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Career Summary

Biography

Graduating with a degree in visuals art, majoring in photography because he couldn't draw for diddley squat, Mark quickly realised that the life of an exhibiting artist was one of low recognition and lower income. Pounding the pavement for 6 months, hawking his folio to all and sundry, resulted in Mark receiving his first commission for the Good Weekend magazine. From there it was a fast rise to the dizzying heights of freelance photo image making in the world of editorial publication. His client list read like a who's of who of the publishing world: Rolling Stone, HQ, Juice, Harper Collins, Time, Allen and Unwin, the list goes on. Burnt out by the jet set lifestyle of the rich and famous after 4 years at the top, Mark sought refuge in the hallowed halls of academe where a life of the mind beckoned. Sadly he found a life of unending admin awaited, the boredom of which was relieved only by the joys of teaching and the occasional glimpse of research. Joining the illustrious Viscom program at UTS in 2000 he quickly organised a coup and installed himself as Director of Program, Viscom, in 2001. He was finally pried loose from the job in late 2005 and has become a valued member of the academic furniture since. Eschewing all management ambition he has finally begun to realise his dream of a life of the mind. He has managed to publish a growing body of papers on design and photography, almost finished his doctorate, and rediscovered his creative joy in photography and making music.

Most recently he was poached by the canny crew at the University of Newcastle, where much to his surprise he was given the gig of Associate Professor of Design - seems like his research wasn't as marginal as he thought. He quickly established the Fun Team and decked out his office like a 70s bachelor pad.

Stay tuned for more thrilling instalments of the Life of Mark...

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Canberra, 25/09/2013
  • Bachelor of Arts, Sydney College of Advanced Education, 31/05/1988
  • Master of Arts (Communication and Cultural Studies, University of Western Sydney, 29/09/1999
  • Graduate Diploma of Arts in Visual Arts, New South Wales Institute of the Arts, 18/12/1989

Research

Research keywords

  • Abstraction (visual and conceptual)
  • Design history / theory
  • Design research
  • Photography
  • Visual communication
  • Visualisation

Research expertise

I’ve been mucking around with design research methods for the best part of 20 years. Quite a bit of this has been premised on:

• Exploring the idea of user experience

• Aspects of what has become known as co-design

• Observational techniques

• Photography

• Using abstraction, as an intellectual and methodological framework, set against and playing off the dominant realist paradigm of much design research.

My research has led me to the conclusion that visual communication is THE meta-design discipline - not architecture as architects like to believe - as it is the common vehicle that all design disciplines work through. Consequently my recent work has explored visual communication as both a research method and a vehicle for visualising complex qualitative information - as opposed to the more common practice of visualising quantitative information – with a view to transforming that into propositions of what-might-be. Most recently I have done this in collaboration with the Customer Experience team at Westpac.

I have developed the concept of the aesthetics of research. This frames research as an embodied aesthetic activity that regards reality as fundamentally malleable, rather than something to be observed and reported on. As such our research methods need to be creative acts rather than an objective devices. As a result I take out focus photos (I should have been in the 2010 Biennale not that bloke from Finland).

I don’t think design solves problems. I loathe that paradigm as it is premised on the logic of progress. Design isn’t progress. Design is change. Design creates as many problems as it solves. Sometimes design improves things, sometimes not. The hardest thing to do in design is nothing. Sometimes this would be best but design is inevitable.

Design is nothing special. We all design. Design is the new evolution. Therefor I’m interested in design thinking but I don’t think much of hype around the term, for all humans do it. Whether they do it well or with any sense of self-awareness or reflection is another matter entirely. I’m suspicious that business has jumped on the design thinking and innovation bandwagons. They are the new black.

I like people. I like watching them and talking to them. They are curious beings. I am quite insightful into human behaviour and motivation as well as social trends. I pick up all this stuff from getting my students to research stuff I'm interested in, on the pretext they might learn something about design. I think they usually do. I always learn something about design and people in doing this. ??

I'm also a post-semiotician (not in the John Stewart sense but as in ‘just so over it’). I have coined the term post-definition to indicate that I am also over that peculiarly late 20th century pre-occupation with meaning. This is also why I am interested in developing an existential phenomenological theory of photography, the topic of my PhD thesis.

I think detailed analysis as an intellectual activity has the potential to become redundant, if not impossible, because of the ever-increasing amount of data we are generating. My take on this is that if it becomes almost impossible to pull things apart into their constituent bits then we are better off looking to synthesis as the way forward. This has driven my interest in abstraction and the aesthetics of research.

It is also why I am interested in generalisations and stereotypes - after all isn't that what design personas are???

