Research Forums

Showcasing research excellence at UNSW School of Art & Design.

Forces of materiality arwork

The UNSW School of Art & Design Research Forum series was established to highlight and discuss the ongoing work of UNSW Art & Design researchers.

Each forum is curated and chaired by an Art & Design scholar on a contemporary theme, bringing together academics and professionals from within and beyond the School.

Upcoming forums

Details for the 2024 forums will be available here soon.

2023 forums

Forces of Materiality: Making Centred Research.

Wednesday 26th April 2023, 12 pm—2 pm 

How do artists and designers engage with the transformative and relational dimensions of materials in making-centred research? This forum aims to find common ground across a range of different research methods and disciplinary fields through analysis of materiality and making processes. By referring to material resonances, methodologies including speculative, place-based and collaborative are examined in installation, painting, sculpture, performance, contemporary jewellery, and object design. Following current theory that contests a long-standing hylomorphic view of making as imposing form on matter, discussions are premised by the notion of correspondence between the practitioner and the forces of materiality.

Zoe Veness
Nicole Monks
Consuelo Cavaniglia
Matthew Harkness
Peter Sharp

Multidisciplinary Ethical Design of Interactive Technologies: Avoiding Manipulation, Biases and Prejudice.
Wednesday 5th July 2023, 12 pm—2 pm

Multidisciplinary Ethical Design of interactive technologies is uncommon. Very often the design of interactive technologies as social robots, tangible interfaces, virtual reality, or similar platforms have a pragmatical mono-disciplinary approach. This leads to long-term undesirable consequences with a significant negative impact on people as previous research shows. In this forum, we aim to discuss the desirable multidisciplinary ethical design approach required for novel technologies to be used now and future years. A speculative designer, an expert in tangible interfaces and special populations, an expert in artificial social intelligence and an expert in social robotics discuss examples, possibilities, challenges, and dilemmas that we face as researchers/designers trying to avoid manipulation, biases and prejudice in our own practice.

Eduardo Benitez Sandoval
Haider Akmal
Scott Brown
Sarita Herse
Nicole Robinson (Monash University)

Mique’l Dangeli in conversation with Tammi Gissell 

Wednesday 19th July, 2pm—4pm

Presented by the School of Art & Design in collaboration with the School of Arts and Media

Mique’l Dangeli, Alaskan First Nations scholar visiting UNSW, will be in conversation with Tammi Gissell, Collections Coordinator, First Nations at Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences.

Mique’l Dangeli is a dancer, choreographer, curator and activist, born and raised on the Annette Island Indian Reserve, and is of the Tsimshian Nation of Metlakatla, Alaska. She is an assistant professor in the School of Creative Arts at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, British Columbia. Her work focuses on Indigenous language revitalization, visual and performing arts, resurgence, sovereignty, protocol, and decolonization. 

Parallel: Curating Structural Change.

Wednesday 6th September 2023, 11am—1pm

Parallel, initiated by Verónica Tello and Salote Tawale, is a curatorial project to advance structural change at the Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA) in collaboration with culturally and linguistically diverse art communities (funded by the Australian Research Council). In this forum, Tello and Tawale will lead a conversation with the Parallel curatorial fellows, named below, who have been commissioned to advance discrete projects at or beside MAMA. Their projects embrace the concept of being ‘parallel’ – that is, adjacent to, beyond or distinct – from the structural formations typically found in Anglo/Australian art institutions. They seek to test the Parallel hypothesis: that by caring for the museum’s core operations--collecting, exhibiting and public programming—we can yield new ways to think and feel structural change. How do we move beyond the status quo of diversifying only via audience engagement or “including” artists of colour in exhibitions? How do we move beyond focussing on the visibility of diversity and toward the often-invisible processes and mechanisms that determine how structures operate and shape our encounters with art institutions? More information on Parallel can be found here:

