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Dr Jacquie Lorber-Kasunic


Jacqueline Lorber-Kasunic is a design academic who explores design history and theory, material culture and visual knowledge production.

Her research draws on the use of visualisation as a method of inquiry that can open up alternate ways of interpreting text-based data in the field of humanities.

Working with Dr Kate Sweetapple at UTS, Jacqueline explores the capacity of visualisation to reveal narratives that cannot be accounted for by aggregation in texts. Instead they draw on the visual epistemology of design to develop approaches that more wholly express the qualitative nature of data. Two of their projects are: ‘Writing Rights’ and ‘Visualizing Chinese Input’ working with Humanities + Design at Stanford University.

Jacqueline’s other research interests include the role of visualisation in the gallery, library, and museum sector. The digitisation of content has created new opportunities for rethinking how we engage with and share collections.

At UTS, Jacqueline is Director of Interdisciplinary Design, in the School of Design. Her PhD in Design analysed colonial Australian narratives and images and their ongoing significance in contemporary rural practices.

Image of Jacquie Lorber-Kasunic
Senior Lecturer, School of Design
Bachelor of Design (Visual Communication), PhD (UTS)
+61 2 9514 8086

Research Interests

Design history and theory, material culture, visual knowledge production, text analysis, design activism, critical, speculative and experimental design practices.


Lorber-Kasunic, J. 2015, 'Practice, Practice theory' in Edwards, C. (ed), Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Design, Bloomsbury, London.
Lorber-Kasunic, J. & Crosby, A. 2015, 'Politics, the Political' in Edwards, C. (ed), Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Design, Bloomsbury, London.
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Lorber-Kasunic, J. & Crosby, A. 2015, 'Sustainment' in Edwards, C. (ed), Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Design, Bloomsbury, London.
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Stewart, S.C. & Lorber-Kasunic, J. 2008, 'Akrasia, Ethics and Design Education (revisited)' in Anne-Marie Willis (ed), Design Philosophy Papers, Team D/E/S Publications, Australia, pp. 21-33.


Lorber-Kasunic, J. & Sweetapple, K. 2014, 'Visualising texts: a design practice approach to humanities data', Final Paper /Proceedings of the Digital Research in the Humanities and Arts Conference,, Digital Research in the Humanities and Arts Conference, DRHA, University of Greenwich, London, pp. 87-92.
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The availability of archival data coupled with the use of digital tools, alongside a growing awareness of the scholarly potential of visualization (Jessop 2008) has seen an increase in the use of visualization in the humanities. However, these forms of visual representation borrow heavily from the conceptual and visual language of scientific positivism, and subsequently do not reflect many of the core concerns and conditions inherent in humanities research. In this paper we look towards the field of visual communication design as a source of practices that use metaphorical and analogical approaches to text visualization, approaches that may better serve the interpretive nature of humanities research.
Lorber-Kasunic, J. & Sweetapple, K. 2015, 'Visualizing Text Creation: Patterns and Presentation', The Fourteenth Congress of the International Society for Eighteenth Century Studies ISECS, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Crosby, A.L., Lorber-Kasunic, J. & Vanni Accarigi, I. 2014, 'Mapping Hybrid Design Participation in Sydney', Reflections on Creativity: Public engagement and the making of place, Reflections on creativity: Public engagement and the making of place, Arte Polis, Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia, pp. 123-131.
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As in the city of Bandung, the making of place in Sydney (Australia) is now considered by policymakers to be inseparable from creative industries such as design and architecture. This paper focuses on one particular category of creative practitioners: designers, in particular those designers who don't accept and contribute to the same broad vision of the city's creative future. Sydney is a competitive city with one of the highest costs of living in the world (Williams, 2013). This, coupled with precarity as dominant form of work typology in the creative industries, has driven many designers in Sydney to work collaboratively to contest their role in urban development and, more broadly, the creative economy. This paper presents work from a project called 'Citizen Design, Open Design, Adversarial Design: Emerging Forms of Engaged Design Practice in Australia.' The paper examines a component of our methodology. Namely we conducted a 'mapping lab' involving Sydney designers engaged in activism. We mapped the relationships that designers recognised between groups, practices, and projects (past and present) in Sydney that could be considered emerging forms of engaged design. While we as researchers began with a framework for 'Citizen Design' as a form of 'citizen media' (Rodriguez, 2010), 'Open Design' (Van Abel, Evers, Klaasen and Troxler, 2011), and 'Adversarial Design' (Di Salvo, 2012), the participants developed their own set of categories which reflected their working conditions, the nature of their interventions, and political sensibilities of the world.
Lorber-Kasunic, J., Leimbach, T. & Abram, S. 2013, 'The politics of design: re-evaluating the role of speculative, critical and citizen-led design practice in Australia and the United Kingdom', Cumulus, Dublin.
Stewart, S.C. & Lorber-Kasunic, J. 2006, 'Akrasia and the ethical design curriculum', Enhancing Curricula: contributing to the future, meeting the challenges of the 21st century in the disciplines of art, design and communication, Enhancing Curricula: contributing to the future, meeting the challenges of the 21st century in the disciplines of art, design and communication, CLTAD, University of Arts, London, Lisbon, Portugal, pp. 343-362.
Tonkinwise, C. & Lorber-Kasunic, J. 2006, 'What things know: Exhibiting animism as artefact-based design research', Working Papers in Art and Design, Volume 4, The Role of Context in Art and Design Research, Research into Practice 2006, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK, pp. 1-14.
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This paper develops a way of evaluating designed artifacts as research. It focuses deliberately on design, on the generation of new knowledge that can happen when making things for use. It works with an account of the making process proposed by the literary philosopher, Elaine Scarry, as clarified by the sociologist of technology, Bruno Latour. Scarry argues that there is an animism at the heart of making and in the background of all use of artefacts. To this extent, artefacts are judged, in everyday use as well as the professional design process, by how deep and wide and active their knowledge of human needs and desires is. This paper suggests that given that this animism is inherent to the process and outcomes of design, artefacts can also be judged by whether they promote new knowledge about human needs and desires, though such judgments can only be made on the basis of carefully staged use experiences of the designs.

