DSC Intertext Symposium 2020

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.

This year the symposium will be held online in the week of the 14th-18th September 2020. 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.

Panel discussions will be organised thematically with links to RMIT’s Enabling Capability Platforms.

A/Prof Inger Mewburn (better known as @thesiswhisperer) has worked exclusively with PhD students and early career academics, helping them navigate complex research projects with (sometimes very) demanding stakeholders. She’s passionate about helping people reach their potential as researchers and helping to create a kinder, more inclusive academy.

This one hour lecture aims to:

  • Enhance your understanding of the changed academic job market due to COVID-19, analysing the effects of hiring freezes and travel restrictions.

  • Increase awareness of career opportunities in industry; which sectors are looking for research talent?


  • Help you approach the non-academic job market with more confidence.

You can find out more on her Wikipedia entry, Linkedin pro le, Amazon author page, or view a selection of her on the Thesis Whisperer About page. A full list of her scholarly work is available via her Google Scholar page or OrcidID. 

To attend the keynote, you will need to register here: https://anu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIqc-qppjssGdQ1pzt0rDfR5Eu5ANGWYdPz



Resilience in times of crisis

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Kelsie Nabben – From Threat Models to Trust Models: Resilient Decentralised Digital Infrastructure Design & Practice

Kelsie is an HDR candidate in the School of Media and Communication.

Kelsie Nabben

What tools and frameworks are available to design and build better digital infrastructure for people? This presentation proposes trust models as a socio-technical design approach. While the industry standard computer security approach of ‘threat modelling’ seeks to defend computing assets against attackers by assessing risk, ‘trust modelling’ is a new theoretical design concept and process for design that secures people as participants in a network, according to trust in a social context.

There are opportunities to challenge existing conceptions of the function of technology in society, including the relationship between technology and people. In the context of misinformation, disinformation, digital illiteracy and declining trust, how can we design and build digital infrastructures that are better for people? This talk applies strong conceptual models and practical design tools to equip designers, builders and anyone curious to pursue people-oriented, secure, trustful solutions. 

This timely topic is relevant to all audiences, given the context of the COVID-19 crisis, the rapid transition to a digital economy and the opportunity to propose better digital infrastructures.

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Alexandre da Silva Faustino – Alternative ethnographic and participatory methods to assure critical research impact in pandemic times

Alexandre is an HDR candidate in the school of School of Global, Urban and Social Studies

Alexandre da Silva Faustino

The unprecedented global transformations brought by COVID-19 pandemic on the dynamics of social life have set major challenges for academics developing research that suppose direct contact with human participants and immersion in case studies’ contexts. Immediate responses and adaptations have suggested rescoping of research designs to rely more on virtual formats for conducting surveys, interviews, and focus groups.  

The new imperative brings into question how the digital divide, i. e. the uneven distribution of and access to information and communications technologies (ICT) will impact research practice and its potential to create social benefit. This question is particularly relevant for academics engaging with socioeconomically marginalised communities which usually have more barriers in connecting to the digital world. For this session, I propose a debate about the contours of conducting remote and virtual fieldwork in post-COVID-19 times for research based on critical, participative, and creative methods.  

I draw some considerations from the ongoing methodological rescoping of my ethnographically-oriented PhD research to investigate how grassroots initiatives in the peripheries of São Paulo city (Brazil) are reshaping the ways society relates to water. While discussing the potential and limits of alternative pathways for virtual research practice I call for a dialogue among critical researchers concerned with addressing a pressuring question: when borders are closed worldwide, people evade public spaces, and social life transitions into virtual environments, what are the possibilities for critical academics to promote empowering and emancipatory encounters with participants in their research?

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Dominic Amerena – Precarity Research: Living and working through the pandemic

Dominic is an HDR candidate in the School of Media and Communication.

Dominic Amerena

My research centres around the emergence of what I call ‘the precarious self’ in the contemporary novel; a subject position defined by instability, flexibility and insecurity and shaped and exacerbated by precarious working conditions in the twenty-first century. Comprised of a full-length novel and a critical dissertation, my project investigates how artists have grappled with the affective and economic dimensions of precarity.

