UNSW Art & Design’s Professor Jill Bennett was among the 17 Australian Laureate Fellows announced today by the Federal Minister for Education and Training, the Hon Simon Birmingham.

Bennett’s win forms part of $20 million received by UNSW scholars in the latest round of grants from the Australian Research Council (ARC), including two prestigious Australian Laureate Fellowships, 13 Future Fellowships, and funding under ARC’s Industrial Transformation Research Program (ITRP).

UNSW Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Nicholas Fisk, congratulated all UNSW's grant recipients.

"These outstanding results are a testament to the extraordinary work being done at UNSW. Australian Laureate Fellowships are highly coveted in the Australian research sector and are quite rightly regarded as the pinnacle of achievement for researchers," Professor Fisk said. "None are more deserving than Jill Bennett and Fedor Sukochev [UNSW's second Australian Laureate Fellow]."

Jill Bennett, Professor of Experimental Arts and founding Director of the National Institute for Experimental Arts (NIEA) at UNSW Art & Design, was awarded $3.2 million over five years to harness immersive visualisation technology and pioneer a new approach to the study of subjective experience.

Professor Bennett may well be the first creative arts researcher who has ever been recognised with this coveted national Laureate Fellowship.

Professor Bennett, who merges art with technology to generate new insights into social and health issues, plans to develop a virtual ‘Perception Environment’ that simulates seeing through the eyes of another, with the goal of changing people’s capacity to understand stigmatised and devalued populations and alleviating the effects of stigmatisation and prejudice.

She hopes the project will advance understanding of the experience of ageing, and substantially develop our capacity to promote empathy.

Read more about UNSW’s overall ARC success.