Emma Robertson

Associate Professor

In 2021 Emma is serving on the Journal Board of Memory, Mind & Media, and she is the Artist in Residence for this new interdisciplinary publication (Cambridge University Press) https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/memory-mind-and-media Artworks by Dr Emma Robertson are held internationally in seven public collections in four countries, including the Hospital Trust for Scotland, who purchased two artworks commissioned by the Scottish Arts Council for the exhibition Wordworks. She is one of fifteen founding Scientia Education Fellows, appointed by the DVC and PVC for a five year period to establish the interdisciplinary Scientia Education Academy. In 2018, Emma received the Postgraduate Research Supervisor Award, endorsed by the PVC Research Training and the Dean of Graduate Research. In 2014 Emma was awarded both the Art & Design Faculty Dean's Sustained Teaching Excellence, and the UNSW Vice-Chancellor's Teaching Excellence Awards. Previously in 2008 she won the Dean's Award for Innovative Teaching for her two University wide creative thinking online courses. 

Emma has exhibited in 8 countries (Norway, Italy, France, USA, UK, Germany, Czech Republic and Australia) and was selected as the Artist in Residence at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, which continued her drawing series exploring endangered plant species in a time of climate crisis. This culminated in a solo exhibition at the Red Box Gallery in the Domain, Sydney which was held in February-March 2009, where 27 mixed media drawings were displayed. The exhibition, called Ascendant and Descendant explored the impact of climate change on rare and endangered Australian flora, and reflected the research work undertaken by scientists at the RBG. In 2017 Emma completed her PhD at The University of Sydney, which extended this research with work developed from visits to Kew, the Millennium Seed Bank, the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, and other locations. Work from this research has been used by Cambridge University Press in a 2021 journal cover design, by Oxford University Press in a 2017 book cover design, and in 2018 as illustrations throughout Memory in the Head and in the Wild: Interdisciplinarity in Memory Studies https://memorywild.com (Professor Amanda Barnier and Professor Andrew Hoskins). An article on Emma's current research on ecopsychology and ecoanxiety appears in Issue 4 of the Unlikely Journal for Creative Arts https://unlikely.net.au/issue-04/transitions (Transitions: Biophilia, Beauty and Herbaria, ISSN 2205-0027 The University of Melbourne, La Trobe University, Victoria College of the Arts, September 2018) and in the UK based international Journal Drawing: Research, Theory, Practice - A Sense of Coherence: Drawing for the Mind https://www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/intellect/drtp/2020/00000005/00000002/art00012

Emma has held a number of senior administrative roles including Program Director of the Bachelor of Design degree for five years, three terms as Presiding Member of Faculty, and Deputy President of the UNSW Academic Board. She researches across two distinct areas. In her teaching she investigates theories of mapping and modelling thinking, and new developments in creative thinking processes as applied to global problem solving. In her practice she explores the relationships between words, objects and memory in mixed media drawings, installations and bookworks.

In addition to teaching creative thinking to undergraduate and postgraduate students in nine Faculties at UNSW, Emma also teaches content relating to the influence of scientific illustration techniques on design processes, including those used in the film industry. In exploring this she has conducted primary research at Skywalker Ranch during the conceptual preproduction work on the Star Wars movies, at Industrial Light and Magic, at Pixar and Animal Logic (at Fox Film Studios in Sydney). Her interview of Star Wars concept designer Iain McCaig has been viewed more than 103,295 times on YouTube (see link below). Her three interviews of Paul Topolos from Pixar have been collectively viewed more than 23,000 times. She has been involved in Executive Education with engineers at Thiess, design staff at the Natural History Museum, London, The Agile Leader course at UTS, and others. Emma researched and worked for three years as a consultant to Arup 2010-2013 to integrate creative thinking processes into their Staff Development initiatives and internal Design School, including a Moodle Course offered to their 10,000+ employees around the world. She convened and lectured the large Master of Design core course Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Creativity over a three year period.

