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Associate Professor Mark Roxburgh

Associate Professor

School of Design Communication and IT

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 installments of the Life of Mark...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLAh5DLOBDQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwQaG8EnefQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEAe96jxPvk

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.

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

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

Collaborations
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.


Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Canberra
  • Bachelor of Arts, Sydney College of Advanced Education
  • Graduate Diploma of Arts in Visual Arts, New South Wales Institute of the Arts
  • Master of Arts (Communication and Cultural Studies, University of Western Sydney

Keywords

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

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
120301 Design History and Theory 40
120302 Design Innovation 40
120307 Visual Communication Design (incl. Graphic Design) 20

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Associate Professor University of Newcastle
School of Design Communication and IT
Australia

Academic appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/08/2014 - 1/06/2015 Conference Committee - Cumulus 2015 Cumulus International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media
Italy
1/07/2005 - 1/06/2011 Senior Lecturer - Visual Communication University of Technology Sydney
Australia
1/01/2001 - 1/06/2005 Director of Program - Visual Communication University of Technology Sydney
Australia
1/01/2000 - 1/12/2000 Lecturer - Visual Communication University of Technology Sydney
Australia
1/01/1998 - 1/12/1999 Offshore Course Coordinator - Visual Communication University of Western Sydney
Australia
1/01/1997 - 1/12/1997 Course Coordinator - Visual Communication University of Western Sydney
Australia
1/01/1994 - 1/12/1996 Photomedia Coordinator - Visual Communication University of Western Sydney
Australia
1/01/1992 - 1/12/1993 Lecturer in Photomedia - Visual Communication University of Western Sydney
Australia

Awards

Recipient

Year Award
2012 Work Integrated Learning
University of Newcastle

Invitations

External Reviewer - Departments

Year Title / Rationale
2006 Victorian DET Higher Education Provider Registration Assessment Panel.
Organisation: Victorian DET Higher Education Provider Registration Assessment Panel. Description: Member of the Victorian DET Assessment panel for International College Of Professional Photography And Multimedia Higher Education provider registration.
2005 Victorian DET Higher Education Provider Registration Assessment Panel.
Organisation: Victorian DET Higher Education Provider Registration Assessment Panel. Description: Member of the Victorian DET Assessment panel for International College Of Professional Photography And Multimedia Higher Education provider registration.
2005 NSW DET Higher Education Provider Assessment Panel
Organisation: NSW DET Higher Education Provider Assessment Panel Description: Committee member of the NSW DET Assessment Panel for Billy Blue Higher Education provider registration process.

External Reviewer - Programs

Year Title / Rationale
2006 Victorian DET Higher Education Provider Course Accreditation Panel.
Organisation: Victorian DET Higher Education Provider Course Accreditation Panel. Description: Member of the Victorian DET Assessment panel for International College Of Professional Photography And Multimedia Higher Education course accreditation.
2005 Victorian DET Higher Education Provider Course Accreditation Panel.
Organisation: Victorian DET Higher Education Provider Course Accreditation Panel. Description: Member of the Victorian DET Assessment panel for International College Of Professional Photography And Multimedia Higher Education course accreditation.
2005 NSW DET Higher Education Provider Accreditation Panel
Organisation: NSW DET Higher Education Provider Accreditation Panel Description: Committee member of the NSW DET Assessment panel for Billy Blue Higher Education provider course accreditation B Design.
2003 Wesley Institute Design Degree Review Committee
Organisation: Wesley Institute Description: Member of the Wesley Institute's Design Degree Review Committee for the B Des and B Des (Hons).
2003 ACT Accreditation & Registration Council Committee Member
Organisation: ACT Accreditation & Registration Council Committee Description: Committee member - ACT Accreditation & Registration Council Committee, for the accreditation of the Canberra Institute of Technology's B Des (Photography).
2003 KVB Course Advisory Committee
Organisation: KVB College Description: Memeber of the KVB Course Advisory Committee for the Cert IV and Diploma in Photography.
2002 External Review Panel Cet IV & Diploma of Photography
Organisation: KVB Description: Member of the external review panel of the re-accreditation of KvB's Cert IV and Diploma in Photography.
2001 External Review Panel Diploma of Design and Illustration Skills
Organisation: NSW TAFE Description: Member of the external review panel of the Diploma of Design and Illustration Skills.
2001 Steering Committee, Graduate Diploma Applied Design
Organisation: NSW TAFE Description: Member of the steering committee to develop the Graduate Diploma Applied Design.

