Research

At the School of Creative Arts, our research aims to promote creative arts practice within real world environments. We work across discipline boundaries to establish new creative paradigms at the frontier of practice-led research.

Our research interests broadly identify with the unique qualities, strengths and opportunities of our Tasmanian island context. We are passionate about engaging with Tasmania’s diverse economic, social and environmental challenges through interdisciplinary, collaborative and socially aware research – as significant to Tasmanian-based agendas as it is to world-class innovation.

At the core of our research approach is practice, creativity and connectivity. Through these frameworks we are committed to making deep and lasting relationships with our community and industry-based partners.

Current projects

The Derwent Project is a collaboration between artists David Stephenson and Martin Walch. The Derwent Project is about creating new ways to visualise the complex natural and cultural history of Tasmania’s Derwent River system. This vast and often inaccessible environment includes Aboriginal and colonial heritage alongside ten hydroelectric developments.

Its multiple layers of space and time present new opportunities to synthesise artistic and scientific paradigms of representation by drawing on geography, history, and archaeology. The outcome will be innovative forms of immersive time-based digital imaging that reveal hidden layers of environmental information to both specialist and general audiences.

Discover more about The Derwent Project.

TCotA Researchers:
Associate Professor David Stephenson: Adjunct Associate Professor
Dr Martin Walch: Head of Studio (Photography)

The Triabunna Spring Bay Mill site and community is in a post-industrial and political limbo. The community itself is caught between poetics and pragmatics, between the well-meaning ideas and agencies of external forces – philanthropists, politicians, academics, artists – and the legacy of a once 'secure' future framed by an unsustainable, anachronistic, industry.

Given the complexity of the context our research program is designed to foster collaboration amongst key players that include community members. It is geared to developing new ways of envisioning the locale and the community itself, honouring the precedent and history that has shaped the landscape and the people whilst shifting capacity and understanding of potential.

Tasmanian College of the Arts Researchers:
Kit Wise: Director & Head of School
John Vella: Head of Discipline (Art)
Lucy Bleach: Head of Studio (Sculpture)

Partners:
Monash University, Spring Bay Mill, Spring Bay Museum, Tasmanian College of the Arts (University of Tasmania), School of Architecture & Design (University of Tasmania), Glamorgan Spring Bay Council.

In 2013, MONA launched the River Derwent Heavy Metals Project; an ongoing art-science collaboration developing long term remediation strategies to improve the Derwent river's health, positively affecting community ownership and engagement with the river.

Academics from the Tasmanian College of the Arts have exhibited CRYMEARIVER at MONA as part of the project. Domestic and industrial documents associated with water were sourced, artefacts siphoned from local river sites, and a collaboration with estuarine and freshwater scientists examined processes of bioaccumulation and sediment stabilisation. In combination, these determine actual and hypothetical propositions for healing the Derwent's heavy metal contamination.

Tasmanian College of the Arts Researchers:
Lucy Bleach: Head of Studio (Sculpture)
John Vella: Head of Discipline (Art)

Partners:
MONA, Monash University, Hobart City Council, Derwent Estuary Program, CSIRO, Tasmanian College of the Arts (University of Tasmania), IMAS (University of Tasmania), School of Architecture & Design (University of Tasmania), Centre for the Environment (CforE), Creative Exchange Institute (CxI).

This research project examines the implications of new and emerging biotechnologies through speculative arts practice across tissue engineering, synthetic biology, robotics and artificial intelligence.

Initiated in 2015 through a Creative Sparks grant from the Brisbane City Council, the research engages with new approaches to biofabrication – the use of additive manufacturing processes in the development of biological products – and involves the continued refinement of an interactive bioreactor capable of sustaining 3D printed sculptures incorporating living human cells.

Linked to range of public outputs including exhibitions, seminars and workshops, this research aims to promote dialogue regarding the ethical, legal and creative potentials of new technologies.

Tasmanian College of the Arts Researchers:
Dr Svenja Kratz: Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Creative Practice

Partners:
This research encompasses the BioSynthetic Systems project developed in partnership with the Regenerative Medicine Group (Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation), Tasmanian College of the Arts (University of Tasmania) and the Creative Industries Interactive Visual Design Discipline (Queensland University of Technology).

Research Degrees

The University of Tasmania was the first to offer studio-based art PhDs and Masters degrees by research and has a reputation as one of the premier research training institutions. A strong research degree culture attracts significant scholarship support and high-quality national and international candidates, guided by regular supervisor contact, research methods training, weekly critiques and twice-yearly research symposia.

To discuss our research program further, please contact our Research Coordinator Dr Meg Keating.

To find out about application procedures, entry requirements, and scholarships, please visit the Research Degrees web page.

Affiliated research institutes