Abby Mellick Lopes

Associate Professor
School of Design
University of Technology, Sydney
Sydney, Gadigal land

Other Affiliations

Associate of the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University

Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Humanities and Communication Arts, Western Sydney University


PhD University of Sydney, 2005
BA(Hons) University of Sydney, 1992

Honors and Awards

2017 Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning, Western Sydney University

2012 NSW Green Globe Award for Environmental Innovation (part of Transitioning to Sustainable Sanitation research team, led by Institute for Sustainable Futures at UTS)

1998-2001 Australian Postgraduate Research Award


Research Interests

My research brings design into a relation with diverse economies thinking to explore concepts and practices of climate readiness in applied, collaborative contexts.  Underpinning my research is an interest in how design systems and services shape patterns of social practice and everyday decision-making processes in powerful but subtle ways. These ways are often missed by the institutions and organisations who structure and resource cities with far-reaching social, material, and economic consequences. ‘Commons-based designing’ is an area of thinking and practice emerging out of projects with Community Economies colleagues (Katherine Gibson and Stephen Healy) as well as Cameron Tonkinwise (School of Design, UTS), Emma Power and Louise Crabtree-Hayes (Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University) and Helen Armstrong (Queensland University of Technology) that attends to how designed things (images, objects, environments, and infrastructures – but increasingly also services and experiences) can hamper or aid commoning, as well as collaborative design processes that can create and sustain commoning. Developing the theory and practice of commons-based designing is my current key research focus and interest.