Grant recipients


APRIL 2018

Developing a model for Community Engagement in Design Studio practice 2018
Dr Judith Glover, RMIT School of Design, Architecture and Urban Design

As the collaborative studio site was in regional Victoria (Shepparton) the grant enabled staff and students to travel and engage with a real-world site and the complexity of designing for an existing regional community and their challenges with employment, health and climate change. The concept was to image how the historical SPC Cannery site at Mooroopna could be transformed into a regional hub for Tourism, Food and Agricultural Innovation in consultation with the site owners and the local community. This gave the students the opportunity to practice real community engagement that could lead to the development of rejuvenating the site. The grant enabled both community engagement throughout the project but also the presentation and exhibition of the studio collaborations back to the community at the site at the end of the project.

Click here to view the studio project webpage.


APRIL 2017

ARTIST LED – Australian ARIs as creative and entrepreneurial models for studio teaching
Dr Rachael Haynes & Dr Daniel McKewen, QUT

This initiative takes place in the context of QUT’s Visual Arts Open Studio program, and examines how artists working together can challenge and reimagine the present and future possibilities of organising and participating in the arts. Working in partnership with Boxcopy, one of the longest running ARIs in Brisbane, ACUADS funding will support the development, production and publication of online resources, which will be nationally accessible and specifically tailored for Australian visual arts students in the final year of their degree.



Establishing an Australian Communication Design Educators Network
Dr Veronika Kelly, University of South Australia and Professor Laurene Vaughan,
RMIT University

The purpose of this project is to develop a national Communication Design Educators Network and online platform in order to share and cultivate best practice in communication design. Establishment of the network is informed by a cross-institutional forum that brings together design educators from universities across Australia. the forum, in turn, directly informs the development and build of the website/database as the primary gateway for access to initiatives, resources, events, news, opportunities for dialogue and publication.

ACUADS funding will be used primarily for the development and build of the network’s website.


Indigo website
Dr Meghan Kelly and Dr Russell Kennedy, Deakin University

In 2016, Dr Russell Kennedy and Dr Meghan Kelly with the support of International Council of Design (ICO-D), the Design Institute of Australia (DIA) and Indigenous Architecture and Design Victoria (IADV) published the Australian Indigenous Design Charter. This document outlines best practice protocols for designers working with Indigenous knowledge in commercial communication design practice.

The success of this project has led to the development of an International Indigenous Design Charter outlining the best practice protocols for Indigenous knowledge in an international context. ACUADS funding will support the relaunch of the International Indigenous Design Network (INDIGO), originally established by the International Council of Design (ICO-D) in 2006, as a networking and online publishing device to support the implementation of the International Indigenous Design Charter through an website and online presence. It is anticipated that case study examples, conversations, support and amendments to the document would all be supported through the website.


APRIL 2016

Design, what is it good for?
Dr Samantha Edwards-Vandenhoek, Swinburne; Dr Alison Barnes, University of Arts, London and Dr Michelle Catanzaro, Western Sydney University

Design, what is it good for? is a project and platform for tertiary design students to explore the transformative agency of design and the changing role of designers in the real world. Design, what is it good for? seeks to engage emergent designers in a critique of social responsibility and personal accountability in the design discipline, globally. It comprises a digital archive, cross-institutional design brief, exhibition and research platform.

ACUADS funding will be used to facilitate the backend development, coding and build of a website to host and promote the project in 2016 and beyond. The site build requires sophisticated functionality to upload, archive, showcase and share student submissions and competition information. The site will also enable participants to download learning resources. Crucially, the website will have social interactivity to facilitate the development of an online community of practice where students can network, comment
on entries and share views about good design practice.

Australian Art Exhibitions: A New Story
Associate Professor Joanna Mendelssohn and Associate Professor Catherine De Lorenzo, UNSW

Australian Art Exhibitions: A New Story is the working title for a c100,000 word book to be published by Thames & Hudson. This application is for funds to assist with publication cost.

