Dr Matthew Riley is a Senior Lecturer and researcher in the Master of Animation, Games and Interactivity program at RMIT University. His practice and scholarship in speculative and experimental design, art practice and critical forms of play has been recognised internationally in exhibitions, events, symposia and conferences.
Riley examines agency, affect and abstraction of complex and constructed systems, environments and worlds and the interconnected relations between the entities, objects and things within these. He explores this through an array of methods and materials; both digital and otherwise, developing prototypes and drawings to exhibited commissioned works for galleries, events and public spaces. These works often connect digital, physical, social and material elements together as installations, playable artworks, mixed realities, interactive environments and public art and urban / non-urban play projects.
Riley collaborates with leading practitioners, cultural and arts organisations, local governments, social enterprises and research centres. In 2017 he worked with Ryan Reynolds of New Zealand creative urban regeneration initiative Gap Filler, artist gamemaker Dr Troy Innocent and photographer Kate Baker in developing a series of urban play interventions in the outer suburban Melbourne township of Lilydale, the first project of its kind to be staged there. In 2021-22 he co-designed a learning program and series of workshops to create location-based games with First Nations students, developing game literacy through augmenting a bushland with digital worlds. Led by Uyen Nguyen in collaboration with ACMI Education and Bendigo Tech School, the workshops highlighted Dja Dja Wurrung culture in the Bendigo region with the outcomes shared at the Djaara Lights festival. With Uyen Nguyen and Max Piantoni he is a co-founder of the experimental collective YomeciPlay, serving as a creative producer in the conceptualisation, development and design of playful gallery-based and site-specific works. These have been commissioned for national and international venues, organisations and events including Playable City Melbourne, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Experimenta Life Forms and Bunjil Place and disseminated in public symposiums and conferences including DiGRA (Kyoto, 2019), EVA Conference (London, 2020), Audio Mostly (Austria 2022) and Play and Place (Melbourne 2022).
A central leader in the Master of Animation, Games and Interactivity (MAGI), Riley contributes practice-based creative research expertise to MAGI’s distinctive industry-engaged and studio-based program. He has established new collaborative alignments and partnerships that have connected institutional study to studio networks, industry partners and professional bodies, resulting in wider disciplinary, industry and public impact of student practice outside of academia. Riley has been invited to share his approach to creative practice pedagogies in conferences and symposiums including ISEA (Hong Kong) Kajaani University of Applied Sciences (Finland) and Kerr-boo-on-ool: A DSC Reconciliation and Belonging Event at RMIT University.
Riley mentors creative and reflective practice and scholarly research in the Master of Animation, Games and Interactivity program with student outcomes deeply embedded and impactful in wider disciplinary, scholarly, community and professional contexts. These works have been recognised in exhibitions, festivals and conferences including SIGGRAPH, FreePlay Independent Games Festival, Playable City, NGV International Design Week, Melbourne International Animation Festival, Hiroshima International Animation Festival and ARTeFACTo - ARTECH International.
Riley uses playful approaches and pedagogy in learning and teaching to encourage novel concepts and techniques that advance student’s practice in new ways and to foster an active and supportive studio culture and community.
Riley supervises Masters and PhD research and has mentored Honours students in the School of Design.
With the Future Play Lab at RMIT University he explores the opportunities of cities and non-urban settings for community activity and social interaction through play, collaboratively designing projects and interventions for public spaces and events.
He is on the Academic Board of the MIECAT Institute advising on teaching, education and research programs.
- Bachelor of Education (Visual Art) - University of Melbourne
- Advanced Diploma of Electronic Design and Interactive Media - RMIT University
- Graduate Diploma in Animation and Interactive Media - RMIT University
- Master of Creative Media (Animation and Interactive Media) - RMIT University
- Doctor of Philosophy - Swinburne University of Technology
Riley’s design practice, curatorial work and creative producer roles involve extensive interdisciplinary, professional and public engagement with cultural institutions, local government, design sectors, communities, industry bodies, practitioners and researchers.
His research driven and professional practice have been the recipient of awards, commissions and grants from organisations including Creative Victoria, Yarra Ranges Council, Bunjil Place, RMIT University, Swinburne University, Experimenta, Playable City, ACMI, Bunjil Place and the Ngapartji Education Centre.
