We are seeking a highly motivated, qualified candidate with a passion for radically embodied thinking and doing, interdisciplinary research, and contributing to a more inclusive and diverse vision of our technological future. A three–year PhD scholarship, including a living stipend of $28,596 per annum plus a total of $3000 candidature support (e.g., to support research-related travel), is available. It is intended to enable research that advances our understanding of diverse sociocultural contexts and embodied, inclusive participatory meaning-making as being integral to designing sociotechnical artefacts and the human-machine configurations they produce. The successful applicant will work with a team of interdisciplinary researchers to contribute to a research project, funded by the Australian Research Council, which investigates how sociotechnical artefacts become social agents through a critical, radically embodied co-design approach.
Position Title: PhD in Sociotechnical co-design for human-machine configurations
Position Number: TBA
Faculty/PAVE Centre/Organisational Unit: FHAD
Department: Centre for Transformative Media
We are seeking a highly motivated, qualified candidate with a passion for radically embodied thinking and doing, interdisciplinary research, and contributing to a more inclusive and diverse vision of our technological future.
A three-year fulltime (indexed) PhD scholarship is available for doctoral research that advances our understanding of diverse sociocultural contexts and embodied, inclusive participatory meaning-making as being integral to designing sociotechnical artefacts and the human-machine configurations they produce. The scholarship includes a living stipend of $28,596 per annum plus a total of $3000 candidature support (e.g., to support research-related travel).
The successful applicant will work with a team of interdisciplinary researchers to contribute to a research project, funded by the Australian Research Council, which investigates how sociotechnical artefacts become social agents through a critical, radically embodied co-design approach. Given the cross-disciplinarity of this research, qualified applicants are sought from a variety of backgrounds, e.g., design, performance, communication, social anthropology, or science and technology studies (STS). It is expected that they will apply their expertise to contribute to the development of a critical, arts-led, participatory research program and develop innovative, inclusive methods to engage and study diverse publics in human-nonhuman interaction/relationship scenarios. Possible research topics include (but are not limited to): care-full ethnography for sociotechnical design; human-machine relations and Indigenous knowledges; critical, movement-based participatory design; and any combination of these.
About the Centre for Transformative Media Technologies (CTMT)
The candidate will join a research team in the Centre for Transformative Media Technologies (CTMT) at Swinburne University of Technology (SUT) in Melbourne, Australia. CTMT’s core research objectives are to establish new pathways and extend Swinburne’s core capability in science, innovation and technology with humanities, the arts and social sciences. The Centre has expertise in bringing together cultural, artistic and sociotechnical domains, with an interdisciplinary research focus on exploring how transformative media, such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality and social robotics, change our engagement with the world. The Centre’s research mission is to understand the material practices, histories, and methods for considering technoscientific agendas and the social, cultural and aesthetic dimensions involved, by materially enacting and critically engaging with these transformative sociotechnical experiences. Core research themes are: Creative Arts 4.0, focusing on the potential of creative practice research to disrupt and enhance production innovation techniques, Techmedia Culture, concerned with the critical, cultural, historical and social analyses of emerging creative media technologies, and Digital Cultural Heritage, investigating the preservation and study of born digital media artefacts. CTMT’s facilities include a bespoke research lab for embodied movement design, funded by the Australian Research Council.
The centre is part of the School of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, bringing together experts from the humanities, arts, social sciences and education to investigate the co-evolution of society, culture and technology and explore innovative responses to technological transformation. The interdisciplinary embeddedness of the Centre, together with its passionate commitment to embodied, critical, inclusive and experimental investigation thus offers an ideal, vibrant and supportive research environment for this PhD project.
About Swinburne University of Technology
Swinburne is a multi-sector university with more than 54,000 students and 5,000 staff globally with leading edge research centres, strong ties to industry and commitment to high-quality, high-impact research. Our mission is to be a world-class university, creating economic and social impact by bringing together science, technology and innovation with social sciences, arts and humanities.
This position is located at CTMT, at SUT’s Prahran Campus, but the incumbent may be required to undertake duties at any of the University’s Melbourne campuses. Thus, the incumbent must be willing to travel between campuses and work at a range of locations.
This is a scholarship for research training through a 3-year Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). The successful candidate will undertake supervised research with the aim of making a significant, independent and original contribution to knowledge in the selected field(s), leading to the award of Doctor of Philosophy.
The PhD project will be located at the Centre for Transformative Media Technologies (CTMT) at the School of Arts, Social Science and Humanities. The successful candidate will contribute to the Centre’s publication and impact program and will join a cohort of researchers and PhD students at the Centre and be involved in its vibrant research culture. They will be integrated into a research program funded by the Australian Research Council and benefit from supervision by research leaders with expertise across a range of areas, including creative robotics, choreography, new materialism, posthuman design, embodied movement design, and XR design.
The successful candidate will join the project’s research team and undertake their own distinct PhD project to contribute to the wider research outcomes. The final objectives, scope and core methods of the PhD project will be developed with the successful candidate; however, it is expected that they will engage in critical, participatory design research and either have experience in or will develop the required expertise in ethnographic research techniques.
