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4th Annual MARC Symposium

Redefining Quality in Ageing and Aged Care

Australia’s population is ageing. By researching ageing now and creating an evidence base for all the aspects of life and society affected by ageing we are helping to build a better future for all.

This event provided an opportunity to hear from leaders from across the continuum of ageing and aged care services, from hospitals and aged care to allied health and primary health, to economic and policy contexts. An expert panel also discussed how we define quality in both ageing and aged care.

See the Symposium agenda here.

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The HASH Network

Interdisciplinary health research

The HASH (Health, Arts, Social sciences and Humanities) Network brings together collaborators from the social sciences, humanities, medicine, arts, and science and technology. It will draw on contributions from a wide range of academic researchers, health practitioners, health service users, and early career researchers. HASH aims to ignite creative connections and collaborations among members.

Visit the HASH Network website.

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Renata Kokanovic
Convener, The HEALTH Network; Professor
School: Global, Urban & Social Studies

RMIT staff profile
renata.kokanovic@rmit.edu.au

Professor Renata Kokanovic’s works at the intersections of health, society and medicine, with a particular focus on interdisciplinary mental health research.​She combines empirical research with interdisciplinary theoretical and methodological scholarship while collaborating with industry partners and health care users to facilitate greater understanding of lived experiences of health and illness.

She co-founded Healthtalk Australia, a digital repository of health and illness narrative accounts designed to support people experiencing ill health, and inform health and social care delivery and policy.

Alone Together

Understanding the experiences of older people from culturally and linguistic diverse community backgrounds during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everybody, but we know that its impact has been worse for older people who live independently. We also know that if you come from other countries or if English is your second language your social networks can sometimes be further away and physical distancing and lockdowns can make you feel isolated.

As part of the Alone Together project we are inviting older people from culturally and linguistic diverse communities to talk with one of our research team. We would like to know how COVID-19 has impacted your everyday life; how you are coping with these changes; and what type of services have been useful.

These conversations will help us to understand how to provide better support to older people from these communities in the future.

Find out more

Participant Information


Research team: Dr Ruth De Souza (RMIT University); Distinguished Professor Larissa Hjorth (RMIT University); Ms Maria Dimopoulos (Special Adviser, Multicultural Communities, Department of Justice & Community Safety); Associate Professor Bianca Brijnath (NARI); Ms Deidre Ellem (Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) Consumer –Collaborative Pairs Program); Dr Barbara Barbosa Neves (Monash University); Ms Kate Renzenbrink (Bendigo Health and Clinical Reference Lead for the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) and Collaborative Pairs Program; Dr Jenny Waycott (University of Melbourne); Dr Juan Sanin (RMIT University).

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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.

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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Care Futures Beyond Data

Co-creative explorations into new and emerging care services and technologies in Japan.

This project investigates the perceptions, practices, and aspirations around emerging care systems, especially those using electronic health records and big data, among the members of public and professionals in related fields in Japan. The project employs creative methods to generate nuanced insights into current dynamics and engage different stakeholders to imagine future cyberphysical systems of care that are meaningful to local contexts.

This project questions how we might understand and design cyberphysical systems for health care in Japan particularly in the context of the introduction of the Next Generation Medical Infrastructure law, making available medical big data to be used anonymously for research purposes across sectors.
This transdisciplinary and co-creative project aims to: 

1) Investigate how healthcare technologies are understood and experienced, and how its impacts are imagined by members of the public and professionals, including perceived benefits and concerns 

2) Co-create different futures of cyberphysical systems for care 

3) Engage and raise awareness of such systems and their impacts among different stakeholders. 

To achieve this, it employs ethnographic and participatory methods involving different members of public and healthcare professionals in Tokyo and Kyoto. 

Find out more about the Care-Full Design Lab

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Jaz Hee-jeong Choi
Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow
School: Design and 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.

COVIDSafe

Perceptions and Practices

Recognising the social, civil and governance impact of the COVID19 crisis, COVIDSafe: Perceptions and Practices highlights how Australian’s are understanding and responding to these changes at a community and personal level. 

We want to hear your voice.

