Staff Profile


Career Summary




After completing a double degree in science and teaching, I explored my passion for NHI through Honours at the University of Newcastle. Soon after I ventured to the Ruwenzori Mountains of Uganda living with the Buconzo people, teaching secondary Biology and Chemistry, facilitating youth programs, as well as staff and school development at Mitandi secondary school and sister schools in the region. Whilst there I had the opportunity to study the flight behaviours of the abundant and varied bird species, which inspired my PhD research. This led to the development of a species-specific bird model for illustration practice.  Whilst completing my PhD I lectured as a sessional academic in Field Studies in the NHI degree and am now fulltime Technical Officer for the Design and NHI programs supporting academic staff in teaching delivery and research, RHD student research, and undergraduates for both Vis. Com. Design and NHI.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Newcastle, 17/07/2014
  • Bachelor of Natural History Illustration (Honours), University of Newcastle, 09/12/2005


Research keywords

  • Practice-based research
  • Schematic frameworks for knowledge management in NHI research-practice
  • Tacit knowledge
  • Trans-disciplinary methodology

Research expertise

I am fascinated by the solution-based focus of practice-based research in the field of NHI, and the new knowledge that arises from inherent innovative and creative explorations demanded by an outcome based inquiry. Particularly challenging is capturing the tacit component of the knowledge contribution. In my research I have employed schematic frameworks to identify the flow of knowledge in process, and to link the making of artifacts with methods of inquiry. In my own doctoral research I have designed, created and applied a species-specific articulating bird model to understand and reconstruct reference for drawing specific flight events in the Australian White-bellied Sea-Eagle. This has further led to an interest in the discussion of embedded knowledge, knowledge contribution, and innovation by creative practitioners in collaborative research projects, where there is an exchange of knowledge between creative and scientific disciplines to resolve complex problems.

Fields of Research

190599Visual Arts And Crafts Not Elsewhere Classified60
120399Design Practice And Management Not Elsewhere Classified30
120307Visual Communication Design (Incl. Graphic Design)10



2004Margaret Senior Award
The University of Newcastle (Australia)
Margaret Senior Award for Wildlife Illustration $1000
1998Life time member to the Golden Key Society
Golden Key Society (Australia)
1998 Invited to Golden Key Society for performing academically in the top 15% of the University for the year. James Cook University Townsville

Research Award.

2011Australian Post Graduate Award
The University of Newcastle (Australia)


I am currently a contributing member of the Natural History Illustration Research Group (NHIRG), as part of the Hunter Creative Industries and Technology Centre (HCIT), The University of Newcastle.


Administrative expertise

Collection Manager for the NHI Fauna Collection

Store Manager for Illustration materials, media and equipment

Specialised content delivery and technical demonstrator in NHI practice

Exhibition curator for Design building

Health and Safety Repesentative for Design discipline assessing and advising both undergraduate and postgraduate activities

Health and Safety for Design building work space

Field Officer for NHI

First Aid Officer Design

Emergency Warden Design building


Teaching keywords

  • Field studies
  • Scientific techniques in illustration practice

Teaching expertise

2011-2012 Lecturing 2nd Year Natural History Illustration: Field Studies 3 & 4

2010-2011 Teaching EPARTS 190 Introduction to Design Drawing

2009-2010 Tutoring 3rd year Natural History Illustration: Margaret Senior Award and Major Internal Project



No publications.


Grants and Funding

No funding.


Research Supervision

Number of current supervisions0

No Supervisions.


Dr Daniel Atkins

Work Phone(02) 4921 6250
PositionTechnical Officer
School of Design Communication and IT
Faculty of Science and Information Technology
The University of Newcastle, Australia
Focus AreaDesign and Natural History Illustration
University Drive
Callaghan NSW 2308