Possible research pathways
This scholarship is intended to enable research that advances our understanding of the potential of diverse sociocultural contexts and embodied, participatory meaning-making as an integral part of designing sociotechnical artefacts and the human-machine configurations they produce. The PhD project will define its own research program and can approach this objective based on a variety of starting points and practices, aligned with the candidate’s experience and research interests.
Whilst it is not a requirement that the PhD project engages with human-robot interaction per se, we are looking for proposals that show the potential to advance sociotechnical design by engaging questions of embodied meaning-making and/or diversity and inclusiveness (e.g., ethnicity, class, gender, age, accessibility) with respect to proposed research methods. This could involve interactions with embodied agents/artefacts and/or virtual/XR environments, either within the context of participatory design or an ethnographic/socio-anthropological study. The scholarship is intended to expand the ARC-funded Human-Robot Experience (HRX) project led by A/Prof Gemeinboeck, which will develop a series of reconfigurable, multi-media platforms for engaging diverse publics in immersive co-design experiences. HRX cuts across critical posthuman discourse; participatory, embodied design (where design includes performance-making and other movement-based modes of inquiry; and careful ethnography. The HRX project can thus serve the PhD project as a platform for study and/or experimentation or provide a wider research context, together with other human-machine interaction, embodied movement design and XR design projects at the Centre.
The successful applicant is not expected to produce new work across each of the three aforementioned areas (posthuman discourse, embodied design, ethnography). Rather, they outline various possible entry points and the transversal potential that this PhD project could open up; the topical/methodological focus of the PhD research will be negotiated with the successful applicant in relation to their areas of expertise and interest. Independent of the field(s) that the successful applicant will be working in, we look for projects that incorporate participatory studies and/or ethnographic processes and/or experimental performances to critically engage participants/audiences in the ongoing investigation. Possible projects may include (but are not limited to): a methodological or theoretical (e.g., socio-anthropological, decolonial, new materialist dramaturgical, speculative design or co-design) framework for studying human-nonhuman relationships.
For further enquires please contact Associate Professor Petra Gemeinboeck (email@example.com).
The successful candidate will have:
• First Class Honours (H1) award or equivalent; for exceptional candidates a H2A award; and/or a Masters degree with clear research project components in a relevant area; or equivalent research experience;
• Background or experience in participatory/experience design or HCI/HRI; or movement-based research/dramaturgy; or human-machine communication; or social anthropology of technology; or STS;
• Prior experience or a strong interest in cross-disciplinary research
Applicants should submit an EOI comprising;
- A one-page cover letter summarising their academic background, research interests, and motivation for applying.
- An up to four-page statement that responds to the selection criteria and proposed pathways (see position description) in relation to their own research experience and interests. This should include a brief, critical discussion of relevant existing research, including their own work, and an outline of possible research methods and research objectives, as well as links to relevant audio-visual materials online (if applicable).
Please note, at the application stage, we are more interested in seeing the applicant’s ability to develop relevant critical questions and connections and to critically think through innovative cross-disciplinary possibilities and reflect on relevant existing work/positions, rather than formulating a fleshed-out PhD project. The latter will be developed with the successful candidate in consultation with the supervisors.
- A detailed CV, including details of the applicant’s educational and research/practice/ professional background, as well as names and contact details of two referees
- Copies of degree certificate(s) and grade transcripts
Closing date for applications: 31st of May 2021
Please email a zipped folder of the above documents (with CTMT SUPRA in subject line) to: Associate Professor Petra Gemeinboeck (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Research Coordinator Robert McMahon (email@example.com)
This is a two-stage application process, with shortlisted applicants being contacted for an interview (via Zoom). The interview will offer applicants the opportunity to meet their potential supervisors and to discuss their research interests within the wider context of the Human-Robot Experience (HRX) project, which the scholarship is linked to.
Swinburne is a large and culturally diverse organisation. We are proud of our commitment to equity and inclusion through key initiatives such as our Charter of Cultural Diversity, Pride@Swinburne Strategic Action Plan, Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Action Plan and our Reconciliation Action Plan. Equity and diversity are integral to our 2025 vision to be a world class university creating social and economic impact through science, technology and innovation.
For further enquires please contact Associate Professor Petra Gemeinboeck (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Key Selection Criteria
Candidates are required to respond to each of the selection criteria.
|Qualifications||A Bachelor Degree Honours and/or a research Master’s degree in a discipline relevant to the research topic (or equivalent)||Essential|
|Native English language or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination certificate with a minimum overall score of 6.5 with no individual band score below 6.0||Essential|
|A background and experience in one of the following;Anthropology (with experience and interest in social anthropology of technology);Communication (with experience and interest in embodied human-machine communication); Design (with experience and interest in experience design, participatory design, HCI, HRI, or citizen science);Performance studies (with experience/interest in embodiment and technology, dance and technology, or choreography, object theatre, dramaturgy within the context of human-nonhuman inter-affectivity and/or human-machine ecologies); Science and Technology studies (with experience/interest in post-humanism, human-machine configurations, inclusiveness, or embodied AI); Or other relevant fields||Essential|
|evidence of prior research experience (practice-based and/or traditional, publication-based), in particular, prior engagement and experience with participatory research/study methods or relevant ethnographic research methods; participatory performance-making; relevant co-design and/or prototyping skills (e.g., interactive prototyping, user experience); or motion-capture techniques.||Desirable|
|Other||A valid working with children’s check card||Essential|