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Ellmers, Grant Dr

Senior Lecturer in Photography & Design

  • Faculty of the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities
  • School of the Arts, English and Media
  • Associate Member - Early Start Research

Overview


Dr Grant Ellmers is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Wollongong, Australia, specialising in design, photography, and creative arts education. He is a passionate and committed educator with a keen interest in the way that thinking is represented in project-based and studio-based learning environments. This is a core motivator underpinning the teaching-research nexus of his teaching practice. This approach is represented through the design and implementation of learning scaffolds and assessment tasks that highlight the themes of thinking and making to guide students to engage in structured ways with the rich learning opportunities present within the creative process. Work-integrated learning (WIL) is further focus of his teaching practice, where he draws on his industry and education experience to guide student engagement with industry opportunities, supporting their transition to industry.

Grant’s research has an interdisciplinary and collaborative focus that seeks to bridge the gap between research and the world of practice (translational). The first component of his research is characterised by a practice-led approach, developing new knowledge that has operational significance for the practice of graphic and communication design. A core focus is on design expertise, specifically exploring the roles the design process, reflective practice, and the principles of knowledge transfer, can play to develop expertise.

The second component of Grant’s research can be characterised as practice-based, where he is exploring the means of practice and the outcomes of practice. This involves interdisciplinary research collaborations and lens-based practice. Grant’s primary role in the interdisciplinary research involves introducing design process research methods to support a communication and collaboration structure for the team, introducing co-design principles to include end user perspectives, and design practice including print, user interface design (UI), and branding. Grant’s lens-based practice explores the space between figurative and abstract forms in photography through abstract studies of inner-city streets in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia. This work has achieved national recognition recently winning the Australian Centre for Photography Best Black & White Work award at the 2020 Ilford Salon, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne.

Top Publications


Research Overview


  • Design education including

    • studio and project-based learning
    • reflection
    • knowledge transfer
    • experiential knowledge
    • assessment

Available as Research Supervisor

Selected Publications


Presentations


Impact Story


  • <p>Drawing on international research this project has designed and developed a community-based multi-sensory environment (MSE) at the Horsley Community Centre in the Illawarra. An MSE provides a safe, non-threatening environment for children and adults with cognitive, behavioural and physical impairments to engage in a range of sensory experiences. The experiences provided by an MSE can either calm or stimulate the primary senses using sensory-based materials such as fibre optics sprays, bubble tubes, music, colour, lighting and aroma. We know that multisensory environments provide the ability to control sensory experiences and stimulation of the primary senses to encourage relaxation and enjoyment which can be helpful for multiple groups such as senior citizens/aged care, people with physical disabilities and those with conditions such as dementia, autism spectrum disorders and also people with anxiety and challenging behaviours.<br /><br />The project forged a unique partnership between CareWays Illawarra and the University of Wollongong (UOW). Methodologically, this project used participatory action research to foster the involvement of people with disabilities, their carers, families and disability services to assist in the design and development of the space to best meet the needs of the whole community. <br /><br />Initially known as the SMILE team, the project is now called Sense (Sensory Environments for Supporting Experiences) Spaces. It has expanded to explore the impact of MSEs for cross-sector user groups.  The project has grown from establishing an MSE to examining the immediate and lasting impact of using an MSE, and whether personalisation of the MSE can increase use or provide a more meaningful experience. Utilising different design-thinking approaches with coordinated communication plans will be significant as we engage, define, ideate, prototype and test across sectors to provide effective ways of delivering MSEs.  </p>

Available as Research Supervisor

Potential Supervision Topics


  • Design thinking

    Design process

    Reflective practice 

    User interface design

Education And Training


  • Ph.D. in Design, University of Wollongong, School of Education, Graphic Design Education: Fostering the conditions for transfer in a project-based and studio-based learning environment, through a structured and critical approach to reflective practice 2005 - 2014

Top Publications


Research Overview


  • Design education including

    • studio and project-based learning
    • reflection
    • knowledge transfer
    • experiential knowledge
    • assessment

Selected Publications


Presentations


Impact Story


  • <p>Drawing on international research this project has designed and developed a community-based multi-sensory environment (MSE) at the Horsley Community Centre in the Illawarra. An MSE provides a safe, non-threatening environment for children and adults with cognitive, behavioural and physical impairments to engage in a range of sensory experiences. The experiences provided by an MSE can either calm or stimulate the primary senses using sensory-based materials such as fibre optics sprays, bubble tubes, music, colour, lighting and aroma. We know that multisensory environments provide the ability to control sensory experiences and stimulation of the primary senses to encourage relaxation and enjoyment which can be helpful for multiple groups such as senior citizens/aged care, people with physical disabilities and those with conditions such as dementia, autism spectrum disorders and also people with anxiety and challenging behaviours.<br /><br />The project forged a unique partnership between CareWays Illawarra and the University of Wollongong (UOW). Methodologically, this project used participatory action research to foster the involvement of people with disabilities, their carers, families and disability services to assist in the design and development of the space to best meet the needs of the whole community. <br /><br />Initially known as the SMILE team, the project is now called Sense (Sensory Environments for Supporting Experiences) Spaces. It has expanded to explore the impact of MSEs for cross-sector user groups.  The project has grown from establishing an MSE to examining the immediate and lasting impact of using an MSE, and whether personalisation of the MSE can increase use or provide a more meaningful experience. Utilising different design-thinking approaches with coordinated communication plans will be significant as we engage, define, ideate, prototype and test across sectors to provide effective ways of delivering MSEs.  </p>

Potential Supervision Topics


  • Design thinking

    Design process

    Reflective practice 

    User interface design

Education And Training


  • Ph.D. in Design, University of Wollongong, School of Education, Graphic Design Education: Fostering the conditions for transfer in a project-based and studio-based learning environment, through a structured and critical approach to reflective practice 2005 - 2014
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