Research Projects

MAAS is involved in funded research projects with different partners in line with our Research Strategy and overall vision. We currently partner with universities in the following projects:

A national framework for managing malignant plastics in museum collections: 2017 – 2019

Project leader: Dr Petronella Nel, University of Melbourne

Funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC)

This ARC Linkage project will have an important conservation focus for museum collections. The research aims to discover methods for predicting and increasing the lifespan of malignant plastics by comprehensively studying their identification, deterioration and conservation. As an outcome of the research museums will be provided with a model for prioritizing and effectively allocating resources for maximizing the preservation of a vulnerable group of collections for future generations.

MAAS is a partner in this important conservation project. Other partners from the cultural sector include Museum Victoria, Queensland Museum, South Australian Museum, and the Art Gallery of NSW. The University of Melbourne will lead the project and the University of Technology Sydney and Flinders University are university partners in the project.

MAAS project lead: Sue Gatenby.

Innovative Learning Environments and Teacher Change: 2016 – 2020

Project leader: Associate Professor Wesley Imms, University of Melbourne

Funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC)

The University of Melbourne’s Learning Environments Applied Research Network (LEaRN) is partnering with schools in NSW, Queensland, the ACT, Victoria and New Zealand to research how teachers can utilise ‘innovative learning environments’ to improve their teaching skills.

This ARC Linkage project aims to bridge a gap between the educational potential of innovative learning environment designs, and their actual performance. Currently, multi-modal technology-enabled spaces are not producing demonstrable benefits for students. Many teachers resist altering their mindset about how students learn effectively in these spaces and thus how teachers should teach differently. The project aims to work with schools, government and industry to analyse the relationships between quality teaching and effective use of innovative learning environments. The new understanding gained through the project is expected to guide developments in pedagogy, policy and design and to produce strategies to improve learning in schools across Australia and New Zealand.

MAAS is a partner in this project of which there are 14 in total including: Anglican Church Grammar School in Brisbane, Woodleigh School in Victoria, and the Australian Science and Mathematics School in South Australia, New Zealand Ministry of Education, the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta, the Department of Education Training and Employment in Queensland, the ACT Education and Training Directorate, and the Department of Education and Communities in NSW, Ecophon Acoustics Sweden, Marshall Day Acoustics Australia, Hayball Architects, Telstra Australia, and the Council of Educational Facilities Planners International.

MAAS project lead: Peter Mahony.


Curating Third Space: the value of art-science collaboration: 2015 – 2018

Project leader: Professor Jill Bennett, UNSW Art & Design

Funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC)

This ARC Linkage project aims to investigate the importance of art–science collaboration in contemporary research. Developing an innovative method to evaluate aesthetic dynamics, the project seeks to examine how art–science generates new modes of transdisciplinary knowledge and unique forms of public engagement. In collaboration with partners in the museum and cultural sectors, it is planned that the method will be applied to two major case studies of art–science exhibitions in Australian and international venues. Findings are intended to inform strategies for cultural programming, to enable museums to support art–science exploration and to increase the engagement of new audiences with both art and scientific research. Through its network of partner organisations in the cultural sector, the project aims to establish Australia as a global leader in transdisciplinary research and cultural programming.

MAAS is a partner in this project. Other partners are Australia Council; Foundation for Art and Creative Technology; ArtScience Museum Singapore; and The Royal Institution of Australia Inc.

MAAS staff: Katie Dyer (project lead), Matthew Connell and Dr Kylie Budge.

The Amnesia Forum accompanies the exhibition Shona Illingworth: Lesions in the Landscape (case study one in the project) and will address the relationship between imagination and memory loss, and the role of art in relation to both the scientific understanding and lived experience of memory.


‘Let’s go to the museum’: an investigation of the expectations and learning engagement of prior-to-school aged children and their families: 2016

Project leader: Associate Professor Sheila Degotardi, Institute of Early Childhood, Macquarie University

Funded by the Enterprise Partnerships Scheme, Macquarie University

This pilot study will investigate how museums can promote museum-based involvement and learning of diverse families with prior-to-school aged children. Macquarie University will lead the project and MAAS will participate as a partner along with Museum Victoria and the Australian National Maritime Museum.

MAAS staff: Lily Katakouzinos (project lead), Danielle Aynsley.