This research project responds to the shifting environment of COVID19, exploring questions as they emerge. Questions include:

• From government contact tracing through the COVIDSafe app, to more informal practices such as details at cafes and restaurants, how do Australians respond to their information and locations being monitored and recorded? 

• With the emergence of new norms in public space such as mask wearing and social distancing, how have people adjusted to differing understandings of civic responsibility toward public health? 

• How is ethnicity, age and background informing responses to public health messaging?

• To what extent do individuals perceive the COVID-19 crisis as bringing about community solidarity. Or, alternately, bringing to the fore existing inequalities? 

Against the backdrop of the COVID-19, this research seeks to understand how we negotiate, trust and relate to the government, the community and each other.

You can find out more details about the research through this Participant Information Sheet.

If you are in anyway struggling during the COVID19 crisis, there are a range of free services and support available that can assist you or a loved one at this time that you can access here.

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If you would like to get involved with this project, fill out the form below or reach out to project leaders via the contact info provided alongside each bio.

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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).


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.


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.


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.


Mark Andrejevic
Professor
School: Media, Film, and Journalism

Personal website
Mark.Andrejevic@monash.edu

Mark Andrejevic (Professor, School of Media, Film, and Journalism, Monash University) contributes expertise in the social and cultural implications of data mining, and online monitoring. He writes about monitoring and data mining from a socio-cultural perspective, and is the author of three monographs and more than 60 academic articles and book chapters. He was the Chief Investigator for an ARC QEII Fellowship investigating public attitudes toward the collection of personal information online ($390,000; 2010 – 2014).

Andrejevic has experience conducting both quantitative and qualitative research and is experienced in the focus group and interview methodologies. His work on the personal information project, for example, generated a book, 11 articles and book chapters, and a report on Australian attitudes toward online privacy that was launched by the Federal Privacy Commissioner.

Creative Care

Exploring creative practice and teaching in health and wellbeing

Creative Care researchers and students engage in creative research that intersects with health, wellbeing and the human lived experience. Creative Care projects are undertaken through diverse mediums; they are site specific social practices. The collaborative and interdisciplinary research is realised through exhibitions, performances, events, publications, or undertaken within health and social care settings, and with industry partners. 

In August 2019, Creative Care presented Hand Festival at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne. The team, along with Professor Rebecca Hilton (University Arts Stockholm), organised the social practice choreographed event designed with a focus on the hand for trust and intimate hand activities. Seventeen artists, colleagues, student nurses from RMIT, and Peter Mac staff and patients participated in hand drawing, origami, hand massages, wax modelling, mbira, knitting, cat’s cradle and more. Later that month, the team ran Hands + Mouth: Boundaries of the Body, an experimental and participatory world cafe” event which explored the boundaries of the body at the end of life (touch, embodiment, gestures and more) through roving conversations about end of life scenarios with a focus on death and dying, ageing and illness and how they intersect with culture, the senses and place. 

You can find out more about the Creative Care project on the CAST Website.

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Keely Macarow
Associate Professor
School: School of Art

RMIT staff profile
keely.macarow@rmit.edu.au

Keely Macarow is Coordinator of Postgraduate Research in the School of Art at RMIT. Keely’s research is focused on socially engaged art and the nexus between creative arts, social justice, health and wellbeing, and social and natural science. Currently, Keely is a member of The Untitled (a collective of artists, urban and graphic designers, architects and housing researchers based in Melbourne and Stockholm) who produce creative works, publications and interventions in Australia and Sweden to advocate for Homefullness (rather than homelessness). Her film, video and exhibition projects have been presented in Australia, the UK, the US, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Sweden, Hungary, France, Scotland and Denmark.

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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If you would like to get involved with this project, fill out the form below or reach out to project leaders via the contact info provided alongside each bio.

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People


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).

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).

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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People


Jaz Hee-jeong Choi
Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow
School: Design and 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.

Games for Change

Designing Games for Social Change

Games for Change takes a play-focused, iteration-based approach to game design. Our first Games for Social Change Workshop saw participants engage in experimental learning and social engagement surrounding a particular topic: ecosystem problems. Young students learnt about game designing and what makes a good’ game. They considered specific environmental issues and then worked together to design and test a game that would help solve that problem. 

