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Staff Profile


Career Summary


I went to art school to explore an irrepressible instinct to explain the world visually. I studied graphic design because I wanted to help change that world for the better. Design and visual communication provides solutions to problems, promotes clarity of thinking and encourages creative ideas. In this way we are developing the human capacity to meet the challenges of our future. The chance to influence how people in any society think and behave, even for a brief moment, is a positive intervention in a world that is increasingly concerned with mindless celebrity, consumerism and self-interest. We have to strive to make life better and not merely make ourselves financially richer. My current role at the University of Newcastle is to lead my highly professional team of design staff to deliver world class research and the best student experience in order to prepare our graduates for their chosen careers.


  • PhD, Loughborough University - UK, 17/12/2012
  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours), Leicester Polytechnic - England, 18/06/1986


Research keywords

  • Co-Design
  • Critical thinking
  • Design thinking
  • Designing for Gamification,applying game-design thinking to non-game applications
  • Designing for behaviour change through New Media
  • Drawing and visualisation
  • Knowledge Transfer
  • Practice based action research and phenomenology
  • Wayfinding

Research expertise

As a Professor at the University of Newcastle it is my personal responsibility to be an engaging and eloquent advocate for the core values of my discipline at both national and international forums. I am particularly focused on the role of design research and development in relation to climate change, economic betterment and human behaviour. I am also committed to developing a better understanding of the role of drawing as both a language for art and design practice, and as a means of thinking and researching social and personal issues. Examples of the application of this kind of thinking can be seen in the project with Birmingham Children’s Hospital conducted with Professor D Kelly and her team and in the recent Ikon Lunar debates. The purpose of my work is to remediate experience and ideas allowing the viewer to think beyond their normal confines. The activities within visual communication as a discipline have to have social agency as well as economic impact.

While my research activities have developed from my practice as an artist and designer. I believe that design as a means of thinking can be universally applied and that it traverses all disciplines within a University – that at its core it captures the interdisciplinary ethos of my school and attracts many international partners and friends.

Therefore my work in this field is intended to be an authoritative source of reference, instruction and critical thinking, while remaining politically provocative and intellectually disruptive.

This approach has allowed me to make a significant contribution to the discipline of art and design. Which has been achieved through practice based research resulting in academic papers, international conferences, as well as exhibitions, publications and media broadcasts.

Fields of Research

120307Visual Communication Design (Incl. Graphic Design)100


Body relevant to professional practice.

  • Fellow - Birmingham Children's Hospital visiting Professor in Design communication
  • Member - Vroom Lab Association of Illustrator UK

Committee/Associations (relevant to research).

  • Lunar Society Executive Committee
  • Common Ground International Arts and Design Conferences Executive
  • Fellow - DeMonfort University Visiting Professor in Design

Editorial Board.

  • Editor - Common Ground Publishing
  • Editor - Arts in Society

National & International Standards Committees.

  • Member - The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (UK)


Research Fellow
University of Sydney (Australia)
01/07/2007 - 01/07/2010


Thinking Through Drawing: In STEAM
London College of the Arts , United Kingdom (Invited Presenter)
Drawing as Visual Communication
6th UNIDCOM/IADE International Conference, Portugal (Invited Presenter)
Shadow Play: Alchemy, Redolence and Enchantment
University of Wales, United Kingdom (Invited Presenter)
Employability conference
Birmingham City University and Regional Universities Group , United Kingdom (Invited Presenter)
The Future World
The Lunar Society , United Kingdom (Invited Presenter)
Making Design That Sells
The Second International Conference on Design Principles and Practices, United States (Key Speaker)
Master of the Universe
Royal College of Art, United Kingdom (Invited Presenter)
'War and Conflict' The Annual Debate
Northampton University, United Kingdom (Invited Presenter)
Informed consent and the role of visual materials
Birmingham Children’s hospital, United Kingdom (Invited Presenter)


