Tania Leimbach’s doctoral thesis Sustainability and the material imagination, is an interdisciplinary inquiry into Australian cultural institutions with a focus on modes of public engagement, organisational structures and contemporary cultural practice. She has a special interest in the history of the museum and its changing social function through time, investigating the role that public institutions play in public life, politics and social change. Taking an ethnographic approach, her doctoral research examines how public institutions position themselves in relation to complex sustainability issues in the Anthropocene. Her research explores the intersection of local culture with global issues and examines how tensions between the local and global inform decision-making in both small and large-scale cultural institutions.
Tania teaches in the DAB School of Design and the FASS School of Communication at the University of Technology Sydney. She has worked in exhibition design, curating and collections management for public and private galleries and has professional experience in visual art and design education across a range of learning environments, including museums, secondary schools and at a tertiary level. Her current research involves a review of sustainability in the tertiary sector and developments in the integration of sustainability into tertiary curriculum across disciplines and diverse learning contexts.
Material culture, curatorial practice, museum studies, exhibition design, science communication, media studies, cultural anthropology, ecological sustainability, design activism and experimental design practices
Leimbach, T 2013, 'Innovative programming and social engagement in art institutions: An Australian case study', The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 171-184.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Many art institutions are becoming more audience-centric. The remote scholarship of the traditional curator may not be conducive to engaging diverse audiences in the 21st century. By challenging the conventions of the curatorial model and providing different professional roles for staff in art institutions, there is an opportunity to ensure greater community relevance. As the trend toward more socially engaged art practices continues to develop, an artist, art institution, and the community can become involved in the co-creation of new content. This paper reflects on case study research conducted in an art institution located in an ethnically diverse community in Sydney, Australia. The empirical work that underpins the study includes audience observation, analysis of interpretive exhibition materials and semi-structured interviews. The research reveals an instance where an innovative organisational model combined with the community-focused practice of an artist, elicited engagements with narratives of environmental sustainability. The paper argues that innovative programming models are important in providing long-term and successful engagement with diverse communities. Such opportunities provide the platform for artists to legitimate provocative and unconventional ideas through sophisticated community dialogue and engagement
Leimbach, T & Armstrong, K 2018, 'Creative Partnerships and Cultural Organisations: "Enabling" and "Situating" Arts-Science Collaboration and Collective Learning' in Collaborative Research and Collective Learning: Transdisciplinary Theory, Practice and Education, Springer, UK, pp. 241-256.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Arts–science activities are proliferating globally, and they are demonstrating significant capacity to shift public thinking (and potentially action) in new ways that confront many of the pertinent challenges of our times, such as sustainability. Transdisciplinary arts–science practices offer enhanced possibilities to increase this agency. However, this can only be assured through the development of supportive institutional material and social infrastructures. In this chapter, we explore how best to enable and situate such projects, drawing upon the work and practices of transdisciplinary media artist Keith Armstrong. By comparing two Australian cultural organisations he has worked with (a university gallery and a public arts organisation), we analyse how institutional frameworks can better support such projects and programmes, mitigated by the site and location of the work. We then ask: What is the future of this mode of activated practice, and how might we best foster it?
Fam, DM, Leimbach, T, Kelly, S, Hitchens, L & Callen, M 2018, 'Meta-considerations for Planning, Introducing and Standardising Interdisciplinary Learning in Higher Degree Institutions' in Fam, DM, Neuhauser, N & Gibbs, P (eds), Transdisciplinary theory, practice and education: The art of collaborative research and collective learning, Springer, Germany, pp. 85-102.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Tertiary institutions across Australia and internationally are increasingly moving toward implementing innovative frameworks for teaching and learning to facilitate cross-disciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary forms of education. Such programmes are characterized by learning and research that transgresses disciplinary boundaries, and supports collaborative research and practice to generate novel approaches to complex problems. In creating programmes that cross faculties, disciplines and epistemological perspectives, both challenges and opportunities undoubtedly arise. This chapter investigates the range of perceived and actual barriers to implementing interdisciplinary postgraduate programmes at an institutional level at the University of Technology Sydney. Over a 12-month research project, 25 interviews with faculty deans, senior executives, and teaching and learning and operations staff across the university were conducted, highlighting cultural, institutional, governance, planning and marketing issues that needed to be overcome for interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary postgraduate programmes to be successful in the long term. We sought to ensure the validity of the research findings by holding a half-day workshop Validity of the research findings were sought through a half-day workshop with senior faculty and operations staff to collaboratively identify major barriers and mitigation strategies for the success of interdisciplinary programmes in the future. This chapter, therefore, is not only an illustrative example of the challenges faced by programmes aiming to reform collaborative education; it also provides insight into the process of collaboratively developing recommendations for how new programmes might support cultural change, successful planning, governance and the operationalization of programmes that transgress disciplinary and faculty structures for the improvement of teaching and learning
Fam, DM, Leimbach, T, Kelly, S, Hitchens, L & Callen, M 2017, 'Collaborative research and collective learning: institutionalizing interdisciplinary programs in higher education', International Transdisciplinary Conference, Transdisciplinary Research and Education — Intercultural Endeavours, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany.