Game design involves a creative and iterative process guided by prototyping, playing and testing and then refining. Through our Games for Change Workshops we’re making the game design process accessible and actionable for any topic and varying participants.

Get involved

If you would like to get involved with this project, fill out the form below or reach out to project leaders via the contact info provided alongside each bio.

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People


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).


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.

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.

Further Information

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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.

Rainbow Ranges

Co-creating digital tools for vitalism with LGBTQI+ youth

This pilot study set out to disrupt the dominant understandings of queer youth centred on narratives of vulnerability and distress.

Working with LGBTQI+ youth based in regional Victoria, Rainbow Ranges investigated how these young people understood and experienced vitality and aliveness through a series of creative arts-based workshops. The project team and young people co-created a concept for digital intervention to promote a sense of belonging, foster social connections, and improve the wellbeing of LGBTIQ+ identifying individuals and communities.

PROJECT FLYER

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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.


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.


Katherine Johnson
Professor
School: Social and Global Studies

Personal website
katherine.johnson2@rmit.edu.au

Professor Katherine Johnson is Director of the Social and Global Studies Centre at RMIT University.

Katherine has been a visiting professor in gender studies at the University of Sydney, Australia (2007), in social psychology and psychosocial interventions at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (2009−2012), in participatory-action research and LGBT health inequalities at the Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo, Brazil (2016) and the Universidad de Colima, Mexico (2016). She is currently Visiting Professor at the University of Brighton, UK where she previously established the Division of Applied Psychology & Psychotherapy and the Centre for Research Excellence, Transforming Sexuality and Gender.

Her research is in the field of gender, sexuality and mental health, with specialisms in critical community psychology and psychosocial studies, qualitative, participatory and visual research methods, and interdisciplinary research about LGBTQ lives. Her research collaborations and partnerships focus on improving the lives of LGBTQ+ people and have impacted on social policy and practice, particularly in the field of suicide prevention, mental health and end of life care.

Katherine is an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, Past Chair of the Psychology of Women and Equalities Section, and a member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). She is on the Editorial Board of Feminism and Psychology and Feminist Encounters: A journal of critical studies in culture and politics. She is also series editor with Professor Kath Browne (Maynooth, Ireland) of the Routledge book series, Transforming LGBTQ Lives. Katherine has served as a panel member for the ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund on global mental health, UK and the Irish Research Council.

Cold Climate Landscapes and Atmospheres

Examining the effects of global warming on cold climate ecologies

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

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

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

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

Pet Playing for Placemaking

Designing playful technologies for social engagement and healthy ageing

With many pet owners experiencing social isolation during the pandemic, RMIT researchers are collaborating with Cherished Pets Foundation and its affiliated veterinary social enterprise towards improving social inclusion in the local community. The initiative has received community funding to bring an interactive, playful, and creative spin through a game designed to promote social engagement and healthy ageing. 

Pet Playing for Placemaking Survey Report — October 2020
2021 Give Where You Live Community Connections Grant

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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).


Jacob Sheahan
PhD Candidate
School: School of Design

0424056233
Personal website
jacob.sheahan@student.rmit.edu.au

Jacob Sheahan is a PhD Candidate in the School of Design and Research Assistant in the Shaping Connections research program. Trained as an Industrial Designer, his research practice focuses on ageing futures, emerging technologies, and design for health and wellbeing. Utilising a design anthropology and interaction design skillset, he benefits from a socio-technical and project-grounded approach, innovating through collaborative and constructive methods.

The Hydrating Bungaribee

Rethinking waste water recovery

The Hydrating Bungarribee project brought together varied expertise from across different schools to creatively reimagine how public open space can transform waste water to contribute to positive recreational, environmental and social outcomes in the face of increasingly extreme climatic events.

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Anton James
Professor of Landscape Architecture
School: Architecture and Urban Design

Personal website
anton.james@rmit.edu.au

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.

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.

cohealth@365

Past, Present and Co-Futures

cohealth@365 brings together interdisciplinary methods and expertise to collect the diverse stories of a community. We co-created and co-designed with the cohealth Collingwood community to capture their stories and hear their voices as core to cohealth’s past, present and future. The different research activities included co-creative workshops, researching the archive, digital storytelling, ethnographic research, an interactive community chalkboard, multisensorial design and other creative activities.

