DIGITAL PUBLICS SYMPOSIUM - "DIGITAL PLACEMAKING – NEW URBAN LANDSCAPES"The Digital Placemaking Institute and Urban Screen Productions...

Digital Publics Symposium


Greens Road
2021 NSW

UNSW Arts and Design


Emma Shearman

Emma Shearman

Operations Director - UTV

A diverse professional background focused on policy, strategy and process development with extensive project management experience. An experienced manager conducting consultancy in various business sectors. Emma managed multimedia operations at Federation Square including the rollout of a CMS and technical backbone, writing and implementing operational process and delivering USM08, an International conference on Urban Screens. Currently Emma advises on operational implications of urban screens, manages the studio and curates content. 

Glenn Harding

Glenn Harding

Managing Director - UTV

Glenn’s been at the forefront of technological convergence and marketing methodologies for decades. His previous company, Webmedia, was a successful interactive design company. Glenn consults to multinationals, government and cultural agencies. His interest in public screens began with drafting the multimedia strategy for Federation Square. Glenn has consulted on and managed the installation of non-commercial cultural screens across Australia. Glenn is working with several universities on collaborative research projects and digital placemaking strategies. 

Dr. M. Hank Haeusler

Dr. M. Hank Haeusler

Director Computational Design - UNSW

Dr. M. Hank Haeusler Dipl.-Ing. (Fh) / PhD (SIAL/RMIT) is discipline director of Computational Design (CoDe) at Australian School of Architecture + Design at the University of New South Wales, Sydney; board member of the Media Architecture Institute, a non-profit organisation designed to complement the work of established universities and research institutions, and Lead CI of Encircle, an ARC Linkage Grant funded research group investigating responsive transport environments.

Haeusler is known as a researcher, educator, entrepreneur and designer in media architecture, digital technology, interaction design and ubiquitous computing and author of seven books listing publications such as ‘Media Facades – History, Technology, Content’ (avedition, 2009), ‘Infostructures’ (Freerange, 2010); ‘New Media Facades – A global Survey’ (avedition, 2012); ‘InterChanging’ (Spurbuch, 2014); and over 30 book chapters and conference papers. He has lectured in Europe, Asia, North America and Australia and was appointed visiting professor at Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing in 2013.

Professor Marcus Foth

Professor Marcus Foth

Director - QUT Design Lab

Professor Marcus Foth is the director of the QUT Design Lab, founder of the Urban Informatics Research Lab, and professor in Interactive & Visual Design, School of Design, Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology. He is also an honorary professor in the School of Communication and Culture at Aarhus University, Denmark.

Marcus’ research focuses on the relationships between people, place and technology. He leads a cross-disciplinary team that develops practical approaches to complex urban problems. He adopts human-computer interaction and design methodologies to build engagement around emerging issues facing our cities.

Marcus has authored and co-authored over 170 publications in journals, edited books, and conference proceedings. In 2017, he was made a fellow of the Australian Computer Society. In 2013, he received a Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science Award, and was inducted by the planning, design and development site Planetizen to the world’s top 25 leading thinkers and innovators in the field of urban planning and technology.

Jeremy Smith

Jeremy Smith

Arts Practice Director for Community & Emerging and Experimental Arts - Australia Council for the Arts

Jeremy Smith is the Arts Practice director – Community, Emerging and Experimental Arts at the Australia Council for the Arts. He has spent much of his professional career working in close connection with the arts and cultural industries since graduating from the Lighting Design course at the WA Academy of Performing Arts in 1997.

He has held a range of senior positions in the corporate, not for profit and government sectors. Jeremy’s most recent appointments include manager, Community Investment with Rio Tinto Iron Ore, and the manager, Regional Arts and Strategic Development at DADAA, an arts and health organisation in Western Australia. He has also worked extensively across festivals, youth arts, community and regional arts development projects in a range of creative and management roles.

A large portion of his work has seen the development of long term, reciprocal relationships across regional Western Australia and with marginalised communities, which has shaped his approach and values towards his own arts practice. He has frequently used digital storytelling as a vehicle to promote social inclusion, and to ‘unhide’ the stories and voices of people who others might perceive as vulnerable.

