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Associate Professor Kurt Seemann

PhD, UNSW, Australia; BSc/Dip.Ed (Hons), UNSW, Australia



  • Smart Citizens:
    • Cross-cultural (incl. Remote Community) Applied Design and Technology Education
    • Understanding developmental milestones in Design Innovation Education. K-12
    • Specialist in the relationship patterns that develop between people, our made world of design, technologies and systems, and our biosphere
    • Technacy, and Technology Genre Theory; Philosophy of Design Technology Education.

  • Smart Habitats: 
    • Human settlement sustainability: small, remote / rural, and urban systems.
    • How Human Settllements form, evolve, and, their metabolism.
    • Ekistics: the problems and science of human settlements. 

My area of interest is the entangled relationship between people, the world they make (our technologies), and our biosphere.  
Educationally, I study how people learn, interact with, classify, and create the made world about them and the role culture and remoteness plays in the process of forming one’s conceptual schema.

Core Qualifications:

  • PhD UNSW (Faculty of The Built Environment, School of Architecture)
  • BSc/DipEd (Hons) UNSW (Five year fulltime integrated degree featuring three compulsory streams in Industrial Design and Manufacturing Technologies (studio, lab and living lab for practice based learning), Experimental and Industrial Psychology, and Secondary Teacher Education with a traditional add-on honours year thesis in Education - externally examined);
  • Grad Cert (Competent Management). Australian Institute of Management and Deakin University.
  • Cert IV in Workplace Training and Assessment (Southern Cross Human Resources and Development P/L (RTO)
  • ACM Accreditation (Australian Competent Manager) Australian Institute of Management

Consistent career focus on educational administration and academic leadership:  

I have extensive educational experience and depth in successful academic administration, course development (including authoring and writing new degrees through collaborative processes), teaching and strategic leadership across all three education sectors (school, TAFE and university), and across several jurisdictions (national accreditation, NSW, Victoria, and the Northern Territory).

In 2010, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) identified me as one of Australia’s lead experts in Applied Design Education for Remote Aboriginal Community Sustainably and Settlement Development.

TOTAL Personal Research Income as First Chief Investigator (cash to parent organisation) across all 4 Categiories @ 06/2018:                           $5,808,630.15

    • 2019 -  Stream Leader: Sustainable Cities, Smart Cities Research Institute, Swinburne University of Technology.
    • 2013-2018. Founding Centre Director,  Centre in Design Innovation.  
    • 2003-date.  Sitting Academic Expert, Swinburne University Human Research Ethics Committee, and Chair, Swinburne Human Ethics Sub-Committee, Ethics assessor for Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute projects.
    • 2012-2013 Appointed to Swinburne University to teach the Masters in Design Anthropology.
    • 2010-2012 Identified by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) as one their national policy experts in the sustainable foundations for remote desert housing design and education.
    • 2010 Selected by The Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority (ACARA) as a lead curriculum expert on design and technology education
    • 2003-2010 Appointed through nationally competitive selection, to be the theme leader of the Desert Knowledge CRC on Sustainable Desert Settlements and community education. I negotiated and developed a strategic cross-discipline national team combining design with big data (CSIRO),  business, government, mental health, engineering, economics, policy, housing design and education expertise across all states and territories.  I led that role initially as a national Project leader for 3 years, 2003-2006, then as the National Core Theme/program leader for 4 years (2006-2010). My approach was highly strategic, people centred, and inclusive to assure effective administrative execution of a very complex context of research – design innovation and education in remote desert Aboriginal communities.  My work was focused on developing and putting my team forward to win and grow over $4.5 million in cash in those last 4 years.  In 2007 I was assessed as having the best Core Program Review (of 5 core programs) by the CEO Jan Ferguson, of Desert Knowledge CRC, for my Annual Performance Review of my Core Research leadership, and competent administration.
    • 2002 Appointed by the federal director of of Education, Science and Training, Quality Schools Branch to author the DEST national discussion paper on the Knowledge Economy and Design Technology Education. Document was distributed to all States and over 80 selected schools nation-wide.
    • 1999-2012 Appointed as the inaugural Course Administrator of the Bachelor of Technology Education (4 year undergrad Design and Technology Education degree, Southern Cross University, SCU) to create a new sustainable and growth trending degree in competition with seven other similar degrees in the sector in NSW alone: the course took market share from its competitors. The degree was acknowledged as the fastest growing in the University, strategically negotiated by me to combined units from the department disciplines of Information Technology, Psychology, Tourism and Hospitality Management, and pathways via VET, with an honours stream for high performing students selected in the 3rd Engineering units were also added by me to the course.  This degree heavily featured studio and practice based units, including living projects in local community client settings, such as with the Rotary Club and local RSL club street scape design (acknowledging plaques are established in Sawtell, NSW).  I was awarded an innovation grant by SCU for establishing the cost effective strategic Alliance program 2000-2008 with local secondary schools to grow collaborative research and share Studio Lab resources.
    • 1996 The bipartisan endorse Federal Policy for “Matching Science and Technology Needs to 2010”, of the Australian Science Technology and Engineering Council (ASTEC), devoted two of their eight priority actions to my research on technacy education in design offering a robust framework for cross-discipline foundations as a basis to applied innovation through design.
    • 1991 Received the Australian Association for Adult and Community Education (AAACE) Award in Curriculum Innovation for successfully leading, creating, teaching, administrating, and accrediting the first nationally endorsed series of vocational courses in Applied Design and Technology Education. This course targeted remote Aboriginal Communities, highlighted design practice as a core capability for remote community housing, founded on design anthropology and human settlement systems research in my PhD. Over 3000 Central Australian Aboriginal adults completed the qualification to progress to work or further education (this figure is exceptional for its context). It was known as the “Aboriginal Technical Worker” (ATWORK) and the “Women-in-ATWORK” programs. In community, on-site living projects featured every semester in and around Alice Springs.
    • 1986 First honours thesis in Australia to focus on the critical education foundations to practice-based industrial design and technology curriculum for K-12, and undergraduate teacher education.

