Grant Recipients

November 2023

Climate Aware Creative Practices Network Australia
Patricia Flanagan (UNSW), Lucas Ihlein (UoW), Ally Bisshop (Griffith), Claire Milledge (UNSW), Prue Gibson (UNSW)
Participating institutions: University of New South Wales, University of Wollongong, Griffith University, Monash University, University of Tasmania, Deakin
University, University of Sydney, La Trobe University, Queensland
University of Technology, RMIT, University of Tasmania, Edith
Cowan University, University of South Australia, Australian
National University, Charles Darwin University, Curtin University,
Victorian College of the Arts. 

About the Climate Aware Creative Practices Network (CACP) Australia. 

Who we are:

We are a nation-wide alliance of creative arts educators, researchers, and practitioners.

We are working together to deepen our engagement with the challenges posed by climate change.

We are leaders within our own institutions, and we come together to share knowledge and strengthen our capacity to act, make, and teach ethically through the climate crisis.

Our core business:

·         To foster creative practices that are aware of and respond to the challenges of climate change;

·         To centre Indigenous knowledge in climate-aware practice and pedagogy;

·         To actively participate in climate justice;

·         To understand the role of the creative arts in contributing to both issues and solutions pertaining to sustainability (for example, the environmental impacts of producing and presenting work in public).


The CACP Network was formed in 2023 at a workshop hosted by Monash University’s Faculty of Art Design & Architecture. Our members meet regularly to discuss approaches to teaching about the climate crisis, share knowledge and resources, and work on specific projects. We always welcome new members from Australian universities and TAFE creative arts schools. In addition to tenured academic staff, we welcome membership from casual and sessional academics, as well as postgraduate and undergraduate students.

November 2022

A Decolonial Design History Educators Network
Dr Nicola St John (RMIT) and Dr Fanny Suhendra (Swinburne)
Other Project Team Members: Dr Livia Lazzaro Rezende (UNSW), Dr Diana
Albarrán González (UoA), Nina Gibbes and Zenobia Ahmed

As an intersectional design platform, the Decolonial Design History Educators Network strives to be a home for histories, perspectives, and practices of design that have been—and still often remain— underrepresented within dominant design dialogues and University curriculums within Australia and across the Asia-Pacific region. We see this network as a hybrid between an online resource and a learning community, to co-learn and co-share between educators teaching design history. Firstly, we seek to build an online space to
promote the histories, people, and perspectives often ‘othered’ or marginalised within Euro-centric histories. We hope the network will reflect the interests and situatedness of the educators and institutions involved. Secondly, this network seeks to create a community to support and champion those creating more inclusive design history courses and curriculum across Australia and New Zealand. To offer spaces to share our experiences within our own institutions, discuss struggles to continually learn and develop, and work together on future projects, such as journal articles, special issues, and conferences.

November 2021

The Inclusive Design Project (IDP)
Dr Jane Connory and Dr Shivani Tyagi, Swinburne University of Technology
Other Project Team Members:
Dr Lauren Gurrieri, RMIT University, Dr Sarah Duffy, University of Western Sydney, Dr Ceridwen Owen, University of Tasmania, LGBTIQ+ Health Australia, Rochelle Courtenay, Share the Dignity, Jane Bennet, The Chalice Foundation, Nikkola Palmer, Period Revolution Lead, GOGO Foundation, Casey Hodges, Senior Account Manager, ModiBodi, Joshua Barton, Co‑Founder Barton Brands, Diva Cup, Richard Arbon, Cottons, Simon Mundy, Director, Pepto Lab.

The Inclusive Design Project (IDP) is a web platform encouraging design students from all disciplines around Australia to practice inclusive design through the acknowledgment and understanding of intersectionality and empathy. Be it nationality, gender, age and religion, disabilities, ethnicity, socio economic status and geographic location, the key objective of the IDP will be to propose briefs to students that address problems of inequities in our society. The IDP will do this through connecting students with industry, community and other academic institutions through online resources, recordings, and live workshops. These will expose the students to user-centered design and research methods and directly engage them with diverse users.

The initial launch of the IDP in 2022 will focus on the problem of de-gendering period products through rethinking the design of products, packaging, and the marketing of period products to and for the LGBTIQ+ community. Students will respond to a brief devised by academics whose expertise includes health and design and gender and marketing. They will be given the opportunity to work directly with LQBTIQ+ Health Australia, prominent brands like Cottons, Modi Bodi and Diva Cup and noteworthy advocates in the area of period pride like Share the Dignity, Period Revolution and Chalice Foundation—who will offer students a deep understanding of the market segment and most importantly the users. After completing their projects, students will upload their work to the IDP online platform where their ideas will be exhibited to a global audience, fostering a discourse in inclusive design, intersectionality and empathy.