This pilot project sought to empower the community by having their vision included as central to cohealth’s transition. Through this process, cohealth@365 provides a vehicle for community advocacy across a variety of key stakeholders and sectors.

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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).


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.


Jaz Hee-jeong Choi
Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow
School: Design and 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.


Son Vivienne
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
School: Education

+61 3 9925 4094
Personal website
son.vivienne@rmit.edu.au

Son Vivienne is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at Creative Agency and the Digital Ethnography Research Centre at RMIT. Their principal expertise is digital self-representation, online activism, queer identity, and rhetorical strategies/​feminist practices for speaking and listening across difference. Son is also involved in community development and arts as an activist, workshop facilitator and media-maker. Son is author of Digital Identity and Everyday Activism: Sharing Private Stories with Networked Publics (Palgrave Macmillan) and co-​author/​co-​editor of Negotiating Digital Citizenship: Control, Contest, Culture (Rowman & Littlefield).

Son curates several collective storytelling websites for queer and gender-diverse communities and has over twenty years of multi-media production and distribution experience. As an award winning writer/​director/​producer of drama and documentaries, they tackled subjects as diverse as youth suicide; drug cultures in Vietnamese communities; and lesbian personal columns. Their film work includes multi-lingual (Vietnamese-English and Adnyamathanha-English) and multi-modal (animation, micro-docs, digital storytelling and interactive web-platforms) projects that reflect their comparative, cross-cultural and critical approaches to communication and storytelling.

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.

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.

CaTPin

Conversation as Therapy

CaTPin was the finalist for the 2018 DCP Design Challenge.

The Design Challenge was a joint initiative between Telstra and the Design & Creative Practice ECP which sought to tackle the real-world issue: How do we design for Ageing Well Futures?

CaTPin presented the idea of conversation as therapy’. It aimed to address the issue of loneliness due to a lack of social interaction by developing a discreet, low-cost wearable. Taking the form of a lapel pin or brooch, designed in collaboration with the wearer, the device detects the presence or absence of conversation. It is founded on the premise that loneliness is manifest in a poverty of conversation, hence using the number of words spoken a day as a surrogate marker for social isolation and loneliness.

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Leah Heiss
School: Communication Design

99253494
Personal website
leah.heiss@rmit.edu.au

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.

Establishing a Collaborative Design Facility

Aircraft Systems Design Laboratory

The Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL) at the Georgia Institute of Technology, USA established a Collaborative Design Environment more than two decades ago. It has been applied to many complex problems and grand challenges. Inspired by this, Professors Cees Bill & Pier Marzocca invited Professor Dimitri Mavris, director of ADSL, to share lessons learned from and outcomes of their facility, in order to establish a similar facility at RMIT

Professor Dimitri Mavris’ presentation identified some of the challenges faced by designers and presented some of the key enablers that contribute to the generation and synthesis of knowledge and the formulation of informed decisions. It discussed the benefits to analysts and decision makers for Collaborative Design Facilities in the context of Engineering Design. The lecture concluded with a demonstration on Environmentally Responsible Aviation and GT Smart Campus Initiative. The project has initiated funds to establish a local facility, making use of preliminary work already conducted within RMIT’s School of Engineering.

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Cees Bil
Professor
School: School of Engineering

RMIT staff profile

Cees Bil is Professor within the School of Engineering at RMIT’s Bundoora campus. He is a member of Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), a member of the Dutch Association of Aerospace Engineers (NVvL) and a senior member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). His areas of research and consulting expertise include aerodynamics, Aerospace Design and Optimisation, Dynamics and Control, Computer-Aided Engineering as well as Simulation and Modelling.

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.

Haptic Pathways

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

Haptic Pathways is the winning entry for the 2019 DCP Design Challenge.

The 2019 Design Challenge was a joint initiative between the City of Melbourne and the Design & Creative Practice ECP which sought to tackle the real-world issue: How do we design for inclusive cities?

Haptic Pathways reimagines the suburban street creating diverse sensory experiences that explicitly include urban residents or visitors of all mobilities and neurodiversities. The project intends to create everyday incidental urban pathways that focus on the under-emphasised and under-explored facets of sensory connection, such as touch and smell. These immersive nature experiences will include such design elements and interventions as block plantings of native species; accessible sensory spaces; and braille graffiti walls.

