Institute Associates

Institute Associates are people who are deemed to have a sufficient connection to the Institute where both parties would benefit from the identification and declaration of the association. Naming Institute Associates is a way of consolidating our relationship with individuals with whom we are working on strategic and other projects. This group of associates ranges from local community-based practitioners and researchers to scholars and practitioners across the many places of our strategic engagement.

Dr Luigi Di Martino

Luigi_Di_MartinoLuigi Di Martino (PhD, Institute for Culture and Society) has research interests in public diplomacy, social media engagement and digital methods. Recent works have focused on theories and practices of social media listening in public diplomacy and the assessment of social media engagement in international communication. His recent publication for the Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy, in which he sets out a taxonomy of listening in public diplomacy, has been defined as a “path-breaking” piece. He is the Student & Early Career Representative for the Public Diplomacy Interest group at the International Communication Association. In 2019, he received the “Top Student Award of the Public Diplomacy Interest Group” at the 69th Annual International Communication Association Conference. He teaches courses in social media analysis and engagement, data visualisation and digital research methods at Western Sydney University and the University of New South Wales. Luigi is also actively involved in community services for the Italian community in New South Wales. He currently serves as Vice President and Elected Member of the Committee of Italians Abroad. Check out his website here (opens in a new window)

Dr Sunil Dubey

Sunil Dubey is a thought leader in connecting global cities through people to people and institutional networks. He specialises in areas of governance and public assets, urban innovation, and institutional capacity building at government levels. He is one of the founding members and trustees of the Geneva Foundation for Governance and public policy, which operates Centre de Recherche pour la Sécurité et le Dévelopement and the Geneva graduate school of Governance. Sunil was Metropolis Ambassador and senior advisor to the Metropolis World Association between 2008 to 2018. He has advised and conducted executive training programmes for the local governments of Guangzhou, Seoul, Mashhad, Johannesburg, Dubai, Delhi, Buenos Aires and Barcelona on innovation, city leadership, sustainability and smart cities. Sunil was an executive board member of Citiscope publications, now part of the Thompson Reuters Foundation and a member of the World Economic Forum’s advisory board for Urban Development and Infrastructure. He had earlier chaired the property chapter of the Australia India Business Council and was a technical director and executive board member for not-for-profit registered community housing provider Common Equity NSW (Australia). He earned his PhD doctorate at the University of Sydney in government ownership of public assets, where is teaches property and asset management. He is an adjunct professor at the Asian School of Architecture and Design Innovation in Cochin, India.

Dr Ilpo Koskinen

Dr Ilpo KoskinenDr Ilpo Koskinen has worked as a professor of design since 1999 in Europe, Asia and now at UNSW. His main research interests have been mobile multimedia, the relationship of design and cities, proactive information technology, methodology (especially in design research), and interpretive approaches in design. He has written about 150 papers, and he believes some of them are good. The most recent book of his is Design, Empathy, and Interpretation (MIT Press, 2023), which makes the case for an interpretive approach to design. His current interests are social design, energy transformation, and design at home.

For more information, visit

Giulia Maci

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Giulia is an urban planner specialising in gender-sensitive city development, youth engagement and community-based action planning with work experience in more than 20 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Currently, she works as Urban Specialist/Gender Focal Point on a major programme of a multilateral organisation. Prior to this, she worked as program lead of the European Think Tanks Group (ETTG), on European development policies with a specific focus on territorial and urban policies. Giulia has also worked at COWI and the International Federation for Housing and Planning (IFHP) in Copenhagen, developing and leading international urban projects.

Ramon Marrades

Ramon MarradesRamon Marrades is an urban economist, writer, and activist with a passion for people and places. He is currently the Director at Placemaking Europe and strategy advisor to a number of cities and large-scale development projects. Before, he served as the Chief Strategy and Finance Officer at La Marina de València, Valencia’s waterfront redevelopment agency, and a board member of the Worldwide Network of Port Cities (AIVP). Ramon is co-editor of the book “Our City? Countering Exclusion in Public Space” (2019) and the host and co-curator of Placemaking Week Europe 2019. His work focuses on the interface between public space and economic development.

