Dr Manuela Taboada

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Doctor of Philosophy (University of New England), BSc Computer Science & System Analysis (Other), BA Hons ¿ Industrial Design & Visual Communication Design (Other)

Dr Manuela Taboada, Senior Lecturer in Visual Communication, has over 15 years experience in visual communication design, design for change, collaborative design methods and systems thinking. Manuela has a PhD from the University of New England (Australia), and degrees in Industrial Design / Visual Communication (Federal University of Bahia, Brazil) and in Computer Science (Salvador University, Brazil).
In her research and practice, Taboada uses bespoke collaborative design processes as tools for facilitating innovation and triggering systemic change. She combines systems thinking (complex emergency) with decolonial design theories and concepts of deep ecology to establish the framework for her co-design methods.
Over the years, Taboada has worked as a researcher and designer in Australia, Brazil, Timor-Leste and Fiji. As part of the QUT Design Lab and the QUT Centre for a Waste-Free World Manuela has lead several co-design projects which delivered interventions in the areas of marine conservation, policy design, plastic waste, identity development, entrepreneurship and  improvement of healthcare services.
Recently, Taboada has led projects focused on reducing plastic consumption and waste where she applies co-design and technology to test multiple ways that might help people shift their everyday habits and perceptions in relation to plastic. She has also supervised students in the areas of design activism, design for change, systems thinking and decolonial design. In contribution with Dr Jane Turner, Taboada has been developing a co-design methodology based on role playing games theories and mechanics to create opportunities for participants to co-design speculative worlds and futures.
Taboada’s work embraces the unexpected as the most important ingredient of innovation. She believes that the unexpected can only rise from diversity, trust, authentic conversations, and open agendas.

Projects (Chief investigator)

Additional information

  • System Dynamics analysis for a circular transition of the plastics economy in Australia: Optimization of local plastic economy, policy and recycling through systemic feedback modelling and policy scenarios testing
    PhD, Principal Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Professor Leonie Barner
  • Creating and applying design-driven, data-driven tools to understand and depict spatially marginalized communities
    PhD, Principal Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Dr Heather McKinnon
  • Applying Comics as a Tool for Adult Digital Literacy Learning: A Study within a Supportive Housing Group
    PhD, Mentoring Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Dr Jeremy Kerr
  • DISMANTLING CONTEMPORARY ANALOGUE BOARDGAME SYSTEMS AND THEIR INFLUENCE ON INDIVIDUAL IDENTITY AND SELF-WORTH
    PhD, Associate Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Dr Jane Turner
  • Designing for narrative therapy through emergent game-narrative in table-top role-playing games
    Professional Doctorate, Associate Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Dr Jane Turner, Dr Jeremy Kerr
  • Abandoned space in the contemporary urban in Chongqing, China: significance, meaning, and management
    MPhil, Associate Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Dr Mirko Guaralda, Dr Simone Brott