Dr Abby Mellick Lopes


Abby Mellick Lopes is a design theorist with 20 years' practical and academic experience in the field of design for sustainability. She currently holds the position of Senior Lecturer in the design program in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts. She is a member of the Digital Humanities Research Group and joined the Institute for Culture and Society in 2016.

As a key member of the pioneering research and educational consultancy The EcoDesign Foundation from 1996-2004, she researched design strategies for adaptation to climate change and the ecological impacts of information technologies and infrastructures. Her research continues to draw on these themes, currently in a project exploring the liveability of Western Sydney in a climate-changed future, 'Cooling the Commons' with the Mapping Urban Resilience in Riverland, Sydney (MURRS) group at ICS. In 2006-7 she was a member of the CRC Irrigation Futures investigating sustainability in urban irrigation, and in 2006-8 was Joint Chief Investigator on a Partnership Program with Penrith City Council and the then Centre for Cultural Research, researching universal design and cultural context in public parklands in Western Sydney. She also researches in visual communications and has a long-standing interest in how image ecologies mediate sociomaterial relationships, which was the topic of her PhD titled 'Ecology of the Image' (2005). As a Partner Investigator, she co-led the visual communications strand of the transdisciplinary project 'Transitioning to Sustainable Sanitation Futures' (opens in a new window), led by the Institute for Sustainable Futures at UTS in 2010-2011, a project that won a Green Globe award for environmental innovation in 2012, and she is currently developing a new collaborative project with Dr Alison Gill investigating repair cultures in Sydney. She publishes widely on design and design for sustainability, most recently contributing several chapters to The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Design (2016). In 2015 she co-edited a Special Issue on design and social practice theory for the international Journal of Design Research, and another for the Global Media Journal: Australian Edition, which brought together papers presented at a postgraduate symposium she co-convened in 2014 entitled 'Initiating Change by Design'. She is an experienced HDR supervisor, having supervised several HDR projects to completion, and is currently supervising projects on the coloniality of design, urban photography, creative industries in Western Sydney and sustainable fashion and laundering practices. She is on the editorial board of Design Philosophy Papers and an associate of The Studio at the Edge of the World (opens in a new window).

Qualifications

PhD, 2005, University of Sydney

BA Hons Class 1 and University Medal, 1992, University of Sydney

Honours and Awards

2012: Green Globe Environmental Innovation Award for Transitioning to Sustainable Sanitation Futures project led by Professor Cynthia Mitchell, ISF at UTS (Partner Investigator)

1999: Australian Postgraduate Research Award

Selected Publications

Edited Journals

Mellick Lopes, A, Gill, A & Fam, D (guest eds) 2015, 'Design and social practice theory: a promising dialogue for sustainable living', Journal of Design Research, vol. 13, no. 3.

Mellick Lopes, A & Gill, A (guest eds) 2015, 'Special Issue: Initiating change by design', Global Media Journal: Australian edition, vol. 9, no. 2.

Book Chapters

Crosby, A, Fam, D & Mellick Lopes A 2018, 'Transdisciplinarity and the "Living Lab Model": food waste management as a site for collaborative learning', in D Fam, L Neuhauser & P Gibbs (eds), Transdisciplinary theory, practice and education: the art of collaborative research and collective learning (opens in a new window), Springer International, pp. 117-131.

Armstrong, H & Mellick Lopes, A 2016, ‘Re-ruralising the urban edge: lessons from Europe, USA & the global south’, in B Maheshwari, V P Singh & B Thoradeniya (eds.), Balanced Urban Development: Options and Strategies for Liveable Cities, pp. 17-27, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-28112-4_2.

Mellick Lopes, A 2016, 'Aesthetics, aesthetic theories', The Bloomsbury Encyclopaedia of Design, Bloomsbury Academic, 9781472521576.

Mellick Lopes, A 2016, 'Form, theories of', The Bloomsbury Encyclopaedia of Design, Bloomsbury Academic, 9781472521576.

Mellick Lopes, A 2016, 'Sign', The Bloomsbury Encyclopaedia of Design, Bloomsbury Academic, 9781472521576.

Mellick Lopes, A 2016, 'Humanitarian design', The Bloomsbury Encyclopaedia of Design, Bloomsbury Academic, 9781472521576.

Journal Articles

Mellick Lopes, A, Healy, S, Power, E, Crabtree, L & Gibson, K 2019, 'Infrastructures of care: opening up “home” as commons in a hot city' (opens in a new window), Human Ecology Review, vol. 24, no. 2.

Mellick Lopes, A & Zettel, T 2017, ‘Making time: food preservation and ontological design’, in O Vodob (ed.), Food democracy: critical lessons in food, communication, design and art, Intellect Books, UK, pp. 109–126.

