Rhodian Deetlefs

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Areas of interest: industrial design, remedial creative practice

Doctor of Creative Industries (DCI) Candidate, (QUT)
Graduate Certificate of Creative Industries, (CQU)
Diploma of Community Services Work, (Careers Australia)
Diploma of Counselling, (Careers Australia)
Trade Certificate – Precious Metal Working including Diamond Mounting, (South African Department of Labour)

Rhodian started his career as a goldsmith apprentice in 1985 near Johannesburg, South Africa. He specialised in commercial product range development as well as the production of exclusive high-value collectables which earned him a reputation for his mastery of rare and ancient goldsmithing techniques. He was an early adopter of computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD & CAM) technology which dominated his practice since 2015.

Rhodian also lives with a mental health disability and was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Affective Disorder in 1983. His lived experience became his greatest asset which finds meaningful application in the consolidation of his creative and remedial interests.

His DCI is dedicated to forging a new partnership between Creative Industries and the community-based social disability support sector. Rhodian aspires to continue his research after completion of his DCI and working towards getting the role of the Remedial Creative Practitioner recognised and established.

Thesis Title: Digitally Crafted Community Futures: A digital approach to remedial crafts for community empowerment

Arts and crafts have a long association with disability empowerment. However, for many reasons, the role of crafts in the context of community-based social support service delivery to the disabled community has been undervalued, neglected, diminished, and undermined. By consolidating the potential of crafts across a variety of avenues made viable by digital disruption, from design and manufacturing technologies to social networks and the sharing economy, new solutions for an essential and attributable crafts resource are now made possible. This empirical qualitative Doctor of Creative Industries (DCI) research study considers this possibility from an auto-ethnographic perspective. The candidate approaches the research from his combined experience as a master craftsperson, designer, computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD & CAM) practitioner, and his lived experience as a veteran mental health consumer and support worker. These perspectives are entangled and dependent on one another as they collectively shaped his creative practice over four decades. This research study marks the point of him reinventing his creative practice, shifting the focus from commercial jewellery to community-based social services delivery. The transformation is made possible through the ongoing impact of digital disruption and the further permeation of the digital technological culture at deeper and often unexpected strata of society. This research study consists of two parts. Project 1 focuses on the field of the candidate’s emergent practice, to investigate who and what the main actors are, and how their relational dynamics shape this environment. From the analysis of these relationships and with consideration of the digitally-driven social, technological, and economic trends, gaps and opportunities relevant to creative resource development in this space become evident. The need for a new vocational role, the Remedial Creative Practitioner (RCP), is identified. Project 2 focuses on the shift from a commercial or service-centred perspective, to a person-centred remedial crafts perspective which gave rise to the Integrated Resource Design System (IRDS). The significance of the research is evident in how this emergent hybrid practice forges a new collaboration between the community-based social services sector and the creative industries. Digital disruption continues to shape a new culture of making and brings with it new community support and vocational development opportunities. The IRDS objective reaches beyond the artefact. In the candidates emergent practice it supports his objective of the ‘making of meaning’ for disabled people at the forlorn fringe of the economy.

Principal Supervisor: Dr Marianella Chamorro-Koc
Associate Supervisors: Dr Glenda Caldwell, Dr Muge Fialho Leandro Alves Teixeira

Estimated completion date: August, 2020