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Futurism 2020 - Murdoch's Open Showcase


This human centred project designed by a multidisciplinary team, explores how to develop a world class exhibition to showcase student skills and project work from within the College of ABLSS and the CMAD disciplines. Students and staff collaborate to produce a professional event which results in valuable exposure of our course outcomes to local industry, high schools, extended areas of academia and the general public. 


  • Our current students with a learning and work integrated experience 

  • The promotion of our CMAD courses and collaborative industry-based projects to a wide range of 

  • audiences during the event 

  • The development of promotional devices (such as catalogues/social media campaigns) which can be utilised throughout the academic year beyond the exhibition event 

  • Developing alliances with industry partners 

  • Developing academic partnerships across all disciplines and staff areas of the University 

  • Increased engagement with our target demographic – prospective students & their families and industry partners. 

Core Goal

The showcase exhibition connects with our core goals of “Students and Education” by promoting the great work of CMAD students and staff, while providing opportunities and support for our students to lead on learning and teaching in an innovative event.

Target Audience

Our target audience includes: 

  • Current students 

  • Academics from other areas in the university 

  • High school teachers 

  • Prospective high school students 

  • Prospective students’ parents and families 

  • Industry partners 



Murdoch University’s image/ reputation 

This event will promote Murdoch University’s capabilities in CMAD to the community and will increase awareness of our courses and expertise to prospective students and industry partners. The cross functional multidisciplinary interaction between students, staff, academics and strategic alliance partners will solidify our University’s reputation in high schools and local community as an innovative world class cutting edge educational institution. 

Current student development and experience 

Students will take charge of every aspect of the exhibition which fulfills the notion of students as change agents as they engage in putting ideas into actions. They will experience an enriching, innovative real world project in which they take pride in showcasing Murdoch University as a world class cutting edge educational institution. The showcase will also support an “Innovative Curriculum” that is designed to affirm the complexity of problem solving associated with service problems. 

Prospective student recruitment 

This event serves as a great recruitment opportunity and increases engagement with high school students and general public. Prospective students will associate Murdoch University as a place where independent thinking and collaborative thinking are encouraged. They will be inspired to be a part of the Murdoch University community knowing they will have the structure, support and space to forge their own path, and will gain real-world skills before graduation.


Meeting the Team

At the very beginning of this project, we became acquainted with the team comprised of 52 people.


We first determined what ‘Service Design’ actually means, so we would understand what was expected of us for the duration and completion of the project. Service Design is based upon designing a particular event or space in such a way that attendees or consumers have a positive experience.


We shared our own experiences of public events with the whole group; both positive and negative, to understand how important interactions a well-designed service is. We then drew out all of the touch points that we could think of that are associated with one of the brands or services. Touchpoints are a point of contact or interaction between a business and its customers. This is essentially any form of branding that a brand produces in order to make contact with as many audiences as possible. This gave us an understanding of the length that successful brands go to ensure that as many people as possible are interacting with their brand in some way.


We began the development of the Project Brief, intended to be pitched to Murdoch University to ask for permission to hold the event, and ask for funding. We split into groups at random, and each group worked on answering a specific heading within the brief.


Organising the Team

Before we could commence the project, we needed to identify team skills and roles that will be advantageous for creating an effective service system. We undertook some self-reflection, to recognise what our strengths and weaknesses are individually, so we could determine how we would each be useful as part of the team.


In order to communicate with each other, we used Microsoft Teams. On Microsoft Teams, a spreadsheet was created where we inputted the skills that we can contribute to the project, as well as any services or products. This was done to determine the ways in which we will each be useful to the project. 


We split into the groups that we would then work in for the duration of the project. The first group that we were split into was our disciplinary group, where each group would be in charge of organising how their specific discipline was going to be represented within the Showcase.


The different disciplines within the Showcase were to be:


  • Graphic Design

  • Games Art Design

  • Creative Writing

  • Photography

  • Screen Production

  • Sound

  • Strategic Communication


Strategic Communication is the discipline that I focused on representing in the Showcase.


We also chose which project team we each would like to be a part of for the progression of the project. The options were:


  • Spatial Design for both the Library and Student Hub

  • Publication Design

  • Promotion Design

  • Way-finding

  • Event Theme & Branding

  • Online Digital Experience

  • Social Media Campaign 


I chose to be a part of the Spatial Design Team. I chose this team because while I have had experience in all of the other options, I had never had experience in Spatial Design. I wanted to try something new and something that would challenge me, as I knew that it would only broaden my skills within, and knowledge about, different forms of design.


Once we understood what we could do individually, we needed to work out how to develop team roles to help move the project forward. We needed to identify areas such as people, things, techologies, organisations, individual roles and how they connect. 