Emma is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, London and Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Drawing, Wimbledon College of Art. In 2011 Emma was Guest Editor of the TRACEY Journal on Drawing Knowledge, Loughborough University, and in 2012 was Chair of the Drawing Knowledge Conference where she was one of four Keynote speakers. In 2013-2016 she taught Tools for Creative Thinking to postgraduate students in the Design for Social Innovation course at the Centre for Social Impact, and gave guest lectures to PhD students in Engineering and at the INSPIRE NSW symposium. In 2016 she was one of a small team of academics who developed and worked on the MOOC Transmedia Storytelling: Narrative worlds, emerging technologies, and global audiences. The international course explores content relating to the practice of designing, sharing, and participating in a cohesive story experience across multiple traditional and digital delivery platforms - for entertainment, advertising and marketing, or social change. By 2021 the course had attracted 67,886 enrolments, with a 4.7/5 general approval rating, and 98% approval for the course content:

https://www.coursera.org/learn/transmedia-storytelling

In 2019 Emma presented her research outcomes at conferences at the University of Loughborough and the University of Worcester in the UK. In 2006 Emma was awarded one of the seven prizes in the International Biennial of Drawing, Europe. The three selected drawings were subsequently chosen for the touring Best of the International Drawing Biennial exhibition, which was exhibited at the International Currents Gallery, Chicago, USA in 2007 and in four other European locations. Emma was subsequently selected for the 2008, 2010 and 2012 International Biennials of Drawing, and her work was featured in the book of Laureates published in 2015. Her work has also been selected for the Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing and the Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Prize in Australia.

Links:

2019 The University of Sydney, Reflection and Respite Exhibition:

https://news.library.sydney.edu.au/reflection-and-respite/

2017 Cover Artwork: Collaborative Remembering: Theories, Research and Applications:

https://global.oup.com/academic/product/collaborative-remembering-9780198737865?cc=au&lang=en

Short Films: 

Robertson E, 2017, Micrographia https://vimeo.com/222003403

Robertson E, 2017, Deposition Lines https://vimeo.com/222012367

Graduated Research Students:

Finlay D, 2015, The Creative Behind the Design: A Phenomenological Investigation into the Lived Experience of Leading Creative Practitioners, M Phil Thesis, UNSW

Robson, S, 2016, Between Certainty and Chance: Creativity as a Knowledge Acquisition Phenomenon - How an Art Process Negotiates Uncertainty, M Phil Thesis, UNSW

Bates, G, 2018, Magical Resistance: Witchcraft in an age of rapid urban transformation, MFA Thesis, UNSW

