Dr Matthew Harkness

Dr Matthew Harkness


PhD - University of New South Wales

Master of Design - Emily Carr University of Art and Design

Bachelor of Fine Arts - The University of British Columbia Okanagan

Arts,Design & Architecture
School of Art & Design

Matt is an early-career designer, researcher, and academic based in Sydney, Australia. He focuses on non-traditional research outcomes and specialises in object design from a Circular Economy, critical making, speculative, co-design, and more-than-human perspective. Matt’s research draws on these to interrogate the ethics of making, specifically, wasteful, exclusive, and exploitative DIY and maker practices. Through material experiments, his practice-based research includes waste plastic and bioplastic materials, ceramics, electronics, and repurposed objects. Matt has taught design courses at universities in Australia and Canada and exhibited design works nationally and internationally. He has shown work at the Australian Design Centre, the National Gallery of Victoria, Interiors Australia | Denfair, and Dubai Design Week.

  • Other | 2023
    Harkness M, 2023, Matters of Concern: A Critical Investigation of Bioplastics, 3D Printing, and the Maker Movement, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, , https://leonardo.info/leonardo-abstracts-service/44934
    Creative Works (non-textual) | 2022
    Harkness M, 2022, Bioplastic Futures: 3D Printing and the Maker Movement, Bioplastic Futures: 3D Printing and the Maker Movement, Australian Design Centre, 16 June 2022 - 02 July 2022, at: https://australiandesigncentre.com/bioplastic-futures-3d-printing-and-the-maker-movement/
    Conference Papers | 2021
    Harkness M, 2021, '3D Printing and Bioplastic Waste: A Matter of Concern Explored through Actor-Network Theory, Co-design, and Critical Making', Hybrid event, presented at ACUADS/DDCA 2021 Conference New Networks, Hybrid event, 28 October 2021 - 29 April 2022, https://acuads.com.au/conference/article/3d-printing-and-bioplastic-waste-a-matter-of-concern-explored-through-actor-network-theory-co-design-and-critical-making/
    Creative Works (non-textual) | 2021
    Keulemans G; Hashimoto K; Harkness M, 2021, Polylactic Acid Chains (1 & 2), Sampling the Future, National Gallery of Victoria, 05 November 2021 - 06 February 2022, medium: PLA plastic, at: https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/exhibition/sampling-the-future/
    Creative Works (non-textual) | 2020
    Harkness M, 2020, The Biorecycling Machine, Global Grad Show, Global Grad Show Virtual Exhibition, 09 November 2020 - 16 November 2020, medium: PLA 3D printed components, acrylic, electronic components, tattoo needle, PLA and saline solution, latex-free gloves, and fasteners, at: https://globalgradshow.com/
    Conference Papers | 2019
    Odom W; Bertran I; Hertz G; Lin H; Chen AYS; Harkness M; Wakkary R, 2019, 'Unpacking the thinking and making behind a slow technology research product with slow game', in C and C 2019 - Proceedings of the 2019 Creativity and Cognition, pp. 15 - 28, http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/3325480.3326567
    Conference Papers | 2018
    Odom W; Wakkary R; Bertran I; Harkness M; Hertz G; Hol J; Lin H; Naus B; Tan P; Verburg P, 2018, 'Attending to Slowness and temporality with Olly and Slow Game: A design inquiry into supporting longer-term relations with everyday computational objects', in Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings, http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/3173574.3173651

  • Finalist, Australia’s Next Top Designer - Interiors Australia | Denfair, 2022
  • Winner, HDR Research Output Award - UNSW, 2022
  • Winner, Sustainable Design Award - WORKSHOPPED21, 2021
  • Highly Commended, Northern Beaches Environmental Art & Design Prize - Northern Beaches Council, 2021
  • Winner, HDR Research Output Award - UNSW, 2021
  • Highly Commended, Reimagine Art Prize, Hornsby Shire Council, 2021
  • Winner, Dean’s List Award - UBCO, 2012

Member of UNSW Art and Design - DesignforCE (https://www.instagram.com/design_for.ce/)

Member of The Circular Economy Research Network Asia Pacific (CERN APac) - 

Member of Québec Circular Economy Research Network (RRECQ) - https://rrecq.ca/en/the-network/about-us/



My Teaching

Postgraduate Courses

  • Hybrid Crafting (ADAD9211)
  • Material Thinking (ADAD9212)
  • Research Foundations in Art & Design (ADAD9114)
  • Furniture & Lighting Design (SDES9747)
  • Critical Approaches to Design (SDES9210)
  • Participatory Design for Commercial Contexts (SDES9305)


Undergraduate Courses

  • Design Honours Studio Research Project (DDES4102)
  • Object 3 (DDES2121)
  • Design Collaboration Studio 3 (FADA3030)
  • Design Collaboration Studio 1 (FADA1010)
  • Design Studio 6 (DDES3101)
  • Design Studio 5 (DDES3100)
  • Design Studio 2 (DDES1101)
  • Art & Design for Environmental Challenges (ADAD2610)