I like being contrary and doing stuff that seems irrelevant. If everyone is doing something then I'm suspicious of it. I'm ambivalent about technology, though I use it. Sometimes being a Luddite for the sake of it is fun. ??

I suspect most people think my work marginal at best. That's ok by me but I think it might be better than they think.

Fields of Research

CodeDescriptionPercentage
120301Design History And Theory40
120302Design Innovation40
120307Visual Communication Design (Incl. Graphic Design)20

Awards

Highly Commended

2012Work Integrated Learning
University of Newcastle (Australia)
I organised Brooke Hall to conduct her honours research project with Westpac's Customer Experience (CX) Team 3 days per week in Sydney. This involved setting up the relationship with the CX Team, establishing the academic, legal and ethical parameters of the relationship and overseeing Brooke's engagement with them. Brooke won the Faculty of Science and Information Technology's Work Integrated Learning (WIL) Student of the Year Award and was Highly Commended in the WIL Video category

Invitations

Politechnico di Milano - School of Design
Politechnico di Milano, Italy (Visiting Professor)
2013
Victorian DET Higher Education Provider Registration Assessment Panel.
Victorian DET Higher Education Provider Registration Assessment Panel., Australia (External Reviewer - Departments.)
2006
Victorian DET Higher Education Provider Course Accreditation Panel.
Victorian DET Higher Education Provider Course Accreditation Panel., Australia (External Reviewer - Programs.)
2006
Victorian DET Higher Education Provider Course Accreditation Panel.
Victorian DET Higher Education Provider Course Accreditation Panel., Australia (External Reviewer - Programs.)
2005
Victorian DET Higher Education Provider Registration Assessment Panel.
Victorian DET Higher Education Provider Registration Assessment Panel., Australia (External Reviewer - Departments.)
2005
NSW DET Higher Education Provider Accreditation Panel
NSW DET Higher Education Provider Accreditation Panel , Australia (External Reviewer - Programs.)
2005
NSW DET Higher Education Provider Assessment Panel
NSW DET Higher Education Provider Assessment Panel , Australia (External Reviewer - Departments.)
2005
KVB Course Advisory Committee
KVB College, Australia (External Reviewer - Programs.)
2003
Wesley Institute Design Degree Review Committee
Wesley Institute, Australia (External Reviewer - Programs.)
2003
ACT Accreditation & Registration Council Committee Member
ACT Accreditation & Registration Council Committee, Australia (External Reviewer - Programs.)
2003
Chair TAFE Re-accreditation of Design Programs
TAFE NSW, Australia (Chair, External Review Panel - Programs.)
2002
External Review Panel Cet IV & Diploma of Photography
KVB, Australia (External Reviewer - Programs.)
2002
External Review Panel Diploma of Design and Illustration Skills
NSW TAFE, Australia (External Reviewer - Programs.)
2001
Steering Committee, Graduate Diploma Applied Design
NSW TAFE, Australia (External Reviewer - Programs.)
2001

Collaboration

As I've been beavering away on my PhD for quite a few years now I've avoided most research collaboration like the plague. A few neat collaborations that I did allow myself to get involved in were:

2011 13 Songs for the Rodeo Grrls

I sang on and produced this long playing record with a bunch of reprobates called Decline of the Reptiles. It rocks. In producing this record I explored concept mapping as a tool for creating the final sound.

2010 Light Relief (Part II)

I set essay questions for some of the worlds top design and philosophical academics around the topic of my research. These essays formed the content of this book and I learnt a lot about my research topic. Some of the people I worked with on this were Professor Ranulph Glanville, Professor Craig Bremner, Professor Roslyn Diprose.

2006 Work / Play: 30 Years of Visual Communication at UTS

I curated this highly successful exhibition with Dr Kate Sweetapple. We asked 30 top visual communication designers to interrogate their design process.

Administrative

Administrative expertise

Yikes! Administration. I hope I never have to go there again. What I have done includes:

2001 - 05 Director of Program, Visual Communications, University of Technology Sydney

2000 - 05 Co-ordinator of Photomedia, Visual Communication, University of Technology Sydney

1993 – 99 Lecturer in Photomedia, School of Design, University of Western Sydney

1998 - 99 Offshore Course Co-ordinator, School of Design, University of Western Sydney

1994 – 96 Co-ordinator of Photomedia, School of Design, University of Western Sydney

1997 BDes(Viscom) course co-ordinator, Department of Design Studies, University of Western Sydney

1997 Acting Head, Department of Design Studies, University of Western Sydney

These roles have encompassed the usual stuff like

• managing the workloads of up to 10 full-time staff and more sessional staff than you can poke a stick at

• overseeing degree programs with up 360 fulltime students

• actually making courses better and more fun for staff and students

• being responsible for a discretionary budget of about $1,000,000 per annum for an all too brief 4 year golden era

