Emma Robertson

Associate Professor


In 2014 Associate Professor Emma Robertson was awarded the Art & Design Faculty Dean's Sustained Teaching Excellence, and the UNSW Vice-Chancellor's Teaching Excellence Awards. She researches across two distinct areas. In her teaching she investigates theories of mapping, and new developments in creative thinking processes as applied to drawing, design and other disciplines. In her practice she explores the relationships between words, objects and memory in mixed media drawings and bookworks. Artworks by Emma are held in seven public collections in four countries, including the Hospital Trust for Scotland who purchased two artworks commissioned by the Scottish Arts Council for the exhibition Wordworks. Emma has held a number of senior administrative roles including Program Director of the Bachelor of Design degree for five years, three terms as Presiding Member of Faculty, and Deputy President of the UNSW Academic Board. In addition to teaching creative thinking to undergraduate and postgraduate students in nine Faculties at UNSW, Emma also teaches content relating to the influence of scientific illustration techniques on design processes, including those used in the film industry. In researching this she has visited Skywalker Ranch, Pixar and Animal Logic (at Fox Film Studios). Emma won the Dean's Award for Innovative Teaching for her two creative thinking online courses, and has been involved in Executive Education with Thiess, the Natural History Museum, London, The Agile Leader course at UTS and others. Emma researched and worked with Arup 2010-2013 to integrate creative thinking processes into their Staff Development initiatives and internal Design School, including a Moodle Course offered to their 10,000+ employees around the world. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, London and Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Drawing, Wimbledon College of Art. In 2011 she was Guest Editor of the TRACEY Journal on Drawing Knowledge, Loughborough University, and in 2012 was Chair of the Drawing Knowledge Conference where she was one of four Keynote speakers. In 2013 and 2014 she has taught Tools for Creative Thinking to postgraduate students in the Design for Social Innovation course at the Centre for Social Impact, and given guest lectures to PhD students in Engineering and at the INSPIRE NSW symposium. In the 2014 October issue of The Blue Notebook: Journal for Artists' Books, University of the West of England, (Vol 9 No 1) Emma published an article on A Place Where Things Meet: Creative and Conceptual Blending. In 2006 she was awarded one of the seven prizes in the International Biennial of Drawing, Europe. The three selected drawings were subsequently chosen for the touring Best of the International Drawing Biennial exhibition, which was exhibited at the International Currents Gallery, Chicago, USA in 2007 and in four other European locations. Emma was subsequently selected for the 2008, 2010 and 2012 International Biennials of Drawing. Her work has also been selected for the Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing and the Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Prize in Australia. Since 2005, Emma has exhibited in 7 countries (Norway, Italy, France, USA, Germany, Czech Republic and Australia). Emma was selected as the Artist in Residence at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, which continued her drawing series exploring endangered plant species. This culminated in a solo exhibition at the Red Box Gallery in the Domain, Sydney which was held in February-March 2009, where 27 mixed media drawings were displayed. The exhibition, called Ascendant and Descendant explored the impact of climate change on rare and endangered Australian flora, and reflected the research work undertaken by scientists at the RBG.