Arts Design & Architecture
Arts Design & Architecture
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(2022) Watfern, ChloeThesisThere are studios all over the world where neurodiverse artists work together in a supportive way. This thesis is an inquiry into how art works in two of these organisations—Studio A in Sydney, Australia, and Project Art Works in Hastings, UK. It draws from traditions of narrative inquiry and ethnography to understand the lived experiences of the people at the heart of these studios, and the role that art has played in their storied lives. As such, the thesis contributes to knowledge in three ways: 1) It documents the important practices of makers and organisations whose work has not yet received significant critical or academic attention. It explores the dimensions of these practices that hold potential for reshaping normative understandings of both art and disability; 2) It conceptualises the role of art as a point of connection between neurodiverse people, and as a way of coming to express and understand lived experience. It maps the resonances across different fields that help articulate empathic encounters with and through art; 3) It demonstrates, through its written form, an ecological mode of creative inquiry that resists reductionism—an inquiry that is, like the practices it studies, embodied and relational. It interrogates the value, and ethical implications, of this mode of research. To contribute to knowledge in this way, the thesis assembles many forms of pre-existing knowledge, including the lived experience of its subjects, and the academic literature preceding it. It is grounded in an ecological understanding of cognition, informed by theories that help situate thought in the world, as a dynamic system of relationships between self, others, and the environment. It draws links between disability aesthetics, care ethics, and an ecological approach to empathy, through detailed insights into the social and aesthetic dynamics operating in the work of the two studios. These insights were built up over three years of fieldwork, including over one hundred interviews, and hundreds of hours spent looking, listening, and making alongside artists in the studio. This thesis is an invitation to enter the world of the studios, and of some of the people who work there. It offers a way of paying attention to art, and to other people, that is attuned to the senses, and that allows us to be comfortable with not knowing—or, knowing differently. It argues that this is a practice of ethical importance, in a world where both disability and art are still poorly understood.
(2022) Ahmed-Cox, AriaThesisCancer persists as a major public health concern with poor survival rates for aggressive tumours. Nanotechnology offers opportunities to develop delivery vehicles (nanoparticles) which can improve drug efficacy in cancer cells while reducing collateral toxicity caused by many current therapies. A key challenge in the clinical translation of therapeutic nanoparticles stems from the complexities of drug delivery; namely a need for greater understanding of how the biophysical characteristics of nanoparticles affects their tumour penetration and cell uptake. This thesis sought to address this challenge, developing advanced imaging and analysis methodologies to evaluate nanoparticle uptake and efficacy in quantitative cell models. We initially investigated the capability of rapid fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy to measure nanoparticle cellular uptake. Results showcased the ability of this emerging quantitative imaging approach to track and quantify changes in nanoparticle dynamics on a second time scale, localising significant changes in nanoparticle lifetime with uptake across extracellular and nuclear boundaries in live cells. Broadening our study into tumour models which recapitulate key elements of the tumour microenvironment, glioblastoma, neuroblastoma and non-small cell lung cancer cells were grown as 3D spheroids and used to study the penetration kinetics of nanoparticles with confocal microscopy. The development of rigorous analysis methods enabled direct evaluation of nanoparticle kinetics. Subsequent study by lightsheet microscopy and real-time force imaging cytometry identified that nanoparticle uptake was influenced not only by nanoparticle size but also the stiffness and density of the cell model. Applying these analyses to functionalised nanoparticles for brain cancer delivery, we identified that lactoferrin coated nanoparticles (Lf-NP) had enhanced penetration kinetics. Low-density lipoprotein receptor (LRP1), for which lactoferrin is a key ligand, was shown to be highly expressed on the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and in glioblastoma. Following, in vitro models identified that Lf-NP could cross the BBB, and drug-loaded iterations of these nanoparticles were revealed to have elevated efficacy against glioblastoma cells. Collectively, these findings showcase methods to systematically visualise and quantify nanoparticle tumour cell uptake and highlight functionalised drug-loaded nanoparticles for further investigation in brain cancer.
