Melbourne Design Week: Robot City

Could robots make our public spaces better? This workshop moves between digital and analogue settings to creatively explore the possibilities for the future of robotics. It features an introductory conversation between two roboticists on the cutting edge of research, Prof Gentiane Venture (University of Tokyo) and Prof Dana Kulić (Monash University). In an interactive panel, they will talk about the failures and successes of existing public space robots, and speculate about what's to come and the questions we should be asking of these technologies. Ilya and Shanti will then invite participants to experiment with robots in augmented reality, moving from the digital to the analogue world to hack these robots in creative ways. By speculating and creating analogue robot prototypes for themselves, participants will explore and express the public space robots they want and need.

The event is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia-Japan Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Gentiane Venture is Professor of Robotics with the University of Tokyo and a cross-appointed fellow with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science & Technology, Japan. Her research focuses on the dynamics of human, robots and the environment. Her group and her work are transdisciplinary to see robotics not as a field with applications in certain areas, but rather as an art of living together.

Dana Kulic conducts research in robotics, learning and human-robot interaction. Since 2019, she is Professor and Director of Monash Robotics at Monash University, Australia. In 2020, Prof. Kulić was awarded an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship to investigate how robots could better learn and adapt in uncertain environments. This research will help robots to be used by non-experts and to be quickly deployed in a variety of settings.

Grounded in human geography, and with a strong commitment to interdisciplinary and collaborative scholarship, Shanti Sumartojo investigates how people experience design and technology in their surroundings, particularly in shared, public spaces and events. A current focus is the use and impact of robots in public space and in everyday life, and how it might feel to share such spaces with new robotic technologies. She is a member of the Emerging Technologies Research Lab

Ilya Fridman is a designer, researcher and educator. Working as part of Emerging Technologies Research Lab at Monash University, his work explores how we can collectively design for the sustainable development of public products, services, and systems. Ilya’s research simultaneously seeks to understand what may be achieved when various people collaborate creatively to address challenges of sustainability and what role designers may play in helping societies transition towards sustainable futures.

This event is part of Melbourne Design Week 2023, an initiative of the Victorian Government in collaboration with the NGV.

25 May 2023 at 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

No Vacancy Gallery, Level 3, QV Building, 34–40 Jane Bell Lane