Transformative practice-based
research that is active,
engaged and outward looking.

MADA researchers draw on diverse approaches in contemporary visual culture and the built environment to generate ideas and undertake practice that lead to the creation of new paradigms, novel approaches, and fresh insights.

Researchers from varied backgrounds, including professional artists, designers, architects and theorists, work together to produce vibrant, innovative, creative research that addresses the social, economic and human issues facing Australia.

In addition to research undertaken by MADA staff, we also provide opportunities for students to make a difference. Our unique Master and PhD degree courses focuses on studio-based research; developing studio outcomes which are then contextualised in supporting written discussion. More...

At MADA, our research strives to address two grand challenges: Building a Sustainable Urban Future and Shaping Visual and Spatial Culture.

Health and Wellbeing

The health and well-being of older Australians is intrinsically linked to housing. Our research draws upon a number of disciplines: health, social science, multi-media technology, architecture, urban design, industrial design, finance, urban planning, community services and transport to propose dwellings that are part of the street, part of the neighbourhood, where people could ‘age in place’.

Materials and Processes

MADA is developing design research into materials and processes. One of the key themes explored in the research is sustainability. Sustainability is interpreted in the broadest sense – from the detailed level of materials and technology, through the scale of the building, through to the larger scale of urban form.

Transport Design

Our transport design research looks at the physical interface between transport modalities and the passenger. The physical design of transport upon the landscape has a powerful effect upon appearance, usability, social inclusion, and spatial functionality, impacting upon a positive urban environment and organisation.


Urbanism explores the compelling issues of our time – climate change, resource limitations, rapid population growth, changing household demographics – that represent significant challenges for the future development of Australian cities. Our research explores these challenges through speculative, experimental design projects from the scale of dwelling through to urban precincts and regions.

Art History & Theory

Art History & Theory defines new ground in visual culture and art history, with particular emphasis on innovative modes of forging connections between practice and theory in contemporary art and design. Theory helps to shape visual cultures as they emerge, by addressing their connections with history and contemporary political, social and economic spheres.

Communication Design

The focus of communication design is on story-telling in design through the broadest possible media: print, interactive, on-line, illustration, interior space, and typography. Through practice in behavioural typography we seek to transcend cultural boundaries and offer dynamic ways to communicate. Through Artists’ Books and Contemporary Publishing we explore the conversation between the virtual world and the physical realm.

Contemporary Art Practice

Our research in contemporary art practice explores material and technological experiments in image, object and environmental production, installation and reception, including traditional and digital methods and spatial, contextual and experiential investigations into art in the public sphere with an emphasis on critical and transformative interdisciplinary practices.

Curatorial Research Practice

Curatorial Research Practice aims to transform and advance the culture of curating across disciplinary research and development; methodological experimentation and reflexivity; regional enquiry; socio-political contribution; disciplinary and institutional development and reform and the establishment of new models and contexts for curatorial practice. Research in Display Practice investigates how the contemporary social, cultural and technological conditions shape communication and the spatial interpretation of cultural and commercial information and values.