01 February 2010

Latest designs in bushfire prevention talked up

On the anniversary of Black Saturday, 7 February, you can find out more about how new designs are helping with fire prevention, emergency response, post-fire regeneration in communities and more, by attending floor talks at Melbourne Museum.

The 2009 Design Challenge: Fire exhibition, currently on display at Melbourne Museum, is running a series of informal floor talks during February to highlight and discuss the exhibits.

The talks are by Design Challenge team members who will discuss the work, intent and design research thinking of their contributions to the exhibition. The exhibition brings together a diverse range of researchers and experts to generate innovative transdisciplinary design projects in response to bushfires.

The talks will be introduced by Design Challenge Committee Chair and Head, School of Management at RMIT University, Professor George Cairns, followed by representatives of two teams – the winners, Polytactics, and another finalist team.

The winning Polytactics’ concept uses light-weight polymer materials in screens, road barricades and construction fencing. During a fire event, this transforms into a protective porcelain membrane. Post-fire the material is absorbed into the soil and assists with environmental regeneration.

The first talk on Sunday, 7 February, the anniversary of Black Saturday, will feature Stuart Harrison from Smarter Go Smarter Stay – Challenge finalist team and Nigel Bertram from Polytactics.

The second talk on Sunday, 14 February will feature Jeremy Yuille and Laurene Vaughn from burnMap – Challenge finalist team and Jordi Beneyto-Ferre from Polytactics.

The talks are run by RMIT’s Design Research Institute, in conjunction with the Design Challenge: Fire exhibition and Melbourne Museum.

The RMIT Design Research Institute developed the annual Design Challenge as a way to engage and develop partnerships between education, research, industry and the public.

The 2009 Design Challenge was supported by Standards Australia, the Australian International Design Awards, the State of Design Festival and the Victorian Government.

The concepts generated by all finalists will be on exhibition at the Melbourne Museum until 28 February.

What: Design Challenge: Fire floor talks
When: Sunday, 7 February (anniversary of Black Saturday), 1pm; and Sunday, 14 February, 1pm
Where: Discovery Centre Foyer (lower level) at Melbourne Museum, 11 Nicholson Street, Carlton
Cost: Free

For interviews or comment: RMIT Design Research Institute, Katherine Wilkinson, (03) 9925 4161 or 0439 388 013.

For general media enquiries, RMIT University Communications, Paul Noonan, (03) 9925 2373 or 0409 239 021.

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