The book combines narratives of art exhibitions, art galleries and money to tell of an Australia that transformed from the supposed ‘cultural wasteland’ of the 1950s to the livel multicultural country of the early 21st century. It shows exhibitions of Australian art both charting these changes and influencing new perceptions of what this country is and could be. Exhibitions also record the self-doubts that now increasingly trouble the national conscience. It examines major exhibitions that helped change and expand thinking on Australian art, artists and issues from colonial to contemporary times. By using the lens of curated art exhibitions the authors have pinpointed moments when it was possible to see fresh perspectives on the diversity of Australian art and culture. The study draws upon the reflective insights of key art museum professionals of the period (both current employees and those long retired). These interviews, together with archival research into the development and critical responses to exhibitions, allow original insights into the curatorial process and its legacy in art history. Unusually within Australian art history, the study also examines the impact of government and private sector support for exhibition research, display and publications. The findings suggest curatorial initiative has helped shape a rich and more integrated paradigm of Australian art history than has been recognised to date.

Designing for Indigenous Cultural Sustainability
Dr Yoko Akama, Dr Seth Keen and Peter West, RMIT University; Dr Mark McMillan, Wiradjuri man, Member of the Trangie Land Council,and Associate Professor University of Melbourne; Dr Faye McMillan, Wiradjuri woman, Member of the Trangie Land Council and Director of Djurawang Program, Charles Sturt University; Debra Evans, Charles Sturt University; Dr Alison Vivian, University of Technology Sydney and Aunty Lorraine Tye, Wiradjuri elder

This project aims to develop pedagogical frameworks, methods and outcomes in design and media education for respectful and responsible relationship building as a key feature of a culturally sustainable practice. It explores Indigenous knowledge and cultural sustainability in collaboration with Wiradjuri Nation citizens and Indigenous educators at Charles Sturt University (CSU). This project explores several Learning & Teaching (L&T) strategies to facilitate transformational student-centred learning in embracing diversity and respecting Indigenous protocols. Respecting and working with diverse cultures is necessary in our contemporary Australian society – life long skills that students can build upon throughout their creative careers in heterogeneous settings, locally and globally.

We seek funding to cover the cost for travel and accommodation for the teachers and students to learn collaboratively on Wiradjuri country (Wagga Wagga) and ‘off country’ in Melbourne.

Click here to read the research which was assisted by successful funding from ACUADS in 2016.



NAVA (National Association for the Visual Arts), Contemporary Curating Project

In 2016 NAVA is proposing the development of a national research paper on contemporary curating informed by two cross institutional forums looking at the development of the contemporary curator in academic research and practice in Australia, held in collaboration with Griffith Queensland College of the Arts, QUT, UQ and IMA in Brisbane, and with the University of Melbourne School of Culture and Communication, VCA, and Monash in Melbourne. The forums will be open to both the Under Graduate and Post Graduate student communities, academics and the sector more broadly. There will be four speakers and a facilitator at each forum, presentations and Q&A sessions and all will be documented to both be published online, and be used to develop the research paper.

DHARN (Design History Australia Research Network), The Featherston Chair: Video Project

As an essential addition to research on Australian design, we aim to create two short videos (5-6 minutes each) on Australian design for distribution on the DHARN website. By analysing a single object from a variety of perspectives, we aim to demonstrate the complexity of design practice and its history in Australia. This object is the Featherston chair. Designed in the 1950s, the Featherston chair serves to illustrate both design as a process and the design icon as a cultural object. Drawing upon archival materials and interviews with designers and critics, including the NGV archives and Mary Featherston, the videos aim to go into depth about the chair’s conception, manufacture, distribution and reception in Australia.

Dr Abdullah Al Mahmud, Swinburne University of Technology and Dr. Omar Mubin, Western Sydney University, Creating a decision support tool to understand the competencies and employability attributes of industrial designers

This grant is to build a database, a web interface and an intelligent decision support system [. . .]

There seems to be a gap between what is taught in design schools, and what design industries/organisations are looking for [. . .] A primary concern of design educators and professionals is the issue of the competencies of industrial designers, and the quality of the graduate is often considered by prospective employers to be subpar (Kaufmann 1998). Consequently, there exists a gap between what students learn at design schools and what they are required to do in the professional field after graduation (Ball 2002; Yeh 2003; Yang et al. 2005). When students graduate from a design school it may be too late to understand and work on the competencies that they need for a certain job. Therefore, the main aim in this proposed project is to create a decision support tool that will help students and design educators in relation to the required level of competencies for potential jobs. Students will use the decision support tool throughout their studies so that they can better prepare themselves for prospective jobs. In addition this tool can be expected to aid curriculum designers/educational directors to formulate their design programs/courses in line with the expected graduate competencies from an industrial perspective.