We brainstormed all of the potential stakeholders of the project. This was done to determine the people who will be directly impacted by the project, and what that means/how they will be effected. 


The main stakeholders that we recognised include:

  • Us (those involved in designing the Showcase)

  • Students (current, future and alumni)

  • Academics

  • Industry Professionals

  • Local communities

  • Other universities

  • High schools

  • Student Hub & Library workers


In our disciplinary teams, we conducted interviews with academics and other people who have attended the Showcase in previous years, to determine how they want/expect to be displayed at the Showcase.


From our interviews, we developed Empathy Maps, which gave as an overview of what past experiences of the Showcase have been, and what people generally expect from the Showcase this year.


We mapped out the major issues that we can see occurring, as well as the side issues that can potentially stem from these issues. This ensured that would be aware of potential issues, be able to have plans in place should any issues come to fruition.


We considered what we wanted the long term outcomes of the event to be, so we could work towards creating an event that would provide experiences that will be sustained over a long period of time.


We collated the information that we learned from determining the target audience and stakeholders of the Showcase, as well as the potential issues that could arise, and used that information to develop Customer Journey Maps. Customer Journey Maps essentially map out a customer’s potential journey throughout their use of a particular service. It takes into account who they are and what their potential/likely actions may be, as well as potential issues they may face and how they would impact their experience. 


Empathy Mapping

User Journey Mapping

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We split into our disciplinary groups and came up with ideas for potential themes for the Showcase. Once each group had depicted a theme that they thought would be an interesting theme to represent 2020. 


In my Strategic Communication group, our idea for a theme was “Into the Future” or “Futurism”. This idea was sparked from looking forward to the future, and the hope of a bright and optimistic future after the difficult year that 2020 has been with COVID-19.


Once we had all finished our idea generating, we went around the room and voted on the theme idea that we liked the most. It was interesting that every theme idea was related to the future in some way. 


The voting determined that the theme that was the most popular was related to the future. From this, the word “Futurism” was once again mentioned, and it stuck. Futurism also represents a having a hope for the future, as in history, futurism was commonly associated with imagining and hoping for a different, potentially greater future after tragic events, such as World War One and Two. We found that this correlated directly with the COVID-19 pandemic, as at that point in time, restrictions were still in place and there was a lot of uncertainty. It is safe to speculate that were all imaging a happier future where COVID-19 doesn’t exist, or at least, isn’t such a prominent issue.


The word “Futurism” alone though, wasn’t enough, because our thoughts of the future are all subjective. Consequently, we needed to gain a cohesive understanding of what we envisage our future to look like. This went down a couple of different paths, including a retro future, an environmentally friendly future, and a technological future. 

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Spatial Design Team


Venue & Organising Disciplines

In the early stages of planning the Showcase, we were only sure that we had the Library to set up, as COVID-19 restrictions meant that it was likely we would not have access to the Student Hub for the sake of holding an event. Due to this, we primarily focused on planning the library space. We went around the library with printed floor plans and determined which areas we are able to use, and where there are power points, screens, optimal areas for hanging work.  


We had a meeting with Kelly and Mel, who are in charge of what we are able display in the library, and how we are able to display it. We went on a walkthrough through the library with them to share with them our ideas, so we could gain an understanding of what exactly we can and cannot do in each space. They were very excited by our ideas, and are happy to let us utilised majority of the spaces however we like. There are some restrictions, such as not being able to cover or block walking paths, not having access to some screens, and even some spaces. There are also restrictions as to whether particular furniture can be moved or relocated. The fences that we are using to display work are mesh, which is effective because it allows people to be able to see through them. This means that they do not block people’s view of important areas within the library.


This gave us a good understanding of the what each space offers, so we could determine which disciplines would work best in each space. Using our annotations on the floor plans, we then had a big discussion to place each discipline in the space that would cater most appropriately to them. Our first plan was to have a display that was spread throughout the entire library. We were planning to utilise two floors of the library, and have some disciplines on display on the ground floor, and the others downstairs. 


I was in the Spatial Design Team for the duration of the project.


Spatial Design worked to design the Showcase in terms of the internal space of the Student Hub and Library. This included organising fixtures, lighting, didactics and the method of hanging up student work.

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Futurism 2020


Futurism was a huge hit! We had many people attend and the atmosphere was fantastic. There were families, academics, industry, current students, future students, alumni and more in attendance. 


Each discipline looked unique, and everyone seemed to be engaging with each one of them. The publications were flying off the tables so quickly, which meant that people were excited and impressed by them!


I also personally received a lot of fantastic feedback regarding the professionalism of the Showcase, but also its exciting energy. 


It was also great to see a lot of my projects being displayed.


This was an incredible experience, and I am grateful to have worked on such a large project with an enthusiastic group of people. We achieved something amazing!

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