Dr Toni Roberts is a designer, researcher, educator and artist whose work focuses on shaping experiential, spatial and material environments that communicate ideas and values to audiences.Toni is the Program Manager of the Bachelor of Communication Design and supervises postgraduate students in design and related fields, with a particular interest in designing for experience.
In her research and creative practice research Toni specialises in the strategic planning and design of interpretive exhibitions for museums, zoos, and other public contexts. Toni is one of very few researcher-practitioners working in interpretation design. Her PhD (2014) and ongoing research and practice contribute to the theoretical and practical foundations for this emerging profession.
Space, place and human interaction with the environment are central themes in Toni’s public art and exhibition work. Toni has led or been a key participant in numerous projects of significant scale and impact, including: The National Capital Exhibition in Canberra (current), Taronga Zoo Tigers supermarket kiosk, Whittlesea Bushfire Memorial, Royal Australian Mint Factory Viewing Gallery, Werribee Open Range Zoo Arrivals Precinct, and Auckland Zoo’s Te Wao Nui / New Zealand from Sea to Sky precinct. http://www.hatchlingstudio.com.au
Toni has a particular interest in the contribution that environmental humanities and post-humanist theory can make to sustainable futures, and collaborates in experimental research exploring this territory. Toni brings to her role a conviction that sustainability must be a central concern of design education and practice.
Toni is available for honours and postgraduate supervision.
- interpretation design
- designing for experiences
- place-making and site-specific design
- environmental communication through design
- post-humanist, eco-feminist theory
- experience design in digital and physical environments
Member, Non/Fiction Lab
Member, Design and Creative Practice EIP
Member, Social Change EIP
‘Interpretation Design: Building knowledge through practice,’ Swinburne University of Technology, November, 2013.
Toni’s PhD research examines the practice of interpretation design, its foundations, processes and products.
Program Manager, (Bachelor of Design, Communication Design)
Creative Practice Researcher – multiple projects
Studio+ - investigating studio pedagogy research group
E-Ph - environmental post-humanities experimental research group
Flipped PRS – using the PRS model to support ongoing research (closed group)
Urban Nature 2015, 2016, 2017
Site Specific 2016, 2017
Escaping Flatland 2018
Writing in Design Project leader 2016-17
Co-convenor of The Turn event series 2016
Various courses 2013-2015
Available for student consultations Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. Email for an appointment.
Wednesday: off campus research.
- 1989 - Bachelor of Arts, Australian National University
- 1990 - Graduate Diploma of Education, University of Melbourne
- 1993 - Diploma of Workplace Training and Assessment
- 2005 - Diploma of Arts [Product Design] RMIT
- 2013 - Doctor of Philosophy, Faculty of Design, Swinburne University of Technology
Designer / Director, Hatchling Studio (2013-current)
Design and Development Manager, Mothers Art (2006-2010)
Lecturer, Language and Academic Skills, Monash University (5 years)
Industry Training Consultant, Automotive Industry (10 years)
Teacher-Linguist, Areyonga Aboriginal School, NT (1 year)
Museums and Galleries Australia
Design Institute of Australia
Design Research Society
International Council of Museums
Zoo and Aquarium Association
Society of Environmental Graphic Design (US)
National Association of Interpretation (US)
Toni and her collaborators have won numerous public tenders for significant sculptural and interpretive works. Toni continues to work in the field of interpretation design, visitor research, content development, public art and memorials through her company, Hatchling Studio.
Selected practice projects
(more projects are listed under research)
National Capital Exhibition, with Studio Mether: market research, interpretation strategy, design and content development, for the National Capital Authority, Canberra, 2018 (permanent).
ACMI visitor observation staff workshops, with Tania Ivanka. ACMI, 2018.
Taronga Zoo Tigers Supermarket Kiosk User Testing, Taronga Zoo, 2017.
Interpretation and retail design of Werribee Open Range Zoo Entry Precinct, with Motherworks and Haskell Architects, Zoos Victoria, 2013 (permanent).
World Heritage Exhibition Centre interpretation design, with Mothers Art, Mt Tomah Botanic Garden, NSW, 2010 (permanent).
Hatchling Studio: www.hatchlingstudio.com.au
- Roberts, T. (2020). Inklings: Unforgetting our watery bodies In: Using the Visual and Performing Arts to Encourage Pro-Environmental Behaviour, Cambridge Scholars Publisher, Newcastle upon Tyne
- Roberts, T. (2018). National Capital Exhibition interpretive content In: National Capital Exhibition (permanent) Canberra
- Roberts, T.,Eather, S.,Mether, C. (2017). National Capital Exhibition Assessment Report In: Studio Mether for National Capital Authority, Canberra Australia
- Roberts, T.,Mether, C. (2017). NCE Redesign Interpretive Strategy and Curatorial Story In: Studio Mether for the National Capital Authority Melbourne, Australia
- Roberts, T. (2017). Choicemart In: Tiger Trek Sydney, Australia
- Roberts, T. (2016). Market Research: A review of educational tourism relevant to the NCE renewal In: National Capital Authority Melbourne, Australia
- Roberts, T. (2016). Making with Mud and my Mother In: Text Journal Australia
- Roberts, T. (2015). Royal Australian Mint Factory Viewing Gallery strategic planning, content development, touch screen development, text In: ACT Tourism Award Melbourne, Australia
- Roberts, T. (2015). Whittlesea Bushfire Memorial - design and content development In: Whittlesea Bushfire Memorial Whittlesea, Australia
- Roberts, T. (2015). Factors affecting the role of designers in interpretation projects In: Museum Management and Curatorship, 30, 379 - 393
3 PhD Current Supervisions