Williams, J, Fam, D & Mellick Lopes, A 2017, ‘Creating knowledge: visual communication design research in transdisciplinary projects’, in D Fam, J Palmer, C Riedy & C Mitchell (eds), Transdisciplinary research and practice for sustainability outcomes, Routledge, Abingdon, pp. 155–171.

Gill, A, Mellick Lopes, A, Kaye-Smith, H 2016, 'Practicing sustainability: illuminating 'use' in wearing clothes' (opens in a new window), Cultural Studies Review, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 32-58.

Mellick Lopes, A & Gill, A 2015, 'Reorienting sustainable design: practice theory and aspirational conceptions of use', Journal of Design Research, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 248-264.

Fam, D & Mellick Lopes, A 2015, 'Toilet practices and system change: lessons from a transdisciplinary research project', Journal of Design Research, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 307-322.

Mellick Lopes, A, Gill, A & Fam, D 2015, 'Editorial: special issue on design and social practice theory: a promising dialogue for sustainable living', Journal of Design Research, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 237-247.

Fam, D & Mellick Lopes, A 2015, 'Designing for system change: innovation, practice and everyday water', ACME, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 751-764.

Mellick Lopes, A & Gill, A 2015, 'Initiating change by design: editorial', Global Media Journal: Australian Edition, vol. 9, no. 2.

Gray, J, Williams, J, Hagare, P, Mellick Lopes, A & Sankaran, S 2014, 'Lessons learnt from educating university students through a trans-disciplinary project for sustainable sanitation using a systems approach and problem-based learning', Systems, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 243-272.

Fam, D, Mitchell, C, Abeysuriya, K & Mellick Lopes, A 2014, 'Emergence of decentralised water and sanitation systems in Melbourne, Australia', International Journal of Water, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 149-165.

Allen J, Andrews T & Mellick Lopes A 2012, 'Industrial design is dead. Long live industrial design: adapting industrial design curricula in response to a climate-changed future and the current climate', Industrial Design Educators Network Journal, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 19-26.

Gill, A & Lopes, A 2012, 'Recoding abandoned products: student visual designers learn to sustain product lives and values', Art, Design and Communication in Higher Education, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 233-253.

Mellick Lopes, A & Shumack, K 2012, 'Conversation mapping as design research method: social learning in a verge garden site', Design Philosophy Papers, no. 2.

Mellick Lopes, A, Fam, D & Williams, J 2012, 'Designing sustainable sanitation: involving design in innovative, transdisciplinary research', Design Studies, vol. 33, no. 3, pp. 298-317.

Lopes, A & Gill, A 2011, 'On wearing: a critical framework for valuing design's already made', Design and Culture, vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 307-327.

Fam, D, Mellick Lopes, A, Mitchell, C & Willetts, JR 2009, 'An historical analysis of Sydney's sewer systems to determine windows of opportunity for system change', Design Philosophy Papers, no. 3.

Conference Papers

Mellick Lopes, A & Gill, A 2015,  'Repair Cultures: Commoning repair', Minor Culture: Conference of the Cultural Studies Association of Australasia, The University of Melbourne, 30 November - 3 December.

Mellick Lopes, A 2015,  'The Ontological Designing of the Digital', Annual Conference of the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations, Western Sydney University, 29 June - 3 July.

Armstrong, H & Mellick Lopes, A 2014,  'Re-ruralising the Urban Edge: Lessons from Europe, USA, & the Global South', International Conference on Peri-Urban Landscapes, Parramatta, 8-10 July.

Fam, D, Mitchell, C & Abeysuriya, K 2011, 'Facilitating Social Learning in Transdisciplinary Collaboration: a Socio-technical Experiment in Implementing Sustainable Sanitation', International Society of Systems Scientists conference, Hull, UK, July.

Gill, A & Mellick Lopes, A 2011, 'Recoding Abandoned Products: Student Visual Designers Experiment to Sustain Product Lives and Values', International Conference of the DRS Special Interest Group on Experiential Knowledge (EKSIG) 2011: Experiential Knowledge and Multi Sensory Communication, University for the Creative Arts, Farnham Castle, UK, 23-24 June.

Gill, A & Mellick Lopes, A 2010, 'On Wearing: a Critical Interpretative Framework on Design's Already Made', Lending Grace to Language, 4th International Conference on Typography and Visual Communication, University of Nicosia, 17-19 June.

Huda, S, Allen, J, Sinclair, C, Andrews, T, Lopes, A, Duarte, F, Bambrick, H, Craig, D, Jeffery, M & Campbell, S 2010, 'Climate Change: Building Leadership Capacity within a Higher Education Institution', International Farming Systems Association Europe Group Conference, Vienna.

