Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute’s inclusive science literacy initiative Monash Sensory Science has been named as a design strategy finalist in the 2023 Victorian Premier’s Design Awards. Established by the Victorian Government in 1996, the awards highlight and celebrate local design capability across architectural, communication, design strategy, digital, fashion, product, service and student categories.
Monash Sensory Science is a world-first, multisensory design strategy engaging one of Australia’s leading biomedicine institutes through multisensory design, co-creation, STEM exhibition and outreach for blind, low vision and diverse-needs communities. Established by the Rossjohn Laboratory and leveraging the lived experience of legally blind artist and designer Dr Erica Tandori, the program has empowered scientists to communicate cutting-edge biomedical discovery through creative multisensory exhibitions for diverse needs audiences. Together with Swinburne University designers, Monash Sensory Science enables diverse engagement through visual and tactile design, novel technologies, interactions and experiences, audio design and sonification, and multisensory science books. The initiative has achieved national and international recognition.
First held in 2018, the Monash Sensory Science Exhibition is one of their key design strategies. Designed for all ages and levels of science literacy, the exhibition explores science concepts such as immunity and immunology through multi-sensory, multi-modal artworks and tactile displays, offering an accessible and inclusive learning opportunity.
Dr Tandori said it was truly an honour and testament to the team’s collective dedication to be named as a finalist. “Our exhibition initiative, spearheaded by ARC Laureate Fellow Professor Jamie Rossjohn and developed collaboratively between Monash and Swinburne University, strives to break barriers in STEM and biomedical science communication, particularly for underrepresented audiences like those with blindness, low vision, and diverse needs,” she said. “Monash Sensory Science is a pioneering multisensory design strategy that has engaged scientists and individuals living with blindness and low vision to ensure inclusivity. With over 450,000 Australians experiencing blindness and low vision, our mission to make biomedicine accessible to all takes on a crucial role.”
“We hope that our approach becomes a global model, and my heartfelt thanks go to the incredible Rossjohn team and Swinburne designers for their hard work and dedication,” she said. “This recognition reinforces the importance of bridging gaps in understanding and making strides toward a more inclusive future in biomedical science communication.”
Read about the team’s entry: Design Strategy 2023 Finalists here.