Ms Katrina Sandbach

Ms Katrina Sandbach



Katrina Sandbach is a designer and academic who has taught widely across the Western Sydney University visual communication design program, with an emphasis on studio practice and preparing students for professional life in the creative industries. Katrina’s approach to curriculum design and teaching centres on community engagement and strengths-based learning approaches that balance student wellbeing and outcomes with work readiness, ensuring that students graduate as skillful, resilient, and sought-after designers. She is the convenor of Burrow Design Studio, a work-integrated-learning program that connects emerging designers with organisations that require creative insight. Since 2016, she has developed, managed, and delivered a multitude of live design projects of varying scope and complexity, working with a range of partners spanning the education, arts and culture, tech innovation, health, and local government sectors. Recent partners include Parramatta City Council, Western Sydney Local Health District, and Made in the West Film Festival.

A practice-led researcher, she draws from her professional experience as a branding designer and employs visual and digital methods to study place, identity, and community, with a particular interest in participatory approaches and creative outcomes. Her doctoral research investigated the agency of creatives in Western Sydney, utilising a qualitative mixed-methods approach incorporating participatory design, surveys, interviews, geolocational mapping, visual analysis, and case studies. She co-leads the Places & Platforms stream in the Young and Resilient Research Centre and has contributed to multidisciplinary research projects such as that explored the rights, digital practices and literacies of young people, and InvisibleCity, a participatory emotion mapping platform that enabled young people to report on how they experience urban environments. Katrina’s research is primarily concerned with giving visibility to under-represented communities and using visual communication as a platform for sharing experience and knowledge.

This information has been contributed by Ms Sandbach.


  • BA University of Western Sydney,Nepean


  • Vice Chancellors Excellence in Teaching Award 2011-11-01
  • Three Minute Thesis, First Place, College of Arts Final 2010-08-01
  • Vice Chancellors Excellence in Teaching Award 2017-11-01


  • Creative geographies
  • Place identity
  • Vernacular design

Organisational Unit (School / Division)

  • Design


  • Sydney Design Festival Advisory Committee
  • The DiG: Digital Makerspace
  • Communication Design Educators Network


Phone: (02) 9685 4663
Location: ED.G.57

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Previous Teaching Areas

  • 102278 Professional Design Experience: The Studio, 2019
  • 102279 Major Design Project, 2019
  • 102280 Professional Design Experience: The Individual Practitioner, 2019


Journal Articles

  • Sandbach, K. (2021), 'Mapping the creative sprawl : the design sector in Western Sydney', Cultural Trends, vol 30, no 3 , pp 241 - 262.
  • Deitz, M., Notley, T., Cantanzaro, M., Third, A. and Sandbach, K. (2018), 'Emotion mapping : using participatory media to support young people's participation in urban design', Emotion, Space and Society, vol 28 , pp 9 - 17.
  • Sandbach, K. (2015), 'Magnetic learning space through design', International Journal of Design Education, vol 8, no 3-4 , pp 17 - 28.
  • Pink, S., Catanzaro, M., Sandbach, K., Barnes, A., Mcneill, J., Gusheh, M., Scotece, E. and Catanzaro, C. (2015), 'Making and sharing the commons : reimagaining 'the West' as Riverlands, Sydney through a dialogue between design and ethnography', Global Media Journal: Australian Edition, vol 9, no 2 .
  • Sandbach, K. (2015), 'Creative outsiders : creative industries in Greater Western Sydney', Global Media Journal: Australian Edition, vol 9, no 2 .
  • Edwards-Vandenhoek, S. and Sandbach, K. (2014), 'Down the Rabbit Hole we go : evaluating the impacts of a situated design pedagogy', Studies in Material Thinking, vol 11 .
  • Sandbach, K. (2013), ''Westies' no more : towards a more inclusive and authentic place identity', Cescontexto: Debates, vol 2, no June , pp 724 - 732.
  • Sandbach, K. (2011), 'Graphic Design and the Aesthetics of Place', Irridescent, vol 1, no 2 , pp 148 - 159.

