Ricarda’s research, teaching and design practice is recognised internationally. She is regarded as one of the establishing practitioners in the niche fields of critical and expanded fashion practice after completing a practice-based PhD on this area in 2013.
As the Associate Dean of Fashion and Textiles Design at RMIT (2019 – present), Ricarda oversees the strategic leadership and direction of the discipline, including a comprehensive reimaging of programs as part of a major School-wide new curriculum project. This has involved defining the vision and fundamental elements of fashion and textiles design programs including program structures, specialisations and ways to support diverse knowledge ways of doing, making and performing fashion. Prior to this role Ricarda was Program Manager for the Master of Fashion (Design) and Bachelor of Fashion (Design) (Honours) (2016-18), including founding ‘Advanced Fashion & Textiles Studios’ in 2018, a model of combined delivery of Honours and Masters Fashion and Textiles programs. Bigolin continues to lead capstone courses and dynamic fashion graduate showcases in programs drawing on diverse industry conditions and key shifts in the Discipline to expand the understanding of what fashion designers do. Since this 2018 Ricarda has also led collaboration with Nike Sportswear Australia, finding ways to translate practice research to industry, WIL and employment opportunities for graduates.
Ricarda has led various international research and education collaborations with other highly regarded fashion institutions. This includes ongoing teaching and research projects with the Swedish School of Textiles, the University of Borås since 2013, where Ricarda is a visiting Assistant Professor participating in research projections as part of the Body and Space research program as well as co-convening conferences, examining Masters and PhDs, giving seminars, workshops and teaching. Ricarda also has since 2015 given lectures, studio visits, program accreditation and examinations and is part of the learning community of the MA Critical Fashion Practices, ArtEZ, University of the Arts, Arnhem, the Netherlands. Ricarda is the RMIT leader in the ‘Performing Dress Lab: Materiality, Technology & the Scenographic Body' research in fashion, dress and performance with Aalto University, UAL and RMIT that focuses on research training for PhD students, networking and mentoring for supervisors. Ricarda supervises Masters and PhD students specialising in practice and project-based research, supporting them to develop highly original practice research, hybrid methodologies and international appeal.
Key to Ricarda’s design practice is D&K, a collaborative critical fashion practice producing garments, images, performances, exhibitions, ficto-criticim texts, poems, scripts and films in leading art and design museums, galleries, publications and universities globally. D&K won the prestigious international Han Nefkens Fashion on The Edge Award, in 2014 alongside Iris van Herpen (NL), Craig Green (GB), Digest Design (CN) and Lucia Cuba (PE), a commission and acquisitive prize in partnership with the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, the Netherlands. The practice has been shortlisted for Australian prizes and curated, acquired or commissioned by festivals, museums and libraries worldwide including A Shaded View of Fashion Film: ASVOFF 13 Film Festival, UTS Art Gallery, Amsterdam Warehouse, London College of Fashion, Central Saint Martin’s Special Collections Library, NSW Library, Melbourne Design Week, Melbourne Fashion Festival, Spring 1883, MCA Sydney, OCAT Shanghai, OCAT Shenzhen OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, RMIT Design Hub, RMIT Gallery and various commercial and artist-run initiatives worldwide. The monograph on D&K - D&K LOOK BOOK 2019 published by critical design and art publisher Surpllus in 2019 which was supported with worldwide launches and co-published with an edition of Mode and Mode on D&K's writing practice. Ricarda is regularly invited to present her practice and research in public lectures, chair panels, symposiums, and masterclasses to audiences across fashion, art, design, architecture disciplines worldwide. Key to this is engaging with the wider languages and the everyday significance and performance of fashion across art and design disciplines.