25 June 2020

Dr Gareth Furber with students commencing the Visualising Mental Health project earlier this yearTeaching amidst the COVID environment has presented some significant challenges for our academic staff, but UniSA’s Match Studio, which enables students to work with community partners on client-focused projects, has embraced the challenges of online teaching and project collaboration.

Community partners from the Visualising Mental Health program have even reported the adaptation to using Zoom and other programs has led to greater engagement with the students, whilst maintaining the quality of overall outcomes.

Visualising Mental Health, now in its fifth consecutive year, is an initiative of Match Studio led by Match Studio’s Director, Dr Jane Andrew, course coordinator Dr Doreen Donovan and community psychologist Dr Gareth Furber.

The Visualising Mental Health project broadens students’ understanding and visual explorations of a wide variety of social contexts and issues, strengthening their collaborative, research, conceptual and visual communication skills.

Students were briefed into the challenge and provided with topic overviews by Dr Furber prior to social distancing guidelines were introduced (pictured). They then worked in virtual groups to develop concepts and prototypes which could then be used by clinicians or in the wider community to communicate about a range of mental health and well-being issues.

This year’s topics were presented by students via zoom and include: Emotions, Courtesy, Loneliness/Social Isolation, Mental Fitness, Empathy and Climate Change Distress.

In his blog on the Visualising Mental Health program website, Dr Furber commended the online presentations for the high quality of ideas presented and the greater and more relaxed discussion allowed by the online platform.

The outcomes of the student’s work will be displayed in an exhibition to coincide with Mental Health Week in October at UniSA's Kerry Packer Civic Gallery. Representatives from the Australian Psychological Society select team submissions for prizes and potential prototype testing.

For more information please see the Match Studio website. Last year’s winners can be viewed on the Visualising Mental Health website.

What’s coming up next in Match Studio

  • In SP5 Match Studio and the Student Engagement Unit are continuing the mental well-being theme through the Bachelor of Creative Industries, a brand-new course for 2020.
  • Match Studio is calling for Expressions of Interest (EOI’S) from students across UniSA and specifically in Computer Science, Communication Design, Urban and Regional Planning, and Architecture interested in taking part in a team-based project partnering with MIT Media Lab, the Government of South Australia to plan and design South Australia’s future urban infrastructure by visualising big data! Working in teams, UniSA students will work with end-users and world-leading researchers including Professor Bruce Thomas and Professor Ning Gu to extend and apply MIT’s Insights Dashboard tool. Through data visualisation, pattern analysis and developing story boards teams will visually communicate real-world scenarios to suggest the usage of these data patterns to inspire and inform better urban developments.

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