(2022) Overton, KristenThesisAddressing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as a purely medical problem fails to recognise the sociological factors that drive the misuse of antimicrobials. Antimicrobial use is shaped by the local social, cultural, political and economic context. There is now widespread recognition that addressing AMR requires an understanding of the social factors that underpin our use and prescription of antimicrobials. Sociological and anthropological explorations of the global antimicrobial crisis have thus far disproportionately focused on economically wealthier nations. This is despite the recognition of economically poorer nations as sites of considerable, escalating, and often unregulated, antimicrobial use. This thesis examines the social dynamics of antimicrobial use in the Indian context through ethnographic observations and 100 qualitative interviews with doctors, community health practitioners, pharmacists, pharmacy employees and community members in Hyderabad, India. Using a constructivist grounded theory approach to data collection and analysis, the focus is on gaining an understanding of how enduring and emerging inequalities, infective risk and uncertainty, labour risks and precarious work, improvisation and self-medication, and informal and formal pharmaceutical economies shape antimicrobial use in India. Using a critical sociological lens, I explore: the dynamics of biopolitics and risk; the pharmaceuticalisation of everyday life and the vested interests therein; the economies of healthcare and antimicrobial use, including commodification and privatisation; and the vulnerability and structural violence associated with the use of antimicrobials. Knowledge of the social dynamics driving antimicrobial use can then in the future be used to inform policies and programs aimed at optimising antimicrobial use in India, appropriately tailoring them to context, rather than continuing with pan-national approaches that do little to accommodate considerations of the Global South.
Geo-design in planning and designing for bicycling: an evidence-based approach for collaborative bicycling planning(2023) Zare, ParisaThesisIn recent times cities have increasingly promoted bicycling as part of their strategy to develop a more sustainable transportation system. To increase the number of bike riders, more bicycling infrastructure should be developed in urban areas. The infrastructure should provide a safe and comfortable environment for bicycling. To this end, bicycling should be prioritised within a city's urban and transportation planning. However, in many cities, bicycling gets little attention in urban plans and strategies. One barrier to enhanced bicycling, in many cities around the world, is the organisational complexity, under several tiers of government, of planning and implementing bicycling infrastructure. Such is the case in Australia, where local and state government departments have often distinct policies and strategies for planning bicycling infrastructure that cause problems in project coordination. In addition, decisions about where to prioritise investment in bicycling infrastructure need to be supported with valid and comprehensive evidence. Planning Support Systems (PSS) are geo-information tools that have been created to provide this evidence and support specific urban planning tasks such as bicycling planning. However, improving city bicycling isn't solely reliant on data-driven techniques and new technologies; it also demands planners' adoption of these methods while working collaboratively with other stakeholders. The emerging field of Planning Support Science highlights the significance of research-practice collaboration to achieve shared goals and provide valuable support to those in the field. Geo-design is an approach that enables such collaboration using geo-information tools to support the planning process in a collaborative environment. The geo-design framework enhances the planning approach by providing key stakeholders with data-driven tools ranging from sketch planning to advanced simulation and impact assessment. With these tools, geo-design can be applied to collaboratively construct and evaluate multiple future bike infrastructure scenarios. Therefore, the overarching research question of this study is: ‘How can a geo-design framework facilitate planning for bicycling, and what data-driven methods and tools effectively support such a framework?’. A geo-design framework was developed and evaluated using an experiential case study approach in the Greater Sydney region, specifically focusing on Penrith City (Western Sydney). The main contributions of this research lie in its investigation of the current state of using data-driven approaches to support bicycle planning, and its development, implementation and iterative testing of geo-design incorporating a data-driven support tool based on Agent-Based Modelling (ABM) techniques. The research involved expert participants (transport planners and engineers, urban designers, and academics) from across Sydney, including people from both State and Local Government Authorities and other key stakeholders in bicycling planning. The findings of this research provide a novel framework for planners that can guide collaborative planning for better bicycling infrastructure. In addition, the application of data-driven tools, such as ABM for simulation of bicyclists behaviours, augments the evidence base and improves decision-making. Overall, this study has shown that the proposed geo-design framework and developed data-driven tools can improve planning for bicycling by facilitating collaboration among decision-makers and stakeholders.