Natalie McDONAGH

Creative Futures: An Illustration of Applying Art and Design Beyond Traditional Boundaries


Creative Futures is a program of art-based inquiry utilised by the Victorian Department of Primary Industries (DPI) since 2003, as a pioneering approach to staff development. It focuses on developing peoples’ capabilities to deal with complexity and uncertainty and thereby have more positive agency in creating the future. Its aim is to increase the capacity of the organisation through the increased capabilities of individuals.

DPI recognised from the outset that in offering an art and design based program – with no known precedent in organisational development – presented a risk. The program would not necessarily be widely embraced by scientists, and the benefits could not be measured in conventional ways. Despite this, DPI had the courage and foresight to go ahead and was rewarded by unprecedented results. This paper describes the methodologies employed, and outcomes achieved, by this innovative work. It also serves to illustrate other domains for the future applied practice of artists and designers.

Creative Futures is a significant example of the commercial application of my experimental practice: a fusion of art and design. This form of creative practice is the topic of my current PhD research.

Download Creative Futures: An Illustration of Applying Art and Design Beyond Traditional Boundaries (917.32 KB)

Natalie McDONAGH:

Natalie McDonagh’s experimental practice is a fusion of art and design dedicated to expanding the ways we think about, and understand, the world and our actions in it (and on it). Over the past decade Natalie has evolved and refined an art-based methodology for inquiry – Creative Contemplation™ – that is being applied to great effect in individual and organisational development. She also designs tangible tools embodying the methodology to cultivate creative thinking and doing. Natalie’s form of refashioned creative practice is the subject of her current PhD research, ‘In/sight: The Art of Creating Self-Reflexive Spaces’.