Honours Supervisors

Dr. Areli Avendano is an industrial designer with more than 10 years of professional design experience through her involvement in a wide range of research and industry projects. Her areas of expertise and teaching experience include design theory and research methods for design; design for sustainability and socially responsible design; design for business and service design; food systems and sustainable package design; and design management; and design thinking and innovation.

Areli is interested in supervising projects that champion the significance of the role of industrial design in the areas of social impact; environmental sustainability or issues of consumption and production. Projects can range from products to services and will take a holistic approach to design considering the whole life cycle (LC) of such product or service. That is, students will investigate the impacts of the decisions made throughout the different stages of the LC of their product or service. Then, they will explore possible ways of minimising negative impacts of that being design through incremental and/or radical innovation.

Gyungju Chyon is a lecturer in Industrial Design and a principal of little wonder design studio. The studio’s work engages the field of “well-being” and “energy issues” in exploring how poetic encounters with objects can open up thinking about the relationship between objects, environments and people. She has practiced design internationally and taught product design in London, Helsinki, Seoul, Philadelphia and Melbourne.

Gyungju is interested in projects that engage “well-being” and “energy issues” in the home or workplace. Such projects might deal with materiality not in terms of technological performance but rather in relation to sensory perception, and that approach thinking through the act of making as intrinsic to the design process. Design outputs of a variety of scales and types, such as utensils, furniture, jewellery and installations are possible.

Simon Curlis is a lecturer in Industrial Design with an abiding interest in sustainable futures for mobility. Simon’s research considers design innovations for mobility service provision, systematic re-visioning, addressing wicked problems and emerging technological scenarios.

Simon is interested in supervising projects that address new vehicle typologies and aesthetics (beyond cars) and propose alternative uses and applications for mobility / transportation products and emerging production and service-systems approaches to transportation futures.

Mick has a background in creative practice across design, art, performance and social engagement, alongside his work in design education.

His Design Studio teaching is in areas of design activism, critical and speculative design, social and sustainable design, sustainable mobility and performance design. He encourages design project propositions to act as agents of change.  Studio teaching projects often take the form of product service systems, social innovation enterprises, campaign designs, future scenario designs, blueprints for services, tactics of social action and new forms of embodied aesthetic experience. Such projects seek to provoke new values for products, services, systems, social networks, ways of living, and human relationships to resources, environments and technologies.

Mick teaches co-design and participatory design methods to generate designs that are informed by, enriched by and valued by end-users; scenario-based design methods to envision and develop designs for new paradigms; ethnographic and auto-ethnographic design techniques to develop designs appropriate for their specific cultural context; and reflexive design practice techniques to develop innovations in design projects through the uniqueness of circumstances and opportunities in which they exist.  He values developing skills in analytical thinking and diagramming, techniques of speculation, social engagement and communication strategies.  He endeavors to foster students’ learning how to allow design development processes to emerge from the uniqueness of each project, how to develop confidence in one’s capacity to creatively design one’s way of designing, and to make projects that resonate with significance.

Mick’s own creative practice research is currently exploring relationships between performance and mobility, creative collaborative processes, socially engaged art and live art.  This practice, along with his writing, can be accessed here www.mickdouglas.net

View his supervision of postgraduate students’ research and academic profile here.

Mick’s current activities at RMIT include coordinator of postgraduate research in Industrial Design, director of the Design Action Program (DAP) and coordinator of Methods in Design Research and Practice.

Frank Feltham is a lecturer in Industrial Design at RMIT University and the coordinator of the Honours Projects 1 and 2. His work explores the interrelationship between information technologies and the human as a physical and social agent. These design explorations are focussed on movement-based and tangible (or physical) interfaces that extend our traditional screen-based engagement by giving physical form and mobility to digital information. He questions the role technology plays in our lives looking for alternative approaches to its usage addressing issues such as creative expression, mindfulness, wellbeing and health. His practice involves crafting interactions by building high resolution functional prototypes that are used as co-design and evaluative tools with stakeholders and participants.

Frank has supervised a range of projects in the honours year project stream including and encourages his students to find their “voice” within a design cycle of making and evaluating. Examples of this work include:

Dr. Liam Fennessy is a Lecturer of Industrial Design in the School of Architecture and Design at RMIT University. His research and teaching crosses a range of design theory and methodological domains including health care, sustainability, and the social implications of new product and service development.

Liam is interested in supervising projects that explore difficult problems of need, use and mis-use in the sustainability domain.  These projects might take the form of product service systems (PSS) propositions, technical product designs for mass manufacture that are supported by service provision element, integrated product-systems that attempt to make smarter and more sustainable existing product-systems (retro-fitting) or off grid and closed loop systems. Projects in this area might tackle questions of conservation and bio-diversity, climate change, human powered mobility, energy and resource use, or food and water security. They might seek to re-direct areas of production and consumption that have significant environmental implications through sharing and other alternatives to individual ownership and consumption of products.