This presentation will draw the link between the COVID-19 pandemic with Judith Butler’s formulation of precarity as an ontological condition of human existence (2004) in which all humans are vulnerable to violence, economic hardship and injury. The bulk of infections in Australia have been comprised of the most precarious members of society: the elderly and low-wage, casualised workers. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for governments, employers and institutions to find new ways of protecting the precarious. The Federal Government’s financial assistance package reduced the poverty rate of household’s on Newstart from 67% to 7% (Commins 2020), gesturing towards the potential for more interventionist policies to combat precarity, such as the introduction of permanent Universal Basic Income.

A recent report showed that over half of Australia’s graduate students are considering suspending their studies due to the economic and emotional effects of the pandemic (Isaac and Johnson 2020). This presentation will show that precarity theory can act as a framework for researchers of all disciplines to better understand how they are living and working through the pandemic.

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Felipe Jara Baeza - Reviewing indoor environmental quality of high-rise social housing

Felipe is an HDR candidate in the School of Property, Construction and Project Management.

Felipe Jara Baeza

People spend most of their time indoors and most of this time is spent inside their homes. Housing is of high relevance, especially for low-income families, as they are more vulnerable with high concentrations of elderly and sick (Diaz Lozano Patino and Siegel, 2018), staying inside their residence for even longer times (Wysocka, 2018). In Australia, almost 14% of the population–more than 3.2 million–live below poverty line (Davidson et al., 2020). 

Therefore, social housing for low-income populations is key to the national housing sector. In Melbourne, many social housing are single-sided units in high-rise buildings. The indoor environmental quality (IEQ) in these units is generally poor due to building design and characteristics, lack of maintenance and absence of appropriate heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems, causing health-related problems to a vulnerable group. This presentation will provide a critical review of the indoor environmental quality in social housing units, particularly public housing, and its impact on occupant health and comfort. 

It will also explore the interrelationships between the IEQ factors to get a holistic view of their performance focusing on the relevance of windows and how they affect the general indoor environmental quality of the residential units.

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Communities and social change

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Emily Spiller – The President and the Bomb: Ideas and Influence on Nuclear Thought, 1945 –1974

Emily is an HDR candidate in the school of School of Global, Urban and Social Studies.

Emily Spiller

This research seeks to delineate the ideas, beliefs and assumptions, both spoken and unspoken, that informed Presidential nuclear thought and diplomacy from 1945 to 1974 –from the last stages of the Grand Alliance to the Richard M. Nixon Administration. Put simply, this is about the evolution of nuclear thinking from the perspective of the occupants of the White House –the view from Washington. This particular period of American nuclear history is important for several reasons: firstly, it traces the evolution of the bomb from its atomic blueprint through to its central role in U.S defence strategy shortly thereafter; secondly, it marks the transition from American nuclear monopoly to nuclear parity with the Soviet Union; and, thirdly, it signifies the emergence of arms control negotiations in an effort to thwart other states’ nuclear ambitions and prevent a nuclear war. The research has a deliberate focus on the President as the ultimate authority to order the use of a nuclear weapon and thus, provides important insights into American leadership at a crucial turning point in military and political history. Analysis of presidential diaries, memoirs, speeches, archival collections, as well as supporting artifacts from those close to the President, provides the foundation to reconstruct the intellectual origins and climate of opinion in which each president lived and considered the nuclear option. Renewed enquiry into this thinking, rationale, and behaviour is both insightful and relevant in an era still burdened by the existence of nuclear weapons and a polarizing domestic and international political climate.

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Lanie Stockman – Chewing gum on the footpath? Considering why income management policy sticks

Lanie is an HDR candidate in the school of School of Global, Urban and Social Studies.

Lanie Stockman

Using the example of income management, this presentation considers why some social policies, even those with indistinct aims and questionable outcomes, may stick. 

Income management involves up to 80 per cent of some people’s social security payments being quarantined so that funds cannot be spent on items such alcohol and gift cards. Whether a person is subject to income management depends on where recipients live and the type of social security payment that they receive.