Conference Papers

  • Brooker, C., Catanzaro, M., Hodgson, B., Kenke, R., Morgan, C. and Sandbach, K. (2019), 'Not just for show : identity, engagement, and work integrated learning through design graduation exhibitions', Australian Council of University Art and Design Schools. Conference, Melbourne, Vic..
  • Gill, A., Sandbach, K., Harkus, S. and Abbott, O. (2017), 'The Blow Breathe Cough campaign : a learning partnership to develop a message about healthy hearing', Our Languages Matter Symposium, Western Sydney University, Parramatta, N.S.W..
  • Edwards-Vandenhoek, S. and Sandbach, K. (2013), 'Down the Rabbit Hole : a situated approach to design education that facilitates socially responsible emergent designers', Proceedings from the 2nd International Conference for Design Education Researchers, Oslo, Norway.
  • Sandbach, K. (2011), 'Graphic Design and the Aesthetics of Place', agIdeas Design for Business and Industry, Melbourne, Vic..


  • 2016, 'The Absence of Femininity'

Other Publications

  • 2020, 'Creative West', Published Work
  • 2018, 'invisiblecity: Emotion Mapping App', Published Work
  • 2016, 'InWesternSydney', Published Work
  • 2015, 'Invisible City Project Website', Published Work
  • 2012, 'One Kilometre : Conversations with Darri-Ba Nungalinya', Published Work

In addition to the research outcomes listed in 'Publications', Katrina has presented the following conference papers:

Sandbach, K. 2018. ‘MOD-WEST’, Design Speaks, Sydney Design Festival, Penrith Regional Gallery, Emu Plains 3 March 2018

Sandbach, K. 2016. 'Envisioning Research'. Crossroads in Cultural Studies Conference, Sydney University, Australia, 14-17 December 2016

Sandbach, K. 2016. 'The Other Creatives'. Australian & New Zealand Communication Association 2016, School of Design, Communication and IT, the Faculty of Science and IT, Newcastle University, Australia, 6-8 July 2016

Catanzaro, M., Sandbach K. 2015. 'Learning Through Community Engagement: The Rabbit Hole Fourth Year Studio as Design 'Lab''. Designing for Learning Showcase, Western Sydney University, Australia, 3 December 2015

Sandbach, K. 2015. 'Higher Education & the Creative Cluster'. Blue-Lab Creative Industries Symposium, Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, Australia, 20-21 May 2015

Sandbach, K. 2014. ‘Creative Fringe’. Interventions and Intersections, School of Humanities and Communication Arts, University of Western Sydney, Australia, 9-11 July 2014

Sandbach, K. 2014. ‘Places for Learning and Practising Design’. Institute of Australian Geographers/New Zealand Geographical Society Conference, Melbourne University, Australia, 30 June-2 July 2014

Sandbach, K. 2014. ‘Creative Fringe: A Place for Creative Industries in Western Sydney’. Initiating Change by Design, School of Humanities and Communication Arts, University of Western Sydney, Australia, 23-24 April 2014

Sandbach, K. 2013. ‘Magnetic Learning Space through Design’, Interventions and Intersections, School of Humanities and Communication Arts, University of Western Sydney, Australia, 26-28 June 2013

Sandbach, K. 2011. ‘Graphic Design’s Agency in Place’, Mapping Ecologies of Place: Local, Virtual Digital, University of Western Sydney, Australia, 16-17 June 2011

Sandbach, K. 2011. ‘Re-thinking UWS Learning Spaces with Bachelor of Design Students’, Interventions and Intersections, College of Arts, University of Western Sydney, Australia, 7-8 June 2011

This information has been contributed by Ms Sandbach.

Previous Projects

Title: Young and Resilient Living Lab Foundation Project
  • University of Western Sydney
  • Google Australia Pty Ltd
Western Researchers: Amanda Third, Philippa Collin, Liam Magee, Tanya Notley, Louise Crabtree-Hayes, Katrina Sandbach, Michelle Catanzaro, Peter Bansel, Nida Denson and Milissa Deitz
Years: 2016-12-05 - 2018-04-12
ID: P00023561
Title: Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre - YAWCRC - Engaging Creativity Through Technologies P2:P2
  • Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (CRC)
Western Researchers: Amanda Third, Kerry Robinson, Nida Denson, Peter Bansel, Tanya Notley, Katrina Sandbach, Michelle Catanzaro and Milissa Deitz
Years: 2013-06-25 - 2016-12-25
ID: P00021345

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