IT for resilient communities

Flagship leaders

The IT for Resilient Communities Flagship addresses the following societal challenges:

  • How can information technology and information management enable the development of strong, healthy and resilient communities, promote and support social inclusion, and bridge the digital and information divides?
  • What role does IT play in community empowerment and disempowerment, social inclusion and exclusion, and in creating or bridging digital and information divides in an increasingly complex society?

Flagship researchers have expertise in social and community informatics, health informatics, development informatics, library and information science, archival science, information systems, knowledge management, IT in education, intelligent systems, modelling complexity, 3D animation and visualisation. Multidisciplinary approaches are essential when researching enabling IT for resilient communities.

The concept of community is fluid and highly contextualised. The term can refer broadly to groups which form around shared beliefs, values, experiences, and interests and come to have a shared sense of identity. Communities may have social, cultural, political, economic, religious, class, gender, sexual orientation, racial, ethnic, familial or geographical dimensions.

Flagship themes

Community and Development Informatics

Leader: Dr Tom Denison

Under this Flagship Theme we aim to build understandings, capacity and infrastructure in partnership with community stakeholders through knowledge production, ensuring access to information, and enabling information technologies and IKM systems that empower people to achieve better health, well being, education and environmental outcomes, make more effective use of community and government services, overcome physical, mental, cultural, or social disadvantage, and work with government and institutions on their own terms.

The research agenda includes areas drawn from the overlapping fields of Community Informatics and Development Informatics:

  • Bridging the digital divide: opening digital doorways for communities
  • Designing for communities: User-sensitive, value-sensitive community decision support, knowledge management and recordkeeping systems
  • Bridging the information divide: Building customised interfaces to enable community access to information
  • Doing IT and IM better in community organisations and building IT and IM capacity in community organisations
  • Emergent social trends and effects on social-technical relationships
  • Social networking and connected communities
  • Designing IT and information infrastructure that enables government and business to work better with communities
  • Ensuring that the voices of the communities that development agencies work with are not muted or distorted in the communication chain, and that community knowledge is well represented in decision making processes
  • Ensuring girls and women are supported and encouraged into IT
  • Technology for teaching sign language
  • Using IT to better present 2D information to the blind

Showcase project

Development Informatics: The Oxfam Monash Partnership
The Oxfam-Monash Partnership is an exciting and innovative example of a formalised collaboration between the NGO and university sectors, drawing on the unique skills and resources of each institution to enhance their overall impact on global development and poverty alleviation. By combining researchskills and resources, and by engaging the student body at Monash University, the Partnership aims to achieve long-term impact in the development field. Read more...

Resilient Cultures

Leader: Prof Sue McKemmish

Under this Flagship Theme, we aim:

  • to work with communities to develop systems that capture, integrate, preserve, and make available community and Indigenous knowledge, and preserve cultural heritage
  • to use innovative and leading edge technologies to build virtual 3D modelling environments for visualising heritage and culture in Australia and in South East Asia, archiving Indigenous oral memory

Research areas include:

  • Developing information and memory infrastructure
  • Visualising culture and place
  • Documenting and recording cultural heritage
  • Building sustainable living archives for the long-term preservation, cross-generational transfer and interactive use of community knowledge, memory and culture
  • Supporting resilient communities and community-based scholarship through decolonised and community-centric research, education and practic

Showcase projects

Visualising Angkor: Virtual History
In this collaboration between 3D animators in the Centre for Organisational and Social Informatics, the University of Sydney Greater Angkor Project, the Monash Asia Institute and National Geographic, a virtual world of landscapes, people, architecture and daily life in the 13th century Cambodian metropolis emerges detailed 3D animations based upon a wide range of archaeological and historical data, including bas reliefs (pictorial sculptures), Chinese eye witness accounts, and extensive mapping undertaken by the Greater Angkor Project.

View the Angkor project page and Google Cultural Institute page.