Initially a temporary measure introduced through the 2007 Northern Territory Emergency Response, income management has since expanded to all Australian jurisdictions apart from ACT and Tasmania. Despite its endurance, the policy’s aims and benefits continue to be contested.

Why does this policy stick around? This presentation will contemplate potential explanations such as: a lack of ‘vital dependencies’ (Lea, 2020), problem framing (Lovell, 2014; 2016; Bielefeld, 2018) as well as the involvement and influence of private actors such as policy entrepreneurs (Kingdon, 1984).

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Sher Khan and Mir Shah – The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Promise of Education in Post-Colonial Pakistan

Sher Khan and Mir Shah are HDR candidates in the School of Education. 

Sher Khan and Mir Shah
Sher Khan and Mir Shah

Pakistan, as a postcolonial nation-state, confronts severe challenges concerning education and development.  More than 22.5 million school-age children do not attend school, and the literacy is 62.3 percent with substantial disparities by gender, geography, and socioeconomic status (Government of Pakistan, 2018)

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) constitute a global framework for action to address extreme poverty, inequalities, and protect the environment. The SDGs include an ambitious commitment to education in the form of the SDG 4 that seeks to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” (United Nations, 2015, p. 14).

In this context, this presentation focuses on how this global framework has been shaping and restructuring the development discourse in Pakistan, both the public and private sectors. It highlights how the SDGs influence the state policies, and specifically the education policies and strategic goals. In the private sector, taking the Aga Khan Education Service, Pakistan as a case/example, it discusses how this organisation endeavours to create synergies between its strategic priorities for its schools, with the key aspects of the SDG4.  This presentation is based on our developing research projects which deal with UN SDGs and education in Pakistan using postcolonial theory as a theoretical framework.

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Didem Caia – The socially engaged writer: shaping the stories of the many

Didem is an HDR candidate in the School of Media and Communication.

Didem Caia

My creative practice as a writer, dramaturge and theatre-maker has been heavily engaged with cultural and community development. My work has been motivated by a desire to transcend cultural barriers—such as ethnicity, age, language, class and access—through storytelling prompts in group workshop settings, which shape performance outcomes. 

This community engaged work has aided me to consider, through practice, the connection between ethics, trust and working with personal narratives, as well as to discover and document: ‘How can art-making that involves marginalised communities aid in strengthening those communities?'

In order to interrogate these questions further, my creative practice-led research will critique, test and significantly extend my current practice as ‘socially engaged’—that is, a practice that considers and experiments with the role that the writer can serve for/within communities. 

Through this presentation I will further my investigation into why storytelling and performance making can be a tool for revealing and empowering marginalised voices, who are ‘many’. I will also use this forum to think deeper about my role as a ‘socially engaged’ writer who works in communication with individuals, not disconnected from them.

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Gender and sexuality

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Alamgir Yousufzai – The Khawaja Sara and Hijra; Gender and Sexual identity formation in Contemporary Pakistan

Alamgir is an HDR candidate in the School of Education.

Alamgir Yousufzai

The status and dignity of Trans folks and gender diverse people vary globally. On one hand, the modern Queer studies and activists are advocating for the rights of transgender people and exploring their identities in western societies, but conversely the rigid and negative attitude of people in developing countries like Pakistan, depict them as fallen, wicked, tainted, and outcast individuals. Globally, the term “Transgender” is used for people for whom gender identity and gender expression differs from the sex assigned to them at birth. In Pakistan, the term Hijra and Khawaja Sara is used to encompass trans* and gender diverse identities. The literature on transgender people across the globe and on the Hijra and Khawaja Sara specific in Pakistan describes them as a marginalized and oppressed group in society.

This research project “The Khawaja Sara and Hijra; Gender and Sexual identity formation in Contemporary Pakistan” has multiple aims that analyses and explores the various forces which shape the gender and sexual identity of Khawaja Sara and Hijra during three historical periods: the Mughal era as a pre-colonial period; during the British colonization and in the Postcolonial Pakistan. My presentation is more focused to unfold the multiplicity, complexity and thirdness that exists in the gender and sexual identities of Khawaja Sara and Hijras. Additionally, the discussion also considers the lived experience of the gender minorities in contemporary Pakistan will find ways to give voices to their communities.