David Flynn is a highly experienced industrial design professional with a background in establishing and directing design consultancies. His field of expertise ranges from household products through to electronic equipment and major public transport projects.

David is interested in projects that explore the emotional (visceral and behavioural) connections needed to make a successful design response – well designed products that both promise and deliver in some positive way to the life experience of those that encounter and re-encounter them regardless of the product or system type. The way we interpret the promise fulfilment carried by design is often a subconscious act, mixed with our own experiences and emotions is a key focus of his approach to designing. Successful projects get the Emotion right for that first encounter, impart a positive memory of the experience, and encourage further engagement. Initiating this strategy through design requires us to uncover a story – and like any good story it needs promise, character, relationships and engagement. David’s aim is always to discover that story and ensure the design can tell it in the most convincing way. Projects that aim to respond in this way – by wrapping that promise in emotion and memory to underwrite the product experience – might include, but are not limited to, sustainable transit systems; domestic alternate energy use; recycling products and systems; healthcare products and services and products for outdoor leisure.

Sophie Gaur is an industrial and graphic designer with a studio practice focused upon object making, digital design and illustration. She is currently undertaking postgraduate research entitled “ThingSpeak” on the meanings in crafted objects and narrative construction in design. Sophie teaches Design Studies and Upper Pool Studio in the Industrial design department at RMIT. In her teaching she creates opportunities for students to explore ‘making’ as both a ruminative process and a way of understanding how objects are imagined and made. Student work from her studio Around~Sound can be viewed here –https://aroundsoundstudio.wordpress.com

Sophie is interested in supervising projects that focus on Objects, their materiality, and their environments. These may be exploratory projects that look at constructs around singular concepts, e.g. Sound or Movement, projects that explore the ideas of embedded narrative and communication, projects that explore the ideas of Craft and the re-emerging Designer-Maker paradigm, or projects that tackle ethical issues around material, cultural property and production processes.

Dr Judith Glover is a lecturer in Industrial Design specialising in teaching social and sustainable design with a particular expertise in gender and sexuality, the craft/ design nexus, and design for batch production.  With a background in the metal trades and industrial design her particular focus of practice currently is with ceramic production. Her PHD topic focused on the role that Industrial Design processes and methods could play in the future of socio-sexual behaviour and technology through the creation of safer, higher-quality sex toys for contemporary female consumers.

Judith is interested in supervising projects that have either a strong material and process exploration or socio-cultural agenda and that relate to: object design and the craft/design nexus (and particularly ceramic production that explores traditional techniques with new twists of technology and materials); projects that look to explore gender, sexuality or sexual commodities; projects that explore socio-cultural scenarios such as ‘narrative’ through a continual making process; and, projects that focus on design in developing products for batch production.

Yan Huang is innovative designer with extensive experience in all aspects of automotive interior creative styling and design, expert in bringing design concepts into production.

With a design career spanning 19 years, Yan has worked with Australian, American, Chinese and Italian automakers on many successful automotive programs. These include the 2014 Buick Lacrosse interior components, 2013 Chevrolet Malibu interior, 2006 Buick Park Avenue, 2003 Buick Centieme show car interior and aXess Australia concept car interior.

Yan has a track record of success in creating brand appropriated design, developed with global cross-functional teams and delivered within timeframe and on budget.

Yan Has joined RMIT to share what she has learned and experienced since graduating industrial Design in 1994. She has a lasting passion for design in all its forms and enthusiasm for creative challenges.

Chuan Khoo is an interaction designer, coder and artist working across the fields of digital and tangible media interactivity. His focus within interaction design is the relationship between technologies, networks and humans, including social media and its transformative effects on communities, and the re-thinking of product/service frameworks to address the entangled landscape of design and digital technology.

Chuan’s supervisory interest is rooted in the invisibility of technology, both positive & negative, supported by interaction design, social media, tangible media, physical computing, coding, and wearable technology – building blocks of the collective Internet of Things (IoT). Outcomes of projects taken in this direction may manifest as genre-defining IoT products with embedded interactive behaviour and/or digital network connectivity – fundamentally, objects that project or reveal richer experiences than the forms they initially possess. Concepts may target consumer, commercial or industrial sectors, with a common aim to research and develop interaction and digital connectivity. Inherently reliant on digital and electronic technical development, students undertaking projects in this domain should expect to conduct their design research supported by software programming and electronic prototyping work.

Simone LeAmon is an industrial designer and visual artist. For two decades she has been engaged in a vast range of commercial and cultural productions in both the local and international worlds of art and design – from product design to site-specific and interior design, jewellery, to limited edition objects, and design–artwork for exhibition. A curator in the Department of Contemporary Architecture and Design at the National Gallery of Victoria, LeAmon has lectured in the Industrial Design program in the School of Architecture and Design at RMIT University since 2005.

