PRS Australia

The Practice Research Symposium (PRS) features public examinations and progress review presentations by Higher Degree by Research candidates in RMIT’s School of Architecture and Urban Design.

Public examinations and progress reviews by PhD candidates working across the disciplines of architecture, industrial design, interior design, landscape architecture, fashion & textiles and spatial information architecture will be held at the next PRS from 18 – 21 October 2018.

All events will be held at RMIT Design Hub, Building 100, corner Swanston and Victoria Streets, Melbourne (unless otherwise stated).

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Abstract Book


View abstracts October 2018

PRS Events

PRS Launch and Exhibit Opening
Friday 19 October, 5 – 6:30pm, Level 2, RMIT Design Hub gallery
with Welcome to Country by Boon Wurrung Elder N’arweet Carolyn Briggs Read more

Lecture by Leon van Schaik AO, Emeritus Professor, RMIT
Building a Culture: reflections on three decades of design practice research at RMIT
Friday 19 October 2018, 6.30 – 7.30pm, Lecture theatre, ground level, RMIT Design Hub Read more
Presented by RMIT Architecture

Performance by Jeremy Ham, PhD examination candidate
Musico-Spatial Improvisation within a Virtual Drumming Environment
Saturday 20 October 2018, 3 – 4pm, SIAL Sound Studio, Level 1, RMIT Design Hub Read more

Lecture by William Myers, Writer and Guest Curator, Rhode Island School of Design
Biodesign: An Emerging Mutualism
Saturday 20 October 2018, 5 – 5.45pm, Lecture theatre, ground level, RMIT Design Hub Read more

Followed by Book launches by William Myers, Dorita Hannah, Janine Randerson, Brad Haylock, Gini Lee
5.45 – 6.30pm, Lecture theatre, ground level, RMIT Design Hub Read more

Candidate and Supervisor Forum
On making value
Sunday 21 October 2018, 1.30 – 2.20pm, Lecture theatre, ground level, RMIT Design Hub Read more

Plenary Session
Sunday 21 October 2018, 4.30 – 5.30pm, Level 10 Long Room, RMIT Design Hub



Field Tactics: Techniques, Types and Effects from a Practice Operating within the Architectural Field

Thursday 18 October 2018 10am – 12pm | Level 2, RMIT Design Hub gallery

Chair Leon van Schaik AO
Examiners Alan Pert, Nigel Bertram
Supervisors Vivian Mitsogianni, Roland Snooks

This research is a reflection on my body of work as it developed prior to and during my PhD. I am interested in the concept of the field as it is understood in architecture, as an operative tool of practice. I define a field broadly as an aggregate of elements, actual or virtual, that are without hierarchy and can be used to organise design.

This formulation has been tested through experimentation in design technique and process, architectural typology and formal models, and the observation of spatial and material effects in my work. Within this I have identified a series of specific traits which characterise my approach to practice. These include nesting, layering or situating design in abstract techniques and specific physical conditions; working through series and populations of objects; understanding architectural form as a performative or infrastructural tool; the pursuit of surplus or excess through an excess of objects and form, and through a spatial loose fit that enable opportunistic use.

From these observations I establish the idea of a field based approach to architectural practice in which the design proposition is understood as both contingent and itself generative. The research provides a strategy and value proposition for creative incompletion in architecture.



Insecture: interdisciplinary engagements in an emergent entomological design practice

Friday 19 October 2018 10am – 12pm | Level 2, RMIT Design Hub gallery

Chair Mick Douglas
Examiners William Myers, Janine Randerson 
Supervisors Sand Helsel, Michael Trudgeon

This practice-based research defines an emergent, interdisciplinary practice with the central aim of re-framing the insect through design. The research began as an investigation into how to use design to create a different appreciation of insects through an understanding of how we perceive them and manage our proximity to them, and in the process, has unveiled a deeper knowledge of design and how I design, re-framed by these biological entities.

Two insights have emerged: firstly, knowledge of the proclivities that I imbue in my work; and secondly, how the integration of insects has drawn out multimodal design outcomes. During the course of this research, projects were designed with and for insects, creating aesthetic approaches to the framing and interacting with these animals. Design consideration of the commercial industry applications of insects – bioengineering, food production and pet breeding – has presented another approach to sustainability.

The design processes and methodologies that I developed have examined the use of insects as a vehicle for design ideation and practice. By integrating living insects into design processes, concepts and prototypes, the research offers models for different forms of design interactivity.



Improvising Polyrhythmic Space: Exploring a Continuum of Musico-Spatial Creative Practice

Friday 19 October 2018 1-1.30pm Public performance, 2-4pm Exam | Level 1, SIAL Sound Studio, RMIT Design Hub

Chair Ross McLeod
Examiners Jos Mulder, Lawrence Wallen
Supervisors Lawrence Harvey, Malte Wagenfeld, Jules Moloney

My dual practice as musician (drums) and spatial designer (architect) provides a unique perspective from which to conduct cross-domain design research. I explore a continuum of practice that reveals rich territories for investigation within and across the musical domain, the spatial domain and a speculative ‘musicospatial’ domain. The research follows two main trajectories: an exploration of improvisation as a methodology for design research and, working synergistically with this, an exploration of the cross-domain representation (XDR) of digital drumming. I develop a three-dimensional spatial drum notation and spatial prototypes that reveal ‘affordances’ (Norman, 2002) for the understanding of my drumming ‘referents’ (Pressing, 1998) through XDR. I then explore modalities of drum-based augmented musical improvisation through a series of experimental Digital DrumScapes and extend the practice of improvisation into the spatial domain through spatial improvisation where forms are generated through spatial thinking-in-action on the digital drum kit. I bring the two trajectories of design research together through the development of a virtual drumming environment and the evolution of an augmented musico-spatial improvisational practice. This dynamic virtual environment forms a counterpoint to static spatialisations of polyrhythmic drumming and, together, these provide a repertoire of workflows to inform the continuum of cross-domain design research.



Facilimaking Ornamental Events –
makeshift co-elaborations of j̶e̶w̶e̶l̶l̶e̶r̶y̶   juh – oul – lurh – ree

Friday 19 October 2018 2.30 – 4.30pm | Level 2, RMIT Design Hub gallery

Chair Roger Kemp
Examiners Dorita Hannah, Tara McDowell
Supervisors Mick Douglas, Pia Ednie-Brown

This creative practice research examines what Jane Bennett calls ‘vibrant matter’ (2010) and tells of anew the energetic material processes already affective within my socially engaged jewellery practice. Rather than pursue the making of artefacts as a valued outcome, I investigate the doing that jewellery does, and question what a speculative jewelling practice can do. By recasting jewellery as an ornamental agent – an accessorial yet vital co-elaborator in lively intra-active encounters – the research has brought forth a jewelling practice of facilimaking. This transversal practice offers affective incremental change to the way humans encounter entanglements of matter arising within the forces and flow of the life world. The dynamic co-elaborative practices of facilimaking are revealed as makeshift, messy and troublesome – often slippery to handle and too lively to pin down. By following in the a-rhythmic patterns of less normative events of ornamentation the research reveals three facilimaking practices: the spin and twist, the concertina, and the long play. In problematising the jeweller and making jewellery strange the research contributes a makeshift, intra-active practice to the expanded field of jewellery. To transdisciplinary practice, the research contributes the ‘live’ transversal practices of facilimaking: open-ended practices that others may follow and co-elaborate in.