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

freya.thomas@rmit.edu.au

Botanist, quantitative plant ecologist; Research Fellow, ICON Science, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University Melbourne. Freya is a plant ecologist working as a Research Fellow at RMIT on an ARC-Linkage project which focuses on designing urban green spaces for human wellbeing and for biodiversity.

Freya is a botanist whose professional work has spanned many Australian ecosystems and she has a thorough knowledge of Australian native flora. Her PhD focused on building and evaluating quantitative predictive models of plant growth. She also has experience working for the State Government on developing and implementing long term vegetation monitoring programs. Her current research at RMIT focuses on evaluating how urban green spaces influence human wellbeing but also how plant choice in cities influences other organisms like birds, bees and butterflies. Freya is passionate about plants and interested in various ways plants can be wholly appreciated and incorporated into urban areas.


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

georgia.garrard@rmit.edu.au

Interdisciplinary conservation scientist, Senior Research Fellow, NESP Threatened Species Recovery Hub; Senior Lecturer, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies; ICON Science Research Group, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University, Melbourne

Georgia is an ecologist and conservation scientist. She is a Senior Research Fellow in RMIT’s ICON Science Research Group and Centre for Urban Research, and Senior Lecturer in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, where she teaches Ecological Foundations of Planning. For over a decade, she has conducted research that addresses the critical challenge of conserving and enhancing biodiversity in urban environments. Her protocol for Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design, codeveloped with Prof Sarah Bekessy, was a finalist in the Banksia Sustainable Cities Award 2016. Georgia has contributed to and led projects on biodiversity sensitive urban design for greenfield and urban renewal development projects, with local government (City of Melbourne), industry (GHD) and philanthropic (The Myer Foundation) organisations. She also co-leads projects for the National Environmental Science Program’s Threatened Species Recovery Hub and the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning that aim reconnect people with nature in a way that fosters care and stewardship for nature. She is a CI on a current ARC Linkage Project (Designing green spaces for biodiversity and human well-being), with project partners the City of Melbourne, ARUP, Greening Australia and Phillip Johnson Landscapes.


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

sarah.bekessy@rmit.edu.au

Interdisciplinary conservation scientist; ARC Future Fellow; Professor, ICON Science Research Group, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University.

Professor Sarah Bekessy leads the Interdisciplinary Conservation Science research group at RMIT University. She is interested in the intersection between science and policy in environmental management and is currently involved in an interdisciplinary range of research projects, including an ARC Future Fellowship titled Socio-ecological models for environmental decision making’ and an ARC linkage project titled Designing green spaces for biodiversity and human well-being’. She leads projects in two National Environment Science Program Hubs (Threatened Species Hub and Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub) and is a Chief Investigator in the European Commission-funded project Urban Greenup, which seeks to evaluate nature-based solutions for cities. She co-developed the Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design protocol that is now being used by numerous developers, governments and non-government organisations to design innovative urban biodiversity strategies.


Zoe Myers
Urban designer and Lecturer
School: Urban Design Research Centre

Zoe is an urban designer and lecturer working at the Australian Urban Design Research Centre (AUDRC), part of the School of Design at the University of Western Australia, where she teaches in the Master of Urban Design. She has led and participated in research projects and design communication for local and State government on topics such as the challenges, perceptions, and spatial issues relating to medium density housing and transit-oriented development, implications of river and sea-level rise for cities, and co-design strategies for urban renewal. Zoe has over 15 years’ experience across the private, public, and tertiary sectors, in project management, policy and planning, and senior strategic communications, including experience in statutory planning, strategic planning policy, and legislative and parliamentary processes. She sits on the City of Vincent Environmental Advisory Group, which has overseen projects such as drain conversion into public park space. Zoe’s current research at AUDRC is focused on how evidence-based urban design can enhance mental health and restoration through connection to nature in our cities, and the remaking of overlooked spaces and hard infrastructure as ecologically and emotionally regenerative places. She is the author of Wildness and Wellbeing: Nature, Neuroscience and Urban Design (Palgrave Macmillan).