Community Health Informatics

Leader: Professor Frada Burstein

Defined broadly, healthcare is one of the major factors contributing to the resilience and well being of communities in the face of the stresses and complexities of modern life. 21st century health care requires intensive, patient-centred information and knowledge management, using interoperable IT and information systems to create, acquire, manage, analyse, integrate, and deliver relevant, timely, reliable information from multiple sources to multiple locations, and to document patient-doctor interaction, treatments, patient monitoring and outcomes in patient records. Research undertaken as part of this theme aims to gain a deep understanding of the role that community health informatics can play in supporting communities, including health consumer communities.

Research areas include:

  • Delivery of timely, relevant, reliable health information on conditions, preventative measures, treatments and outcomes to health care providers, carers, and patients
  • Modeling and supporting multi-player decision-making
  • Patient-centred support for healthcare decision making involving integration of medical data from multiple sources with patient specific data, including psycho-social factors, patient values and circumstances
  • Empowerment of patients to become expert in managing their health through research on personalised health information provision and personal health records, education about options and support of timely, and focused communication with professional health care providers

Showcase project

Smart Information Portals: Breast Cancer Knowledge Online
Breast Cancer Knowledge Online (BCKOnline) is a gateway to breast cancer information. This portal is the combined work of women with breast cancer and a team of Monash University researchers. Read more...

Infrastructure for Flagship Research

Under this Flagship Theme, we aim to develop theory, improved research methodologies and tools, and impact evaluation measures to support social inclusion research projects in general. It builds on and supports Themes 1-3.

Research areas include:

  • Research methodologies, for example to support inclusive, community participatory research
  • Ethical frameworks
  • Models of engagement
  • Specific technologies capable of supporting community engagement
  • Design principles for user- and value-sensitive systems
  • Building knowledge sector
  • Better integration between research and policy
  • Evaluation of impact of social inclusion research, including social and economic impacts


Flagship researchers work in partnership with:

  • Communities, including Indigenous communities, communities in developing countries, and communities of healthcare consumers
  • National and state archival and cultural heritage institutions
  • Information and knowledge management communities of practice and professional associations
  • Community organisations and peak bodies
  • NGOs working in international development sector
  • Government agencies
  • IT and IKM Consultancy Groups
  • Researchers in Monash Indigenous Centre, Monash Sustainability Institute, Faculties of Arts, Business and Economics, Education, Medicine and The Alfred Hospital
  • Researchers in universities around the world, including Warwick, Lulea, UCLA, Amsterdam, UCL, Zadar and Wellington, NZ, Meraka Institute, CSIR, South Africa

PhD projects

Project title Students Supervisors
Culture in the continuum: YouTube, small stories and memory making Leisa Gibbons
The storyline project: determining a therapeutic use for the personal archive in aged care and dementia. Joanne Mihelcic
The benefits of mobile phone for development in Indonesia Misita Anwar
Data-driven ontology for spectrum disorder information retrieval Wai Ling Cheung
Improving and sustaining Health Information Portals through the exploration of usage. Viet Bang Nguyen
Role of social media in supporting resilient community: a study of management of chronic diseases Hamidreza Pousti
Intelligently generating possible scenarios for emergency management during mass gatherings. Peter Edgar Serwylo
Evaluating the Effectiveness of Mobile Technology Adoption and Usage at Australian Aged Care Facility Pamela Spink
Finding and applying mainstream technology solutions for people with disabilities Mona Abdulaziz Asiri
Understanding Saudi Arabian students' experiences with and attitudes towards e-learning 2.0 in Australian higher education Omar Hasan Mayan
Animating Yanyuwa narratives: capturing intangible heritage with 3D animation for the purpose of cultural preservation and the cross-generational transfer of knowledge Brent David McKee
Information and knowledge management in the community, information services sector: information seeking and the mediation of ICTS Rebecca Lea French
Determining the impacts of an information and communication technology intervention undertaken to empower indigent youths and their community Sheelagh Mary Walton
Quality management in university libraries in Vietnam: a framework for development and implementation Thi Kim Thoa Ninh
Engagement and attention in children with developmental disabilities during computerised gameplay Daniel Lindsay Thomas
Understanding the factors affecting individuals' intention to use municipal e-government services: a comparison of Saudi Arabia and Australia Abdullah Atiyaa Alghamdi