My approach: Visual Communication Design is an agent of change (1); it’s true impact on human behaviour can be revealed using a range of practice based and lead qualitative and quantitative analytical methods. In undertaking this kind of research I wish to reveal new insights that would enable us to advance the understanding of design from the perspective of social responsibility and business efficiency. In investigating visual communication design as an innovative and creative practice it is possible to quantify its potential to transform societies and enhance human well-being. Inspired by Victor Papanek’s critical and cross-cultural approach to design culture, this inclusive approach to design challenges the purely commercial imperative of product culture. As designer and educator Victor Papanek stated, ‘the only important thing about design is how it relates to people’

I work with Prof Kelly and the clinical team where I am visiting Professor in Design at Birmingham Children’s Hospital UK, this started in 2008 when I helped to develop the first design interventions to ensure informed consent for very young children facing large scale surgery. I have published a number of peer reviewed papers in this new field.

In the UK I have been award two ARB/C grants - As academic director at Loughborough I set up and helped gain funding from the EC for the Animation academy and the online drawing journal 'Tracy'. As Head of School at BIAD BCU I lead the applications for funding and research for practice lead and based research projects with industry through the Knowledge Transfer Partnership scheme. BIAD become the leader in KTP applications over my period as HOS. This work resulted in the 'Birmingham made me' standing conference with British manufacturing industry

In summary: my research approach has been to investigate Visual communication in:

• Examining the mechanisms underlying human vision and visual language-and the impact on individuals learning abilities

• Studying the cultural evolution of visual languages under the influence of cognitive constraints

• Investigating through design the human ability to cooperate with one another

• Probing the psychological design and visual communications mechanisms underlying disorders related to body image

• Developing art and graphics in environments as part of recovery and pre-medical preparations.

• Understanding how different behavioural norms emerge in different social contexts where some aspect of visual communication, such as advertising and life style communication has constructed the social environment.

• Understanding the impact of practice and the repositioning of Art and Design into wider social and intellectual paradigms.

• Developing symmetry in Visual Communication Design

• The application of cutting edge design and information technology to disrupt anti social groups (child exploitation, abuse of women, racism and conflict management).

• Reportage and art as director journalism with political intent:

Art of conflict


Administrative expertise

  • Head of School (Birmingham City Uni UK)
  • Academic Director (Loughborough University UK)
  • Member of University Governing body (Academic Director University School of Art & Design Loughborough University )
  • Research review board (Common Ground Publishing)
  • Quality assurance in HE learning and teaching (Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education UK)


Teaching keywords

  • Visual Communication Design


For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

Click on a category title below to expand the list of citations for that specific category.

Book (3 outputs)

2003Minichiello MA, Minichiello L, Klimowski A, Willis J, The art of conflict Afghanistan, European Illustration Gallery, Hull, United Kingdom, 30 (2003) [A1]
1999Minichiello MA, Rhodes C, Mario Minichiello : drawing and prints 1996-1999, Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom, 26 (1999) [A1]
1999McLean P, Minichiello MA, Morris D, Peter McLean : drawings, Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom (1999) [A1]

Chapter (6 outputs)

2015Minichiello MA, 'We support business start-ups', Graphic desin for the curious: Why study graphic design?, The Curious Academic Publishing, - --- (2015)
2014Minichiello MA, 'My arguments with the world', Recto Verso: Redefining the Sketchbook, Ashgate, Farnham, Surrey 177-189 (2014) [B1]
2014Minichiello MA, 'Reportage', Sketch Your World, Apple Press, London,UK 132-136 (2014)
2012Anelli L, Minichiello MA, 'Why do designers draw?', Design and Designing: A Critical Introduction, Berg Publishers, New York 82-96 (2012) [B1]
2006Minichiello MA, 'Narrative Drawing', Fundamentals of Animation, AVA Publishing, Lausanne, Switzerland 26-27 (2006) [B1]
2006Minichiello MA, 'Art', World fascism : a historical encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara, United States 58-60 (2006) [B1]
Show 3 more

Journal article (13 outputs)