Dr Zoe Myers is the team leader for Haptic Pathways, the finalist for the 2019 DCP Design Challenge.

Multisensory Embodiment

Music, Movement & Memory in Dementia

This project builds technical capacity and facilitates proof of concept testing of the impact of multisensory integration of music, movement and memory, specifically exploring embodied audio and agency-free kinesis to maximise the power of music for dementia patients. This project is creating and building a dedicated chair for this purpose and will explore both the therapeutic and commercial potential of this technology.

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Jenny Robinson
Senior Lecturer, Design and Social Context
School: Media and Communication

+61 3 9925 5049
RMIT staff profile
jenny.robinson@rmit.edu.au

Dr Jenny Robinson is a lecturer in Media and Communication, teaching classes in audience research and strategic communication. Her research is in media psychology, most recently using biometrics and experimental methodology to investigate audience reception of multi-platform advertising models. She is interested in understanding how people respond to mediated communication whether that is TV, online content, public interaction or art.

Robinson brings an interdisciplinary approach to the study of audience experience, with a BA (hons) in psychology and PhD in mass communication, MA in TV and film, and Grad Dip in science communication.

Possum Skin Cloak Story

Reconnecting Communities and Culture

Culture is the framework through which we connect to our Country, our Belonging. It defines and makes us who we are. Our language, stories, songs, dance, artefacts, cultural knowledge and practices demonstrate our continuing connections.” — Vicki Couzens. 

Possum skin cloaks were a vital part of Aboriginal peoples lives in pre-European times. To make a cloak was a very labour intensive and time-consuming process. Telling the story of the Possum Skin Cloak strengthens cultural identity, connection to country and health, and education and justice within an indigenous community context. The impact of the revival of possum skin cloaks as a community cultural practice has been significant and profound.

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Vicki Couzens
VC Indigenous Research Fellow
School: Design and Social Context

vicki.couzens@rmit.edu.au

Dr Couzens is Gunditjmara from the Western Districts of Victoria. She acknowledges her ancestors and elders who guide her work.

Dr Couzens has worked in Aboriginal community affairs for almost 40 years. Her contributions in the reclamation, regeneration and revitalisation of cultural knowledge and practice extend across the arts and creative cultural expression’ spectrum including language revitalisation, ceremony, community arts, public art, visual and performing arts, and writing. She is a Senior Knowledge Custodian for Possum Skin Cloak Story and Language Reclamation and Revival in her Keerray Woorroong Mother Tongue.

Vicki is employed at RMIT as a Vice Chancellors Indigenous Research Fellow developing her Project watnanda koong meerreeng , tyama-ngan malayeetoo (together body and country, we know long time)’ The key objective of this Project is to produce model/​s, pathways and resources for continuing the reinvigoration of Aboriginal Ways of Knowing Being and Doing with a special focus on language revitalisation.

#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 Future of Museum Audiences I

Social Media, Digital Wayfaring and Museum Audiences

This project explored how museums can engage with social media platforms beyond the blunt instrumentalization of hashtags, likes and follows, to co-create and co-future inventive and responsive engagements with and for diverse and intergenerational museum audiences. Deploying the notion of digital wayfaring that acknowledges that digital, social and material worlds are interconnected, the project used ethnographic techniques in the context of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). Ethnography provides insight into practice and lived experience — dynamic processes that big data can’t address.

PHASEREPORT

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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).


Jacina Leong
PhD candidate
School: Media and Communication

Personal website
jacina.leong@rmit.edu.au

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.

Young people and the Anthropocene

Critical perspectives for well-being, resilience and enterprise

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

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

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

Research topics

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Peter Kelly is Professor of Education and Head of UNESCO UNEVOC at RMIT University. His recent former role was as Associate Dean, Research and Innovation, in the School of Education at RMIT. Previous positions include at Edge Hill University (UK), Deakin University, Monash University, the University of Queensland (UQ).

Kelly is a social researcher who has published extensively on young people, social theory and globalisation. His current research interests include a critical engagement with young people and new cultures of education/​work/​democracy in the context of the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, and with the challenges associated with the emergence of the Anthropocene. He is currently the lead CI on an ARC Discovery Project (DP 170100547) Art Based Social Enterprises and Marginalised Young People’s Transitions.

