Round Two Grant Awards 2020

9 November 2020

The Alastair Swayn Foundation is thrilled to announce the winners of our second and final round of grants for 2020. The Research and Strategic streams were particularly competitive, and we are delighted to reveal the 6 winning projects:


Public Realm Lab x Aboriginal Housing Victoria – Transitioning to Success: Developing a transitional housing model for young Indigenous people.

This research is led by Public Realm Lab in collaboration with Aboriginal Housing Victoria and with the input of Dr Peter Raisbeck, of the Melbourne School of Design.

The project will seek to demonstrate the role that architectural design can and should play in helping to address one of the most pressing issues facing our communities – namely supporting young First Nations people to realise their full potential and participate in society through the provision of stable, safe and secure housing. This project will demonstrate the value of good design in public, supported and social housing and will stimulate research, design education and the exchange of ideas about an emerging housing typology for a highly vulnerable cohort. The research will analyse the Foyer model and define how this model may be adapted to suit the specific needs of young Aboriginal people by employing constructivist grounded theory.

The outputs of this project will include Design Principles for Foyer housing for Aboriginal youth and will both explore and promote Australian design and its influences (with a key influence being the specific cultural needs of building users). The project will showcase Australian leadership in design through the analysis of existing Foyer housing projects. The research will also, critically inform the design of Foyer projects, by our team for Aboriginal Housing Victoria, and by other members of the


Katherine Moline and Alison Gwilt, UNSW- Expanding Experimental Aesthetics in the Social Imaginary: Clothing as Architecture for Menopause.

Katherine Moline is an internationally recognised researcher in design ethnography on technological and social transformation and the curation of speculative critical design exhibitions. Alison Gwilt is an internationally leading scholar in fashion sustainability with expertise in transformative design practices to extend the lifecycle of clothes.

This project destigmatizes women’s experiences of menopause in the workplace, reframing it as a part of healthy ageing. By innovatively adapting clothing for work this advanced codesign project with women collects qualitative data that informs the redesign of work wear as architecture.

As collaborators in this application Moline and Gwilt aim to develop workshops with women about the impacts that menopausal symptoms have on their clothing choices for the workplace. They will collect narratives and co-design with women to adapt existing clothing to increase comfort and confidence at work.


Urtzi Grau- Body Architecture, Indo-Pacific Air (Venice Biennale exhibition)

Urtzi Grau is an architect, academic and the director of the Master of Research and the Master of Architecture in the School of Architecture at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). This project explores the recent history of breathing and its design implications as a collaboration between the School of Architecture and the Faculty of Science at UTS. It aims to reconstruct the atmospheric conditions of the end of 2019 to collect the architectures for the body they produced.

In the months that preceded COVID19, a series of events transformed the atmosphere globally. The bush fire smoke on the East coast of Australia, the tear gas used in the Santiago de Chile and Hong Kong protests, the Indian Supreme Court ruling on Delhi’s pollution failures, and activists covering iconic statues with respirators across Johannesburg and Pretoria not only illustrated how political struggles were taking place in the air; they were also examples of how the proliferation of masked faces made these struggles visible.

Understanding that environmental conditions are a definitory factor in architectural design, the project will collect, analyse, and dissect these masks as architectures of the body. These objects show how before our global pandemic, masks and respirators defined a regional imaginary along the Indo-Pacific region, Australia global region since the 2013 Australian Defence White Paper “Indo Pacific Strategic Arc” formally shifted the country there. The research will produce a map of the region’s highly politicised air using these architectures and the air conditions that defined them, and will be exhibited in the upcoming Venice Biennale.


Ian Wong, Monash University – Australian Design Index (Exhibition)

Ian Wong is a Fellow of the Design Institute of Australia and Senior Lecturer in Industrial Design with the Department of Design at Monash University. The Australian Design Index was an initiative of the Industrial Design Council of Australia to record products awarded Good Design Awards. This project will see Ian Wong curate and stage a public exhibition showcasing items from the Index, and featuring items from his own collection, the Ian Wong Collection and other collaborators. The exhibition will be made available online through a 3D virtual tour and will feature the comprehensive display, detailed curatorial labels, and video content about Australian industrial design history.


Dr Dianne Smith and Dr Elizabeth Karol –Enabling inclusive housing through design – engaging with potential residents

The project aims to gain in-depth knowledge of how people with schizophrenia experience their homes and how the home environment relate to their sense-of-wellbeing, to improve the design of accommodation for residents with impeded cognitive functioning.

Dr Dianne Smith and Dr Elizabeth Karol will carry out evidence-based qualitative design research to analyse home designs occupied by people with impeded cognitive functioning in order to identify specifically what intangible aspects exist including the emotionally, psychologically, and/or socially enabling and supportive aspects; and to identify what these residents value in their homes and what gives them a sense of well-being.


Hoa Yang – Defining the role of light on perceptions of safety in cities through marginalised and intersectional urban experiences – Sydney edition.

Hoa Yang is an Architect working as a specialist lighting designer at Arup, and is a PhD candidate with XYX Lab at Monash University. Her work advocates for gender and spatial equality through the use of innovative, socially just and sustainable design practices.

This project will extend on a successful research collaboration between Arup and XYX Lab led by Hoa. In 2017, XYX Lab and Plan International released the findings from their prototype study of Melbourne for the “Free to Be Campaign”. The research collaboration analysed the largest and most in-depth technical sample set of baseline night time lighting experiences worldwide, and established a prototype methodology that leverages digital technology to inform bottom up, community led design at urban scale. She will expand the methodology to the “Free to Be Campaign” results Sydney.

The research will push for a more holistic understanding of how lighting affects people who identify within marginalised intersections experience safety in Sydney and will make strong evidence based recommendations and implementations into design practice.

Alastair Swayn International Research

The Foundation regrets it was unable to select an appropriate candidate for the Alastair Swayn International Research Grant and the Board determined that this grant would not be awarded in 2020.

The grant will be offered in future years.

Congratulations to all the grantees, we look forward to supporting their incredible research in the coming months and sharing their findings via Swayn Open Research.

We sincerely thank everyone who applied to our grants program in 2020. If you are interested in applying for a Foundation grant, please send your enquiries to


The Alastair Swayn Foundation respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Custodians on the land of which we work, the Ngunnawal people of the ACT. We recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pay respect to Elders past, present, and emerging.

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