2015Minichiello MA, Gale C, 'Beauty, Emotion, and Globalization: How Images Came to be Ruled by Words', International Journal of Arts Theory and History, 10 7-17 (2015)
2014Minichiello MA, Anelli L, Kelly D, 'Drawing to aid recovery and survival', Tracey Special Issue: Drawing in STEAM, 1-15 (2014) [C1]
2012Minichiello MA, 'Political illustration and propaganda in a mass mediated world', VaroomLab, 71-94 (2012) [C1]
2012Minichiello MA, 'Drawing as a means of stimulating memory and aiding recovery', The International Journal of the Image, 2 179-193 (2012) [C1]
2009Minichiello MA, 'I fought the law and the draw won', Varoom: the journal of illustration and made image, Dec 09 70-71 (2009) [C2]
2007Minichiello MA, Minichiello L, 'The Changing Faces of Typographic Fonts', The International Journal of the Arts in Society, 2 65-72 (2007) [C1]
2006Selby A, Minichiello MA, 'Animation Workshops: eLearning for Animation Studies', International Journal of Knowledge Culture and Change Management, 6 171-180 (2006) [C1]
2006Minichiello MA, 'Human Rights, Diversity and Social Justice? Sure, But Only if it Sells!', International Journal of Diversity in Organisations Communities and Nations, 6 49-56 (2006) [C1]
2006Minichiello MA, 'The Art of Conflict (Making Art about Ourselves).', The International Journal of the Arts in Society, 1 141-162 (2006) [C1]
2005Minichiello MA, Selby A, 'Developing Independent Learning Styles', The International Journal of Learning, 12 267-280 (2005) [C1]
2005Minichiello MA, 'Head, Heart and Hand: Narrative Drawing is the First Language of the World', International Journal of Diversity in Organisations Communities and Nations, 5 23-52 (2005) [C1]
2002Minichiello MA, ''and then they left...' From Students To Professionals', Association of Illustrators. Journal, 2002/2003 (2002) [C1]
2002Minichiello MA, 'The Practice Of Drawing', Association of Illustrators. Journal, 2002/2003 (2002) [C2]
Show 10 more

Conference (7 outputs)

2014Simon, Cook B, Minichiello M, Lawrence C, 'Academic integrity: differences between design assessments and essays', Proceedings of DRS 2014: Design¿s Big Debates, Umeå, Sweden (2014) [E1]

Co-authors: SIMON

2014Simon, Cook B, Sheard J, Carbone A, Johnson C, Lawrence C, Minichiello M, 'How well do academic integrity policies and procedures apply to non-text assessments?', Proceedings of the 6th International Integrity and Plagiarism Conference, Gateshead, UK (2014) [E1]

Co-authors: SIMON

2012Minichiello MA, 'On drawing in mass media contexts', Conference Proceedings: Design Research Society 2012: Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand (2012) [E1]
2012Minichiello MA, 'Drawing for visual communication', Design Research Society (DRS) 2012, Bangkok (2012) [E3]
2011Minichiello MA, 'My arguments with the world', RECTO - VERSO - Redefining the Sketchbook Conference Proceedings, Lincoln University (2011) [E3]
2005Minichiello MA, 'The language of type and image in newsprint', Temporary Type: Proceedings of the Fourth annual Friends of St Bride Library conference, St Brides Museum of Type, London (2005) [E2]
2004Minichiello MA, 'The Art of Conflict Afghanistan: Things Unseen and the End of the World as we know it', International Journal of Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations, California, LA (2004) [E1]
Show 4 more

Creative Work (16 outputs)

