To my husband Luke Mewburn: without whom I could not have completed this work. Not only did he offer unstinting love, support and encouragement, but he has proved himself to be a man who is proud to have a wife who has a few more degrees on the wall than he does.
To my son Brendan, age seven, who has endured his mother undertaking two post graduate degrees in the span his short life to date. His affection, patience and willingness to play Nintendo for long periods of time can never be fully rewarded in the form of a completed thesis, but I hope he will read it one day anyway.
Without the financial and material support of the Melbourne School of Design at the University of Melbourne this thesis would never have been written. I wish to thank the institution for generously providing me with free tuition and a living stipend during my candidature, as well as supporting study related overseas travel and expenses.
I am indebted to Brent Allpress from the Architecture and Design School at RMIT University for sparking my interest in gesture and to my supervisor, Dr Scott Drake, who gave me latitude to explore the topic in my own way while constantly providing encouragement, advice and guidance. The other members of my supervisory panel: Dr Greg Missingham, Dr Sue Wilks and Dr Peter Raisbeck patiently read and commented on work in progress, providing me with valuable feedback and many interesting ideas. I would also like to thank Dr Scott Heyes of the University of Melbourne for helping me with methodology.
As a fieldwork based study, this thesis relied on the willingness of many students and teachers who agreed to work under my watchful gaze. They all have my heartfelt thanks. In particular I would like to thank the four main teachers who are shown at work in this study: Dr Peter Corrigan, Dr Pia Ednie Brown, Ms Anna Johnson and Mr Simon Wollan. They not only (bravely) opened up their classrooms to me, but they also took the time to help me develop my ideas about the nature of design teaching practice.
I would not have made much progress theoretically without the actor-network theory discussion group at the University of Melbourne, convened by Professor Diane Mulcahy of the Graduate School of Education. The members of the group always made me feel welcome, even though I was a foreigner from the Melbourne School of Design. Lyn Campbell should be singled out as a generous and thoughtful scholar who took the time to walk with me through this intellectual jungle and point out the promising parts of the undergrowth. I would also like to thank Helena Webster of Oxford Brookes University for encouragement and support and Professor Robin Usher, who deserves special thanks for being both an intellectual mentor and supportive boss.
I have been lucky to be surrounded by many other intelligent and thoughtful people who were ready to hear me rehearse argumentation and theories as I progressed through the study, in particular Dr Robyn Barnacle (who has borne the brunt of it) as well as Beatriz Maturana, Janne Morton and Joan Grieg (for the emails). I can never adequately repay the generosity of Dr Bernard Brown for reading the first draft so thoroughly and well. The feedback from Ian Woodcock, Crystal Legacy, Wiryono Rahajo, Julie Rudner and our facilitator, Harriet Searcy, during the writing circle sponsored by the University of Melbourne was invaluable, as was the support from Jane Trewin and Lorenne Wilks of the Research office in the ABP faculty.
I would also like to thank all my friends, in particular Weiss Zhao, Andrew Maher, Colleen Boyle, Jacques Kosky, Felicity Jones, Elanor Parsons, John Ting, Angela Alessi and various other members of the ‘Pods’ for conversations, both of the intellectual and “troubles telling” variety, which kept me sane throughout. My colleagues at the Graduate Research Office at RMIT University, particularly Helen Lethanks for being so great to work with – and for all the cakes.
My extended family have been supportive throughout and I would like to give a shout out to the Mewburns and the Blackfords for all the dinners, lunches and the baby sitting, in particular Barb and Steve Mewburn. Thanks to my father, Roger, always a good academic role model, who pointed out years ago the importance of reading ‘improving books’ and my mother, Velma, who would have been so proud had she lived to see me finish this thesis.
Finally heartfelt thanks and love to my twin sister, Anitra Nottingham, who was always ready to provide me with the benefit of her experience as a professional graphic designer and online teacher as well as willingness to do lunch and provide instant messenger counseling on demand.
Contributor: Inger Mewburn @thesiswhisperer More info here.
Source: Mewburn, I (2009) Constructing bodies: gesture, speech and representation at work in architectural design studios, PhD, University of Melbourne