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DesignMeetings is the Research website for Virtu Design Institute and therefore is the place where the Virtu Research Committee communicates its activities, its people and its publications. We have listed below the members of the Virtu Research Committee and all of them can be contact through our Contact Us tabs throughout the site.

The Research Committee endeavors to develop the reputation and standing of Virtu, as an institution where research is conducted at nationally and internationally recognised standards, focusing on research relevant to the economic, social and cultural well-being of the design disciplines, the professions and the communities they serve. The committee operates within the following Terms of Reference:

  • Encourage research and scholarly activity of national and international standing in the various disciplines of design;
  • Advise the Academic Board on appropriate Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and national and international benchmarks for monitoring Virtu’s research performance;
  • Identify and enhance areas of excellence in research, and establish centres that promote interdisciplinary research within Virtu;
  • Facilitate research carried out in collaboration with industry, government and community organisations;
  • Increase the use by commerce and professional organisations of the research and expertise of Virtu, while generating income to support research and education;
  • Develop collaborative research links with partner institutions to facilitate research;
  • Attract and encourage staff who demonstrate a commitment to research excellence and research supervision;
  • Encourage staff to undertake research and research related courses as professional development;
  • Establish a program of visiting researchers to assist in the establishment of a research culture at Virtu;
  • Provide on line environment that fosters research including access to information technology and necessary library resources.
  • Plan specific research promotion activities each academic year with appropriate performance indicators.

In the future when Research Degrees are offered by Virtu, the Research Committee will also:

  • Develop and periodically review a register of research student supervisors;
  • Provide research training for doctorate and masters by research students;
  • Develop and maintain a procedure for the monitoring of the progress of research students;


Committee Chair – Dr Sasha Alexander

Dr. Sasha Alexander holds degrees in both design and commerce and has practised in Australia, Denmark and the United States as a designer, educator and researcher. Sasha has collaborated in designs for the built environment with Professor Knud Holscher of the Royal Academy in Copenhagen Denmark who was a protégé of the legendary architect and design Arne Jacobsen.

Brigitte BorjaCommittee Member – Professor Brigitte Borja de Mozota

Professor Brigitte Borja de Mozota is currently director of research at Paris College of Art (PCA) , Professor in management at Université Paris Ouest and member of research laboratory ACTE at université Paris I Sorbonne where she supervises PhD and research projects .

Simon RichardsCommittee Member – Simon Richards – Virtu Graphic Design Lead

Recently returned from working in Asia for the past 12 years, where his he was working as a Graphic Design manager, lecturing at Raffles Design Institute in Shanghai, China. Simon has returned to the Gold Coast to do consulting in design and design education and to his research masters degree in Design Education.

Rachel HawkinsCommittee Member – Rachel Hawkins – Virtu Fashion Design Lead

Ms Rachel Hawkins graduated with a Bachelor of Design, majoring in Graphics and Textiles from the College of Fine Arts, The University of New South Wales in 2006.

Mel-FeeCommittee Member – Mel Fee – Virtu Interior Design Lead

Trained at Unitec Auckland in the early 1980’s before Working on numerous commercial projects with White & White for NZI Corporation throughout New Zealand as well as contract position for visualisation for Countdown supermarkets expansion into the major North Island centres. Two years with AATI Contracts part of the Al Tayer Group based in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Working on private Palaces, Villas and retail outlets.