April 2020

Cultural Value and Impact – towards a national research network
Marnie Badham and Kit Wise (art), Bronwyn Coate (economics), Gretchen Coombs (design and creative practice) RMIT University

The Cultural Value and Impact Network (CVIN) was developed in 2019 at RMIT University to build develop capacity and expertise in interdisciplinary cultural value research and inventive, interdisciplinary methods for articulating, measuring, evaluating cultural value and social impact of the arts and cultural sector. CVIN was originally developed as a partnership between the School of Art and School of Economics, Finance and Marketing to connect practitioners and academics from across RMIT University. ACUADS funding will assist with the costs of engagement both for the public lectures for the sector of art and design tertiary education and the circulation of proceedings. These presentations, discussions and reflections will address the relationships, gaps and opportunities for collaboration between the independent art sector (ARIs and Collectives) and post secondary art training.

November 2019

Forms of Autonomy and Togetherness: Artists’ self-organisation, collectivity and peer learning in Indonesia and Australia
Dr Marnie Badham, RMIT

Artist collectives today can be understood as political, industrial, and artistic approaches to self-organisation, with creatives working together with aim to achieve forms of autonomy. Historically, a number of Indonesian collectives have formed out of friendships as well as shared ideologies, workplaces, or political agendas. Many collectives from the Island of Java, in particular, have grown out of a perceived lack of public art infrastructure, training and support. Meanwhile, in Victoria the ‘artist-run initiative’ (ARI) scene has typically functioned an enabler or producer, with collectives founded to make space for emerging or experimental practice following post-secondary art school training. What these two histories share is the power of strength and diversity in peer activity. And while these collectives self-organise in very different ways, a comparative discussion between these two frameworks may reveal some distinct, common threads: of care, opportunism, cooperation, learning and shared vision […]

ACUADS funding will assist with the costs of engagement both for the public lectures for the sector of art and design tertiary education and the circulation of proceedings. These presentations, discussions and reflections will address the relationships, gaps and opportunities for collaboration between the independent art sector (ARIs and Collectives) and post secondary art training.

April 2019

Past, present and emerging design histories: an archival, digital network
Prof Harriet Edquist, Dr Jenny Grigg

This project is a collaboration between RMIT Design Archives (Prof. Harriet Edquist), Dr Jenny Grigg (RMIT School of Design) and the Melbourne design studio Public Office. Through a process of collaborative design, the project built an innovative proof-of-concept prototype website that seeks to create new ways of displaying both archival objects and the outcomes of research associated with them. The RMIT Design Archives houses collections of artefacts from design studios, including architecture, media and communication, fashion, textiles, product and automotive, that were designed and produced to interface with the public. The prototype website similarly acts as a tool to interface with the public. In addition to displaying the research outputs and impacts generated by the Design Archives it also collects and displays commentary from the RMIT community, external researchers (local as well as international), and other interested parties in order to expand and enrich knowledge production in the field of design. The ACUADS grant enabled Edquist and Grigg to engage Public Office in the design of the prototype.

Click here to view the project webpage.

Developing guidelines for peer review in the tertiary art and design sector
Professor Chris McAuliffe, ANU School of Art & Design

This project will initiate the development of shared guidelines encompassing the principles, practice and ethics of peer review within the tertiary art and design sector. It will survey existing guidelines for peer review in multiple research contexts to establish a baseline of current practice. It will convene a representative working group drawn from the national art and design sector to draft proposed guidelines for the sector. It deliver a discussion paper framing a sector-wide conversation on peer review, seeking to establish shared, proactive and sector-specific comprehension.

Establishing an Australian and New Zealand Industrial Designers Educators Network
Dr Rafael Romez (QUT), Mr Tim Williams (QUT), Dr Scott Mayson (RMIT)

The purpose of this project is to develop a local (AU and NZ) Industrial Design educators network and online platform in order to discuss, debate, promote, share and cultivate best practice in industrial design education. The network will be established through a cross-institutional forum that brings together industrial design educators from universities across Australia and New Zealand. The forum outcomes will inform the development of the website as the primary gateway for initiatives, resources, events, news, opportunities for dialogue, publication and community building.

ACUADS funding will be used for development and realisation of the forum and register the network’s website.

November 2018

ARC masterclasses for Australian university art and design schools
Rose Lang and Jonathan O’Donnell, Contemporary Art and Social Transformation, RMIT

CAST is seeking support for the development of a series of workshops designed to build skills and knowledge within the practice-led research sphere in relation to the Australian Research Council (ARC). In developing this workshop series, we would create a set of resources that seek to decode the ARC for practice-led researchers. In doing this, we seek to improve the way that practicing artists in Australian universities approach the ARC. Most art and design schools in Australia would be lucky to have one or two practicing artists that have been funded by the ARC. By combining our resources, we can draw on a depth of experience that is stronger than each university can provide on their own.

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.

November 2016

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.

ACUADS 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.

October 2015

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.

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

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.