Dr Betty Sargeant


Casual Academic

School /
Work Unit

Media and Communications

Contact Details

+61 3 9925 2594



Building: 005
Level: 02
Room: 001

City campus


College of Design and Social Context

Betty Sargeant

Dr Betty Sargeant PhD, B.A (Hons), B.Ed, is an award-winning artist, author and designer. In 2016 she was the Melbourne Knowledge Fellow, artist-in-residence at the Asia Culture Centre (South Korea), Fellow of the International Specialised Skills Institute and artist-in-residence at the Library at The Dock (Australia). In 2016 she won the Consensus Innovation Award in recognition of her progressive design work. She is now artist-in-residence at the Exertion Games Lab (RMIT University Australia).

Betty's specialities: experience design, creative technologies, interaction design, concept development, storytelling, professional/creative writing, illustration, animation, interactive narratives, interactive exhibitions and design for children.

During 2016 Betty was funded to develop The Storytelling Machine. This media artwork debuted at the Asia Culture Centre (South Korea, 2016). The Storytelling Machine instantly transforms exhibition audience's drawings into animated 3D characters that roam the artwork's seven worlds. The machine's customised software generates realtime graphics that ultimately form a large collective story.

As a Fellow of the International Specialised Skills Institute Betty collaborated with arts and cultural centres, and met with centre directors and artists throughout Asia. This informed the 2016 Melbourne Knowledge Fellowship Report. The report features recommendations on future arts and cultural policy particularly in relation to creative technologies.

Betty's PhD (RMIT University, 2015) was ranked in the top three of humanities, arts and social science doctoral projects (2015 Australian CHASS Prize). She has academic publications and regularly speaks at public events.

Betty is a previous artistic director of the Melbourne Moomba Parade, a feature of Australia's largest community arts event. Her work has been exhibited in Asia, Europe, the United States and Australia. Her award-winning story app How Far is Up? is available on the App Store.

Key activities

  • Research assistant: Connected Studios, networked teaching project
  • Coordinator, lecturer and tutor: Masters Program, Globalised Media COMM2478
  • Member of the Design Research Institute
  • Member of the Exertion Games Lab
  • Member of the Games and Electronic Entertainment Lab (GEElab)
  • Member of the nonfictionLab.

Industry experience

Selected Awards and Accolades:

  • Finalist in the 2014 Premier’s Design Awards for her book app How far is up
  • Awarded board membership on the RMIT School of Graduate Research Advisory Board, 2014
  • Ambassador for the Books in Homes, children’s literacy program
  • Recipient of a 2012 Varuna Writer’s House Fellowship.


  • International Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI): Committee Member
  • Australian Society of Authors
  • Illustrators Australia
  • Writers Victoria
  • Children’s Book Council of Australia.

Staff work

Academic Publications: http://rmit.academia.edu/bettysargeant

Creative Outputs: www.bettysargeant.com


Betty Sargeant writes and illustrates picture books and designs children’s book apps. Since 2011 her research focus has been on the technical and aesthetic qualities of children’s interactive, media-rich digital narratives. Her interests are interaction design, digital narratives, app design, children’s literature, social interaction over mobile devices, anthropomorphism, morphism and hybridity.

Selected Academic Publications:

  • What is an e-book? What is an app? And why should we care? (New York: Springer, 2015)
  • Interaction design versus narrative flow in children’s book apps: A practice-based empirical study (London: Sage, 2014)
  • Interactive storytelling: How picture book conventions inform multimedia book app narratives (Canberra: AJIIPS, 2014)
  • How Far is UP? Social interaction and book app design (with Floyd Mueller, New York: ACM, 2013).

Selected Creative Publications:

  • How Far is UP? iPad book application (Chicago: Demibooks, 2014)
  • RED. Children’s e-book (New York: uTales, 2012)
  • Wayne Boris Carlo. Children’s e-book (New York: uTales, 2011).

Selected Illustration Exhibitions:

  • How Far is UP? CHI Interactivity (Toronto: 2014)
  • RED. Book Illustrator’s Gallery, Asian Festival of Children’s Content (Singapore: 2013)
  • Les EnfantsTerribles. Primo Piano Living Gallery (Italy: 2012)
  • Physionomies. Primo Piano Living Gallery (Italy: 2012)
  • Pop Revolution. Primo Piano Living Gallery (Italy: 2011).

Selected Speaking Engagements:

  • Click on Kids International Publishing Seminar, Australian Publisher’s Association (Sydney: 2013)
  • 19th International Symposium of Electronic Art, ISEA (Sydney: 2013)
  • In Conversation with Betty Sargeant. Australian Society of Authors, Wheelers Centre (Melbourne: 2013)
  • 21stCongress of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature (The Netherlands: 2013).


Book Chapters

Sargeant, B 2014, ‘Interaction design versus narrative flow in children’s book apps: A practice-based empirical study’, SAGE Cases in Methodology, SAGE, London.

Journal articles

Sargeant, B 2015, ‘What is an e-book? What is an app? And why should we care?’ Children’s Literature in Education, Springer, New York (In Press).

Sargeant, B 2013, ‘Interactive storytelling: How picture book conventions inform multimedia book app narratives’, Australian Journal of Intelligent Information Processing Systems (AJIIPS), Vol 13, No. 3, Special issue on Edutainment 2013, pp. 29-35, AJIIPS, ACT, Australia. http://www.academia.edu/2490557/Interactive_Storytelling_How_Picture_Book_Conventions_Inform_Multimedia_Book_App_Narratives

Refereed Conference Proceedings

Sargeant, B and Mueller, F 2014, ‘How Far is UP? Social interaction and book app design’, CHI 2014 Proceedings of the 19th ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM, New York. http://www.academia.edu/6907808/How_Far_is_UP_Encouraging_Social_Interaction_Through_Childrens_Book_App_Design

Sargeant, B 2013, ‘Children’s interactive narratives: How Far is UP?’, Proceedings of the 9th Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment: Matters of Life and Death, Article No. 38, doi>10.1145/2513002.2513031, ACM, New York.

Sargeant, B 2012, ‘Anthropomorphism and Morphism: Embodiment and the picture book’, Proceedings of ACUADS 2012, http://www.academia.edu/1609461/Anthropomorphism_and_Morphism_Embodiment_and_the_Picture_Book