
VC Research Fellow
School: School of Design

Personal website
troy.innocent@rmit.edua.u

Dr Troy Innocent is an artist, academic, designer, coder, educator, and VC Senior Research Fellow at RMIT University, where his creative practice research explores the city as platform for play through an inventive blend of live art, game design and public art. Over the past ten years he has explored the lived experience of cities through mixed realities; situating his work in Melbourne, Bristol, Barcelona, Istanbul, Ogaki, Sydney and Hong Kong. As Melbourne Knowledge Fellow, Innocent expanded his urban codemaking’ practice for situating play in cities to develop Playable City Melbourne, a three-year project bringing together an interdisciplinary urban play community. He is currently artistic director of 64 Ways of Being, a playable city-wide platform for augmented reality experiences supported by a Creative State Commission.

Transforming Motorways' Noise Barriers

A biophilic soundscape system to reduce noise and air pollution and improve livability.

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: 

  1. Reducing Air Pollution 
  2. Reducing Noise Pollution 
  3. Improving Liveability

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Jordan Lacey
VC Research Fellow
School: School of Design

Personal website
jordan.lacey@rmit.edu.au

Dr Jordan Lacey is a transdisciplinary creative practice researcher and DECRA Fellow in the School of Design at RMIT University. He is the author of Sonic Rupture: a practice-led approach to urban soundscape design (Bloomsbury 2016), and various articles, which explore the role of sound installations in transforming urban life. Originally a musician and sound-artist, Jordan has become increasingly focused on the urban environment as evolving into sites-of-encounter that might exceed the typical day-to-day functions of city life. He has produced numerous sound art installations, funded by government and industry partners, that seek to influence approaches to urban design. Recently, he has become interested in posthuman critical theory as a means to question the meaning of being human in a changing world, and the ways in which sonic practices might contribute to this conversation.

Translating Ambiance

Restorative Sound Design for Urban Soundscapes

The project expects to produce innovations in the area of urban soundscape design by using an interdisciplinary approach that combines biophilic design, ambiance theory and sound art installation practices. Investigating new techniques for the creation of sound art installations, it hopes to advance the effectiveness of urban renewal initiatives. This should provide significant benefits, such as improving the quality of life in urban centres by producing restful and restorative places and identifying pathways for the involvement of creative practitioners in the design and management of the built environment.

This project was awarded an ARC DECRA.

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Jordan Lacey
VC Research Fellow
School: School of Design

Personal website
jordan.lacey@rmit.edu.au

Dr Jordan Lacey is a transdisciplinary creative practice researcher and DECRA Fellow in the School of Design at RMIT University. He is the author of Sonic Rupture: a practice-led approach to urban soundscape design (Bloomsbury 2016), and various articles, which explore the role of sound installations in transforming urban life. Originally a musician and sound-artist, Jordan has become increasingly focused on the urban environment as evolving into sites-of-encounter that might exceed the typical day-to-day functions of city life. He has produced numerous sound art installations, funded by government and industry partners, that seek to influence approaches to urban design. Recently, he has become interested in posthuman critical theory as a means to question the meaning of being human in a changing world, and the ways in which sonic practices might contribute to this conversation.

Design and Social Innovation in Asia-Pacific Network

Capacity building in the Asia-Pacific region

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.

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Yoko Akama
Associate Professor, Communication Design Cluster
School: Communication Design

+61 3 9925 2805
RMIT staff profile
yoko.akama@rmit.edu.au

Yoko Akama is a design researcher at RMIT University, Australia. She co-leads the Design and Social Innovation in Asia-Pacific network and Design+Ethnography+Futures research program at RMIT

Her Japanese heritage has embedded a Zen-informed relational practice to carve a tao’ (path) in design and has published extensively on this topic. This practice is shaped by working with regional communities in Australia in strengthening their resilience for disaster preparedness, and with Indigenous Nations enact their sovereignty and self-determination. She is an Adjunct Fellow of a ecosystem innovation studio, Re:public Japan, and Visiting Fellow at the Centre of Excellence in Media Practice, Bournemouth University. She serves on several editorial boards of international journals, and conference review committees. She is a recipient of several major research grants in Australia and the UK and winner of the prestigious Good Design Australia Awards in 2014.

Evaluating Design for Social Innovation

A case study for culturally grounded evaluation

Design always matters, but designing for impact changes lives. For impact to be felt in diverse cultural contexts, we need to understand how cultures need and value design. Design for Social Innovation (DSI) is an approach for working on complex social and environmental challenges. It uses design principles to explore different ways of understanding and responding to those challenges.

Our work helps ensure that projects are of the greatest value to the communities that they are undertaken with, and that researchers are better able to communicate the impact of their projects.

View the report here.

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Laurene Vaughan
Professor and Dean
School: School of Design

RMIT staff profile
laurene.vaughan@rmit.edu.au

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.

