Dr. Miranda Smitheram, PhD, MPhil, MDes, Dip Fash/Tex
Assistant Professor, Design and Computation Arts
Dr Miranda Smitheram is a design researcher, artist, and educator. Miranda’s creative practice is tactile, haptic and embodied,and incorporates ancestral and contemporary methods to work with socio-cultural matter and nonhuman collaborators. Through research-creation she develops new hybrid materials, to contribute to sustainable, relational and Indigenous futures. This was explored in depth during a 2 year fully funded Māori Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Auckland University of Technology (Phenomenal Dress, 2017-19).
Her current research explores decolonizing matter, and centres an ethics of care and relationality. Through unraveling ontologies and kinship of invasive plant species, Miranda frames possibilities of rematerializing these unwanted invaders through soft surface, biofabricated and textile applications to offer localized solutions through materiality.
Miranda’s research moves between digital, virtual and physical,with a particular interest in the critical materiality that is revealed through the flux of these processes. Both her field research with flora and her digital research with materiality follow an ontological design approach. These mediated materials take shape as textile forms, structures and digital artworks that question the interaction and agency of human and nonhuman, place and space in a post-anthropocentric context.
Dr Smitheram comes from an award-winning industry background in fashion and textile design, with ten years experience as a design team leader and fashion designer. She holds a Masters in Design and Masters in Philosophy, with First Class Honours, and a Doctorate from Auckland University of Technology. Miranda’s PhD thesis contributed new artistic and technical insights into the ontology and aesthetics of digital and virtual materiality and involved novel interdisciplinary research charting the dynamics of cloth in motion capture. This doctoral research won the Dean’s Award for Excellence. Miranda has exhibited artworks and presented research internationally in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Italy, Estonia, Finland, Australia and Canada.
Smitheram, M., & Joseph, F. (2020). Material-aesthetic collaborations: making-with the ecosystem. CoDesign, 16(4),293-310.
Joseph, F., Smitheram, M., Cleveland, D., Stephens, C., &Fisher, H. (2017). Digital materiality, embodied practices and fashionable interactions in the design of soft wearable technologies. International Journal of Design, 11(3. Special issue on Designing for Wearable and Fashionable Interactions), 7-15
Smitheram, M. (2016). The hand of the cloth: An ontological and aesthetic unfolding through digital and virtual materiality.
Smitheram, M. (2015). Imagining and imaging future fashion. CraftResearch, 6(2), 241-255.
Smitheram, M. (2015). The superfluous and the ephemeral:Consumerism, globalization and future fashion systems (Doctoral dissertation, Master Thesis. Accessed online, 12.07).