Dr Abby Mellick Lopes

Dr Abby Mellick Lopes

Abby Mellick Lopes is a design theorist with over 20 years of practical and academic experience in the field of design for sustainability, originating with her membership in the pioneering research and education consultancy the EcoDesign Foundation from 1996-2004. Her engaged research focuses on the relationship between design and social arrangements to support the transition to more sustainable cultures and economies, intersecting with a broad range of disciplinary fields, including cultural studies, sociology, geography and planning. Abby has published extensively on sustainable design, transdisciplinarity and transdisciplinary education. She also contributes to scholarly discourse on design, ontological design and image ecologies, and her work has been presented in the UK, US, Canada, Cyprus, Spain, Malaysia and China. Abby is also an Associate of the Studio at the Edge of the World.

Abby currently holds the position of Associate Professor of Design Studies at UTS. In addition to her role as an Associate at the Institute for Culture and Society, she holds an Adjunct role in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts at Western Sydney University. Contact Abby at

Dr Sheba Mohammid


Dr Sheba Mohammid has over ten years of experience in national and global policy, engagement and research. She has been named an Emerging Leader of the Digital World (EC and Diplofoundation). Her research focuses on bringing diverse global perspectives to discourse on emerging technology through ethnographic approaches. Her recent work has included multi-sited research projects in the United States, Australia and the Caribbean on artificial intelligence, creativity, fashion and automated decision-making, and digital media and learning. She has served as a research advisor for organisations such as the International Federation of Red Cross. Dr Mohammid’s applied work has included leadership roles in managing national development projects and serving as an ICT policy specialist for the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and a director on the Global Social Media Impact Study. She was an Internet Society IGF Ambassador and remains active in (de)constructing human-centred approaches to technology.

Dr Benjamin Mulvey

Benjamin_MBenjamin Mulvey is a Research Grants Council Postdoctoral Fellow in the Faculty of Education and Human Development at the Education University of Hong Kong. His research is focused on African student migrants in China, or more broadly, the sociology of international higher education. It has been published in journals such as Sociology, Higher Education, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Population, Space and Place, and the British Journal of Sociology of Education.

Dr Vincent Ogu

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Vincent Ogu has research interests in urban services and housing; urban sustainability and liveability; cultural diversity, migrants and globalisation. He held a prestigious research fellowship at the University of New South Wales and taught urban social policy at Western Sydney University. He has experience in public and council sectors and held senior roles in research and planning. Chair of Liverpool MRC, Vincent, was cited at the Australian Federal Parliament for contributions to migrants' settlement, and NSW Government appointed him to the Ministerial Roundtable on Workplace Diversity. Author of published works cited by reputable international agencies, Vincent holds a doctorate from Cambridge University.

Dr Pryor Placino

Dr Pryor holds a doctorate from WSU and is a postdoctoral research fellow at Thammasat University in Thailand. He is a human geographer specializing in the cultural and material aspects of economic and ecological livelihoods for sustainable futures. Thematically, he is interested in diverse livelihoods in the shadow spaces of cities, including the common practices of informal workers along the construction supply chain. He has also looked into the materiality and ecology of indigenous, modern and alternative building materials. To get a glimpse of his PhD project, you can watch his 3-Minute Thesis presentation (opens in a new window)(1st Prize Winner, Institute level). Pryor’s articles are published in the Asia Pacific Viewpoint, The Handbook of Diverse Economies, and Future Cities Laboratory Indicia 03. In 2021, he won the Ooi Giok Ling Paper Award from the Southeast Asian Geography Association. Pryor is currently working with Professor Katherine Gibson on a two-part ACIAR-funded project called Strengthening Agricultural Resilience in Western Province, PNG: Mapping Place-Based Strengths and Assets (opens in a new window). He has more than a decade of teaching experience in the Philippines. He sits on the Board of Directors of the Community Economies Institute. Read more information here (opens in a new window).