• but typically listening to colleagues whine about workloads and ever diminishing resources

• avoiding the pointless tsunami like wave of compliance stuff governments require of universities for the piddling funding

Teaching

Teaching keywords

  • Design history / theory
  • Design research
  • Photography
  • Visual communication

Teaching expertise

I don't teach anything. However I'm pretty good at helping people to work out how to learn for themselves. I guess you could say that my students have the teaching expertise because learn a lot from them. Some of the things I've learned from them in my 17 years of scholarly endeavour are:

Design research

Design theory

Visualisation of qualitative information

Aesthetics of research

Photography

Conversational skills

Good manners

How to be blunt but polite at the same time

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Highlighted Publications

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

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2010Roxburgh MWD, 'Photography and the Design Imperative', Light Relief (Part II), DAB DOCS, Sydney, Australia 7-16 (2010) [B2]
2005Roxburgh MWD, 'Seeing and Seeing Through the Crisis of the Artificial', ¿DESIGNsystemEVOLUTION¿ European Academy of Design Conference Proceedings, Bremen (2005) [E1]
2008Roxburgh MWD, Slow Moving Landscapes, Sydney, Australia (2008) [J1]
2007Roxburgh MWD, Light Relief (Part 1), Sydney, Australia (2007) [J1]
2011Roxburgh MWD, The (F)utility of Design: Vision and the Crisis of the Artificial, Sydney, Australia (2011) [J1]
2010Coulter DA, Roxburgh MWD, 13 Songs for the Rodeo Grrls, Sydney, NSW / Australia (2010) [J1]
2008Roxburgh MWD, 'The Reprediction of the Self: Digital Photography, Serendipity and the Mirror to the Future in Thomas', Photo / Not Photo, University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia 19-27 (2008) [B2]
2006Roxburgh MWD, 'The Utility of Design Vision and the Crisis of the Artificial', Design Studies: Theory and Research in Graphic Design, Princeton Architectural Press, New York City, New York, United States of America 147-157 (2006) [B1]
2010Roxburgh MWD, Light Relief (Part II), DAB DOCS, Sydney, Australia, 95 (2010) [A3]
2010Roxburgh M, 'DESIGN AND THE AESTHETICS OF RESEARCH', VISUAL COMMUNICATION, 9 425-439 (2010) [C1]
2006Roxburgh MWD, Sweetapple K, Work/Play 30 Years of Visual Communication, Sydney, Australia (2006) [J1]

Publications

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 (1 outputs)

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2010Roxburgh MWD, Light Relief (Part II), DAB DOCS, Sydney, Australia, 95 (2010) [A3]

Chapter (4 outputs)

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2010Roxburgh MWD, 'Photography and the Design Imperative', Light Relief (Part II), DAB DOCS, Sydney, Australia 7-16 (2010) [B2]
2008Roxburgh MWD, 'The Reprediction of the Self: Digital Photography, Serendipity and the Mirror to the Future in Thomas', Photo / Not Photo, University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia 19-27 (2008) [B2]
2006Roxburgh MWD, 'The Utility of Design Vision and the Crisis of the Artificial', Design Studies: Theory and Research in Graphic Design, Princeton Architectural Press, New York City, New York, United States of America 147-157 (2006) [B1]
1993Roxburgh MWD, 'Light Sensitive Emulsion For Dryplate Glass Negatives', Alternative Photographic Printing Processes, George Schwarz, Sydney, Australia 31-35 (1993) [B2]
Show 1 more

Journal article (14 outputs)

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2013Roxburgh MWD, 'The Images of the Artificial or Why Everything Looks the Same', The International Journal of the Image, 3 1-16 (2013) [C1]
2010Roxburgh M, 'DESIGN AND THE AESTHETICS OF RESEARCH', VISUAL COMMUNICATION, 9 425-439 (2010) [C1]
2010Roxburgh MWD, Moline K, Vaughan L, 'Managing editors', visual:design:scholarship, 5 1-100 (2010) [C6]
2009Roxburgh MWD, Newton S, Moline K, 'Managing editors', visual:design:scholarship, 4 1-100 (2009) [C6]
2007Roxburgh MWD, 'Review - SARAH PINK, The Future of Visual Anthropology: Engaging the Senses', Visual Communication, 6 236-239 (2007) [C3]
2007Roxburgh MWD, Newton S, Moline K, 'Managing editors', visual:design:scholarship, 3 1-100 (2007) [C6]
2006Roxburgh MWD, Newton S, Moline K, 'Managing editors', visual:design:scholarship, 1 1-100 (2006) [C6]
2005Roxburgh MWD, Lorber-Kasunic J, 'Looking for Limits in A World of Excess', visual:design:scholarship, 1 1-14 (2005) [C1]
2005Roxburgh MWD, Newton S, 'Managing editors', visual:design:scholarship, 1 1-100 (2005) [C6]
2003Roxburgh MWD, 'Negotiating Design: Conversational Strategies Between Clients And Designers', Form/Work, 6 65-80 (2003) [C1]
2001Roxburgh MWD, Bremner C, 'Redoing Design: Comparing Anecdotes About Design', International Journal of Art and Design Education, 20 65-74 (2001) [C1]
1998Roxburgh MWD, 'Aren't You Wearing Death', Metro, 77-79 (1998) [C1]
1998Roxburgh MWD, 'I Feel Like a Blokey ID or Two', Metro Education, 15-19 (1998) [C3]
1997Roxburgh MWD, 'Clara Laws Floating Life and Australian Identity', Metro, 3-6 (1997) [C1]
Show 11 more

