Taking a participatory approach, I am interested in how design and infrastructure projects can be avenues for learning, empowerment and community strengthening.

In partnership with Blacktown City Council in Sydney’s western suburbs, my current PhD began with investigating issues related to young people and public space, and led to design-build placemaking projects with groups of teenagers. Making things together allowed young people to participate in shaping public space in a way that responded to their desires for participation to be practical, creative and sociable.

Previously, as an architecture student, I co-initiated and led a project in Papua New Guinea to design and build a remote health centre with a group of students and local people. This project opened my eyes to the limitations of single disciplines in trying to create social impact. Since then, I have tried to work in multi- and transdisciplinary settings, and to understand more deeply how professionals and community members can work together productively. I was a co-founder and COO of CoDesign Studio, and have worked on projects spanning architecture, planning, industrial design, landscape architecture and interior design in Australia and internationally.

In 2014 I authored a Participatory Design Handbook based on experience of a project in Cambodia. The Handbook is a plain English guide for NGOs, designers and students to assist them in the development and implementation of community based projects.

The design of learning experiences is a core part of my practice. From university teaching, to training and mentoring young professionals, and facilitating school holiday programs for teenagers, I find that I learn from others as much as they learn from me.

Education

Master of Architecture with Distinction, Curtin University, Western Australia, 2008.

Bachelor of Applied Science, Curtin University, Western Australia, 2005.

Publications, Exhibitions and Conference Papers

Participatory Design Handbook; 2014.

Participatory Process in the Design and Construction of Floating Vegetable Gardens in Cambodia; LINK Festival: Design, Technology, Social Change, 2013.

Design-thinking for problem solving, towards collaborative approaches; Co-design for Citizen-Centric Service Delivery, 2012

Transforming Learning Spaces:Understanding how cross-cultural communication and student participation can shape innovative educational environments; Australian Primary Principal's Association TransTasman Annual Conference, 2012.

Rural Identity; The Architect, Australian Institute of Architects, 2009.

Participatory Process in the Design and Construction of Health Facilities in Papua New Guinea; UNESCO Observatory On Multidisciplinary Research In The Arts Conference "Community Health and the Arts; Vital Arts - Vibrant Communities", 2008.

'Global Studio' in Zeyrek: a multi-disciplinary, international approach to learning through developing and documenting diverse responses to poverty; UNESCO Observatory On Multidisciplinary Research In The Arts E-Journal, 2008

Design Build: PNG; Cullity Gallery, WA, 2008

Design responses for Indigenous Australia; UN-Habitat World Urban Forum, Vancouver, 2006

People, Places, Situations: Response; Vancouver, 2006

Dance Centre; Terra 3, SONA/RAIA, 2006

Document 13, Curtin University, 2006

Document 11, Curtin University, 2004

Recognition and Fellowships

Winner, Public Engagement and Community Planning category, WA Planning Institute of Australia (at CoDesign Studio, with UDLA and City of South Perth), 2013.

Social Traders 'The Crunch' (at CoDesign Studio), 2012.

National Finalist, Glenn Murcutt Prize, 2009.

First Round Winner, World Architecture Community Awards, 2008.

National Finalist, RAIA and Colorbond Steel Biennale, 2008.

Buchan Group Prize, 2008.

EG Cohen Medal, 2008.

Student Prize for the Advancement of Architecture, RAIA National Awards, 2007.

SONA Vice-President, 2006.

Global Studio Fellow, 2006.

CASA President, 2005.

Global Studio Fellow, 2005.