Participant

Year Title / Rationale
2013 Politechnico di Milano - School of Design
Organisation: Politechnico di Milano Description: Invited to one of Europe's top design schools to run a week long intensive masterclass called 'The Experience of Stereotype' with post graduate visual communication students.
2002 Chair TAFE Re-accreditation of Design Programs
Organisation: TAFE NSW Description: Chair of TAFE NSW's External Review Panel for the re-accreditation of the Cert IV and Diploma of Graphic Design, the Advanced Diploma of Graphic Design (Print and Publication), and the Advanced Diploma of Graphic Design (Digital Design).
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Publications

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


Book (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2010 Roxburgh MWD, Light Relief (Part II), DAB DOCS, Sydney, Australia, 95 (2010) [A3]

Chapter (6 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2015 Roxburgh MWD, Bremner C, 'A Photograph is Evidence of Nothing But Itself', The Routledge Companion to Design Research, Routledge, Oxon 203-214 (2015)
2015 Roxburgh MWD, 'Depiction As Theory And Writing By Practice: The Design Process Of A Written Thesis', The Routledge Companion to Design Research, Routledge, Oxon & New York 346-363 (2015)
2010 Roxburgh MWD, 'Photography and the Design Imperative', Light Relief (Part II), DAB DOCS, Sydney, Australia 7-16 (2010) [B2]
2008 Roxburgh 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]
2006 Roxburgh 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]
1993 Roxburgh MWD, 'Light Sensitive Emulsion For Dryplate Glass Negatives', Alternative Photographic Printing Processes, George Schwarz, Sydney, Australia 31-35 (1993) [B2]
Show 3 more chapters

Journal article (14 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2013 Roxburgh MWD, 'The Images of the Artificial or Why Everything Looks the Same', The International Journal of the Image, 3 1-16 (2013) [C1]
2010 Roxburgh MWD, Moline K, Vaughan L, 'Managing editors', visual:design:scholarship, 5 1-100 (2010) [C6]
2010 Roxburgh MWD, 'Design and the Aesthetics of Research', Visual Communication, 9 423-439 (2010) [C1]
DOI 10.1177/1470357210385616
2009 Roxburgh MWD, Newton S, Moline K, 'Managing editors', visual:design:scholarship, 4 1-100 (2009) [C6]
2007 Roxburgh MWD, Newton S, Moline K, 'Managing editors', visual:design:scholarship, 3 1-100 (2007) [C6]
2007 Roxburgh MWD, 'Review - SARAH PINK, The Future of Visual Anthropology: Engaging the Senses', Visual Communication, 6 236-239 (2007) [C3]
2006 Roxburgh MWD, Newton S, Moline K, 'Managing editors', visual:design:scholarship, 1 1-100 (2006) [C6]
2005 Roxburgh MWD, Lorber-Kasunic J, 'Looking for Limits in A World of Excess', visual:design:scholarship, 1 1-14 (2005) [C1]
2005 Roxburgh MWD, Newton S, 'Managing editors', visual:design:scholarship, 1 1-100 (2005) [C6]
2003 Roxburgh MWD, 'Negotiating Design: Conversational Strategies Between Clients And Designers', Form/Work, 6 65-80 (2003) [C1]
2001 Roxburgh MWD, Bremner C, 'Redoing Design: Comparing Anecdotes About Design', International Journal of Art and Design Education, 20 65-74 (2001) [C1]
1998 Roxburgh MWD, 'Aren't You Wearing Death', Metro, 77-79 (1998) [C1]
1998 Roxburgh MWD, 'I Feel Like a Blokey ID or Two', Metro Education, 15-19 (1998) [C3]
1997 Roxburgh MWD, 'Clara Laws Floating Life and Australian Identity', Metro, 3-6 (1997) [C1]
Show 11 more journal articles