As the collective YomeciPlay, Uyen Nguyen, Max Piantoni and Riley create experimental playable works for exhibitions, festivals, events and research. Exploring play as a method for encouraging novel modes of interaction with sound through a variety of platforms and media - outdoor street games, machine learning systems, digital soundtoys and playable art machines - this socially-engaged practice has impact for community and civic renewal, public space, social interaction and well-being, urban planning and creative place-making.
Riley’s background is in contemporary art, working as a designer within a team of studio assistants, artisans, technologists and fabricators at the Melbourne-based studio Drome for renowned artists Patricia Piccininii and Peter Hennessey. Working with cultural, educational and arts organisations including the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, The University of Melbourne, Creative Victoria, Australian Interactive Media Industry Association, Chunky Move and Friends of the Earth, Riley’s design,work has featured in HOW Magazine (New York), IdN Magazine (Hong Kong) and Architectural Review Asia Pacific (Melbourne) among others.
Riley’s particular investigation is in contemplative forms of aesthetics and interaction - from slower and ambient modes to more playful engagements - and how they shape interactions with sites and locations. He has examined this experience through both actual and invented environments and ecologies of the ‘natural’ world, his doctoral research connecting two seemingly disparate systems - the naturally occurring system of bushland, with the artificially constructed system of a digital intervention. Creating a new experience of traversing a natural setting through the development of a location-based mixed reality work, Riley’s practice research exploring social-ecological-technical relations has received international significance in developing new spaces and possibilities for creative technologies that respond to the Australian landscape. This research has been published in international conferences including xCoAx (Portugal, 2014), the International Symposium on Electronic Art (United Arab Emirates, 2016) and as a book chapter in The Routledge Companion to Mobile Media Art (2020).
He has disseminated his research in play, art, games and design at conferences, festivals and institutions including The London College of Communication (United Kingdom), The Society for Animation Studies (Melbourne), Digital Interventions (Perth), Freeplay Independent Games Festival (Melbourne), DiGRA (Japan), ISEA (Dubai and Hong Kong), NHK Japanese Broadcasting Corporation (Tokyo), Kajanni University of Applied Sciences (Finland), the Milia Conference (Cannes), EVA London (United Kingdom) and Audio Mostly (Austria).
In 2022 Riley was the successful nominee for The RMIT Award for Research Excellence – ECR (Early Career Researcher) that recognises the RMIT early career researcher who has achieved the highest level of excellence in their research activity for the preceding three years.
- Innocent, T.,Riley, M. (2022). Annual Report from the Lilllydale Alternate Welcoming Society In: Public Art Dialogue, 12, 74 - 90
- Piantoni, M.,Nguyen, U.,Riley, M. (2021). You, Me, Sings In: TarraWarra Museum of Art: 'The Art, Place and Ideas series' Yarra Valley, Australia
- Nguyen, U.,Riley, M.,Tran, T. (2021). YomeciBand In: We Are Where Now? Melbourne, Australia
- Riley, M.,Innocent, T.,Wilken, R. (2020). Re-imagining Bushland Settings Through Location-based AR Mobile Gameplay In: The Routledge Companion to Mobile Media Art, Routledge, United States
- Riley, M.,Nguyen, U.,Nguyen, T.,Piantoni, M. (2020). YomeciLand x Bunjil Place: The Sounding Body as Play In: Proceedings of EVA London 2020 (EVA 2020), London, United Kingdom, 6-9 July 2020
- Nguyen, U.,Piantoni, M.,Riley, M. (2020). You, Me, Things In: Experimenta Life Forms: International Triennial of Media Art Touring Australia (Tasmania, Queensland, South Australia, etc.)
- Riley, M.,Nguyen, U. (2019). YomeciLand: Found Sound as Play In: DiGRA '19 - Abstract proceedings of the 2019 DiGRA International Conference: Game, Play and the emerging Ludo-Mix, Kyoto, Japan, August 6 - 10, 2019
- Nguyen, U.,Riley, M. (2019). YomeciLand In: YomeciLand x Bunjil Place Melbourne, Australia
- Riley, M.,Innocent, T. (2017). Epiphyte In: hillsceneLIVE Melbourne, Australia
- Riley, M.,Reynolds, R.,Innocent, T.,Baker, K. (2017). LIMINAL | Main St West (Welcome to Lilllydale) In: Creative Suburbs Lilydale
2 PhD Current Supervisions and 1 Masters by Research Current Supervisions