Research Programs

Experimental Creative Practice

This program explores the way in which transdisciplinary creative practices and associated creative and experimental methods are capable of generating new knowledge, making sense of a complex world, and contributing to innovation. While the arts, and artists, already play key roles in many social, environmental, economic, and cultural spheres, practitioners have not always been able to articulate their strengths or show how their particular methods and approaches help the public better encounter and engage with great problems and questions of our era, such as mass automation and climate change. This program therefore investigates the role and possibility of experimental practices when they are applied in domains far beyond traditional aesthetics or investigations of form, focusing in on how they can become crucial contributors to ‘world-shaping’ dialogues. This program has a particular focus on Art-STEM related endeavours, working where knowledge of phenomena and conditions can be shifted into experiential forms of learning, propelled by new forms of creative thinking and action.

The program builds upon existing strengths in creative practice research across the disciplines, which necessarily involve experimentation with form, aesthetics, interaction, audience engagement and new technologies, whilst moving them into broader sociopolitical contexts. By understanding the catalytic effect of such research, and the way it transforms these existing disciplinary practices, we will move to invent entirely new forms of creative expression and cultural experience. This approach is particularly evident in projects that involve artists working with STEM disciplines (STEAM); or the way in which creative practices contribute to innovation as seen in the fluid movements between art and design practices; or the embedding of artist-led projects within non-arts settings. CIF researchers at QUT are at the forefront of methodological innovation in creative practice, making significant contributions to the literature.

This program welcomes researchers and prospective HDR students with interests in

  • Live performance, virtual performance, screen, animation, motion capture, interaction design, electronic arts, hybrid media arts, and related areas
  • Aesthetic and technological innovation in these and related areas
  • Transdisciplinary application of innovations in these and related areas
  • Art-STEM or STEAM projects, initatives, and programs

For further information, please contact program champion Dr Stephanie Hutchinson

Program researchers include –

Digital, Screen and Narrative

This theme is concerned with the ways in which digital technologies have and continue to disrupt traditional performing, screen and communicative arts practices, and industries. As such it straddles and incorporates a broad range of issues. The concerns and innovations represented in this research theme occur at the intersection of various disciplines and practices.

New creative forms emerging as a result of digital and disruptive technology – such as augmented reading experiences; hybrid theatre performance and immersive theatre; virtual reality experiences; content streaming services that have altered the nature of television scripting; interactive documentary; and transmedia storytelling – all present new approaches to and the potential for entirely new art forms and cultural productions to emerge.

This research program will interrogate and investigate three major areas of enquiry, which include current research strengths and room for future innovations. Each focuses on the way new technologies are disrupting established practices and include: methods for understanding and developing new audiences; new forms of participatory art forms and co-creation; and creative transdisciplinary collaborations.

This program welcomes researchers and prospective HDR students with interests in

  • Augmented, mixed, and virtual reality in immersive performance, games, storytelling, transmedia, and related areas
  • Innovations in digital production, distribution and exhibition
  • Innovations in digital audience development, engagement, and interaction
  • Innovations in digital co-creation, collaboration, and participation with arts audiences
  • Transdisciplinary application of innovations in these areas

For further information, please contact program champion Dr Sean Maher

Program researchers include –

Socially and Ecologically Engaged Practice

This program seeks to better understand and engage creative thinking and actions within today’s conditions of rapid change, acceleration, conflict, racial tension and environmental distress. Drawing inspiration from theatre, ethnography, musicology, media arts, visual arts, ecophilosophy, environmental science, Indigenous cosmology, creative writing and more, our program asks: how can we best encourage multivocal approaches to retelling the past, responding to the present and the imagining the future?

Creative practices foster conditions of possibility for personal, social, political and ecological transformation, and engender power for those whose voices and histories have been marginalised. We are particularly interested in projects that speak to issues relating to the status of women, people with disabilities, people from low SES backgrounds, non-English speaking backgrounds, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, or people whose identities have complex intersectionalities between those communities. This program seeks to create powerful and transformative participatory images, narratives and models to inspire change and social and ecological engagement.

This research will focus on open-ended, responsive methods of working to break down hierarchies and challenge dominant structures, better connecting and building relationships between artists, communities, audiences and organisations. Outcomes may include performances, installations, exhibitions, creative writing, social and environmental events, festivals and analytical texts that speak to specific current social, ecological and political concerns and conditions.

This program welcomes researchers and prospective HDR students with interests in

  • Ecological issues, past, present and future
  • Marginalised and diverse communities, agency and social justice
  • Art in public spaces, spatial politics, histories and narratives of place
  • Indigenous knowledges and Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander perspectives
  • Gender, LBGTIQA+, disabled perspectives and feminist approaches
  • Participatory, co-creative and collaborative methods

For further information, please contact program champion A/Prof Bree Hadley

Program researchers include –

Creative Learning and Creative Workforce

Comprehensive, innovative arts and creative initiatives are taking root in a growing number of education institutions, communities and corporate organisations. Many of these models are based on innovative and forward thinking research, and they embrace a variety of approaches: using the arts as a learning tool; incorporating arts into other sectors; creating environments rich in arts and culture as well as hands-on arts instruction. Years of research show that it is closely linked to almost everything that we as a nation say we want for our citizens: academic achievement, social and emotional development, civic engagement, and equitable opportunity.

Creative Learning and Creative Workforce focuses on whole of life education and workforce engagement in creative disciplines. The scope of the research activity encompass learners in early childhood settings, primary and secondary education sectors, tertiary institutions, corporate settings, continuing professional education, not-for-profit/NGO bodies, and informal arts education in both face-to-face and online settings. Creative Learning and Creative Workforce takes leadership, innovation, broad partnerships, and a dogged insistence that the creativity and the arts are central to what and how we want students to learn, no matter how young or old.

Creative Learning and Creative Workforce investigates the following four research questions: How can creative education enrich and build creative capacity within individuals, communities and organisations?; What are the most effective ways to offer creative education experiences within formal and informal spaces and places?; What is the relationship between arts and design education, creativity and social innovation?; and How does digital culture challenge and enhance creative education and workforce outcomes?

This program welcomes researchers and prospective HDR students with interests in

  • Arts and creativity education
  • Arts and health/well-being intersections
  • Arts and Culture Evaluation
  • Arts and social innovation or change
  • Digital culture, creative education and workforce capacities
  • Arts in business for training and workforce renewal
  • Higher education, creativity  and innovative pedagogies

For further information, please contact program champion A/Prof Sandra Gattenhof

Program researchers include –