Review (2 outputs)

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

Conference (9 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2014 McAuley M, Roxburgh MWD, 'Learning Theory Through Collaboration and Visualization', Ireland International Conference on Education October 2014 Proceedings, Dublin (2014) [E1]
2014 Roxburgh MWD, Caratti E, 'The Experience and Design of Stereotype', What's On: Cumulus Spring Conference, On-Line Proceedings, Aveiro, Portugal (2014) [E1]
2012 Roxburgh MWD, 'The images of the artificial or why everything looks the same', Third International Conference On The Image, Poznan, Poland (2012) [E3]
2011 Roxburgh 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]
2007 Roxburgh MWD, Sweetapple K, 'The Cartography of Theory and Practice', ConnectEd International Design Education Conference Proceedings, University of New South Wales (2007) [E1]
2005 Roxburgh MWD, 'Seeing and Seeing Through the Crisis of the Artificial', ¿DESIGNsystemEVOLUTION¿ European Academy of Design Conference Proceedings, Bremen (2005) [E1]
2004 Roxburgh MWD, 'The Utility of Design Vision and the Crisis of the Artificial', ¿Futureground¿ Design Research Society Conference Proceedings, Melbourne (2004) [E1]
2001 Roxburgh MWD, Lorber-Kasunic J, 'Looking For Limits', Desire, Designum, Design: European Academy of Design Conference Proceedings, Portugal (2001) [E1]
1999 Roxburgh MWD, Bremner C, 'The News From Nowhere', Useful and Critical: The Position of Research in Design, Conference Proceedings, Helsinki (1999) [E1]
Show 6 more conferences

Creative Work (7 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2015 Roxburgh MWD, Myers B, Take Me Away / Down (To The Sea), Australia, Sydney, Australia (2015)
2011 Roxburgh MWD, The (F)utility of Design: Vision and the Crisis of the Artificial, Sydney, Australia (2011) [J1]
2010 Coulter DA, Roxburgh MWD, 13 Songs for the Rodeo Grrls, Sydney, NSW / Australia (2010) [J1]
2008 Roxburgh MWD, Slow Moving Landscapes, Sydney, Australia (2008) [J1]
2008 Roxburgh MWD, Untitled, Canberra, Australia (2008) [J1]
2007 Roxburgh MWD, Light Relief (Part 1), Sydney, Australia (2007) [J1]
2006 Roxburgh MWD, Sweetapple K, Work/Play 30 Years of Visual Communication, Sydney, Australia (2006) [J1]
Show 4 more creative works

Other (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2006 Roxburgh MWD, 'Visual Growing Pains', ( pp.29-29). Sydney, Australia: News Limited (2006) [O1]
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Research Supervision

Current Supervision

Commenced Research Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2015 Habitus and Creative Practice: Cultural Context of the Designer
Graphic Arts & Design Studies, Faculty of Science and Information Technology
Principal Supervisor
2015 The Investigation of Narrative Visualisation in Data Journalism from a Visual Communication Perspective
Graphic Arts & Design Studies, Faculty of Science and Information Technology
Principal Supervisor
2015 Defining the Aesthetic of the Successful Ultra-Low Budget Feature Film
Graphic Arts & Design Studies, Faculty of Science and Information Technology
Co-Supervisor
2009 Hand Rendering in Contemporary Visual Communication
Graphic Arts & Design Studies, Faculty of Science and Information Technology
Co-Supervisor
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Associate Professor Mark Roxburgh

Position

Associate Professor
Fun Team
School of Design Communication and IT
Faculty of Science and Information Technology

Contact Details

Email mark.roxburgh@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4921 5790

Office

Room D228
Building Design Building (aka Building D)
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
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