Professor Mitchell Whitelaw

PhD (UTS), Bachelor of Creative Arts (Hons) (Wollongong)
Associate Professor, Design, School of Art
College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Digital And Interaction Design 120304
  • Interactive Media 190205
  • Electronic Media Art 190203

Research interests

My research spans practice and theory in the fields of digital design and culture; I work with data and computation as core materials in a creative research practice. I work with partners and collaborators on applied, practice-led research with public outcomes. My theoretical work draws on and contextualises this practice, as well as investigating emerging concepts and forms in digital art and design. Current themes in my research are:

Design for Digital Heritage and Humanities

The digitisation of cultural heritage is creating vast masses of valuable content, but traditional search-based interfaces do a poor job of representing this richness. Working with institutional partners, academic collaborators and students, I develop “generous interfaces”, working with cultural data to create inviting, explorable websites for cultural collections. I also develop speculative and poetic applications for digital heritage, reimagining and reanimating these archives for a contemporary context. Since 2010 this work has been funded by partners including the Asia Art Archive, Canberra Museum and Gallery, the State Library of Queensland, the State Library of New South Wales, the National Archives of Australia, and the National Gallery of Australia.

Data Aesthetics and Generative Systems

As designers and artists take up digital processes, they adapt and reconfigure data and computing for their own ends, generating new creative forms as well as questioning conventional notions of authorship, aesthetics, agency, and the work. This theme spans practical and theoretical investigations of digital art and design.

Digital Materiality

Though it sometimes pretends otherwise, digital culture is never immaterial. It occupies and transforms the material world, and art and design play a critical role in imagining and experimenting with the dialog between data and matter. From experimental fabrication to tangible data visualisation and speculative computing, this theme investigates digital materiality through practice-led, critical and theoretical projects.

Researcher's projects

Funded Research Projects

"Visualising a Bibliography of Indian Art." Contracted research for Asia Art Archive, 2015. Value $9,000. See

“Tangible Data Representation for the Power of One Exhibition.” Contracted research for Museum of Australian Democracy, 2014. Value $10,000.

“Discover the Queenslander.” Contracted research for State Library of Queensland, 2013. Value $20,000. See

"Digital Treasures Flagship Program." Research partnership with National Library of Australia, National Archives of Australia, State Library of NSW and Icelab Pty Ltd, 2013-. Value $160,000.

“Interactive Visualisation for Text Mining and Analysis.” Research contract under the UC-NICTA umbrella agreement, 2012-2015. Value $118,712.

“Interactive Visualisation for Library Photograph Collections.” Contracted research for State Library of New South Wales, 2012. Value $15,000. See and

“Interactive Visualisation of Australian Prints and Printmaking.” Contracted research for National Gallery of Australia, 2012. Value $10,000. See

“Interactive Data Visualisation for Memory of a Nation” Contracted research for National Archives of Australia, 2011. Value $26,250.

“Interactive Visualisation of Text and Topics” Contracted research for National ICT Australia, 2011. Value $20,000

“A Process-Based Approach to Generative From Synthesis” ARC Discovery Project DP 1094064. Administered by Monash University; Whitelaw is CI 3. Total value $361,000. UC funding $36,000 (2010-2014).

“Data visualisation for Defining Moments” Contracted research for the National Museum of Australia, 2010. Value $5,000.

“Interactive Data Visualisation for OpinionWatch” Contracted research for National ICT Australia, 2010. Value $20,000.

The Visible Archive, funded by the 2008 Ian Maclean Award, National Archives of Australia. Value $15,000. See



Available student projects

I am seeking Honours, Resarch Masters and PhD students to work on practice-led projects across all my areas of research interest. Students may come from backgrounds including art, design, digital media, computer science, information technology, information science and cultural heritage. 


Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  19 October 2021 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers