Images of research invite us to view the world differently

By Kerry Mora

1st prize - Ring a ring o' roses. Kelly Ryan, UniSA Justice & Society 1st prize - Ring a Ring o’ Roses. by Kelly Ryan, UniSA Justice & Society

The old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” has never been more true than with this year’s Images of Research competition.

In its sixth year, the competition continues to showcase the thought-provoking images of UniSA staff and students, highlighting the outstanding research undertaken at the University.

UniSA Chancellor Pauline Carr and Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Enterprise: Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington announced the 16 finalists and three winners in late October.

First prize was awarded to PhD student Kelly Ryan, who is examining the legal rights, risks and responsibilities of foster carers through her research.

Her image, Ring a Ring o’ Roses, depicts a child in regional South Australia running towards the Spencer Gulf while storm clouds roll in and draws attention to the plight of many regional children during COVID-19.

“Children are particularly vulnerable to the fears and frustrations of adults, and because of the virus, services and support systems have not operated as they should,” Kelly says.

“The events of this year have made already invisible, vulnerable children more so. Children who should be engrossed in the joys of childhood but are far more at risk under these circumstances.”

2nd prize - Ecological evolution. Stefany Bensimon, UniSA Creative2nd prize - Ecological evolution. Stefany Bensimon, UniSA Creative

Second prize went to Master of Architecture student Stefany Bensimon for her image – titled Ecological evolution – of a frog attempting to adapt to its environment.

Stefany’s image is intended to highlight the impact of human activity on the environment, and to get people to ask what needs to be done to limit their impact.

“As an architecture student, one of our main roles is to provide spaces that adapt to environmental circumstances,” Stefany says. “However, I felt a special curiosity to research the other side of the coin: is the ecosystem really adapting to us?

“This photograph showcases the process of ecological evolution. Where the biological community gradually experiences change due to diverse factors; such as natural ecosystem evolution or through the disturbance caused by human activity. And one of the most common human activities is the building of shelters and settlements.

“This means that architectural designers have the power to reduce habitat destruction and the impact of introduced species.”

3rd prize - Deep down and dirty for science. Michael Short, Future Industries Institute, UniSA STEM3rd prize - Deep down and dirty for science. Michael Short, Future Industries Institute, UniSA STEM

Third prize went to Future Industries Institute Senior Research Fellow Dr Michael Short, for his image, Deep down and dirty for science.

“This photo shows my colleague Dr Gianluca Brunetti in the bowels of the old Royal Adelaide Hospital during the early hours of the morning as we embarked on a 12-hour hospital sewage sampling campaign,” Dr Short says.

The image reveals the hands-on, behind-the-scenes work for a research project examining antibiotic resistance in the community.

Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Enterprise Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington congratulated everyone involved.

“The competition entries this year were of a very high standard,” she says.

“The powerful images and videos celebrate the exceptional research occurring across our University providing a unique opportunity to communicate our creativity to colleagues, partners and alumni.”

View all 16 images and videos from winners and finalists on the Images of Research website.

Voting is now open for the People’s Choice award. Vote for your favourite image on the People’s Choice Vote page. The competition closes Monday 30 November. The winner will be announced by the Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Enterprise on 1 December.