DSC Intertext Symposium 2021

Website artwork created by Khiem Le

The DSC Intertext Symposium is a unique Higher Degree by Research (HDR) student-led conference for the College of Design and Social Context (DSC) at RMIT University.

The Intertext Symposium aims to showcase postgraduate research across the 8 schools within the DSC, celebrating the significant contributions of postgraduate researchers towards the advancement of knowledge as well as bringing together the HDR community to provide a channel for the exchange of information and transdisciplinary collaboration.

Candidates who wish to present at the symposium will need to submit an abstract of 200-250 words to the committee by 9 August 2021. Please visit the Sharepoint site to download the abstract template. The organising committee will assess the abstracts based on quality and will notify the candidates of the outcome by 20 August 2021. Candidates at all stages of candidacy are welcome. Please email abstracts to dsc.intertext@rmit.edu.au

This year the symposium will be held online on the 4-5 October 2021. Presenters will pre-record their presentations and upload them to Canvas where all symposium attendees will be able to view and engage with the presentations. Live sessions will take place daily where an academic chair and referee will facilitate a Q&A with the presenters and wider audience.

We are excited to announce that for this year’s DSC Intertext Symposium, the Keynote presentation will be a Panel session on the topic, ‘COVID Impact on Research'. Our panel guests are four speakers:

  • Dr Emily Gray, RMIT Researcher, Supervisor and DA for HDR Students in the School of Education.
  • Alexandra Ciaffaglione, PhD candidate and DSC HDR Student Representative
  • Associate Professor Catherine Gomes, RMIT Researcher and Academic, School of Media and Communication
  • Associate Professor Robyn Barnacle, Research and Innovation in the School of Graduate Research

Many HDR students had to pivot their research or change their methodology due to COVID on the ability to conduct their research.

PhD Candidate panel guest is Alexandra Ciaffaglione

Portrait of Alexandra Ciaffaglione

Alexandra Ciaffaglione will shed light on the experiences of domestic HDR candidates in the face of COVID on their research and mental wellbeing through discussing the changes she had to make to her entire research project in the face of COVID-19.

The RMIT Supervisor panel guest is Dr Emily Gray

Portrait of Emily Gray

Dr Emily Gray will provide her perspective as a supervisor to HDR candidates and how COVID affected her students, the supervisory relationship, and the transition to conducting her research entirely online. Dr Gray will also be speaking on her own research project, which explored the COVID impact on the academic level and the trends of sexism that appeared. Check out this video for some more information about Dr Gray's research. View her video on Vimeo.

RMIT Academic panel guest is Associate Professor Catherine Gomes

Portrait of Catherine Gomes

In this talk, I discuss some of the key points my recent book, Parallel Societies of International Students in Australia: Connections, Disconnections and a Global Pandemic (Routledge, 2022) and current research on HDR international students living in a COVID world raise regarding international student challenges and adaptability.

Here I discuss the parallel societies international students become part of as a necessary way of coping with being away from family, friends and the familiarity of the left-behind home nation. Drawing on a decade’s worth of research into the social, cultural, real and digital spaces occupied by international students, I reflect on how the COVID-19 global pandemic has not only disrupted lives and suspended aspirations for current and recently graduated HDR international students, but also on how they cope and adapt while lives and futures are in limbo.

RMIT University Staff panel guest is Robyn Barnacle

Portrait of Robyn Barnacle

Registration is free via EventBrite


Who should attend?

HDR candidates and supervisors

Location and Symposium format

This year the symposium will be held online on the 4 - 6 October 2021. Presenters will pre-record their presentations and upload them to Canvas where all symposium attendees will be able to view and engage with the presentations. Live sessions will take place daily, where an academic chair and referee will facilitate a Q&A with the presenters and wider audience.

Important dates

Submit your abstract

 9 August 2021

Notification of outcome

20 August 2021

Upload your pre-recorded presentation

15 September 2021

Live symposium panel discussions  

4 – 6 October 2021

Presentation information

The time limit per presenter is 5-7 minutes. Presentations can be recorded using either a mobile phone or Canvas Studio. Recordings done using a mobile phone will need to be uploaded to Canvas Studio. For those presenters who feel confident and would like to acquire new skills, Canvas Studio has editing functions where presentations can be further refined and improved. See the Useful links section for more information.