With colleagues, Kelly leads a research program titled Young People’s Well-being, Resilience and Enterprise: Critical Perspectives for the Anthropocene: https://​young​peo​plean​thro​pocene​.org/

Kelly has published extensively on young people and the practice of youth studies. His books include: Working in Jamie’s Kitchen: Salvation, Passion and Young Workers (2009), The Self as Enterprise: Foucault and the Spirit” of 21st Century Capitalism (2013), The Moral Geographies of Children, Young People and Food: Beyond Jamie’s School Dinners (2014), A Critical Youth Studies for the 21st Century (2015), Young People and the Aesthetics of Health Promotion: Beyond Reason, Rationality and Risk (2016), and Neo-Liberalism and Austerity: The Moral Economies of Young People’s Health and Well-Being (2017). He has two recently published books: Rethinking Young People’s Marginalisation: Beyond neo-Liberal Futures? (2018), Young People and the Politics of Outrage and Hope (2018).

News and updates

24.03.2020

VC FELLOW HIGHLIGHT: RUTH DE SOUZA

Ruth De Souza
Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow in the School of Art Read more

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

29.03.2020

VC FELLOW HIGHLIGHT: NATALIE HENDRY

Natalie Hendry
Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow in the School of Media and Communications 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

23.03.2020

VC FELLOW HIGHLIGHT: DAVID CHESWORTH

David Chesworth
Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow in the School of Art 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

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

Ruth De Souza
School of Art

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.

Natalie Hendry
Media and Communication

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.

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.

Zoe Myers
Urban Design Research Centre

Zoe is an urban designer and lecturer working at the Australian Urban Design Research Centre (AUDRC), part of the School of Design at the University of Western Australia, where she teaches in the Master of Urban Design. She has led and participated in research projects and design communication for local and State government on topics such as the challenges, perceptions, and spatial issues relating to medium density housing and transit-oriented development, implications of river and sea-level rise for cities, and co-design strategies for urban renewal. Zoe has over 15 years’ experience across the private, public, and tertiary sectors, in project management, policy and planning, and senior strategic communications, including experience in statutory planning, strategic planning policy, and legislative and parliamentary processes. She sits on the City of Vincent Environmental Advisory Group, which has overseen projects such as drain conversion into public park space. Zoe’s current research at AUDRC is focused on how evidence-based urban design can enhance mental health and restoration through connection to nature in our cities, and the remaking of overlooked spaces and hard infrastructure as ecologically and emotionally regenerative places. She is the author of Wildness and Wellbeing: Nature, Neuroscience and Urban Design (Palgrave Macmillan).

Dr Zoe Myers is the team leader for Haptic Pathways, the finalist for the 2019 DCP Design Challenge.

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

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

David Chesworth
School of Art

David Chesworth is a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at RMIT, based in the School of Art and DCP Research Platform. He is a cross-disciplinary artist, composer and researcher with an experimental background, He has created investigative artworks in visual art, music, screen-based media, performance and installation, and across the wider cultural sector, including major museums and artist run initiatives and the public domain. Recent artworks created with collaborator Sonia Leber were exhibited in the main programs of the Venice and Sydney Biennale’s and the satellite program of Moscow Biennale. His sound works have been presented internationally, including Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival and The Bang on a Can Marathon in New York, and Ars Electronica in Austria (Prix Ars Electronica Honorary Mention).

His recent award-winning PhD investigation into ontologies of listening within visual arts practice interrogated artworks at Dia:Beacon in upstate New York. This led to a practice-based research project as an Associate Investigator with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH) where he investigated, with Earth scientists and Indigenous traditional owners, different understandings of the world. 

His postdoctoral research will involve the creation of three artworks that investigate sound archives: a collection of early Indigenous recordings, an experimental music archive, and a collection of recently unearthed séance tapes, this will be supplemented with a range of written research outputs. David is also co-creating a large-scale research artwork called What Listening Knows for exhibition in the UK later in the year.

Hardik Bhimani
Economics, Finance and Marketing

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

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

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

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

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

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).

Sarah Bekessy
Centre for Urban Research

Interdisciplinary conservation scientist; ARC Future Fellow; Professor, ICON Science Research Group, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University.