Dr. Martin Tomitsch

Dr. Martin Tomitsch

Design Chair & Director of Design Lab - University of Sydney

Associate Professor Martin Tomitsch is chair of Design at the University of Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning, and director of the Design Lab, a research group that focuses on interaction design and design innovation. He is founding member of the Austrian Network for Information and Communication Technologies for Development (, the Media Architecture Institute (, state co-chair of the Australian Computer-Human Interaction Special Interest Group (CHISIG), visiting lecturer at the Vienna University of Technology's Research Group for Industrial Software (INSO), and visiting professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing. His research sits across the domains of interaction design, creative technologies and cities, and explores the role of design for improving the experience and lives of people.

Michelle Tabet

Michelle Tabet

Founder and Director - The Left Bank

Michelle Tabet is an experienced urban strategist, working at the intersection of creative strategy and urban planning. Having spent her life living in and experiencing some of the world’s most vibrant cities, Tabet understands the important role innovation and strategic placemaking play in shaping successful urban environments. With extensive experience working with the design, property and urban planning sector, Tabet's interest lies in working with project leaders to set up the right strategy for large urban projects.

Exploring the productive niche between the strategic and the creative, Tabet drives the agenda for urban placemaking, activation, user experiences and strategic brief development. She recognises the strategic value of effective communication and information design and works through a variety of media to engage audience, influence decision makers and make the right messages stand out.

Her list of clients includes an impressive array of public and private sector players in the cities sector such as Lendlease, Mirvac, GPT, Arts NSW, the South Australian Department of Manufacturing, Trade, Innovation, Resources and Energy, The Arts Centre Melbourne, Christchurch City Council and Christchurch Redevelopment Authority, and many more.

Liz Bradshaw

Liz Bradshaw

Education Designer - dLux Media Arts

Dr Liz Bradshaw is an artist and cultural researcher who has exhibited and published internationally. She has taught art and design in highly regarded universities and colleges in Australia and the UK. She has also been a lead external moderator, teacher of professional development, content writer/facilitator, for the University of the Arts London Awarding Body. Liz teaches drawing at the National Art School, Sydney and is the dLux MediaArts Education designer working across curriculum to develop art and technology focused programming and audience engagement strategies for a diverse range of audiences.

Vi Girgis

Vi Girgis

Acting Policy and Projects Officer - Liverpool City Council

Vi Girgis holds Bachelors of Art Theory, and Arts (in History), a Master of Arts Administration, and a Diploma of Project Management. She has worked at Liverpool City Council for six years, starting at Casual Powerhouse Arts Centre, where she produced public and education programs, and curated a number of exhibitions, including works by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, and Opera Australia’s first exhibition of props and costumes.

As the curator/producer of Anzac Commemorations for Liverpool City Council, Vi produced a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary program of events, exhibitions, publications and public works to commemorate the Anzac centenary, including the city’s first light projections. She has since produced a number of small and large-scale activation projects and events across the Liverpool CBD, working with artists, organisations, local businesses and property owners, and across council to deliver a range of art and cultural experiences.

Projects have included the first Liverpool Street Art Festival, commissioning works by leading and emerging Australian street artists, and presenting internationally-acclaimed Trolleys performance by Shaun Parker Company and Intrude installation by Amanda Parer; collaborations with Head On Photo Festival; the launch of the annual Comic Con-versation program across Sydney libraries; and commissioning temporary and permanent public artworks. Vi has also published a number of art essays and interviews, was on the board of SafARI, and was the co-curator of City of Sydney’s final Laneway art program in 2012.

Vi is currently the acting Policy and Projects officer, working on Liverpool’s first Cultural Plan, and activation programs for the newly-rejuvenated Macquarie Mall, including collaborating with Urbanscreen Productions to present content on the Mall’s screen, and advising on a range of council infrastructure, community, and economic development projects and initiatives. As a South-West Sydney resident, Vi is committed to building the cultural profile of the region. She seeks to explore and deliver best practice placemaking, cultural activation and community building which is innovative, accessible and inclusive to South-West Sydney’s diverse residents.