Good academic presentations can often be ruined when too much time is spent on theory at the outset. A conference presentation, unlike a thesis, does not require a long methodological introduction/theoretical contextualization of your case study. A short paragraph on theory/research method will suffice before moving on to analyse the material you want to discuss. Lengthy quotes from well-known (or even obscure) theorists only distract; delegates want to know what you think about your topic. If your presentation is aimed at engaging in a constructive dialogue with a previous theory, you will need to expound briefly on the theory you wish to discuss and then proceed as soon as possible to articulate your own ideas on the subject. Again, delegates want to know what you think about your topic, and you have only 7 minutes to do this. Following these guidelines will ensure that your presentation will impress, engage and make an impact on your audience.

Using slides

To keep the presentation engaging and coherent slides should be used as a complement to the verbal portion of the presentation.

  • Keep it simple, use 1 slide per topic
  • Use key words or sentences the audience need to take away from that slide
  • Keep to a consisten theme across your presentation
  • Stick to a maximum of 6 points per slide and ensure that it is not too text heavy. For example, each bullet point should be brief.
  • Avoid complicated models – if the model has no simpler version or cannot be simplified, do not use a title, have the image on its own in the slide so it is large enough for the audience to make it out clearly
  • Use images to help the audience make sense of the subject
  •  Keep the theme and graphics consistent.


The key to a successful presentation is having an interesting story to tell so presenters should consider how to formulate their presentation in a manner that will have a beginning, middle and an end. Consider the coherency and the flow of the transitions between the sections. Although the recording might be done sitting down, consider how to still use effective body language to keep the audience engaged with the presentation. Finally, practice delivering the presentation in front of a mirror, consider your facial expressions, voice, intonation and maybe even introducing silence for impact.

Often an abstract proposes to cover too much material for a 7-minute presentation. For the presentation itself, it is very important to concentrate on one idea/argument, illustrated by preferably one to two examples. Video or audio examples should be avoided or limited to under 1.5 minutes. Keep in mind that this is an interdisciplinary symposium and sessions will include presenters and audience members from a variety of subject backgrounds. You will need to clarify any content-specific technical terms and make sure that you explain key concepts in lay language.

Presenters need to keep in mind that although the presentation is pre-recorded, there is an audience behind the camera. Memorising the presentation and keeping eye contact with the audience by looking directly at the camera is a powerful way to keep an audience engaged. Canvas Studio has the capacity to record both through a webcam and screen capture at the same time, this is a great tool to give the presentation a more dynamic feel.

Useful links

Canvas studio

Giving presentations

Symposium organisers

This symposium is organised by Higher Degree by Research Candidates supported by the College of Design and Social Context. We have developed an FAQs page where more information about the symposium can be found.


Please direct all enquiries to dsc.intertext@rmit.edu.au

We look forward to seeing you at the DSC Intertext 2021 symposium!

Role of the Chairperson

  • Each presenter has uploaded a pre-recorded presentation of approximately 5-7 minutes, which will be available for viewing online prior to the event. The primary role of the Chairperson will be to facilitate the interactive online panel discussion, involving the presenters, referees and attendees.
  • Please start the session with an acknowledgement of country
  • Allow each presenter to introduce themselves to the audience with their name and the title of their presentation. 
  • Please introduce yourself and ask the referees of the session to do the same.
  • You might start by giving each presenter a few minutes to give a very brief overview of their presentation. This should be succinct and not more than 5 minutes. You may need to give a one minute warning sign to let the presenter know that their time is almost up (this can be in the form of a "hands up" function). 
  • After the presenter has given a brief overview of their presentation, you can invite the referee to ask a question/ provide some feedback. 
  • After all presenters have had an opportunity to give their overview and respond to the referee, you can open up for a Q&A with the wider audience. This could be in the final 10 minutes of your session. If necessary, encourage audience members to continue their discussion after the session has concluded.  