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

19.07.2019

DCP Lectures | Dr Anne Galloway

Cosmopolitical Relations & More-Than-Human Design Ethnography
Monday 19 August, 5:30 – 6:30pm
RMIT City Campus, Building 80.10.16 Read more

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

20.08.2019

HDR Opportunity: Dr Anne Galloway Workshop

Practicing More-than-human Design Ethnography Workshop
Dr Anne Galloway, School of Design, Victoria University of Wellington, NZ
Tuesday 20 August 2019, RMIT City Campus Read more

10.07.2018

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

Yoko Akama
Communication Design

Yoko Akama is a design researcher at RMIT University, Australia. She co-leads the Design and Social Innovation in Asia-Pacific network and Design+Ethnography+Futures research program at RMIT

Her Japanese heritage has embedded a Zen-informed relational practice to carve a tao’ (path) in design and has published extensively on this topic. This practice is shaped by working with regional communities in Australia in strengthening their resilience for disaster preparedness, and with Indigenous Nations enact their sovereignty and self-determination. She is an Adjunct Fellow of a ecosystem innovation studio, Re:public Japan, and Visiting Fellow at the Centre of Excellence in Media Practice, Bournemouth University. She serves on several editorial boards of international journals, and conference review committees. She is a recipient of several major research grants in Australia and the UK and winner of the prestigious Good Design Australia Awards in 2014.

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.

Larissa Hjorth
Enabling Capability Platforms

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).

Fleur Watson
Design Hub

Dr Fleur Watson is a curator and editor specialising in architecture and design.

Fleur Watson is the Curator at RMIT Design Hub – a building dedicated to cross-disciplinary design research and experimentation. Fleur has managed and co-curated a diverse range of exhibitions for Design Hub including Las Vegas Studio, Brook Andrew : De Anima, The Future Is Here (in collaboration with London’s Design Museum), 100 Chairs in 100 Days: Martino Gamper and, most recently, Occupied curated with Otherothers. Extending upon her curatorial role, Watson leads the RMIT University design partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria and recently contributed as an invited judge for the NGV’s architecture competition towards the 2016 NGV Summer Architecture Commission. 

In 2013, Watson was an invited architecture and design curator for the National Gallery of Victoria’s Melbourne Now exhibition and co-produced the installation Sampling The City. She also founded Pin-up Architecture & Design Project Space – an independent exhibition space in Collingwood (2011−2014). Watson is a former editor of Monument magazine (2001−2007), the editor of the Edmond & Corrigan monograph Cities of Hope: Remembered/​Rehearsed and, most recently, co-edited an issue of Architectural Design UK (May/​June 2015) with RMIT University’s Innovation Professor of Architecture Leon van Schaik AO. In 2015, she completed a practice-based PhD at RMIT University entitled The Agency of Encounter: Performative curatorial practice for architecture and design.

Jacina Leong
Media and Communication

Jacina Leong is an artist-curator and PhD candidate in the School of Media and Communications, RMIT. Her research explores critical-creative and careful curatorial approaches to social innovation practices by museums and galleries.

Over the past decade, she has worked in hybrid new media spaces, universities, national and international festivals, regional museums and galleries, libraries and schools — to vision and deliver a diverse range of trans-disciplinary engagement programs, via highly collaborative, experimental and site-responsive processes. Most recently, Jacina was curator for Robotronica, project lead and founding member of the Guerrilla Knowledge Unit, guest facilitator of the Future Innovators Summit (Ars Electronica Tokyo Initiative), and co-curator of the provocation, Curating In The Age of Automation (RMIT & Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto).

From 2012 to 2017, Jacina worked at The Cube (QUT), establishing the inaugural STEAM engagement program for school and university students, educators and pre-service teachers. This program involved key collaborations with local, national and international organisations including Ars Electronica, LEGO Education, and Brisbane City Council. She has also worked in public program development at the Ipswich Art Gallery, collaborative learning strategy in universities, gallery management at Jan Murphy Gallery, and was advisor to the inaugural Make Nice at VIVID Festival.

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.

Jan Schoormans
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.

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.

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).

Anton James
Architecture and Urban Design

Professor Anton James, who trained as a landscape architect and visual artist, has over a period of 20 years designed projects in Australia, Europe and the USA. He has won numerous awards and competitions, both in Australia and overseas. His work continues to focus on design as a means to explore a site’s spatial, environmental and material tension for their potential to enrich the urban experience. 

As a working director of JMD design, Anton’s focus on design and innovation continues to contribute to the quality of the built environment. In 2011 he was the recipient of the Australian Medal for Landscape Architecture for the Paddington Reservoir.

Rebecca Yang
Construction Management

Rebecca Yang has developed a strong and passionate commitment to industry-focused research and teaching. Her research resonates with RMIT’s vision of transforming the built environment to create sustainable and resilient cities, and her current research focuses on solar energy applications in buildings, and construction innovation. She is the leader of Solar Energy Application Group. She is the leader of Solar Energy Application Group and the Australian expert in International Energy Agency PVPS Task 15 BIPV.