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Emily Wotherspoon – Displacing Heterocentrism: Making New Space for Textual Queerness in Adaptation Practice

Emily is an HDR candidate in the School of Media and Communication.

Emily Wotherspoon

The presumption of heterosexuality has informed the production of literary to film and television adaptations in the West, resulting in a widespread erasure of women’s stories and stories containing possible queerness which were present in the texts being adapted. This cultural act of forgetting occurs in the designation of unmarked characters as straight in the adaptation, regardless of whether or not there is textual evidence for this in the adapted text. By virtue of its prioritisation of women’s relationships with men, and erasure of their relationships with women, this presumption therefore leads to a dual-erasure of women and queerness in adaptation texts.

This presentation will focus on this process of iterative erasure through an examination of several significant Frankenstein film adaptations. In doing so, I will discuss how contemporary cultural understandings of a story are produced and influenced by its screen adaptations, and how contemporary understandings of the Frankenstein story specifically have been shaped by misogyny and homophobia. This will lead to the identification of key problematic areas of adaptation practice which are the focus of this thesis and creative practice research. The goal of this project is therefore to combat the exclusion of possibly queer women from screen adaptations, and take an active role in remembering those stories which have already been subject to that erasure.

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Ruth Fogarty – Women in True Crime: dissecting a genre within non-fiction and digital storytelling

Ruth is an HDR candidate in the School of Media and Communication.

Ruth Fogarty

True crime is a highly established genre, with its own formulaic conventions. In the 1960s and ‘70s there was little diversity and male writers dominated. It wasn’t until the 1980s that women entered the field.

Recent anecdotal evidence and personal observation suggests women are increasingly embracing true crime to explore sensitive, or deeply personal narratives. The genre is on the rise across new media too, including TV streaming, podcasting, and digital communities. 

Among this trend, there is an increase in crime podcasts created by women worldwide – and these too amass large female audiences.

In 2018, a podcast survey conducted in Australia by the ABC found the genre is most popular with women listeners. There is also a growing body of true crime creators and pop culture critics advancing the conversation on women's shared obsessions with the genre.

Through my creative practice and research, I will investigate what is behind the rise of women as creators and consumers of true crime, with a view to initiate a deeper inquiry into women’s complex relationship with a genre so entwined with female abjection.

In this presentation I will select 2 to 3 case studies to illustrate some of the ways women’s true crime works occupy and subvert the androcentric conventions of the genre.

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Belinda Glover – Women Parliamentary Candidates in Ghana: Insights into Winning Strategies

Belinda is an HDR candidate in the School of Media and Communication

Belinda Glover

Women candidates have contested and won parliamentary elections in Ghana since independence in 1957. Even though the level of representation is 13.1 percent they have made steady progress in their representation over the years. In view of women candidates winning parliamentary elections, very little is known about the campaign strategies employed by these women in winning elections.

Similarly, women candidates are noted to have deployed campaign strategies in view of their femaleness in other places but very little is known about whether women parliamentary candidates in Ghana also, deploy their campaign strategies in view of their femaleness. In addition, it is also not known which strategies women candidates will employ in the era of a global pandemic such as COVID 19 (coronavirus). 

This presentation, therefore, seeks to explore the campaign strategies that will be employed by women candidates contesting the 2020 parliamentary elections in an era of a global pandemic and whether their campaign strategies will be deployed in view of their femaleness.

The outcome of the presentation will provide new knowledge on women candidates’ campaign strategies in the Ghanaian context including during the coronavirus pandemic which is limited in literature.

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Home, city and space

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Josefina Huq - Lifeworld Writing: Creative Experiments in Home Phenomenon

Josefina Huq is an HDR candidate in the School of Media and Communication (Creative Writing).

Josefina Huq

‘Lifeworld writing’ is a method of life writing which employs techniques from the phenomenological branch of philosophy. Edmund Husserl, an early 20th century philosopher who strongly influenced phenomenological thinking, proposed a theory of the ‘lifeworld’ - the everyday experiences that are usually ignored (1970). He believed a phenomenological study could bring light to the importance of the lifeworld. ‘Lifeworld writing’ is a thorough, unflinching, and detailed account of everyday experiences which seeks to investigate personal phenomena through creative writing. In my presentation I define ‘lifeworld writing’, explore how it might add to existing scholarship in life writing, and strengthen the creative dialogue between phenomenology and life writing.