Role of the Referee/s

  • The primary role of the referee is to  give feedback/ pose questions to the presenters. Given this is an interdisciplinary symposium, the presenters will come from a variety of subject backgrounds. We do not expect you to have a thorough understanding of their topic, but rather you might offer insight into their methodology, the framing of their research questions, the way they have communicated their research, or any insights that you might be able to offer from your own disciplinary background.
  • Abstracts for the presentations will be available before the event, and sent directly to you. We’ll also send you a link to be able to watch the pre-recorded presentations for your sessions before the online panel discussion. 
  • After each presenter has given a brief overview of their presentation, you can provide some feedback/ pose a question. Please make sure to allow enough time for each presenter in the session to get the opportunity to hear from you.
  • At the end of the session, there will be time for a Q&A with the wider audience, facilitated by the Chairperson. In the absence of audience questions, you may also ask the presenters some questions to help facilitate discussion.
Date and time Sessions Presenters


Panel Session One: Visual Representations and Media
  • Belinda Glover
  • Anne Carson
  • Ekaterina Ostapets


Keynote Panel: COVID Impact on Research
  • Dr Emily Gray
  • Associate Professor Catherine Gomes
  • Associate Professor Robyn Barnacle
  • Alexandra Ciaffaglione


Panel Session Two: Poetics, Language and Discourse

  • Tal-El Rubner
  • Priyanka Jain
  • Thuy Dam


Panel Session Three: The Trouble in Place
  • D.A. Calf
  • Lynette Spence


FigShare Seminar
  • Adam Rivett
  • Jess Wilkinson


Panel Session Four: Space, Design and Structure
  • Alharbi Marwah
  • Alamgir Yousufzai
  • Neginsadat Aalami
4:30pm-5:30pm Haiku Showcase and End of Symposium Celebration
  • Jess Wilkinson
  • DSC Intertext Committee

Library Research Services

The library provides services and resources to meet a range of research and writing support needs you may have through the different stages of your research candidature or career. The library offers individual consultations and online resources.  

HDR candidates and researchers intending to publish or present at a conference may find the following library services and resources of assistance:

The full range of Library Research Services are available from the Library website

School of Graduate Research

We lead RMIT’s commitment to enhancing research training and ensuring it embraces innovation and diversity for our postgraduate research candidates and supervisors.

What we do

The School of Graduate Research fosters a vibrant research-training culture that engages Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidates and helps them produce new knowledge in their chosen field.

Our people

Led by Professor Denise Cuthbert, the School of Graduate Research supports high-quality research training at RMIT through teams:

  • Research Training Services
  •  HDR Strategy & Policy

We work collaboratively with Schools, Colleges, supervisors and representatives to ensure a high-quality research experience for HDR candidates and supervisors.

HDR students


D.A.Calf is a sound and installation artist, researcher, composer, field recordist, and producer. His research interests lie in explorations of memory, place, erasure and trace, especially in their relationship to sound, history and geography. These themes are explored through sonic cartography, performance, immersive installation, research and archival work. He is a current Doctoral Candidate in the RMIT School of Art and holds a B.A (Hons) Fine Art (Sound Art & Spatial Sculpture) from RMIT and a B.A. (Philosophy & Politics double major) from the University of Newcastle.

Anne M. Carson

Anne M Carson is a poet a, essayist and visual artist. Her poetry is published internationally and widely in Australia. Massaging Himmler: A Poetic Biography of Dr Felix Kersten and Two Green Parrots were published in 2019. She has initiated poetry-led social justice projects, performs with Muse Poetica and is a creative writing PhD candidate.

Alexandra Ciaffaglione

Alexandra Ciaffaglione is a PhD Candidate at RMIT University. Her current research thesis explores the intersection of gender, sexuality and religion in schools within Australia, with particular attention to the ways in which LGBTQIA+ teachers operate and negotiate their identities between the professional and private spheres. She has a Bachelor of Arts with a double major of History and Theology as well as an Honours degree in medieval history with a Master of Teaching (Secondary) in History and Religious Education. Her research interests include sexuality, gender, the history of sexuality, Catholic education in Australia and the sociology of education.

Emilie Collyer

Emilie Collyer lives on Wurundjeri land where she writes across and between poetry, plays and prose. She is recently published in Booth (USA), The Ekphrastic Review (USA), The Blue Nib (Ireland), TEXT, Rabbit, Witness Performance and Cordite. Award-winning plays include Contest, Dream Home and The Good Girl which has had multiple international productions. Emilie is a current PhD candidate at RMIT, researching feminist creative practice.

