Design & art go digital

It's being called the Wikipedia of Australian art and design - a new interactive website providing access to information on the work and lives of thousands of artists, designers, curators and architects.

Olley poppies inside

It's been called the Wikipedia of Australian art and design - a new interactive website providing access to information on the work and lives of thousands of artists, designers, curators and architects.

Design & Art Australia Online (DAAO), the first freely accessible online tool of its type in the country, is a partnership between UNSW and the University of Sydney. It currently features more than 12,000 creatives but aims to eventually include information on every Australian artist, designer and architect since colonization.

Led by Professor Ross Harley, Head of Media Arts at UNSW's College of Fine Arts (COFA), the project builds on its predecessor, the Dictionary of Australian Artists Online, which was used exclusively for art history research.

"Art, design and architecture are such close cousins that it made sense to include them all in the one site," says Professor Harley.

"This will allow for fast, accurate, scholarly research into all these disciplines," says Professor Harley. "But it won't just be limited to academics. It will also be available and of use to students, those working in art museums and even members of the public."

The site has been developed by a team of creatives and technicians pulled together by Research Director, Dr Gillian Fuller, a Senior Research Fellow at COFA. Open source and Creative Commons licenced, it allows for individuals outside academia to contribute to the content through crowd sourcing. However the material is moderated by a network of specialists.

"The new moderation system not only ensures the data remains accurate but it also has a social media aspect to it. Researchers can find each other, share their research, collaborate with each other," explains Dr Fuller.

"It is also increasing awareness about Australian art and design around the world," she says.

The DAAO has been supported by three ARC Linkage Infrastructure Grants and brings together researchers from ten universities around the country.

The winner of the inaugural Nick Waterlow Scholarship, Kim Goodwin, also worked on the project as part of her award.

$105,000 has been raised to support the scholarship with donations including those from the Darling Foundation, Gordon and Marilyn Darling, Ann Lewis AO, The Luca and Anita Belgiorno-Nettis Foundation, Laura Ainsworth, The Freedman Foundation and The Macquarie Foundation. Another $30,000 is needed to allow this Scholarship to run in perpetuity.

Media contact: Susi Hamilton, UNSW media, 9385 1583