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Rachel Iampolski – Repurposing the city: challenging the heritage paradigm

Rachel is an HDR candidate in the school of School of Global, Urban and Social Studies.

Rachel Iampolski

Inherent in urban life is tension, where the ‘weak tactics of the strong’, who lead the formal shaping of our cities are frequently negotiated by the ‘strong tactics of the weak’ (de Certeau 1980), a reactive performance by its citizenry. An example of this can be seen in the citizen-led repurposing and reconstituting of urban form, where new meaning and function is assigned to a site. This challenges the problematic dichotomisation (Smith & Akagawa 2009) of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, as advanced by the 2003 UNESCO convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. As this process of repurposing and reconstituting urban built form, and the public culture it creates, exists in the tension between the tangible and intangible, and the formal and informal city. This raises not only ontological issues, but also poses challenges to the classification and management of this form of public culture and heritage. By drawing on ethnographic observation of street life and repurposed, utilitarian forms (including steps, ledges, stoops, vestibules, milk crates) in Melbourne, Australia this research aims to conceptualize this reactive process as an embodied heritage process that subverts the existing, institutional binary model of heritage, while attending to the policy and management implications of this alternative conception.

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Alejandra Cortes – The expressions of energy poverty in south Chile

Alejandra is an HDR candidate in the school of School of Global, Urban and Social Studies.

Alejandra Cortes

This research aims to explore the changes in households’ energy culture associated with thermal retrofit programmes developed to overcome energy poverty in Coyhaique city, Chile. This presentation will examine the driving factors that lead to households' energy poverty in the city and the policies implemented to overcome this situation.

In Chile, energy poverty in social housing is an expression of inequality exhibited in cities highly polluted like Coyhaique city. One of the main factors exacerbating energy poverty in the city is the high intensity of firewood used for heating and cooking. In 2019, the city was declared a saturated zone of particulate matter, since the combustion of wood is the largest source of air pollution of this contaminant. Therefore, the Atmospheric Decontamination Plan (ADP) implemented in the city has been focused on replacing old and inefficient firewood appliances and improving the insulation of the housing stock for reducing heating energy demand.

Coyhaique city represents an interesting and worthy territory to investigate. Firstly, the 2019 World Air Quality Report ranked it in 2018 as the most polluted city from Latin America. Secondly, is an "extreme-south" city, with particularly cold winters and can be considered geographically isolated; both characteristics worsen energy poverty conditions.

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Mohammad Mohammadi – A Brighter City: Shedding new light on Privately Owned Public Spaces

Mohammad is an HDR candidate in the School of Architecture and Urban Design, RMIT.

Mohammad Mohammadi

Local governments encourage developers of city-centre sites to provide publicly-accessible indoor and outdoor space at the ground level of their buildings, commonly known as “privately-owned public space” (POPS). There are some criticisms of their level of publicness and the exclusion of certain ‘undesirable’ people and activities. Such spaces often prioritize consumption for targeted user groups, which can lead to erosion of the public realm. This research addresses the problem of how people can better understand and use these spaces. It aims to evaluate the enabling features and constraints in relation to social activities in the context of Melbourne’s POPSs and tests the previous models and indexes to find effective encouraging and discouraging features and practices. By designing to make the rights to access and use of such spaces in Melbourne explicit, this work contributes to the evaluation and identification of POP’s in Melbourne and to the way in which POPS are evaluated more broadly. Finally, it identifies the importance of the quality and accessibility of privately-owned public spaces, specifically in Melbourne, Australia. 

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Rees Quilford - Trails in the ground: Speculating on the intimate histories of place

Rees is an HDR candidate in the School of Media and Communication.