Ramirez, M, Campbell, G, Marosszeky, A, Lopes, A & Campbell, C 2010, 'SRD Change: Showcasing Graduate Projects That Provoke Sustainable Changes in Design Thinking', CONNECTED 2010, UNSW, Sydney, 28 June - 1 July.

Andrews, T, Lopes, A & Allen, J 2010, 'Design and the University: a Partnership for Sustainable Design', CONNECTED 2010, UNSW, Sydney, 28 June - 1 July.

Lopes, A, Fam, D & Williams, J 2010, 'Designing Sustainable Sanitation Through Transdisciplinary Research: a Pilot Project of Nutrient Recovery and Reuse', Cumulus Shanghai Conference 2010: Young Creators for Better City, Better Life, Shanghai, China, 8-11 September.

Allen, J, Lopes, A & Andrews, T 2009, 'Futures West: a Design Research Initiative Promoting Sustainable Futures for Western Sydney', Cumulus 38 Degrees South 2009: Hemispheric Shifts Across Learning, Teaching and Research, Melbourne, Australia, 12-14 November.

Invited Presentations/ Symposia/ Exhibitions

Work by Gill, A & Mellick Lopes, A presented at the Annual Conference of the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations was selected for exhibition at the CHASS (Council for Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences) National Forum in Melbourne November 2015.

'Dig Where You Stand: Learning Sustainability Through Teaching and Research', Education for Sustainability Forum, University of Western Sydney, 4 February 2015.

'Transitions, Social Practices and Design: Notes from a Transdisciplinary Research Project' (with D. Fam), Feral Experimental: New Design Thinking Symposium, UNSW Art + Design, 20-22 August 2014.

'The Ontological Design(ing) of the Digital Image', Transformations of the Image and Text: the Animation of Space and the Ethos of Liveness in Film, Digitality and Writing, 23-25 July 2013.

'Seeing Things in/as Time', Making Time special event/workshop by Tessa Zettel, Matters of Life and Death, Performance Space, Sydney, February 2013.

'The Ontological Design(ing) of the Digital' for Digital Media Research initiative Data, Memory, Territory Symposium, University of Western Sydney, 27-28 November 2012.

Reorienting Sustainable Design: Practice Theory, Material Culture and Conceptions of Use' (with A. Gill), Beyond Behaviour Change: a Symposium on Social Practice Theories and Their Implications for Environmental Policy and Programs, RMIT University, 12-14 November 2012.

'Supporting System Change and Niche Practices Through Participatory Qualitative Social Research' (with D. Fam), Beyond Behaviour Change: a Symposium on Social Practice Theories and Their Implications for Environmental Policy and Programs, RMIT University, November, 12-14 November 2012.

'Ontological Design and the Role of Designers and Designed Artefacts in Steering Social Change' (with S. Clune, T. Andrews), Beyond Behaviour Change: a Symposium on Social Practice Theories and Their Implications for Environmental Policy and Programs, RMIT University, November, 12-14 November 2012.

'Please Ask Us' Mapping Social Learning in a Verge Garden Site (with K. Shumack) presented at Mapping Ecologies of Place: Local, Virtual, Digital, University of Western Sydney, Parramatta, 16 -17 June 2011.

'On Wearing: a Critical Interpretative Framework on Design's Already Made' (with A. Gill), AAANZ Conference, Australian National University, Canberra, 27-28 November 2009.

Reports

Mellick Lopes, A, Sofoulis, Z, Wakefield-Rann, R & Yu, Y 2017, Exploring the practices of Mandarin-speaking water drinkers, report for project Understanding the Drivers of Public Trust in Sydney Water, Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University, Sydney.

Mellick Lopes, A, Gibson, K, Crabtree, L & Armstrong, H 2016, Cooling the commons (opens in a new window), Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University.

Mellick Lopes, A & Andrews, T 2010, Earth Hour, every hour: how effective is Earth Hour in promoting behaviour change according to existing behaviour change theory? (opens in a new window)

Fam, D, Mosley, E, Mellick Lopes, A, Mathieson, L, Morison, J & Connellan, G 2008, Irrigation of urban green spaces: a review of the environmental, social and economic benefits (opens in a new window), CRC for Irrigation Futures Technical Report No. 04/08.

Sofoulis, Z, Armstrong, H, Bounds M, Mellick Lopes, A & Andrews, T 2008, Out & About in Penrith: Universal Design and Cultural Context: Accessibility, Diversity and Recreational Space in Penrith: Executive Summary: Key Research Findings, Penrith NSW City Council. PDF available on request.

Contact

» Contact Dr Abby Mellick Lopes

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