2014Minichiello MA, The Sleep of Reason, Royal West of England Academy, Bristol, UK (2014)
2013Minichiello MA, minichiello M, Reportage, London (2013) [J3]
2013Minichiello MA, Brazell D, Davies J, Becoming a Successful Illustrator, London (2013) [J3]
2012Minichiello MA, My War Northern Stories, UK (2012)
2010Minichiello MA, Gough [Curator] P, 'Vortex': official war artists, Website, Bristol, United Kingdom (2010) [J2]
2007Bartle R, Bennett T, Crowe N, Cowie N, Dejardin R, Dowling J, et al., Conflict, Scunthorpe, United Kingdom (2007) [J1]
2006Minichiello MA, Hardlines, Leicester, United Kingdom (2006) [J1]
2005Minichiello MA, Spicer [Curator] G, 'ILL-US-TRA-SHUN' the art of contemporary illustration, Leicester, United Kingdom (2005) [J1]
2003Minichiello MA, 'The Art of Conflict', Hull, United Kingdom (2003) [J1]
2001Minichiello MA, Minichiello's Sex, Lies and Drawings, London, United Kingdom (2001) [J1]
2001Minichiello MA, Bell S, Gerrell S, Mario Minichiello, Steve Bell and Spike Gerrell, Suffolk, United Kingdom (2001) [J1]
2000Minichiello MA, Mario Minichiello:commissions, personal journals, reportage, Hull, United Kingdom (2000) [J1]
1999Minichiello MA, Visual Language, Leicester, United Kingdom (1999) [J1]
1999Minichiello MA, Read in Truth and Claw: The Guardian Newspaper Gallery Folio Show, London, United Kingdom (1999) [J1]
1995Minichiello MA, Festival of Illustration, Suffolk, United Kingdom (1995) [J1]
1993Minichiello MA, Printmaker's Council, London, United Kingdom (1993) [J1]
Show 13 more

Grants and Funding


Number of grants4
Total funding$493,430

- Indicates that the researcher may be seeking students for this project.

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.

2014 (1 grants)

Matters directly relating to crucial networking associated with the planned EU grant application.$20,000
Funding Body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Science & IT

Project Team
Professor Mario Minichiello
Strategic Initiative Research Fund (SIRF)Chief Investigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish

2013 (2 grants)

City Evolutions Project - Watt Street$262,430
Funding Body: Newcastle City Council

Project Team
Mr Chris Tucker, Professor Mark Balnaves, Doctor Ning Gu, Mr Ramsey Awad, Professor Mario Minichiello, Associate Professor Stephan Chalup, Doctor Keith Nesbitt
Research GrantInvestigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish

Digital Public Space: new architectures and finance models for public service media$10,000
Funding Body: University of Newcastle

Project Team
Professor Mark Balnaves, Professor Mario Minichiello
Linkage Pilot Research GrantInvestigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish

2012 (1 grants)

Plagiarism and related issues in assessments not involving text$201,000
Funding Body: Office for Learning and Teaching

Project Team
Mr .. Simon, Professor Mario Minichiello, Mr Roger Quinn, Mr Chris Lawrence
Commissioned Strategic ProjectsInvestigator
Total AmountFunding StartFunding Finish

Research Supervision

Number of current supervisions6
Total current UoN Masters EFTSL0.3
Total current UoN PhD EFTSL1.7

For supervisions undertaken at an institution other that the University of Newcastle, the institution name is listed below the program name.

Current Supervision

ProgramSupervisor TypeResearch Title
20152023PhD (Design)Co-SupervisorThe Investigation of Narrative Visualisation in Data Journalism from a Visual Communication Perspective
20152017PhD (Design)Co-SupervisorHabitus and Creative Practice: Cultural Context of the Designer
20152018PhD (Design)Principal SupervisorDefining the Aesthetic of the Successful Ultra-Low Budget Feature Film
20142019PhD (Theology)Co-Supervisor'Pansies', Patriarchy and Pre-Millennialism: Exposing the Aesthetics of Hyper-Masculine Christianity to the Light of Infinite Beauty
20102017PhD (Comm & Media Arts)Co-SupervisorThe Odes of Nature: Exploring the Cognitive and Botanical Images in Response to the Book of Songs (Shi Jing)
20092014M Philosophy (Design)Principal SupervisorHand-Rendering in Contemporary Visual Communication

Professor Mario Minichiello

Work Phone(02) 4921 5428
Cell / Mobile Phone0400541594
School of Design Communication and IT
Faculty of Science and Information Technology
The University of Newcastle, Australia
Design Building,
University Drive
Callaghan NSW 2308