Researcher

Current research

My interdisciplinary research combines traditional academic research skills with insights and techniques gained through professional communication design practice. I have two main research directions. One is a theoretical direction, investigating how communication design mediates power relationships, and the other research direction involves pragmatic application of this theoretical work in pedagogical settings to improve communication effectiveness in higher education settings.

Visualization + power + communication design

In this research, I study how communication design artifacts mediate power relationships in society. To do this, I combine critical visual analysis with the Foucauldian concepts of governmentality, technologies, and discourses to theorize how power is temporarily held within designed artifacts, holding and communicating socially and temporally bound power.

Increasingly, I apply this theoretical perspective to the study of data visualization across disciplines. This research focus has led to current projects on ethical data visualization in the digital humanities, efficacy and ethics in big data visualization, user experience design in interactive data visualization, and pedagogical research on improving educational strategies related to visualization in the sciences.

Communication effectiveness

In this research, I study how communication design practices can enhance communication effectiveness in teaching and research contexts. I take a mixed methods approach to this work, using critical visual analysis, eye tracking, qualitiative interviewing, and surveys. In this research track I am also increasingly focussed on data visualization. 

PhD research

My phd research involved developing a method for using visual artifacts as primary source material, called discursive method, and writing a history of governance in the State of Victoria, Australia, from first European settlement to the end of the twentieth century. This was an interdisciplinary political science and graphic design history, which made use of government emblems, seals, and logos as primary sources.

Research education

2007–2012

PhD, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia
Thesis title: ‘Government Emblems, Embodied Discourse and Ideology: An Artefact‐Led History of Governance in Victoria, Australia.’

2004–2006

Graduate Diploma in Graphic Design with Distinction, RMIT, Melbourne, Australia

1996–1998

Bachelor of Arts (International Studies), University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia

Research work