Leimbach, T 2013, 'Sustainability is a Cultural Change project: Innovative programming in Australian Art and Design Museums', Sixth International Conference on the Inclusive Museum: Museums and Active Citizenship, Copenhagen, Denmark.
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.
Leimbach, T 2011, 'Making it visual: Growing ideas for sustainability', Proceedings of Animation of Public Space through the Arts, Animation of Public Space through the Arts: Towards More Sustainable Communities Symposium, Centre for Social Studies (CES), University of Coimbra, Portugal.
Leimbach, T 2016, 'Scents, sensibility and the smell of a city', The Conversation, The Conversation.
Leimbach, T 2016, 'Navigating the Horizon', Over Many Horizons (Exhibition), UTS Art, UTS Art.
Leimbach, T, Zakaria, R, Sargent, N, Leimbach, CJ & Gerada, M, 'Concrete Jungle: A Green Wall for Growing Ideas', Concrete Jungle: A Green Wall for Growing Ideas, UTS, Public Art Installation for the Ultimo Pedestrian Network, Sydney.
A public art installation along the Ultimo Pedestrian Network (UPN) marks the beginning of new-look construction sites at UTS. The installation, known as Concrete Jungle, is an environmental artwork comprising a 110m long canvas artwork and green wall sections replete with living plants. The artwork runs for much the length of the Student Housing Tower construction hoardings along the UPN (out the back of Building 6 and the ABC building), with the green wall sitting just outside the ABC exit. Concrete Jungle was created by a team of local artists, led by UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures research student Tania Leimbach. The Concrete Jungle team worked in collaboration with green wall company Junglefy and lead architects De Manincor Russell Architectural Workshop (DRAW). These hoardings are part of a large art project to transform City Campus Master Plan construction sites into art installations for the duration of the construction period. ABOUT THE ARTWORK Concrete Jungle was created by a team led by ISF student Tania Leimbach, including Rully Zakaria, Carli Leimbach and Nick Sargent working in partnership with landscape and green wall specalists Junglefy. The artwork's aim is to stimulate civic conversation about the many options we have for doing, designing and innovating a better urban environment, especially through green measures such as plant walls. Defined by a large-scale photomontage and aphorisms, the artwork also features illustrations adapted from Mark Gerada's work in Greening Sydney by Chris Johnson (2003). ABOUT THE HOARDINGS PROJECT UTS has engaged architects DRAW to lead a team of designers, artists and architects to create interventions for construction hoardings for the Broadway Building, Library Retrieval System, Dr Chau Chak Wing Building, Student Housing Tower and Building 1/2 Podium Extension. Each project team working with DRAW has some connection to UTS, notably UTS graduand Stacey Lewis and current student Alexandra (Zana) Wri...
Leimbach, T, 'Wild Sydney: Diego Bonetto', Catalogue essay for Baadlands: An Atlas of Experimental Cartography curated by Zanny Begg.
Leimbach, T, 'The Challenged Landscape', Catalogue essay for The Challenged Landscape, curated by Sandy Edwards.
Leimbach, T 2015, 'Sustainability and the Material Imagination in Australian Cultural Organisations'.
Leimbach, T 2014, 'Design goes wild: boundary crossing in feral experimental'.
You may have heard of Deborah Kelly, the well-known Sydney-based artist with a work in the 2014 Biennale of Sydney entitled No Human Being Is Illegal (In All Our Glory). The work features a suite of life-size collaged portraits and is the product of Kelly collaborating with about 70 other people. Over the course of six months, collaborators, including me, worked with Kelly - and I would like to offer some reflections on the experience.