Nicola St John is an award-winning researcher and design lecturer. Her research explores cultural perspectives of design and the value of communication design education and enterprise within Aboriginal communities.
In 2019, Nicola was awarded the prestigious Good Design Award for Social Impact for 'Ntaria Design', an innovative communication design enterprise in the remote Aboriginal community of Ntaria (Hermannsburg). It was developed through a grass-roots education program to build capacity and knowledge in communication design for Aboriginal youth.
Partnering with the Hermannsburg Potters, Ntaria School and the Tjuwanpa Outstation Resource Centre, Nicola co-ordinated the 'Old ways-News ways' project funded by the Australian Government in 2018. It focused on emotional wellbeing and small business development by involving senior artists and young adults in storytelling, design, enterprise, and product development workshops. This fostered confidence-building linked to Western Arrarnta identity and community development.
In 2017 Nicola was awarded a Northern Territory Government Youth Engagement Grant. This project focused on working with Western Arrarnta young people to develop Ntaria Design: an Indigenous, student-run micro-enterprise through innovative digitally designed products.
Before joining RMIT Nicola has worked in professional practice for a range of INGO's, non-profits and community organisations. Her focus is on understanding how to communicate and translate values to create visuals and strategies for meaningful impact.
- PhD (Communication Design Research), Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia, 2020
- Masters of Design (Communication Design), Swinburne University of Technology, 2015
- Bachelor of Creative Arts (Graphic Design Major) & Bachelor of Media and Communication (Journalism Major), University of Wollongong, 2010
- St John, N. (2023). From anma (waiting) to marra (feeling good): Ways of designing in Ntaria In: Design Studies, 86, 1 - 25
- St John, N.,Edwards-Vandenhoek, S. (2022). Learning together on Country: reimagining design education in Australia In: Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education: Studies of Migration, Integration, Equity, and Cultural Survival, 16, 87 - 105
- St John, N.,Akama, Y. (2022). Reimagining co-design on Country as a relational and transformational practice In: CoDesign, 18, 16 - 31
- St John, N. (2022). ‘I can put my culture on my t-shirt’: The value of design and enterprise in Ntaria In: The Design Journal, 25, 493 - 515
- St John, N.,Sultan, E. (2022). Solid Lines Exhibition In: Solid Lines Melbourne, Australia
- St John, N.,Sultan, E. (2022). Solid lines: fostering First Nations access, participation, and representation in the design and commercial art industries in Australia In: Creative Victoria & Australia Council for the Arts Melbourne, Australia
- St John, N. (2022). Working together with ‘ilkwatharra’ good feelings: Beyond institutional consent in participatory design. In: Participatory Design Conference 2022: Volume 2, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, 19 August 2022 – 1 September 2022
- St John, N. (2022). Designing on Western Arrarnta Country: The Ntaria Digital Drawings In: Design and Culture, 14, 293 - 313
- St John, N. (2021). Ethical Design in Suicide Prevention In: Melbourne Design Week Melbourne, Australia
- St John, N.,Sultan, E. (2021). Jacky Winter Statement of Commitment In: Victorian Premiers Design Award Melbourne, Victoria
- Intersectional design histories for pluriversal futures. Funded by: Advance HE Grant from (2023 to 2023)
- A Decolonial Design History Educators Network. Funded by: Australian Council of University Art & Design Schools Grant 2018 from (2022 to 2023)
- First Nations Futures in Design and Commercial Art. Funded by: Australia Council for the Arts Research Grant from (2021 to 2023)
- First Nations Futures in Design and Commercial Art. Funded by: Creative Victoria, VicArts Grant from (2021 to 2023)
2 PhD Current Supervisions