Melanie Evangelista

Melanie started her PhD(Education) in January 2020, having completed a Master of Education (Career Development) in 2019. Melanie undertakes research to determine the career influences of students pursuing STEM careers and is currently researching the support given to students pursuing STEM careers in schools by Career Development Practitioners. Melanie is a qualified and registered Career Development Practitioner and Trainer/Assessor. Melanie has over 20 years’ experience in the vocational education and training sector in Australia, from being an Office Administration and First Aid trainer, to managing Registered Training Organisations. Melanie is currently a Course Leader in Graduate Certificate in Careers Education and Development courses at RMIT University and also has taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the Australian Centre for Career Education Melanie maintains her vocational currency.

Terans Gunawardhana

Terans started his PhD (Built Environment) in October 2020, after graduating with a Master of Project Management in 2019, and a Master of Real Estate Management and Valuation in 2014. He is a senior lecturer in real estate management and valuation at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka. Since 2014, Terans has supervised more than 25 undergraduate research students and six postgraduate research students successfully. Recent publications consist of three co-authored textbooks and more than 20 journal and conference articles. He has attended conferences in France, Australia, Estonia, and Sri Lanka in the recent past. Terans is passionate about writing and public speaking on contemporary real estate market trends.

Khiem Le

Khiem's research interest lies in cross-cultural communication of popular phenomenon. As such, his Ph.D. aim is to explore the consumption of K-pop via social media among Vietnamese young adults. His research focuses on two aspects 1) how Vietnamese K-pop fans can establish a community among their fandom and 2) how certain members are able to rise above their status as fans and become demi-idols among their peers. Outside of academia, Khiem's professional objective is to work with university level and/or higher education students to help them navigate policies and achieve their academic endeavors. He is the current marketing manager for VicWise, a non-profit organization that focuses on championing employability and career development for international students in Victoria, where he helps promote the organization to industry partners as well as training new volunteers and recruits.

Renee Peterson

Renee Peterson is a PhD candidate at RMIT University in Melbourne, in the Faculty of Media and Communication. Renee’s research addresses how a traditional media personality/celebrity makes a professional transition from old to new media as a social media influencer whilst still maintaining their employment in old media. Renee is recognised as an attributed celebrity in the field of celebrity due to her employment in the media industry. Renee has worked as a traditional media personality, producer, social media content creator and writer in radio and television for Southern Cross Austereo in Australia and globally for over 10 years. Renee’s most recent assignment was in Hollywood, Los Angeles, an Entertainment Reporter for Australia. After this life and career-changing moment, Renee created her own company Renee Peterson Presents Pty Ltd specialising in new media and freelance writing.

Mustafijir Rahman

Mustafijur Rahman, currently pursuing his PhD in School of Fashion and Textiles at RMIT University. Mr Rahman has excellent track records in the areas of medical textiles, biomaterials and tissue engineering. His PhD research focused in the area of “Nanocomposite Scaffold for Medical Application (Nerve Conduit)”. He has completed his Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree in Textile Technology from the University of Manchester, UK, under the prestigious Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan. Mr Rahman has a dedicated interest in academia and research. He has more than ten years of professional experience as a University Faculty Member. He is currently working as an Assistant Professor at Bangladesh University of Textiles (BUTEX), the oldest, most prestigious institution for textile education and the center for research and innovation in Bangladesh.

Stephanie Roland

Stephanie Roland is a PhD candidate at RMIT’s school of architecture and urban design. Stephanie has 15 years’ experience working as an architect and urban designer across spatial disciplines in London, Cape Town and Hong Kong. Her research focuses on people’s perceptions and behaviour in cities, especially how these are linked to notions of identity and belonging, with the aim of fostering decolonial and participative ways of thinking about and knowing place.


Carolina Quintero Rodriguez

Carolina is a lecturer in the Fashion (Enterprise) program, with qualifications and practice experience in the field of product design and development. Her research and practice are concerned with the key design considerations relevant to the engineering of functional clothing designed to fulfil the specific functional and comfort requirements of wearers through the understanding of the properties of the materials for the specific end-use.

DSC Intertext 2021 logo with orange border
aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.