Journal articles

Lorber-Kasunic, J. & Sweetapple, K. 2015, 'Visualising text-based data: Identifying the potential of visual knowledge production through design practice', Studies in Material Thinking, vol. 13, pp. 3-19.
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An increase in the availability of digitised data coupled with the development of digital tools has enabled humanities scholars to visualise data in ways that were previously difficult, if not impossible. While digitisation has led to an increase in the use of methods that chart, graph and map text-based data, opportunities for visual methods that are non-aggregative remain underdeveloped. In this paper we use 'Writing Rights', a collaborative project between design and humanities scholars that examines the process of writing the 'Déclaration des Droits de l'Homme et du Citoyen' (1789), to explore this issue. Through a series of visual experiments we discuss how the production of knowledge is enacted textually, within the written language, and graphically with the visual arrangement of the text. We argue that by drawing on the domain expertise of design, with its commitment to the semantic potential of the visual, practices that more wholly account for the qualitative nature of humanities data can be developed.
Lorber-Kasunic, J. 2015, 'Family farming as a practice: re-evaluating supporting narratives for a sustainable future in marginal areas', Journal of Design Research, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 293-306.
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Within the dry, marginal farming landscapes of the Maranoa, southwest Queensland, progressive depletion of soils that are unsuited to intensive production has left both the land, and the families that work it, exhausted. This article is based on a design ethnography that draws on practice theory to understand the practice of farming as exemplified by particular ways of knowing, acting and being. Critical aspects of this practice include background knowledge, know-how, emotional responses, goals, activities and purposeful engagements with things. Secondly, practice theory will be used to understand the extent to which the practice of farming holds these farmers in place, with very few options for an alternative future in sustainable production. This article also draws on ontological design as elaborated by Tony Fry and Anne Marie Willis, as well as on practice theory, to show how possibilities for change might appear at the same time that conceptions of the 'good life' begin to break down.
Vanni Accarigi, I., Crosby, A. & Lorber-Kasunic, J. 2014, 'Value the Edge: Permaculture as Counterculture in Australia', M/C Journal, vol. 17, no. 6.
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This paper reconsiders the story of permaculture, developed in Australia in the mid-1970s by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. This paper considers permaculture as an example of counterculture in Australia. In keeping with permaculture design ecological principles, we argue that today permaculture is best understood as part of an assemblage of design objects, bacteria, economies, humans, plants, technologies, actions, theories, mushrooms, policies, affects, desires, animals, business, material and immaterial labour and politics and that it can be read as contrapuntal rather than as oppositional practice. Contrapuntal insofar as it is not directly oppositional preferring to reframe and reorientate everyday practices. The paper is structured in three parts: in the first one we frame our argument by providing a background to our understanding of counterculture and assemblage; in the second we introduce the beginning of permaculture in its historical context, and in third we propose to consider permaculture as an assemblage.
Stewart, S.C. & Lorber-Kasunic, J. 2006, 'Akrasia, ethics and design education', Design Philosophy Papers, vol. 2006, no. 4, pp. 1-15.
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Roxburgh, M.W. & Lorber-Kasunic, J. 2004, 'Looking for Limits in a World of Excess', AGDA Design Research Journal, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 1-15.
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Non traditional outputs

Sadokierski, Z.A., Caines, C., Lorber-Kasunic, J. & Heyward, M.E., 'Durational Book: Chapter 1', Durational Book, ISEA 2013, State Library of NSW.
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The Durational Book Group is comprised of media artists Chris Caines and Megan Heyward, design researchers Zoë Sadokierski and Jacqueline Kasunic, and poet/essayist Astrid Lorange. While all five have well recognised individual practices, they are linked by an appreciation of the fertile interplay between forms and technologies, in particular that between text and graphic, audiovisual, networked and sculptural forms. The group was formed to explore the intersections and extensions afforded by interdisciplinary collaborative practice. During ISEA2013 (International Symposium for Electronic Art) the first iteration of the Durational Book project expanded the historical idea of the book to include forms of contemporary media: print media was mixed with audio-visual and interactive content. The group worked from the State Library of NSW's archive to generation of a variety of speculative works, investigating the library as a creative tool. During the week-long event, the artists added daily to a new archive of analogue and digital material, text, illustration, video and sound. This material will eventually form the content of an expanded `book'.
Selected Peer-Assessed Projects