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 servers 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 Geneva foundation for governance and public policy, which operates Centre de Recherche pour la Sécurité et le Dévelopement and 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 executive board member of Citiscope publications, now part of Thompson Reuters foundation and member of World Economic Forum’s advisory board for Urban Development and Infrastructure. He had earlier chaired the property chapter of 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 in property and asset management. He is an adjunct professor at Asian School of Architecture and Design innovation in Cochin, India.

Dr Terry Kass

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Terry Kass (Master of Arts (Hons), PhD) is a consulting historian with specific expertise in land records and research. He is a founding member of the Professional Historians' Association, NSW. His publications include Parramatta: A Past Revealed, with Carol Liston and John McClymont; Sails to Satellites: The Surveyors General of NSW (1786-2007), NSW Dept of Lands, Bathurst, 2008; Jewels in the Crown: A History of the Bridge Street Plan Room and Crown Plans, NSW Dept of Lands, Bathurst, 2008; Grafton – Jacaranda City on the Clarence: A History, Clarence Valley Council, Grafton, 2009.

Giulia Maci

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Giulia Giulia is an urban planner specialised 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 has 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 Director at Placemaking Europe and strategy advisor to a number of cities and large-scale development projects. Before, he has 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' practical and academic experience in the field of design for sustainability, originating with her membership of 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 Design Studies at UTS. In addition to her role as 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 10 years 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 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 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 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 international reputable agencies, Vincent holds a doctorate from Cambridge University.

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 sport (and sports fans) and national identity. Contact Keith at

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 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 is an urban development expert in areas of urban innovation, urban resilience, social entrepreneurship and participatory urban governance. He is 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 co-organizer of the research group of the European Women Payments Network (EWPN). Contact Erin at


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