Swinburne’s Dori Tunstall and Karen Hughes receive grant from Australia China Council

Tuesday 5 August 2014

A low angle photograph of Swinburne University of Technology signage on the Advanced Technologies Centre building in Hawthorn.

A $34,000 grant from the Australia China Council (ACC) will enable Swinburne Associate Professor Elizabeth ‘Dori’ Tunstall and Dr. Karen Hughes to continue their research into the role of design, sustainability and natural dyeing innovation in Indigenous Australian and ethnic Chinese communities.

Their grant was one of the 34 successful ACC grant applications for the 2014/ 2015 round of grants, with funding allowing the continuation and expansion of their Living Blue project

The Living Blue project is a joint collaboration between Swinburne, China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), and National Institute of Design—Ahmedabad in India, which is focussed on exploring the use of natural indigo and blue-hued dyes in Indigenous Australia, China and India.

Associate Professor Tunstall, who leads the project, said that the additional funding would add depth to the project.

“We can now include direct knowledge exchanges between Chinese and Indigenous Australia crafts people and post-graduate design students. These augment the years of exchanges between Professor Hang Hai of CAFA and myself,” Associate Professor Tunstall said.

“With a shared focus on sustainability and cultural heritage, our research can help foster more respectful relationships between the Australian and Chinese craft and design communities.”

Swinburne Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Development) Professor George Collins said that the additional research funding supported Swinburne’s existing relationship with China.

“Swinburne already has close ties with China, including research and teaching partnerships with Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing Foreign Studies University, China Central Academy of Fine ArtsShanghai University and Tongji University,” Professor Collins said.

“The ACC grant is just another way that we can continue to work closely with China and I look forward to seeing the final outcomes of the research project.”

The Living Blue project is based on how Australia, China, and India share a similar socio-cultural and environmental challenge – the aligning of contemporary urban design systems to sustainable rural/remote craft processes, particularly amongst their respective Indigenous and ethnic communities.

Run annually, the ACC grant program provides seed funding to a wide range of innovative, high-impact projects across China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau and Australia that enhance Australia-China education, business and cultural connections.