Rees Quilford

Place – where we grew up, where we live, where we work, and where we connect – plays a crucial role in how we see the world and how we attempt to understand our position in it. This restless search for meaning in the places that are important to us becomes even more acute in a time when everyday travel and movement is restricted. But how does one go about unpicking the intimate and complex associations that we have with, and to, the special places in our lives? How does one go about developing an affective storytelling practice that reflects and embraces these messy and unruly associations? In an attempt to answer these questions, I have turned to a place that is personally significant to me, an unruly strip of the southern Australian bush known as the Bunurong Coast. This creative inquiry sees me walking, documenting and inhabiting its landscapes, memories and archives. It is an experiment that uses Ross Gibson’s concept of the memoryscope – aesthetic forms created to ‘contain, focus and direct the forces of the past’ (Gibson 2015: vi) – as a framework to guide the development of historically informed place-based stories. This presentation will discuss an experimental artwork, ‘Trails in the Ground’, developed during this inquiry. Focused on the haphazard tracks that wind their way through the landscape, this speculative non-fiction story is concerned with the meaning, utility and inspiration that can be gleaned from the marks that the past has left behind. This piece will be used as a case study to discuss how an intimate and poetic practice might cajole disparate echoes of the past plucked from various sources – the archives, memories, reflections, and the landscape itself – into a creative non-fiction practice. It speculates on how local stories, objects and experiences – articulated via a hybrid non-fiction storytelling practice – might afford insights into our complex association to specific places and their pasts. 

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Connections to audience

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Emilie Collyer – Multiplicity and excess: Experiments in reviewing creative texts

Emilie is an HDR candidate in the School of Media and Communication.

Emilie Collyer

What can reviews of artworks and literature do? What forms should, or can, reviews take? In an arts culture where reviews are mostly tied to new releases and marketing, what can an experimental approach contribute to the field?

As a creative practitioner and consumer of art, I write, read, and engage with multiple forms including performance, poetry and prose. In these early months of my PhD I have set out to test the impact of varying formal approaches to how I write responses to the creative texts I encounter. I am looking to see what happens to my own writing practice when I generate multiple and formally different responses to these various texts.

In the presentation I will share an example of a particular generative writing technique I am experimenting with, where I have responded to one creative text via multiple different formal responses including poetry, dramatic and essay forms. I will discuss what prompted the experiment, show a brief sample of the writing it generated and give a brief summary of its potential value to creative practice. 

This experiment is part of my broader research inquiry into feminist writing practice: how it might be defined, what its aims are, and what it can ‘do’.

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Laura Fulton – The Hardest Things to Say – Finding a Voice with Creative Writing Experimentation

Laura is an HDR candidate in the School of Media and Communication.

Laura Fulton

In the mid twentieth century, the "legal fiction" of closed adoption saw thousands of infants and toddlers in the US, the UK, Australia and elsewhere removed from one home and placed in another, their names changed and their biological family histories suppressed or erased. The silence and stigma surrounding this practice meant that many of these children grew up with little framework or opportunity to discuss, share or otherwise process the struggle with identity that arose from their experience. In exploring notions of identity and belonging, Elspeth Probyn suggests that it is possible to return to one's childhood and reimagine that "event" some other way through writing. According to Stephen King, however, “the most important things are the hardest to say”. 

For the adopted person seeking to explore her adoptive identity through writing, telling those stories may be more challenging than it seems. The act of sharing this work – particularly in front of a live audience – can be visceral and confronting. Personal experience has proven that creative writing experiments in fiction, memoir, blended fact/fiction forms and even academic writing about the adoptive experience can be difficult for the adopted person to read aloud. This sharing, however – the hearing of the adoptee’s story by what King calls an “understanding ear” – is as important for the adopted person as the telling. This presentation seeks to demonstrate how sharing the adoptive experience can be challenging and why managing that confrontation is valuable for the adopted person. 

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Kelly Kaiyan Zhu - Spotlight on online customer experience in innovative online retail formats research 

Kelly is an HDR candidate in the School of Fashion and Textiles.

Kelly Kaiyan Zhu

The aim of this presentation is to understand why customer experience is a focal point in innovative online retail formats, particularly in China’s fashion retail context (e.g. virtual reality retailing, live-stream shopping, etc.).

