XYX Lab acknowledged with Designers Australia Award

Monash Art, Design and Architecture’s XYX Lab has received a prestigious national prize in the inaugural Designers Australia 2021 Awards, for the groundbreaking work - HyperSext City*.

The Design Institute of Australia (DIA) awards recognise the designer’s ability to make a strong contribution to a better world, with XYX Lab honoured in the ‘INTERACT’ category for its stand out interdisciplinary and participatory approach to design practice.

HyperSext City* highlighted the impact of gender, exclusion and sexual violence to encourage participants to co-design a more equitable city. Created by Lab co-directors Associate Professor Nicole Kalms and Associate Professor Gene Bawden, the powerful interactive exhibition encompassed experiential design, short films, an online research repository, and printed collateral.

Securing this award highlights the value of the work MADA does in relation to equity and inclusion; and the important role creative practices play in generating a better, fairer world.

Associate Professor Gene Bawden

Dr Kalms explained how the project could advance cities: “Through crowd-sourcing, co-creation and material making, HyperSext City* amplifies the voices and experiences of a diverse range of people who are frequently rendered powerless. It invites us all to make a difference by sharing and understanding our urban experience.”

This is at the heart of XYX Lab’s mission – our team of researchers and designers work collaboratively with architects, urban designers, policy makers and the broader community to address design factors that make cities exclusionary and threatening according to gender.

Associate Professor Nicole Kalms

Dr Bawden’s strong and distinctive event design filled the floor-to-ceiling gallery space with words, statistics and symbols; the Lab's cutting-edge research writ large. Print work on plinths provided additional design thinking and thought provoking keep-sakes. On-screen, Dr Kalms presents a striking poetic argument for intervention against a backdrop of current, historical and futuristic imagery, in one of two short films. In the second film, women from diverse backgrounds reflect on their sense of safety in urban environments, spotlighting key research findings.

The exhibition's multi-channel sensory experience continues online with The HyperSext Repository offering more opportunity for the community to contribute and make meaningful change.

The inaugural Design Institute of Australia awards identify Australia’s preeminent designers and studios, calling attention to individuals and their distinguished design processes as much as the outcome.

We congratulate Nicole Kalms, Gene Bawden and the whole team at XYX Lab, whose cross disciplinary work is a great example of the impact a creative hub like MADA can have - and of the role design can play in driving change and making our urban spaces more inclusive.

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