Review (2 outputs)

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2008Roxburgh MWD, 'Photographic Design', Design Dictionary: Perspectives on Design Terminology (2008) [D2]
2001Roxburgh MWD, 'Research Training Response', Responses to Issues: Innovation Symposium (2001) [D2]

Conference (7 outputs)

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2012Roxburgh MWD, 'The images of the artificial or why everything looks the same', Third International Conference On The Image, Poznan, Poland (2012) [E3]
2011Roxburgh MWD, 'The design process of a written thesis OR I can't write for diddly but I sure make pretty pictures', Doctoral writing in the visual and performing arts: Challenges and diversities, Sydney (2011) [E3]
2007Roxburgh MWD, Sweetapple K, 'The Cartography of Theory and Practice', ConnectEd International Design Education Conference Proceedings, University of New South Wales (2007) [E1]
2005Roxburgh MWD, 'Seeing and Seeing Through the Crisis of the Artificial', ¿DESIGNsystemEVOLUTION¿ European Academy of Design Conference Proceedings, Bremen (2005) [E1]
2004Roxburgh MWD, 'The Utility of Design Vision and the Crisis of the Artificial', ¿Futureground¿ Design Research Society Conference Proceedings, Melbourne (2004) [E1]
2001Roxburgh MWD, Lorber-Kasunic J, 'Looking For Limits', Desire, Designum, Design: European Academy of Design Conference Proceedings, Portugal (2001) [E1]
1999Roxburgh MWD, Bremner C, 'The News From Nowhere', Useful and Critical: The Position of Research in Design, Conference Proceedings, Helsinki (1999) [E1]
Show 4 more

Creative Work (6 outputs)

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2011Roxburgh MWD, The (F)utility of Design: Vision and the Crisis of the Artificial, Sydney, Australia (2011) [J1]
2010Coulter DA, Roxburgh MWD, 13 Songs for the Rodeo Grrls, Sydney, NSW / Australia (2010) [J1]
2008Roxburgh MWD, Slow Moving Landscapes, Sydney, Australia (2008) [J1]
2007Roxburgh MWD, Light Relief (Part 1), Sydney, Australia (2007) [J1]
2006Roxburgh MWD, Sweetapple K, Work/Play 30 Years of Visual Communication, Sydney, Australia (2006) [J1]
2000Carter J, Untitled (2000) [J1]
Show 3 more

Other (1 outputs)

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2006Roxburgh MWD, 'Visual Growing Pains', ( pp.29-29). Sydney, Australia: News Limited (2006) [O1]
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Grants and Funding

No funding.

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Research Supervision

Number of current supervisions4
Total current UoN Masters EFTSL1.2
Total current UoN PhD EFTSL0.4

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

Current Supervision

CommencedProposed
Completion
ProgramSupervisor TypeResearch Title
20142016M Philosophy (Design)Co-SupervisorDefining the Aesthetic of the Successful Ultra-Low Budget Feature Film
20142018PhD (Design)Co-SupervisorAn Exploration of the Semiotics of Visual Storytelling in Children's Picture-Books: An Exploration of Visual Language from the Perspective of the Practitioner as Language-Learner
20132015M Philosophy (Design)Principal SupervisorHabitus and Creative Practice: Cultural Context of the Designer
20092014M Philosophy (Design)Co-SupervisorThe Application of Hand-Rendered Techniques in Modern Day Visual Communication
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Associate Professor Mark Roxburgh

Work Phone(02) 4921 5790
Email
PositionAssociate Professor
The Fun Team
School of Design Communication and IT
Faculty of Science and Information Technology
The University of Newcastle, Australia
Office
D228,
Design Building (aka Building D),
Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan NSW 2308
Australia
URL:www.newcastle.edu.au/profile/mark-roxburgh