publications

Conference Posters
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Robertson E, 2020, 'Encounters and Ecologies: Using Drawing and Design to Alleviate Anxiety', UNSW (Online), presented at The Eleventh International Conference on The Image, UNSW (Online), 09 September 2020 - 10 September 2020
2020
Robertson E, 2019, 'Using Illustrations of Plants from the Past and Present to Provide Nature Based Antidotes to Anxiety in Exhibitions and Workshops', University of Worcester, presented at Illustrating Mental Health, University of Worcester, 08 November 2019 - 09 November 2019
2019
Journal articles
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Robertson E, 2020, 'A sense of coherence: Drawing for the mind', Drawing: Research, Theory, Practice, vol. 5, pp. 333 - 350, http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/drtp_00042_1
2020
Robertson E, 2018, 'Transitions: Biophilia, Beauty and Herbaria', Unlikely Journal for Creative Arts, https://unlikely.net.au/issue-04/transitions
2018
Robertson EA, 2014, 'A Place Where Things Meet: Creative and Conceptual Blending', The Blue Notebook: a new journal for artists' books, vol. 9, pp. 18 - 23, http://www.bookarts.uwe.ac.uk/bnotebk.htm
2014
Robertson EA, 2012, 'Stories from the Shadowline: Star Wars Illustrator Iain McCaig', Incubate, pp. 4 - 11
2012
Robertson EA, 2012, 'Creative Animal: COFA Grads at Animal Logic', Incubate, pp. 44 - 47
2012
Conference Presentations
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Robertson E, 2019, 'Embodied Drawing for the Mind', presented at Drawing Research Network: Embodied Drawing, Loughborough University, 11 July 2019 - 12 July 2019
2019
Robertson SA, 2010, 'New Territories: On Drawing', presented at New Territories: Discussion on Design Research, COFA EGO2 Lecture Theatre, 12 August 2010
2010
Creative Works (non-textual)
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Robertson E, 2019, Reflection and Respite, Reflection and Respite, The Fisher Library, The University of Sydney, 27 September 2019 - 31 October 2019, medium: Mixed media, at: https://www.thebiganxiety.org/events/reflection-and-respite/
2019
Robertson EA, 2017, Requiem (Red), Requiem (Red), Fisher Library, The University of Sydney, 17 March 2017 - 17 May 2017, medium: Installation art, mixed media
2017
Robertson EA, 2017, Archaeologies: Living Fossils, Drawn Thread, ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences, School of Art and Design, 26 July 2017 - 05 August 2017, medium: Mixed Media Drawings
2017
Robertson EA, 2017, Art and Nature: Antidotes to Anxiety, Art and Nature: Antidotes to Anxiety, Fisher Library, University of Sydney, 20 September 2017 - 14 October 2017, medium: Mixed media drawings and three dimensional sculptures
2017
Robertson E, 2017, Transitions: Biophilia, Beauty and Endangered Plants, Transitions: Biophilia, Beauty and Endangered Plants, SCA Galleries, Sydney University, Rozelle, 07 December 2017 - 11 December 2017
2017
Robertson EMMA, 2016, The Shape of Loss (Series) - The Archaeology of Absence, Future Stratigraphy, SCA Galleries, The University of Sydney, 05 October 2016 - 29 October 2016
2016
Robertson EA, 2015, Seed, DN15, AD Space, 02 March 2015 - 06 March 2015, medium: Mixed Media Drawing
2015
Robertson EA, 2015, Mapping the Memory of the World, A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE Artwork by the Laureates of the Biennial of Drawing Pilsen 1996 - 2014, Muzeum of West Bohemia in Pilsen, Gallery of the City of Pilsen and Jíří Trnka Gallery in Pilsen, 15 October 2015 - 29 November 2015, medium: Mixed Media Drawing, at: http://bienale-plzen.cz/en/
2015
Robertson SA, 2012, VIII International Biennial of Drawing, Forgetting Find, VIII International Biennial of Drawing Pilsen, Museum of West Bohemia, Pilsen, Czech Republic, 03 October 2012 - 18 November 2012, medium: Mixed media drawing
2012
Robertson SA, 2010, JADA Selected Work: Imaginary Lands, JADA Touring Exhibition, Latrobe City Gallery 13 Dec 2009-2 Feb 2010; Hawkesbury Regional Gallery 13 Feb - 7 April 2010; Port Macquarie Hastings Regional Gallery 15 April - 9 June 2010
2010
Robertson SA, 2009, JADA Selected Work: Imaginary Lands, 2008 JADA Tour, University of the Sunshine Coast; USC, 26 March 2009 - 24 April 2009
2009
Robertson SA, 2009, Ascendant and Descendant, Ascendant and Descendant
2009
Robertson SA, 2008, Travelling Exhibition of the 5th International Biennial of Drawing, 3 Artworks, 5th International Biennial of Drawing
2008
Robertson SA, 2008, The 6th International Biennial of Drawing - 3 Artworks, The 6th International Biennial of Drawing
