MADA students travel to Italy to preserve a piece of Venice

Photo: A Communication Design student interacts with an exhibit in "A World of Fragile Parts" at the Venice Architecture Biennale.

Twenty-nine Monash Communication Design students have travelled to Italy to experience the incredible Venice Architecture Biennale as an integral part of a five-week Study Abroad program with MADA's Dr Vince Dziekan, Dr Cameron Rose, and Dr Pamela Salen.

In Italy, the students recently attended A World of Fragile Parts, an exhibition created by London's Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) that explores the threats facing the preservation of global heritage sites and how technology can aid in the preservation of cultural artifacts.

Along with research he undertook with the Victoria and Albert Museum Research Institute (VARI) as visiting scholar earlier this year, MADA Senior Lecturer Dr Vince Dziekan has used the exhibition as the basis of a course of study that will see students develop a number of speculative designs to preserve the cultural memory of a historical Venetian site.

While traditional conservation techniques draw upon various forms of documentation, the post-digital era provides many new opportunities. Working in studio at the Monash Prato Centre – located in an 18th century palazzo just outside Florence Italy – the twenty-eight students will consider techniques from digital scanning and 3D printing to interactive simulations and virtual reality to create a dynamic and psychologically engaged museum exhibit that not only activates historical evidence but also preserves and presents an intangible experience of the site.

Their work will culminate in a series of speculative design proposals that will be exhibited in the future.

Many graduates consider their experience at the Monash Prato Centre to be a highlight of their undergraduate studies. Monash Architecture and Interior Architecture students are also currently in Europe, undertaking a separate suite of activities. Fine Art students will travel with the Study Abroad program later in the year. More information about the program is available on the Monash website at