Dr Keith D. Parry

Dr Keith D. Parry is Deputy Head of Department in the Department of Sport and Event Management at Bournemouth University. His research interests are based on the sociology of sport, with a focus on inclusion, health and sports fans. His knowledge and expertise have also been recognised with invitations to write for websites such as The Conversation and, allowing him to disseminate his knowledge to a wide audience. He is an award-winning teacher and writer, receiving a UN Day Media Award for a co-authored media piece: Pushing casual sport to the margins threatens cities’ social cohesion. Keith’s PhD (from the Institute for Culture and Society) examined the formation of sports heroes within the setting of a new professional sports team (the GWS GIANTS); it investigated when and how heroes are formed and who (or what) dictates their emergence. His research has examined issues around identity, masculinity, and the conflicts between country and culture in Australia. This research has provided him with a deep insight into both the sociology of sports (and sports fans) and national identity. Contact Keith at

Dr Shanna Robinson


In her work as an educator, Dr Shanna Robinson primarily focuses on the fusion of creativity and improvisational tactics with transition pedagogies, specifically in the context of the first-year tertiary experience and teaching cultural studies. Shanna's doctoral studies concentrated on experimentalism and creativity in touristic experience, as well as the intersections of imagination, mobilities, sociality and creativity.

Research interests include the use of heritage spaces through gaming interfaces; unsettling the notion of creative tourism through experimentalism; and examining improvisational tactics, tourism and sustainability through the context of everydayness.

Dr Louise Ryan

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Louise Ryan has worked extensively as an educator and researcher in the area of cultural studies, particularly art and cultural development in the museum context. Her recently completed PhD investigated the museum as a contested space, especially the promotion of cross-cultural understanding, identity formation, inclusiveness and belonging. Current projects explore society's relationship with its cultural and natural environments and the perceived value and conflict that these cultural/artistic endeavours generate; cultural exchanges and their role in promoting national identity and a common cultural space; and the role that heritage sites and museums contribute to our understanding and knowledge of migration, colonisation and displacement.

Dr Öznur Şahin

OznurÖznur Şahin holds a PhD from the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University and has research interests in Turkey and Australia. Situated in the fields of human geography, urban studies, and gender studies, her PhD explored the spatial dynamics of politics in Istanbul. By focusing on a range of urban spaces and events, Öznur examined the secular and religious politics of place and identity, the gendered and spatial dynamics of publicness, and the performances of urban space and politics. She has been currently involved in research projects at Western Sydney University on anti-racism and education, migration, religion and media, culturally and linguistically diverse communities and housing in Sydney. She is an Editorial Associate at Issues, a multilingual journal of short essays.

David Sweeting

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David Sweeting (opens in a new window) is an urban development expert in areas of urban innovation, urban resilience, social entrepreneurship and participatory urban governance. He is the Founder and Director of The Urban Platform Studio (opens in a new window), an urban innovation and research consultancy which supports pathways for investment and assessment, design, and evaluation of social services, social infrastructure and service delivery platforms in cities across Asia-Pacific. He also leads the City Resilience and Sustainable Futures practice at the City of Melbourne. David is a former Senior Associate at NAB Foundation and Urban Technical Advisor and Innovation Lead for Save the Children Australia. He previously worked with World Vision International's Centre for Urban Programming, World Vision Australia, World Vision Pacific Development Group, RMIT Global Cities Program, Development Planning Unit, and Baan Mankong Housing Program. In 2015, he co-founded a technology start-up called Kolorob - a service finder and youth employment application for marginalised urban communities - with Save the Children Bangladesh and Save the Children Australia and research support from ICS at Western Sydney University. Kolorob has won several awards, including a national mobile application award in Bangladesh; the MIT Solve Youth, Skills and Workforce of the Future Challenge; and the DFAT Indo-Pacific Development Prize.

Dr Erin B. Taylor

Erin_TaylorErin B. Taylor (opens in a new window) is an economic anthropologist who researches financial issues, including product use, money culture and financial inclusion. Her PhD (University of Sydney, 2009) examined material culture and social transformation in the Dominican Republic, resulting in the book Materializing Poverty: How the Poor Transform Their Lives (2013, AltaMira). After taking up a postdoctoral position at the University of Lisbon in 2011, Erin became fascinated with interdisciplinary approaches to financial behaviour and co-produced the Consumer Finance Research Methods Toolkit (2016, IMTFI). During this period, she also conducted a three-year research project on mobile money in Haiti (with Heather Horst). In 2017 she defected from academia to co-found a business, Canela Consulting, which aims to translate academic insights for broader use. Most recently, Erin has been looking into the emergence of financial tools designed specifically for women or primarily used by them. She is also a co-organiser of the research group of the European Women Payments Network (EWPN). Contact Erin at


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