Dr Hinchcliffe's research and production focuses on new forms and practices in data visualisation, computational design, and interaction design. His research results in both theoretical and creative outputs, from the highly practical, to the experimental, playful and occasionally provocative. Current research themes include:
Representing Cultural Collections
Mass digitisation of cultural artefacts promises unprecedented access to valuable resources but only where those collections can be represented in meaningful ways. The challenge here is both technical and cultural: How can we engineer systems that effectively aggregate and synthesise vast tracts of exponentially increasing data? But equally, how can we produce representations that are aesthetically engaging and capable of revealing the complexity and richness of a collection? Through his practice-based research he aims to contribute on both fronts: developing novel methods and computational systems for cultural datasets; and designing innovative interfaces attuned to their specific cultural settings. His research in this area has provided him with opportunity to collaborate with institutions including the State Library of NSW, State Library of Queensland, National Gallery of Australia, and renowned design retailer Make Designed Objects.
Design processes developed for the production of stable physical artefacts must be redefined for our contemporary computational context. Perhaps most significantly, the products and services we design for the computer medium must be dynamic systems capable of responding to input and changing context. His research explores the creative, cultural and technical implications of designing for today’s computational setting. Rather than a discreet new field, his work seeks to connect new forms and approaches with pre-computational practices and products; to situate the contemporary within a continuum of technical and creative design and production.
Poetics & Materiality
The presence of data and computing in our everyday lives demands more than efficient engineering - it asks us to produce systems and artefacts that are aesthetically and emotionally enriching. To this end, his research investigates the poetics of data representation, both on and off screen. It seeks to develop novel forms and fresh understanding of data as a cultural material.
Speculative & Undisciplined Design
20th century design disciplines are today giving way to fluid hybrid forms that are emerging in response to new technologies, commercial opportunities, and as a way to deal with increasingly complex, wicked problems. These emergent practices are not only characterised by their resistance to convenient disciplinary definitions but by their speculative, experimental and critical methodologies. His research aims to reveal new understanding of the changing practice of design, and its implications for education.
Funded Research Projects
“Compelling Collections”. State Library of NSW, DXlab Digital Fellowship, 2016. Value $10,000.
“Tangible Data Representation for the Power of One Exhibition”. Contracted research for Museum of Australian Democracy, 2014. Value $10,000.
“Developing the generous retail interface”. Contracted research for Make Designed Objects, 2014. Value $15,000. See www.makedesignedobjects.com
“Discover the Queenslander”. Contracted research for State Library of Queensland, 2013. Value $20,000. See www.slq.qld.gov.au/showcase/discover-the-queenslander
“Autonomous social media visualisation”. Contracted research for Crowd Convergence, 2013. Value $10,000.
“Interactive Visualisation of Australian Prints and Printmaking”. Contracted research for National Gallery of Australia, 2012. Value $10,000. See printsandprintmaking.gov.au/explore
“Digital Cultural Interfaces to Environmental Data”. Contracted research for Questacon, 2012. Value $18,000.
“Data Aesthetics in Retail Space” with Robert Foster (f!nk). Contracted research for Make Design Objects, 2011. Value $27,000.