Joel Fredericks

Joel Fredericks

Co-Chair - CE Summit Series

Joel Fredericks is an urban planner and researcher in the Design Lab, Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning, The University of Sydney. His research sits across the domains of urban planning, digital placemaking, smart cities and community engagement. In his PhD study, Joel focused on the use of digital and analogue media channels embedded into situated pop-up interventions for collaborative city making. Joel has authored and co-authored many publications in journals, edited books, and conference proceedings.

Kristefan Minski

Kristefan Minski

Senior Producer & Artist

Kristefan Minski (AU) is a cross media artist, producer and researcher concentrated at the nexus of art and science. His primary passion is the way in which artistic thinking combined with technological application can influence and improve our future societies. In 2002 he produced his first significant work; dancing to architecture, a pioneering open source documentary. His passion for producing experimental art continued with a portfolio covering a broad range of mediums and disciplines such as sociology, film, theatre, dance, music, engineering, architecture, interaction design, virtual reality and robotics.

All of which have been culminated by his work at the Ars Electronica Futurelab since 2009. He is responsible for Ars Electronica’s activities in Australia including the establishment and management of bilateral partnerships with several leading universities. He also gives lectures at many other international schools and since 2015 is pursuing a PhD in creative arts at the University of Newcastle with co-supervision from Ars Electronica Futurelab. The research examines the role of collaboration in experimental art practice. It investigates the nature of transdisciplinarity and presents the way of experimental art as a new model for innovation.

Daniel Latorre

Daniel Latorre

Co-Founder the Digital Placemaking Institute

Daniel is a co-founder of the Digital Placemaking Institute and founder of The Wise City; a strategic design studio focused on making digital civic engagement apps, training and capacity building for civic service design. He is a senior fellow for Digital Placemaking at Project for Public Spaces, where he started the Digital Placemaking practice in 2010.

He was a steering committee member for NYC Participatory Budgeting’s first three years, and previously helped advance sustainable urbanism with Streetsblog and Streetfilms, and rebooted the community mapping product strategy at OpenPlans.

With 20 years of digital design consulting experience from Razorfish, Funny Garbage, Scholastic, and others, his focus today is on building communities of practice around place, socially engaged arts and media. Daniel offers talks, presentations, and trainings, most recently at Columbia University GSAPP, School of Visual Arts, Parsons The New School for Design, DOX Museum for Contemporary Art Prague, Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences, and the NYC Center for Architecture.

With a Colombian and Norwegian-American background this “Third Culture Kid” brings a multicultural awareness to all he works on. He lives in New York City where he co-founded two public space and public art Occupy Wall Street affinity groups and co-founded a neighborhood public space alliance in Brooklyn.

Katherine O'Regan

Katherine O'Regan

Executive Director - Cities Leadership Institute

Katherine has over 30 years’ experience in developing and delivering strategies for business and government that drive performance, deliver growth and enhance stakeholder engagement. An experienced board member and international executive known for her strategic thinking and commercial acumen she has a strong understanding and a global network across banking, property, trade and investment, urban development and the environment.
Having served as an adviser and Chief of Staff to Australian Federal and State Government Ministers and a trusted adviser to CEOs of Australian top 50 listed corporations, Katherine has a deep knowledge of regulatory and governance frameworks, extensive policy capability, and experience in infrastructure and corporate transactions. Katherine was a founding director of the of Future Cities Collaborative, the sustainable urban development initiative of the University of Sydney, and in 2017 was appointed executive director of the Cities Leadership Institute.
Katherine holds a Bachelor of Applied Science, Masters of Business Administration and a Masters of US Studies (Merit) and serves as councillor at Woollahra Municipal Council, Sydney where she served as deputy mayor from 2012 to 2014.
Sarah Barns

Sarah Barns

Director of Media and Design Practice - Esem Projects

Dr. Sarah Barns is a creative producer and digital strategist whose work today responds to the opportunities and challenges for cities and communities as our physical and digital worlds collide. Director of media and design practice Esem Projects and research fellow at Western Sydney University, Sarah's work today combines knowledge and expertise in data-driven innovation and smart city strategy, with deep practical experience in the design and delivery of creative placemaking, experiential media and interpretation platforms across a number of cities in Australia and New Zealand. She is passionate about the potential for digital placemaking to provide new ways to experience and interpret the stories that connect people to places. 