Online consumer experience (OCE) occurs in multiple types of customer touchpoints between firms and customers, which include retailer owned, partner owned, customer owned, social/external touch points. Among those, only retailer owned, and partner owned customer touch points are under the control of retailers. The other two types of touch points are difficult to be captured and measured, even though they impact hugely on customer subsequent behaviours and brand values. In addition, OCE is difficult to be captured because of its dynamic nature and complex constructs. Furthermore, innovative online retail formats are often featured with playfulness, interactivity, media richness, etc. All these features have been proven as the drivers of customer experience. Therefore, innovative online retail formats probably play a critical moderating role between aforementioned drivers and customer experience itself. However, OCE has not yet thoroughly been captured and measured in innovative online retail formats. The impacts from emerging online retail formats on OCE are still unknown. 

The research student will first introduce the definitions of OCE, then deliver an overview of the studies about why OCE is so important. The relevant OCE research of innovative online retail formats will be also presented.

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Rashmita Bardalai – Emotions through material experiences in design and design research 

Rashmita is an HDR candidate in the School of Fashion and Textiles.

Rashmita Bardalai

Everyday materials and products stimulate an emotional engagement; interactions of our senses with materials abundant in the everyday world may define positive or negative experiences with the materials and artefacts that they represent. Material experiences play an important role in evoking emotions through felt tactile sensations, but emotions are often referred to as something intangible in design. The significance of emotions in how people interact with and perceive products and materials around them is acknowledged by designers and design researchers alike as an important consideration in the design process. Scholars believe that if designers could anticipate the emotions their product induced in the users, they would be able to make considered and measured choices in their design process. But due to the subjective nature of emotions, the emotions intended by the designer may or may not be the same as experienced by the user. Could understanding emotions ‘objectively’ assist designers to lessen the difference of ‘subjective’ emotional responses?

This presentation suggests that the connection between design and emotions is better served by understanding objective physiological responses to emotions, that are involuntary reactions compared to subjective emotional responses, which can be consciously altered by an individual. The presentation outlines the literature on understanding emotions, the relationship between emotion, touch and material experience in design and suggests how the development of a materials-touch-emotion framework could assist designers with making more informed choices.  

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Rachel Audrey Lamarche Beauchesne – Discussing the rise of vegan labels and branding in fashion and textiles

Rachel is an HDR candidate in the School of Fashion and Textiles.

Rachel Audrey Lamarche Beauchesne

The growth of Veganism, a movement and lifestyles that eschews the consumption and use of animal products and materials, has meant that the use of the word “vegan” in the labelling exercises of both local and international fashion and textiles brands has exponentially increased. Australian players like Forever New and Mimco both launched vegan accredited lines in 2020, respectively choosing to register with the British Vegan Society’s Vegan Trademark and United-States’ PETA-Approved Vegan. Other available labels include also American “Certified Vegan”, European “V-Label” and new local player “Vegan Australia Certified”. Some have called the adoption of a vegan label “easy” and identified them as the low-hanging fruit of the fashion industry supply-chain’s labelling eco-system, while others, when discussing their use in food products, have identified them as ‘an important political site of resistance to growing non-human animal inequality’. A review of the existing literature around veganism, vegan branding, and animal rights in the context of fashion and textiles highlights that academic research in this field is limited and the subject itself disregarded and misunderstood. This presentation will situate veganism in the fashion and textiles context while discussing the growth and adoption of the different vegan labels and their potential shortcomings.

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Registration is free via EventBrite


Who should attend?

HDR candidates and supervisors

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.

Keynote speaker

Inger Mewburn (Thesis Whisperer)
Friday 18th September, 12pm-1pm
Join Friday's keynote session

