Dr Ian McArthur is a hybrid practitioner working in the domains of experimental interdisciplinary practice, transcultural collaboration, sound art, experimental radio, metadesign, and education change. Research projects include the development of mad.lab, an urban research platform in Chongqing, South West China in collaboration with industry partners Priestman Architects and Cqubed. mad.lab’s program focuses on developing education, research, and industry projects to incubate, develop and present new site-specific, mediated and issue-based concepts for the future of cities. This intersects with Ian’s research investigating the development of participatory design methods using large urban screens as diagnostic tools for urban planning with Australia and China based researchers and practitioners.
Ian has a long-standing association with China. In 2001-2003 he was Program Director of Graphic Design at La Salle DHU (Donghua University, Shanghai) where he initiated The Collabor8 Project to foster creative collaboration between China and Australia. This initiative lead to a decade of developing culturally adaptive pedagogies and design processes using online, social and responsive technologies to create collaborative experimental spaces. In 2015 Ian completed his doctoral thesis “Activating A Framework For Transcultural Interdisciplinary Collaboration In Design Education: Sino Australian Field Studies”.
Ian’s practice as creative producer and sound artist involves utilising granular and generative synthesis, mobile technologies, and open source platforms in exhibitions and telematic, non-idiomatic improvised performances. These works are manifested in regular broadcasts with collaborator Annie Morrad on New York’s experimental radio channel Wave Farm WGXC 90.7 FM, and as heard on BBC Radio 6. He has also produced experimental sonifications for responsive interactive media environments used in a series of public art installations and exhibitions in Australia and China.
His research is acknowledged internationally in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, curated exhibitions and symposiums including the Media Architecture Biennale, Sydney 2016 (Doctoral Consortium Chair); AGIdeas Design for Business (2015); The Journal of Design Business & Society; ISEA2013 (Panel Chair); Hybrid Cities 2 and 3, University of Athens 2013/2015; the GeoCity Smart City Information Design Symposium CMoDA (2012, Beijing Design Week), ICDHS2012 8th Conference of the International Committee for Design History and Design Studies (2012, Sao Paulo); Red Objects: Collaboration in Experimental Design (2011, Sydney), Cumulus World Expo: Better City, Better Life Conference (2010, Shanghai), Xindanwei (2010, Shanghai), AGDA (2010, Sydney), ICOGRADA World Design Congress (2009, Beijing), Studio Teaching Forum (2009, Tasmanian School of Art, Hobart), The 3rd International Conference on Design Principles and Practices (2009, UdK, Berlin), and DesignEd Asia, (2008, Hong Kong Polytechnic).
I am currently working on an Australian Research Council DECRA. This is an experimental study titled ‘metaPLACE’ consisting of screen-based urban media installations to examine the contribution of Australian innovation and participatory design to the development of urban design and placemaking in Chongqing, one of China’s largest and fastest growing cities. This case study will employ participatory urban media interfaces co-designed by researchers, industry stakeholders, and local government. It will demonstrate how these innovative tools can collect, analyse and distribute data to assist in transforming urban environments like Chongqing, therefore fully deploying its rich cultural and social resources through end-user participation.
The research tests the theoretical assumption that participatory urban media (large and small interactive screens, façades, and devices) can act as a co-designed interface between diverse community, industry and government stakeholders in the urban environment. It will assess how screen-based interactive media installations can build engagement and dialogue between citizens and other city stakeholders about the places in which they live, work, and play. By doing so, it explores the effectiveness of media interfaces in helping government and urban planners better understand and design more liveable urban environments.