Professor Sarah Bekessy leads the Interdisciplinary Conservation Science research group at RMIT University. She is interested in the intersection between science and policy in environmental management and is currently involved in an interdisciplinary range of research projects, including an ARC Future Fellowship titled Socio-ecological models for environmental decision making’ and an ARC linkage project titled Designing green spaces for biodiversity and human well-being’. She leads projects in two National Environment Science Program Hubs (Threatened Species Hub and Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub) and is a Chief Investigator in the European Commission-funded project Urban Greenup, which seeks to evaluate nature-based solutions for cities. She co-developed the Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design protocol that is now being used by numerous developers, governments and non-government organisations to design innovative urban biodiversity strategies.

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.

Ananta Neelim
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.

Bronwyn Coate
Economics, Finance and Marketing

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

Jenny Robinson
Media and Communication

Dr Jenny Robinson is a lecturer in Media and Communication, teaching classes in audience research and strategic communication. Her research is in media psychology, most recently using biometrics and experimental methodology to investigate audience reception of multi-platform advertising models. She is interested in understanding how people respond to mediated communication whether that is TV, online content, public interaction or art.

Robinson brings an interdisciplinary approach to the study of audience experience, with a BA (hons) in psychology and PhD in mass communication, MA in TV and film, and Grad Dip in science communication.

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.

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.

Gretchen Coombs
Design and Creative Practice

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.

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.

Jacob Sheahan
School of Design

Jacob Sheahan is a PhD Candidate in the School of Design and Research Assistant in the Shaping Connections research program. Trained as an Industrial Designer, his research practice focuses on ageing futures, emerging technologies, and design for health and wellbeing. Utilising a design anthropology and interaction design skillset, he benefits from a socio-technical and project-grounded approach, innovating through collaborative and constructive methods.

Janneke Blijlevens
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
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
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.

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.

Keely Macarow
School of Art

Keely Macarow is Coordinator of Postgraduate Research in the School of Art at RMIT. Keely’s research is focused on socially engaged art and the nexus between creative arts, social justice, health and wellbeing, and social and natural science. Currently, Keely is a member of The Untitled (a collective of artists, urban and graphic designers, architects and housing researchers based in Melbourne and Stockholm) who produce creative works, publications and interventions in Australia and Sweden to advocate for Homefullness (rather than homelessness). Her film, video and exhibition projects have been presented in Australia, the UK, the US, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Sweden, Hungary, France, Scotland and Denmark.

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 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.

Philip Samartzis
School of Art

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

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

Martyn Hook
Architecture and Urban Design

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.

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.

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).

Suzanne Davies
RMIT Collections & Venues

Suzanne Davies was Director and Chief Curator, RMIT Gallery from 1996. She retired in 2018. Instrumental in building RMIT Gallery’s relationship with Germany she organized the inclusion of many German exhibitions in the RMIT Gallery program and strategically nurtured the relationship.

Suzie Attiwill
Architecture and Urban Design

Since 1991, Associate Professor Suzie Attiwill’s freelance practice has involved exhibition design, curatorial work and writing on interdisciplinary projects in Australia and overseas. Her practice poses questions of interior and interiority in relation to contemporary conditions of living, inhabitation, subjectivity, pedagogy and creative practice. Research is conducted through a practice of designing with a curatorial inflection attending to arrangements (and re-arrangements) of spatial, temporal and material relations. Projects include: urban + interior – a collaborative publication project bringing together an editorial team situated in Milan, Madrid and Melbourne; beyond building with Gregory Nicolau (Australian Childhood Trauma Group); Abacus Learning Centre – for children on the autism spectrum; and a series of curatorial experiments in ecologies of learning – physical, social and mental. Suzie is recognised internationally for her contribution to the discipline of interior design including workshop intensives: Radical Learning, Milan International Architecture Week; and Urban Interiorities in Nicosia, Cyprus; texts: interiorizt’, 2014; and Urban and Interior: techniques for an urban interiorist’, 2011. Artistic director of Craft Victoria (1996−99); board member/​chair, West Space (2006−10); chair, IDEA (Interior Design/​Interior Architecture Educators Association, 2006-12); executive board member, International Federation of Interior Architects/​Designers (2020−21).