Presentation sessions




Resilience in times of crisis


Communities and social change


Gender and sexuality


Home, city and space


Connections to audience



14 SEPT 2020

12:30PM – 2:00PM

15 SEPT 2020

12:30PM – 2:00PM

16 SEPT 2020

12:30PM – 2:00PM

17 SEPT 2020

12:30PM – 2:00PM

18 SEPT 2020

1:00PM – 2:30PM








Urban Futures/ Advanced Materials

Social Change

Social Change

Urban Futures

Design and Creative Practice


Prof. Ingrid Richardson

Dr. Daphne Mohajer Va Pesaran

Dr. Natalie Hendry

Dr. Rebecca Yang

Dr. Stephen Gaunson


Associate Prof. Kerry Mullan

Associate Prof. Linda Knight


Prof. Usha Iyer-Raniga

Dr. Leah Li


Associate Prof. Nicola Henry

Associate Prof. Julian Lee


Dr. Pia Interlandi

Dr. Emily Gray


Dr. Anamika Devi

Dr. Carolina Quintero Rodriguez



Kelsie Nabben

From Threat Models to Trust Models: Resilient Decentralised Digital Infrastructure Design & Practice.

Listen to presentation


Emily Spiller

The President and the Bomb: Ideas and Influence on Nuclear Thought, 1945 –1974.

Listen to presentation

Alamgir Yousufzai

The Khawaja Sara and Hijra; Gender and Sexual identity formation in Contemporary Pakistan.

Listen to presentation

Alejandra Cortes

The expressions of energy poverty in south Chile.

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Emilie Collyer

Multiplicity and excess: Experiments in reviewing creative texts.

Listen to presentation


Alexandre da Silva Faustino

Alternative ethnographic and participatory methods to assure critical research impact in pandemic times.

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Lanie Stockman

Chewing gum on the footpath? Considering why income management policy sticks.

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Emily Wotherspoon

Displacing Heterocentrism: Making New Space for Textual Queerness in Adaptation Practice.

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Mohammad Mohammadi

A Brighter City: Shedding new light on Privately Owned Public Spaces.

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Laura Fulton

The Hardest Things to Say – Finding a Voice with Creative Writing Experimentation.

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Dominic Amerena

Precarity Research: Living and working through the pandemic.

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Sher Khan and Mir Shah

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Promise of Education in Post-Colonial Pakistan.

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Ruth Fogarty

Women in True Crime: dissecting a genre within non-fiction and digital storytelling.

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Rachel Iampolski

Repurposing the city: challenging the heritage paradigm

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Kelly Kaiyan Zhu

Spotlight on online customer experience in innovative online retail formats research.

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Felipe Jara Baeza

Reviewing indoor environmental quality of high-rise social housing.

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Didem Caia

The socially engaged writer: shaping the stories of the many.

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Belinda Glover

Women Parliamentary Candidates in Ghana: Insights into Winning Strategies.

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Josefina Huq

Lifeworld Writing: Creative Experiments in Home Phenomenon.

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Rashmita Bardalai

Emotions through material experiences in design and design research

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Rees Quilford

Trails in the ground: Speculating on the intimate histories of place.

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Rachel Audrey Lamarche Beauchesne  

Discussing the rise of vegan labels and branding in fashion and textiles.

Listen to presentation

Presenter Guide

To help and support the presenters with preparing their presentation, the committee has put together some tips for a successful presentation, the expectation for the presentation length and materials which presenters will need to prepare. Presenters can also choose to participate in a Presenters’ Workshop where additional support will be given as well as the opportunity to ask questions directly to committee members.

Important dates

 Abstract submission   24th July 2020
 Outcome notification   7th August 2020 
 Presenter workshops  11 August and 13 August:11am
 Pre-recorded presentations due  28th August 2020 
 Feedback on video submissions provided  3rd of September 2020
 Final video presentations uploaded  10th of September 2020
 Live symposium panel discussions    14 –18 September 2020 

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 the theory you wish to discuss and then proceed as soon as possible to 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 means that your presentation will impress 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
  • 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 consistant


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. It is highly recommended that presenters look at the 3 Minute Competition RMIT guide (links below). The guide provides an excellent overview of presentation recording best practice and visual examples of how to setup a camera and recording at the home.

Useful links

Canvas studio

Collaborate Ultra information - Highly recommended

Video recording system

Screencasting and webcam

Giving presentations

How to give a killer presentation - Recommended

Great public speaking

3 Minute Thesis Competition

Virtual 3MT competitor guidelines for candidates - Highly recommended

Support materials

Download the presenter PowerPoint guide (PDF 146 KB)

Download Intertext 2020 presentation slide template (PPTX 1.2MB)

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


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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