Profile image for Samantha Edwards-Vandenhoek

Dr Samantha Edwards-Vandenhoek

Senior Lecturer
Doctor of Philosophy, University of Western Sydney, Australia


Dr Samantha Edwards-Vandenhoek is a multi-award-winning community-based design researcher, digital media artist and educator. Partnering with art centres, museums and schools, Samantha’s research seeks to advance the role of place-based design, media and filmmaking practices in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community development; fostering social well-being, knowledge transfer, intercultural collaboration and youth entrepreneurship. Samantha holds a BA (Hons) in Aboriginal Prehistory and a PhD in Media and Communication Studies. In 2019, she was the co-recipient of the highly prestigious International Good Design Award for Social Impact for ‘Our Journey’, an animated film made with the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School and Australia Chamber Orchestra. Funded by the Australian Government and developed in partnership with Indigenous designers, artists and community organisations, Samantha coordinates Marngo Designing Futures, an aspiration initiative that connects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people with University through the world of culture-centred design practices and digital storytelling technologies - In 2017, the program was awarded the FHAD Research Impact Award  Recognised for her sustained contributions to education, engaged research and reconciliation Samantha has been awarded the 2011 Vice Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence, 2016 Vice Chancellor’s Award for Community Engagement and 2018 Vice Chancellor's Team Award for Reconciliation.

Research interests

Education; environmental design; visual communication; place-making; Documentary Photography; place branding; Street Art and Graffiti; participatory design; digital mapping; cultural heritage; public art; indigenous studies; social design; WIL; Cultures-Based Innovation; Strategic Design; animation; place-based design; Indigenous design

PhD candidate and honours supervision

Higher degrees by research

Accredited to supervise Masters & Doctoral students as External Co-Supervisor.


Available to supervise honours students.

Fields of Research

  • Design - 330300
  • Visual Arts - 360600
  • Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Research Methods - 450115
  • Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Information And Knowledge Management Systems - 450606
  • Indigenous Data And Data Technologies - 451906
  • Indigenous Methodologies - 451907

Teaching areas

Communication Design;Social Enterprise;Indigenous Design;Social Impact Design;photomedia;participatory design


  • 2020, National, Good Design Award for Social Impact, Good Design Awards
  • 2019, National, Premier Design Award Commendation, Creative Victoria, Victorian Government
  • 2019, National, Good Design Award for Social Impact, Good Design Awards
  • 2018, Swinburne, Vice Chancellors Reconciliation Award, Swinburne University of Technology
  • 2018, Swinburne, Faculty of Health Arts and Design, Research Impact Award, Swinburne University of Technology
  • 2017, Other, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Impact Award Finalist, University of Western Sydney
  • 2015, Swinburne, Vice Chancellors Excellence Award (Engagement), Swinburne University of Technology
  • 2015, Swinburne, Vice Chancellors Engagement Award, Swinburne University of Technology
  • 2015, Swinburne, Deans Award for Community and Industry Engagement, Swinburne University of Technology
  • 2013, Other, Vice Chancellors Professional Development Scholarship, University of Western Sydney
  • 2011, Other, Vice Chancellors Excellence in Teaching Award, University of Western Sydney

Professional memberships

  • 2014 - 2017: Board Member, Australian Academy of Design, Australia
  • 2014 - 2016: Board Member, Indigenous Futures Collaboration HEPP Creative Advisory Committee , Australia
  • 2017 - 2020: Board Member, LCI Melbourne, International
  • 2014 - 2016: Associate, Design Institute of Australia (DIA), Australia
  • 2016 - 2020: Member, Design Institute of Australia, Australia


Also published as: Edwards-Vandenhoek, Samantha; Edwards-Vandenhoek, S.
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

  • 2019: A Gija Storytelling Project *; Warmun Arts Centre
  • 2019: Marngo Designing Futures 2019: Building Bridges into Higher Education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Secondary Students through a placebase design education program. *; Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Programme
  • 2018: Marngo Designing Futures: Building pathways to higher education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander secondary students through a place-based design education program *; Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Programme
  • 2014: After the Flood: The role of pulic art and participatory design in buidling resilience and place-making in the Warmun Aboriginal Community, East Kimberly, Western Australia. *; Early/Interrupted Research Career Scheme

* Chief Investigator