Dr Tommaso Durante


Casual Academic

School /
Work Unit

School of Global, Urban & Social Studies

Contact Details

+61 3 9925 2328




City campus


College of Design and Social Context


Image of T. Durante


Dr Tommaso Durante is an associate lecturer in Global Studies at RMIT's School of Global, Urban and Social Studies and an international award-winning visual artist.

Tommaso conducted research at RMIT with international scholars in the Globalization and Culture Program at Global Cities Research Institute and at the Centre for Global Research (formerly Globalism Research Centre) and he completed his PhD in Media Communication in 2013.

Tommaso’s doctoral research investigates how symbols found in the urban spaces of Sydney and Melbourne construct a new social imaginary that is simultaneously local, national and global. The outcomes of the study contribute to our understanding of the process of globalisation and how the global imaginary is symbolically and socially produced.

Drawing on a background in art history and theory, extended to global cultural studies and a visual ethnography, Tommaso's academic research looks at the link between visual culture and globalisation dynamics. His projects are situated at the crossroads of global, urban and media studies by connecting theories of the social imaginary with aesthetics, ideology and spatial practice. He is interested in theorising aesthetics of social change through visual images, to better understand the relationship between nation-state, ideological power and globalisation processes. His research combines critical theoretical analysis with fieldwork observation and case study methods and it is carried out through the lenses of the social and political theory. As an artist, Tommaso produces sculpture-installations, paintings and artist books.

In 2010, Tommaso won a fully funded Commonwealth Government Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) with a top up from RMIT University Doctoral degree at RMIT University. In the same year, Tommaso won a grant awarded by the Aarhus University, Denmark (Department of History and Area Studies) to present his doctoral research project at the ‘8th Nordic PhD Summer School in Contemporary History - Transformation, Transfer, Transdisciplinarity. Doing History Beyond the Nation-State in the 21st Century’.

In 2012, Tommaso was awarded The Globo Tricolore Award for Art and Research, Italy under the patronage of the President of the Italian Republic.

In 2013, Tommaso and Paul Battersby won a grant from the Learning and Teaching Investment Fund (RMIT University) to design innovative multimedia learning objects for Global Studies programs to enhance student comprehension of globalisation concepts and facilitate inclusive online teaching. This project aimed to design, develop and trial multimedia learning objects that explore globalisation through the deconstruction of photographic images. The intent was to create short multimedia objects that guided learners through visual representations of theoretical ideas central to the study of globalisation.

The main areas of interest in Tommaso’s research and publications are aesthetics of globalisation; ideologies of globalisation; social imaginary; urban change dynamics; urban iconology; global processes; aesthetics; multiculturalism and globalisation; symbolic systems. The countries in which Tommaso conducted research and published are: Italy, Japan, Korea, People’s Republic of China and Australia.

Research-related grants and fellowships

  • 2013 RMIT University, Learning and Teaching Investment Fund (LTIF)
  • 2010 Aarhus University, Denmark
  • 2010-2013 Commonwealth Government Australian Postgraduate Award (APA)

Key activities

Tommaso's research interests include aesthetics of globalisation, art, spatial practices and urban interventions, complex symbolic systems, spatial practices, social imaginary, theory and ideology of globalisation, urban change, visual rhetoric, with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region and particularly Australia.

He is Honorary Urban Scholar with the UN Global Compact Cities Programme (UNGCCP). He is also the Course Coordinator for Religion, Conflict and Globalization (The RMIT Melbourne International Summer School).

Current teaching responsibilities

  • SOCU1016 Culture and Business Practice in Asia
  • HUSO2266 Critical Ideas in Contemporary Social and Political Theory
  • HUSO2185 Religion, Conflict and Globalisation

Other activities

  • Author, archivist, and administrator of The Visual Archive Project of the Global Imaginary


  • PhD, RMIT University
  • MA, Art in Public Space (with distinction), RMIT University
  • BA, Bachelor degree in Arts (full honors cum laude), Salerno University, Italy

Industry experience

  • Honorary Urban Scholar, UN Global Compact Cities Programme (UNGCCP)
  • Member of the Centre for Global Research (formerly Globalism Research Center)
  • Member of the Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH)
  • Member of the Asian Cultural Landscape Association (ACLA)
  • 2009-2012 Academic advisor and committee member of The Italian Cultural Institute (Italian government agency for the promotion of Italian language and culture), Melbourne, Australia
  • 2010-2012 Postgraduate representative of the Global Cities Research Institute
  • Associate editor, The Global Studies Journal
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