Interested in Starting a PhD in 2020?

Firstly, if you’re here to find out about the PhD and Postdoc position for an upcoming EU H2020 project starting next year, and/or joining the Care-full Design Lab, information will become available very soon.


RMIT is taking a project-based approach to recruiting PhD students in Design and Media & Communication. To apply for scholarship, you will need to align your application with one of the officially listed projects. I have a few across these two schools shown below:


  • Care-full Design: Increasing urbanisation along with rising social, economic, and environmental precarity often renders a kind of “inevitable future” where design of cyberphysical systems, services, and cities tends to focus on adapting to and mitigating social and environmental damages. The current discourse surrounding smart everything (e.g. from homes to cities, and from wearables to vehicles) clearly exemplifies how “surveil-and-discipline” remains the dominant framing for our discussions and imagining of the future. As many emerging voices across disciplines and sectors highlight, it is a problematic one, further silencing the already underserved, including those with less socioeconomic means, ageing populations, women, gender-diverse groups, people of colour, children, and other-than-humans. This future is not inevitable; it is just one of many possible futures. Design does not, and should not, need to reify this vision. We seek research candidates who are passionate about exploring transformational possibilities of care-full design through transdisciplinary research and practice in/across different fields of design – including but not limited to interaction/experience/service. Creative-Critical explorations with methods are highly encouraged.Supervisory Team: Primary – Dr Jaz Hee-Jeong Choi, A/Prof Yoko Akama Associate – Prof Laurene Vaughan, Dr Jordan Lacey, A/Prof Ellie Rennie
  • Embracing plurality in design: Heterogeneous design practices have always been active under other names, continually constituted by various blends of cultures, relationships, materials, histories, philosophies and worldviews that manifest in certain localities. When design is a decisive world-making practice, research explorations in Australia and beyond must be vigilant of displacing and omitting culturally-grounded practices when design from industrial and modernist roots in Europe is taken as a norm, due to its dominance. Recognising such politics of global hierarchies and critiques of colonialism is emerging in various discourses as special issues of prominent design journals such as Design and the Global South (Fry & Willis 2017), Autonomia (Botero et al. 2018), Decolonizing Design (Shultz et al. 2018) and Embracing Plurality (Akama & Yee, 2019). Research candidates are invited to explore any design fields and practices with a heightened sensitivity to situated, political, relational, dynamic cultural conditions. Candidates may use any research modes under Practice Research or Thesis. Emphasis will be placed upon pursuing a methodology that is reflexive and transdisiciplinary (e.g. incorporating anthropological, decolonial, feminist theories) blended with design, to consider what, why, when, where and how design interventions are occurring; and how design can be conceptualised as a critical valuecreation industry. Such considerations can become a research fulcrum if the candidate is undertaking such design interventions themselves.Supervisory Team: Primary – A/Prof Yoko Akama Associate –  Dr Jaz Hee-Jeong Choi, Dr Juan Diego Santamari, A/Prof Joyce Yee (Northumbria University)
  • Playable City Melbourne: Urban play has changed our relationship with the city. Playable Cities now have opportunity to make Melbourne a playable city via social frameworks that connect people, place, technology and code. Exploring the city as a platform for play, this practice-led research is situated across public art, augmented reality, game development, urban design and creative technologies. Playable cities can lead to civic conversations that are democratic and inclusive – and that connect people in that conversation across different layers of the city, reimagining what it was, what it is now, and what it could be. Melbourne is already a playful city, what would happen if it became playable? The Playable City Melbourne conversation talks to its multi-layered identity – as a creative city, technological city, a diverse and multicultural city, a sustainable city, a liveable city that is growing fast. It looks at what playable cities are now in response to our particular social, cultural and environmental context. How does this connect to broader discussion on the cultural value of games and play? What are the opportunities for artist gamemakers situating play in public space? What topics are relevant now in civic conversations? How can play be used as a lens or practice to address material and civic challenges? Research candidates working on this project may have the opportunity to engage with industry partners such as the City of Melbourne, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, and State Library Victoria, and international partners Watershed (Bristol, UK) and Institute for Advanced Architecture Catalonia (Barcelona, Spain). The project is supported by Creative Victoria and British Council.Supervisory Team: Primary – Dr Troy Innocent Associate – Dr Matthew Riley, Dr Hugh Davies, Dr Jaz Hee-jeong Choi
  • Helping Australians understand gut health and dietary choices through Augmented Reality: Obesity and auto-immune diseases are on the rise each year. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ National Health Survey, two thirds (67.0%, 12.5 million people) were overweight or obese in 2017-2018, an increase from 63.4% in 2014-15. To stem this upward trajectory, efforts must be taken at a multidisciplinary level across all sectors to support individuals’ transition to a healthier and appropriate diet. But this change also needs to start at an individual level by making people aware of what and how they are eating. Existing literature has identified and studied different ways of promoting healthy food choices, for example, through calorie information and health star rating on food items and through dedicated apps and campaigns for healthy eating. An investigation is missing, however, into the topic of healthy eating through the lens of the gut as a means to support dietary decisionmaking. Located within the HCI tradition and using participatory design-led approaches, this research explores the following questions. How well do Australian consumers understand their gut and its influences on food and their health? How can we increase the level of awareness and understanding of gut using emerging technologies such as Augmented Reality? This research explores the use of design to reimagine health and care, and fits well into the domain of technology-based health promotion, an increasingly popular mode of personalised care helping people self-manage and track their dietary decisions. Our aim is to contribute to dietary decision-making abilities of Australian consumers through emerging technologies and empower them to self-manage their overall well-being, thereby reducing the burden on medical systems and government bodies.Supervisory Team: Primary – Dr Rohit Ashok Khot Associate – Dr Jaz Hee-jeong Choi


