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Creative Care

Exploring creative practice and teaching in health and wellbeing

Creative Care is an interdiscplinary research team that explores creative practice and teaching in relation to health and wellbeing. In August 2019, Creative Care presented HandFestival at Peter MacCallum Cancer Center in Melbourne. The Creative Care 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, cats cradle and more. Later that month, we 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.

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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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.

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.

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.

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Hugh Davies
Games

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.

Michelle Aung Thin
Media and Communication

Michelle Aung Thin is a writer, former advertising copywriter and scholar. She is a Lecturer at RMIT University and teaches across the disciplines of Creative Writing and Advertising. Her most recent novel, Hasina (Allen & Unwin 2019) is about Rohingya ethnic cleansing and is published as Crossing the River Farak (Annick 2020) in Canada and the USA. Her first novel, The Monsoon Bride, (Text 2011) is set in colonial Burma and was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary awards as an unpublished manuscript. Her writing has been included on VCE reading lists and republished on the SBS website. In 2017, she was a National Library of Australia Creative Arts Fellow (supported by the Eva Kollsman and Ray Mathew Trust) and in 2014, the first Asialink writer in residence to Myanmar (funded by Arts Victoria). 

Michelle was a co-director of the non/​fictionLab in 2018 and 2019, is currently a co-director of WrICE, Writers Immersion and Cultural Exchange and has served on the board of The Lifted Brow. Her research interests range from the cultural history of southeast Asian hybrid identities to contemporary creative practices in Myanmar and the ethics of writing about difference. Current research includes a project addressing diversity in publishing and a pilot study that aims to reduce sexist advertising by educating the next generation of advertising creatives about harmful stereotypes.