Verónica Tello & Salote Tawale (University of Sydney)
Evgenia Anagnostopoulou
Kelly Dezart-Smith
Sebastian Henry-Jones
Ruha Fifita
Lana Kate Nguyen

  • AI, Art and Design: how we traverse AI, cultures and creativity

    Wednesday 30th March 2022, 12pm—2pm

    As in many areas of life, AI technologies are being rolled out in creative and cultural spaces at a remarkable rate. Despite its long history and many periods of technical development, the sudden proliferation of creative AI tools has rapidly mobilised research perspectives from design through to experimental art, conceptions of knowledge production and their unexamined cultural paradigms to diverse critical, ethical and social analyses. This forum brings together researchers whose work relates to AI in different ways and seeks to chart how these debates are unfolding.

    Anna Munster
    Angie Abdilla and Baden Pailthorpe
    Grant Stevens


    Histories and politics in art and design: How we reckon with the past

    Wednesday June 8th 2022, 12pm—2pm

    Many truisms can be said about history – that it is the teacher of life, that it repeats itself, that we should learn from it. With politics, we are usually overtly cautious and often try to separate it from our scholarly selves. This forum aims to instigate a discussion between arts and design practitioners for whom both history and politics constitute a subject, a methodology or a research tool. The contemporary relevance of historical enquiry serves as a prompt for five brief presentations about practices, disciplines and identities within diverse geopolitical parameters.

    Kasia Jeżowska
    Minerva Inwald
    Mark Ian Jones
    Astrid Lorange and Andrew Brooks
    Tristen Harwood


    Biyani: Women Healing Women through deep listening, yarning and artistic practice.

    Wednesday 16th November 2022, 12pm—2pm

    The Biyani project investigated the holistic role that artistic practice plays in connecting to culture for NSW Aboriginal women, through elucidating the practice of culture and how it contributes to ‘Aboriginal Thriving’ for Aboriginal women who are the caretakers of our communities through various roles as nurturers, leaders, mothers, sisters, aunties, and mentors. Utilising Aboriginal Research Methodologies (ARM) including ‘deep listening’, ‘yarning’ and ‘artistic workshops’ the research project is co-designed with Aboriginal women as co-participants. Privileging Aboriginal women’s voices through participatory knowledge exchange, the strength-based community driven research took place over two separate ‘On Country’ workshops in Moree and Nambucca Heads and enabled Aboriginal women to thrive as leaders, while strengthening culture. The project furthermore envisions ways that policy, program, and service design can be culturally reflexive and requisite to empowering Aboriginal women. This Aboriginal Research Forum will be hosted by Associate Professor Fabri Blacklock alongside some of the co-participants where we will yarn about the impact and outcomes of the research.

    Fabri Blacklock
    Aunty Zona Wilkinson
    Aunty Colleen Tighe Johnson
    Chels Marshall
    Linda Kennedy
    Jacqueline Jacky


    Peppimenarti artists, artistic residencies and ethics of exchange.

    Thursday 18th August 2022, 10am—12pm

    In August 2018, Durrmu Arts Aboriginal Corporation launched the Marrgu Residency Program, a unique, indigenous-led artistic initiative in partnership with the Peppimenarti community. This residency program encourages knowledge sharing and meaningful relationship building between remote and urban communities, local and international artists, and Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultural practices. The activities of Marrgu grew out of the desire of Regina Pilawuk Wilson (Durrmu Arts’ Cultural Director and senior artist) to create a space where artists, curators, researchers and other art practitioners can come together to learn, and unlearn, about each other’s mutual histories, stories and practices.

    This forum will present the practices of Durrmu artists and discuss the creative projects developed through Marrgu as it continues to expand under Regina’s vision and the community’s support. The presentations will inform a conversation about the different ways that artistic production and cross-cultural exchange are expanding, the importance of new models of cross-cultural collaboration and artistic exchange, and how outcomes might be shaped to privilege long-term human relationships rather than short-lived material products and artist outputs.