2008
Robertson SA, 2008, Best of the International Biennial of Drawing, 3 Artworks selected, 5th International Biennial of Drawing
2008
Robertson SA, 2008, JADA 2008 - 1 artwork Imaginary Lands, JADA
2008
Robertson SA, 2007, Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing, 1 Artwork Selected, Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing
2007
Robertson SA, 2007, Best of the International Biennial of Drawing - 3 Artworks selected, 5th International Biennial of Drawing
2007
Robertson SA, 2007, GRAFIX Biennial, GRAFIX Biennial
2007
Robertson SA, 2007, Best of the International Biennial of Drawing, 3 Artworks Selected, 5th International Biennial of Drawing
2007
Robertson SA, 2007, Best of the International Biennial of Drawing, 3 Artworks Selected, 5th International Biennial of Drawing
2007
Robertson SA, 2006, The Art of Memory, 3 Artworks, The Art of Memory
2006
Robertson SA, 2006, Blake Exceptions, Blake Prize for Religious Art Exhibition
2006
Robertson SA, 2006, Curated exhibition: The Artistic Construction of Memory, International Conference on Memory 4
2006
Robertson SA, 2006, 5th International Biennial of Drawing, 3 Artworks Selected, 5th International Biennial of Drawing
2006
Robertson SA, 2006, The Artistic Construction of Memory, 9 Artworks, The Artistic Construction of Memory
2006
Robertson SA, 2004, Roses and Thorns: Amnesty International, 1 Artwork, Roses and Thorns: Amnesty International
2004
Robertson SA, 2004, Cofa Fundraising, 1 Artwork, College of Fine Arts Magazine
2004
Creative Written Works
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Robertson EA, 2017, Biophilia and Beauty, Artists and Climate Change, Bilodeau C, (ed.), https://artistsandclimatechange.com/2017/08/24/biophilia-and-beauty/
2017
Designs / Architecture
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Robertson E, 2017, Cover Artwork: Collaborative Remembering: Theories, Research and Applications, Publication: Oxford University Press, Publication category: Designs / Architecture, https://global.oup.com/academic/product/collaborative-remembering-9780198737865?cc=au&lang=en, https://global.oup.com/academic/product/collaborative-remembering-9780198737865?cc=au&lang=en
2017
Robertson SA, 2009, Cover Artwork: Deposition Line, Publication: Australian Network for Plant Conservation Inc., Canberra, Editor: Offord CA; Meagher PF, Publication category: Designs / Architecture
2009
Theses / Dissertations
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Robson S, 2016, Between Certainty and Chance: Creativity as a Knowledge Acquisition Phenomenon - how an art process negotiates uncertainty
2016
Finlay D, 2015, The Creative Behind the Design: A Phenomenological investigation into the lived experience of leading creative practitioners
2015
Book Chapters
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Robertson E, 2015, 'Models of Creative Thinking and Problem Solving: Design Development, Application and Use', in Rourke A; Rees V (ed.), Moving from Novice to Expert on the Road to Expertise: Developing Expertise in the Visual Domain, Common Ground Publishing LLC, Champaign, Illinois, USA, pp. 147 - 169
2015
Robertson SA, 2007, 'The top ten inhibitors in mental mindsets: how to enhance your ability to think creatively', in Whyte G (ed.), The Creative Edge: Strategies for 24/7 Creativity, edn. Original, Sea Change Publishing, Sydney, NSW Australia, pp. 79 - 96
2007
Conference Papers
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Robertson SA, 2012, 'Courses in creative tools and models of design thinking', in Design Creativity 2012, The Design Society, Glasgow UK, pp. 72 - 77, presented at 2nd International Conference on Design Creativity, ICDC 2012, Glasgow United Kingdom, 18 September 2012 - 20 September 2012
2012
Robertson SA, 2010, 'Creative Thinking Processes: The Top Ten Inhibiters and Models of Learning', in ConnectED 2010: proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Design Education, University of New South Wales, Sydney, pp. 1 - 5, presented at CONNECTED, UNSW, 28 June 2010 - 01 July 2010, http://connected2010.eproceedings.com.au/
2010
Visual Arts
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Robertson SA, 2010, VII International Biennial of Drawing 2010, Exhibited: VII International Biennial of Drawing 2010 : Oceans, Mixed Media Drawing at VII International Biennial of Drawing 2010, Pilsen, Czech Republic; Pilsen, Czech Republic, Publication: The University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, Pilsen, Czech Republic, Curator/Editor: Organising Committee , publication category: Visual Arts
2010