Staff Profiles

Location: G Block, Level G, Room GG14
Phone: 60683

Assoc.Prof. Rick Bennett

School of Design Studies


PhD (Syd), MHEd (UNSW), BA Fine Arts (Bristol)

PhD Visual Arts - University of Sydney, Australia (2004-09)

Master of Higher Education - UNSW, Sydney, Australia (1994-98)

Bachelor of Arts (Hons), Fine Art - Bristol Polytechnic, England. (1981-84)


Raised and educated in south London, England, I completed undergraduate studies in the Fine Arts specialising in sculpture. The majority of my works consisted of large wooden and steel wall hangings, influenced by the repetition and perspectives of the urban landscapes that surrounded me. These studies still influence the work I produce today, in terms of both graphic and constructed designs.

Following my graduation in 1984, I was employed by a special effects company for six years within the TV / film industry in the UK. The majority of my time was spent working on television commercials, live action animations and promotional music videos. In 1990, I travelled to Australia, began working for the College of Fine Arts (COFA), and become an Australian citizen in 1994.

In 1998, I completed a Master of Higher Education (UNSW) which led me to investigate traditional practices of teaching 'design studio' subjects and in turn future possibilities. I began a research project titled Omnium that aimed to explore advances made within digital technology and the apparent changes in the requirements of contemporary students in relation to their own needs and those of todays design professions. In summary, were our teaching methods becoming both out of touch and out of date?

In 2009, I completed my PhD thesis (University of Sydney) titled 'Drawing on The Virtual Collective': Exploring Online Collaborative Creativity in the Visual Arts. As a result of this study and my previous research over a decade, I am now fortunate to be asked to present and publish outcomes of my Omnium research, both nationally and internationally.

From 2007, my own work moved to developing and producing a series of ‘creative outreach’ projects in developing countries such as Kenya, Uganda, and Sri Lanka. The three most recent major projects (2008 – 2013) involved working collaboratively on public art installations with economically-disadvantaged artisans and craftworkers from various provinces in the Philippines. All three outcomes have all been exhibited in the capital, Manila.