Research interests

philosophy of technology; design and technology education; technology transfer; aboriginal technology and edcuation policy; ekistics; smart habitat; smart citizens; human settlement studies; Technacy

PhD candidate and honours supervision

Higher degrees by research

Accredited to supervise Masters & Doctoral students as Principal Supervisor.

PhD topics and outlines

Re-Conceptualising Policy and Service Design to Facilitate Indigenous Participation in the Global Green Economy: This thesis investigates how to design an effective policy and service delivery programme to facilitate the participation of Indigenous residents in peri-urban Perth in the emerging green economy.Australian Research Council (ARC) funded-project called Indigenous Participation in a Low-Carbon Economy.


Available to supervise honours students.

Fields of Research

  • Regional Analysis And Development - 120505
  • Comparative And Cross-cultural Education - 130302

Teaching areas

Technology Education;Innovation in Education;Community Development Education;Science of Human settlements;Culture and Technology Design


  • 1998, Other, ACM: Australian Competent Manager Accrediation, AIM: Australian Institute of Management


Also published as: Seemann, Kurt; Seemann, K.; Seemann, Kurt W.; Seemann, Kurt Walter
This publication listing is provided by Swinburne Research Bank. If you are the owner of this profile, you can update your publications using our online form.

Recent research grants awarded

  • 2017: Early prototyping of automotive mobility apps and services around health, wellbeing, safety forhuman-computer interactions with autonomous cars *; Gerenwa GmbH
  • 2017: Telescope Stage 2: Parasite Image Recognition, Filter enhancement, Visualisation of Design *; All Farm Animal Health Trust FS
  • 2017: Visualising Community Experiences: Boroondara Customer Journey Mapping Co-design Research Project *; Boroondara City Council
  • 2016: Shaping Change Stage *; Besen Foundation
  • 2016: Telescope: service and industrial design stage *; GRETALS AUSTRALIA PTY LTD
  • 2016: Waste Management and Wellbeing in Remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities *; Waste Aid
  • 2015: The Dusted Community (Phase 2) *; Slater and Gordon Asbestos Research Fund
  • 2013: Indigenous Participation in a Low-Carbon Economy *; ARC Linkage Projects Scheme
  • 2012: Modelling the benefits of Swarm Planning: a dynamic way of planning for future adaptation to climate change impacts *; Rubicon Research Grant

* Chief Investigator

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