Full list – School of Design projects:



  • Care for Social Futures: This project explores how we might embed care in all facets of formal and informal, digital and material context to create new pathways towards inclusive and just futures in this rapidly ageing, socially precarious, and digitally networked era. We are particularly interested in exploring non-disciplinary-bounding, and co-creative ways of doing research and practice focused on care and wellbeing.Supervisory Team: Dr Jaz Hee-jeong Choi & D/Prof Larissa Hjorth
  • Cute! Kawaii! Awww!: Humanising Technologies in the City Supervisors: Jaz Hee-jeong Choi, Larissa Hjorth Outline: Digital technologies are increasingly embedded in everyday lives of people living in urban environments. Active discussions and design of robots and artificial intelligence question how they are perceived to care and be cared for those living in cities. As importantly, they raise questions around particular anthropocentric design choices, one of which is how “cuteness” is used to make them feel more approachable, acceptable, or even loveable. In this project, we study the current cute-scape of technologies designed for “caring” in different cultural setting and speculate its possible-tomorrows.Supervisory Team: Dr Jaz Hee-jeong Choi & D/Prof Larissa Hjorth
  • Why We Live Alone: And Eat, Play, Work, and Sleep Alone: People living alone are on the rise in cities around the world; they are expected to make up 30-40% of all households in many countries by 2030. The ageing population is one factor. The rise of people choosing to live alone is another. At the same time, more people are dying alone. How might we better understand and care for them? What are the associated social, health, economic, and environmental impact? And how might we co-create liveable urban futures? These are some of the key questions driving this project.Supervisory Team: Dr Jaz Hee-jeong Choi & Prof Tania Lewis
  • Digital Communication: Experiencing the Digital: How do people experience the digital today? What can ethnographic approaches contribute to our understandings of social, cultural and technological change? Where is digital communication headed? This project provides students and opportunity to explore these questions and their relationship with the contemporary world where digital and mobile technologies are increasingly pervasive. By using innovative, reflexive, and ethical ethnographic approaches to investigate wider processes of social and cultural change, this project offers new insights into digital communication theories and practices as well as their future.Supervisory Team: Prof Tania Lewis, A/Prof Ellie Rennie, A/Prof Rowan Wilken, A/Prof Anne Harris, A/Prof Haiqing Yu, Prof Anna Hickey-Moody, Dr Catherine Gomes, Dr John Postill, Dr Ramon Lobato, Prof Julian Thomas, Dr Jaz Hee-jeong Choi
  • Digital Childhoods: This project investigates the digital, online and mediated worlds of children. Differences between online identity and offline identity, the politics of online identity construction and relationships between communities on and offline in children’s everyday lives will form the focus of a digital ethnographic project that engages empirically and theoretically with children’s lived experiences. Work on digital childhoods (Danby, Fleer, et al 2018) is gaining momentum, as are theories of youth citizenship as a creative or situated performance (Hickey-Moody 2013, 2014, 2016). This PhD will unite these bodies of scholarship through digital ethnographic methods, contributing to the fields of cultural studies of everyday life, youth studies and digital methods.Supervisory Team: Prof Anna Hickey-Moody & Dr Jaz Hee-jeong Choi


Full list – School of Media & Communication:


I’m definitely looking for people who are curious, committed, creative, collaborative, and caring. In return, I commit to do my best to be an open, fair, respectful, and caring supervisor.  I see my Higher Degree Research (HDR) students not only as students but also as collaborators and colleagues.

Also, here’s information about the scholarships and application process at RMIT.