Simone is interested in supervising projects that privilege a cultural, conceptual, poetic or artistic inquiry. While the contexts for such projects are in both the cultural and industrial sectors, projects may fall into the categories of product design and styling, furniture, tableware, object and wearable design, installation, design-art and discursive/conceptual design and directed towards the following practice frameworks: design for self-production, creative research practice or design for industry. Projects in this area might explore topics of aesthetics, materiality, semiotics, design anthropology, emotional design and design as narrative amongst others, where creative and theoretical concerns help drive the ideation process, illuminate the issues that the act of designing attempts to address, and guides the making and manufacturing process.

Dr. Scott Mayson is a Lecturer in Industrial Design and Research Leader – Product Design, Centre for Additive Manufacturing at AMP RMIT. Scott holds a PhD in Biomedical Design where he developed a novel method for Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) reconstruction. His research interests cross several fields including User Centred, Healthcare and Advanced Design & Manufacture.

Scott is interested in supervising projects that hold people at the centre of their enquiry, underpinning an inclusive design method that strives to improve the lives of people of all ages and abilities through designing for purpose. Projects might focus on advanced product design, design for ability, cognition and empowerment and aim to create an enduring impact through designing with people not just for them.

Dr. Scott Mitchell is a lecturer in Industrial Design and practicing artist. His research, teaching and art practice engages with a diverse array of fields including exhibition practice, public sculpture, interactive objects, landscape architecture and architectural interventions. Within the field of Industrial Design Scott’s research and teaching explores interaction design, networked objects and data rich environments.

Scott is interested in supervising projects that explore the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) paradigm. This paradigm requires us to conceive of a networked environment that stretches beyond our current understanding of the Internet as mediated through laptops and smart phones. Projects that engage with the physical dimension of the IoT and attempt to make sense of this emerging space within the complex world of material culture; and , projects that ask, how does the IoT engage, challenge and change our relationship to the objects around us? Projects in this field may conceive of new modes of communication between loved ones, propose devices for increased awareness of oneself and the environment (e.g. life-logging and energy monitoring) or develop responsive networked objects that adapt to their conditions of use.

Dr. Juan Sanin is an Industrial Designer with postgraduate studies in Aesthetics (Ms) and Cultural Studies (PhD). His teaching and research explores intersections between design, consumer culture and everyday life. Juan is an enthusiastic lecturer with more than a decade of experience across South America and Australia, and is interested in alternative ways of learning and teaching.

Juan is interested in supervising honours projects that respond in a prospective way to problems and opportunities emerging from transformations in different aspects of everyday life. Those transformations can revolve around the incorporation of sustainability in everyday practices and the appearance of alternative lifestyles based on sustainable ways of living; changes in domestic spaces, objects and furniture due to new types of family and their ways of life; novel uses and revitalisations of public spaces in urban and suburban areas developed through grassroots initiatives; or new political attitudes to consumer culture such as ethical consumption and anti-consumerism. Design projects responding to these phenomena can take the form of products, services, critical objects, social enterprises, urban interventions, community initiatives or independent publications. These projects might build on theories and methodologies of total design, design for sustainability, social innovation, social design, design activism, critical design or tactical urbanism.

Soumitri Varadarajan is Deputy Dean, Industrial and Interior Design, at RMIT University (Melbourne, Australia).

“My design approach focuses upon proposing a future that contains preferred/ visionary products and services. I am excited by design projects that focus on the small and big challenges facing humanity. I see design projects as campaigns and so have developed, and therefore teach, the abilities required to prototype design projects within communities. I have taught studios from a range of social, aesthetic and material culture perspectives. In sustainability I focus upon design activism and upon product service systems. I developed my sustainability practice in India where I designed, prototyped and converted my projects into profitable business ventures. In vehicle design I focus upon futuristic visions of sustainable transportation. My current interest is in innovations in healthcare services, where I focus upon de-medicalising and re-contextualizing normal practices to develop new traditions and artefacts in the areas of mental health, obesity, ageing, death, diabetes, maternal health and hearing loss.”

Malte is Senior Lecturer in Industrial design and a practicing designer and researcher whose explorative designs (furniture, objects and appliances) and texts have been internationally exhibited and published. Current work investigates perceptual encounters (sound, light, air, smell) and the designing of experiential environments and atmospheres.

Malte is interested in supervising projects that explore object design, furniture, environments and experiences – material or immaterial – and particularly those that focus on perceptual and sensory design: on how design shapes – on a micro level – our daily experiences and – on a macro level – our relationship to the world, and in turn how we (as designers and society) come to shape such objects as a result of our ‘understanding of the world’. Design outputs (derived through observing things, people and systems followed by a process of experimentation and iterative design exploration) might range from installations, experimental objects and experiences, to entirely ‘practical’ and ‘market ready’ products, system or services that seek to re-shape (change agent), enhance or play with peoples understanding or experience of the world, encourages behaviour change, or alters habits.