In summary

  • A new exhibition space called Swinburne Studio has opened at ACMI after a $40 million transformation.
  • The new ACMI features the use of a device called the Lens, created by Swinburne’s Centre for Design Innovation.
  • Swinburne students have collaborated on a digital experience extending on from The Story of the Moving Image exhibit.

Swinburne University of Technology has extended its partnership with the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) and announced a new exhibition space called Swinburne Studio. The announcement follows ACMI’s reopening last month, after a major redevelopment.  

Swinburne Studio will provide a dedicated area for collaboration between the two organisations, as well as a home for ACMI’s many diverse festivals and events. 

Swinburne and ACMI will host a series of free public events in the space later this year, showcasing their shared expertise in technology, innovation, digital culture and screen industries.  

“We are excited to work with ACMI and create new technology-driven opportunities for our students and researchers,” says Vice-Chancellor Professor Pascale Quester.

“At Swinburne, we bring people and technology together to build a better world and, through this partnership, we look forward to our students experiencing exciting placements at ACMI and our experts delivering projects for industry.”

ACMI Director and CEO Katrina Sedgwick OAM says, “Swinburne shares our values of collaboration, experimentation and innovation, and our revitalised museum experience is all the richer for it.”

Image of the Story of the Moving Image exhibit at ACMI. Credit: Shannon McGrath.

Technology that connects knowledge

As part of ACMI’s $40 million transformation, Swinburne students and researchers were involved in creating new experiences for visitors. 

When visitors arrive at ACMI, they’ll be given a handheld device called the Lens to tap on the displays to collect information about the objects and artworks shown. 

A collaborative effort, the Lens was conceived by ACMI, designed by Razorfish and produced by Swinburne’s Centre for Design Innovation

The centre was asked to create and manufacture a sustainable device. The result is a disk made of layered cardboard and a near field communication tag. 

From a design point of view, it’s not the most technical or groundbreaking design, but it was an enormous manufacturing feat.

“We will make two million of these, which meant we needed to be very clever in our manufacturing. It was challenging to get the cost down, but keep the quality and sustainability of the product. Every Lens is unique, with a different chip and identifier,” says Professor Blair Kuys, Director of the Centre for Design Innovation.

“I love ACMI and I’m proud to say that my team designed this Lens for them.”

Image of The Lens. Credit Shannon McGrath.

Delivering a new digital experience

The Lens also activates a new exhibit called the Constellation, which Swinburne students had the opportunity to help develop.

The Constellation is a large-scale, data-driven exhibit that connects visitors to films, TV series, artworks and video games outside ACMI, based on the information each visitor has collected within ACMI. in 

To bring together this content, the connections between them needed to be digitally mapped. Fortunately, as Associate Professor Liam Burke explains, Swinburne students were ready to develop the constellations. 

“Swinburne cinema and screen studies students already map thematic, stylistic and biographical links between technology, film, TV and other types of media in their course work.” 

Bachelor of Media and Communication student Adam Virgona says, “It was such an incredible opportunity to create constellations for ACMI! I’m really proud and I feel ecstatic knowing that it’s finally open to the public.”

Kristian Vass is studying a Bachelor of Arts and worked with Adam on developing the constellations. 

“The project made me aware of the countless opportunities I could take up in the future – and to not let those opportunities slip by,” Kristian says.

Image of Swinburne Studio at ACMI. Credit: Shannon McGrath.

About the partnership

Swinburne has been ACMI’s Major Academic Partner since 2019. Together, the two institutions are bringing people and technology together to provide study opportunities, bring transformative research to industry and advance screen culture.  

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