Past Event

Distabling: Acts of Emergent Design Research



Mon 22 May 12:00pm - 6:00pm
Tue 23 May 11:00am - 6:00pm


Free, booking required


RMIT Megaflex 2 Room (entrance by Bowen Street)
RMIT Building 8, Swanston Street, Melbourne VIC, Australia

Distabling: Acts Of Emergent Design Research showcases current research projects of HDR candidates from RMIT School of Design.

Using a dining table as a concept and physical platform, HDR students at various stages of research will conduct a series of activities, sharing unfinished outputs and thought processes. Each researcher will be in charge of an act, responding to their research topic and building on what was already brought to the table by previous contributors. A broad spectrum of acts is expected, including exhibitions and workshops that involve multiple forms of engagement and interactions with the audience.
The event is a generative space for unveiling ongoing transdisciplinary design research projects that engage with other worlds as a response to the current global social, political, and environmental crisis. It explores the inclusion of different sources of knowledge, exceptional, contradictory, and non-linear research processes, methodological assemblages, and ethical and ontological inquiries for design practitioners.
The event is led by a group of doctoral researchers from the School of Design who work across design disciplines and explore a variety of topics such as material decay, national identities, uncertainty, cosmologies, bureaucratic institutions, and origami installations, among others.

This activity is the inaugural activity of WIP (Work in Progress), a new student club that encourages collaborative explorations for research students in creative practices at any stage in their journey.


Isabella Brandalise

Isabella Brandalise is a designer, researcher, and educator whose practice focuses on designing for the public realm. She is currently pursuing a PhD at RMIT University, where she explores ways to open up and reconfigure institutional structures through imagination exercises. Isabella holds a master’s degree in Transdisciplinary Design from Parsons School for Design and a master’s degree in Art from the University of Brasília. She serves as the Quizzical Superintendent at Patadesign School and as the Chief Curator at the Cabinet of Bureaucratic Wonders.

Andres Ortega

Andres Ortega is a Chilean architect, design practitioner, and researcher. As a PhD candidate at RMIT’s School of Design, he is investigating the reflective space of “Cosmovision” and its potential to facilitate pluriversal storytelling in collaborative design contexts with a decolonizing lens. With over 15 years of experience in participatory design, service design, and public sector innovation, Andres holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso in Chile.

Steven Santer

Steven Santer is a designer who is deeply interested in the interdisciplinary potential of design processes, object-oriented philosophies, ecological awareness, and futures to address the complex, invisible, and chaotic problems that surround us. With over 15 years of experience in art and design direction roles across motion and interaction design disciplines in Sydney, Australia, and Auckland, New Zealand, he obtained a Master of Design Futures degree (M.Des) from RMIT University, Melbourne. He focused on the philosophy of design, with an orientation toward design theory exploring futures and humanitarian domains. Currently, Steven is developing concepts of non-anthropocentric design paradigms at the PhD level in the School of Design at RMIT, Melbourne.

Javier de Urquijo Isoard

Javier de Urquijo Isoard is a design researcher who is currently working on sustainable production and use of marine-degradable and home-compostable biopolymers as part of his PhD candidacy at RMIT University. His research focuses on designer-material relationalities in more-than-human design practices. Javier holds a master’s degree in Design, Innovation, and Technology from RMIT University, Australia, and a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design from Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, México.

Alan Fong

Alan Fong is a former advertising practitioner who transitioned into communication design after spending over 20 years in the creative industry in Singapore. He recently graduated with a Master of Communication Design degree from RMIT and is now a PhD candidate in the School of Design. His research practice focuses on nation branding in Singapore, emphasizing co-design, scenario building, and creative storytelling.

Mengke Lian

Mengke Lian is a PhD candidate at RMIT’s School of Design. She is interested in exploring the intersection of tangible technology and its impact on personal identity and community relations. Mengke is a passionate explorer and observer who seeks to collaborate with researchers from diverse backgrounds to inform her work and open up new avenues for interdisciplinary creativity.

Sukanya Deshmukh

Sukanya Deshmukh is a designer and researcher whose PhD research at RMIT University investigates approaches to enhancing the experiential performance of built spaces using deployable surface geometries. She holds a master’s degree in Design, Innovation, and Technology from RMIT University, Australia, and a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal, India.

Mariana Bertelli Pagotto

Mariana Bertelli Pagotto is a researcher and educator working across art, design, and museum studies. She is a PhD candidate at the School of Design at RMIT University, Melbourne. Her research focuses on interpretation design practices in art museums, as well as visitor engagement and participatory design practices.

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