Event Details


The Digital Placemaking Institute and Urban Screen Productions present Digital Placemaking and New Urban Landscapes. This 4th Digital Publics Symposium is part of the Vivid Ideas Program 2017.

Building on the previous Digital Publics programs this symposium is set to delve into and unpack what does digital placemaking look like? The symposium is drawing expert speakers from across three key sectors engaged in this emergent area of cultural practice. 

Curated by Urban Screen Productions, Digital Publics will take place at UNSW Art & Design Campus, Paddington, Sydney on Saturday 3rd June 2017, 9.30am till 5.30pm. More detailed information about Digital Publics and registration links can be found at The daylong symposium will conclude with a networking event located near by.


Concurrent with the rise of ubiquitous digital platforms across all sectors of society is the rise of a variety of new approaches and methodologies within placemaking, now known as the digital placemaking practice. This year’s symposium will focus on the discourse of case studies — what has occurred to date across the different digital placemaking projects? What has worked and failed, and why?

With an eye to supporting future activities in this area, the symposium will present three sector focused presentation sessions that corral these oft-discreet practices and projects into a day of cross-pollinated knowledge and an unpacking of the underlying question and drivers.

From the theory to the practice —  the presentations will address methodological questions and practice challenges through case studies and projects. Including covering such practical measures as identifying the types of physical spaces, the infrastructure of those sites, and the communities these case studies engaged with. As well as, what types of digital placemaking activities were undertaken?

Equally the presentations will discuss: what does success looks like and how are these intentions being framed prior to, and qualifying post project delivery? Finally there will be a reflection on patterns to the unique Australian context of many of these projects, and what the innovators in this field need to be looking at moving forward into the next iterations of studies.

The closing panel discussion of the day will reflect on this shared knowledge, asking and answering such questions as:

  • Are there methodological patterns demonstrated in the case studies that indicate an emergent practice? How has the Australian context contributed to the emergence of this new practice in placemaking?
  • How do we streamline the technologies and installations to support new urban landscapes and the digital placemaking movement?  
  • What does success look like?
  • What are the current methods for data collection? Are they effective at indicating success or otherwise?
  • What might be an appropriate measurement and analysis methodology for the digital placemaking moving forward?
  • Where are the gaps in the thinking and case studies? Who or where has been left out? What might the next iterations of case studies focus on?

Digital Publics is a program that brings together the ideas, voices and hands, and technologies that are seeking to redistribute spatial encounters, by redefining both the public and engagement in public spaces. Digital Placemaking offers a new set of contributions to the placemaking approach of creating or renewing public space using technologies old and new.

Digital Placemaking is interested in the layers of connection, engagement and cultural experience made possible by the inclusion of media technologies. This timely one-day symposium brings together the voices of creative practitioners, institutions and researchers who are making new spaces for curious publics.

Digital Publics 2017 builds on the knowledge sharing and discourse of X-Communicate, 2015 presented as part of Vivid ideas  and Digital Publics 2016. This year’s symposium is also a prelude to the 2018 International Media Architecture Conference, Media Architecture Biennale hosted by CAFA – Beijing. MAB18 is organised by the Media Architecture Institute in conjunction with CAFA. Digital Publics will be part of the MAB18 program.


The symposium format includes a series of panel discussions with opening and closing remarks, with a networking event to conclude the day. Times and details are outlined below.

Opening Remarks – 9.30 – 9.45am

  • Symposium Introduction & Opening Remarks – Emma Shearman – Director, Urban Screen Productions
  • Symposium Moderator: Daniel Latorre

Panel One – Digital Placemaking and the Institution – 9.45 – 11.15am

Morning Break: 11.15 – 11.30am

Panel Two: Digital Placemaking and the Arts Sector – 11.30am – 1.00pm

Lunch: 1.00pm – 2.00pm

Panel Three: Digital Placemaking and its voice in academia – 2.00pm – 3.30pm

Afternoon Break: 3.30pm – 3.45pm

Closing Panel: Closing panel with perspectives drawn from all sessions and presented by their chairs – 3.45pm – 5.30pm

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