    Annunciata Nunuk Wilson
    Hayden Jinjar Wilson
    Regina Pilawuk-Wilson
    Miriam La Rosa
    Associate Professor, Fabri Blacklock
    Izabela Pluta 

  • How we innovate with others.

    Wednesday 4th August 2021, 12pm–2pm

    UNSW’s School of Art & Design has a strong history of innovatively collaborating with others: other academics; public institutions; private companies; other organisations and individuals; fellow species and ecosystems. Adaptive and diverse, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to collaboration, but a great wealth of practical knowledge and expertise generated through ground-up processes that is embodied by individual researchers that can inform future practice. This forum will bring together academics from across the school to look at how we innovate with others to critically unpack what methodologies have been generative in the production of diverse networks and flows of knowledge that we have created and contributed to.

    Gail Kenning
    Katherine Moline
    Michael Garbutt
    Ian McArthur
    Mari Velonaki
    Deborah Lawler-Dormer (Research Manager, MAAS)


    How we engage with Aboriginal Research methodologies.

    Tuesday 21st September 2021, 12pm-2pm

    Recently, the Australia Council of the Arts, NAVA and AIATSIS have published detailed protocols for working ethically with Aboriginal communities. Led by key principals involving: recognition and respect, engagement and collaboration, informed consent, and cultural capability and learning (AIATSIS, 2020), this forum will discuss creative projects led by Aboriginal academic researchers who engage and privilege Aboriginal Research Methodologies as central to relationality through engagement with Aboriginal communities. Through their research, they utilise Aboriginal ways of being, knowing and doing that are deeply informed by the communities they work with, opening up ethical ways of researching across the creative field.

    Fabri Blacklock
    Liza-Mare Syron
    Lynette Riley (University of Sydney)
    Matt Poll (National Maritime Museum)


    How we build sustainable practice.

    Wednesday 6th October 2021, 12pm—2pm

    The current enthusiasm for the transformation of waste-based linear production and consumption practices to circular economies includes a range of design strategies. Repair, reuse, remanufacturing and recycling offer different methods for reducing waste, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, but these can lack the critical articulation needed for designers and industry to make informed choices for how they might transform their practices going forward. This forum gathers UNSW researchers working in fields of sustainability, design and critical craft to present their approaches to the creation or recreation of better products and systems. Topics include the history and culture of enduring objects, the ephemerality of circular designed textiles, collaborations with Aboriginal practitioners for adaptive reuse in products, and the role of digital innovation in the conservation and transformation of sustainable making and remaking practices.

    Guy Keulemans
    Alison Gwilt
    Stephen Goddard
    Trent Jansen
    Patricia Flanagan
    IIpo Koskinen (DesignNEXT)


    How we produce multiple narratives in public domains.

    Wednesday 3rd November 2021, 12pm—2pm

    This forum responds to recent provocations to diversify narratives within the public sphere, including physical public spaces as well as public imaginaries. At a global scale, communities are calling for greater diversity and institutional change. It is not enough that diverse narratives simply be included – but become active in precipitating change in the ways that institutions operate. This forum brings together creative researchers who are concerned with generating a multiplicity of narratives, memories, spaces and publics. The orientation of these practices includes reworking and diversifying dominant institutional logics while actively generating more diverse futures. 

    Prudence Gibson
    Felicity Fenner
    Astrid Lorange
    Sudiipta Dowsett

Contact us

To find out more about upcoming research forums or for any other research enquiries at UNSW School of Art & Design, please contact (Bianca Hester and Oliver Bown, Co-Directors of Research and Engagement).

Acknowledgement of Country

UNSW School of Art & Design stands on an important place of learning and exchange first occupied by the Bidjigal and Gadigal peoples.

We acknowledge the Bidjigal and Gadigal peoples as the Traditional Custodians of the land that our students and staff share, create and operate on. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and extend this respect to all First Nations peoples across Australia. Sovereignty has never been ceded.