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Curtin Commons

Bold. Original. Curated for our community.

A series of thought-provoking articles full of insight and inspiration on the issues most important to you, featuring some of Curtin University’s brightest minds, leaders and creatives.

Image: ‘Upla’, an art installation by Madhivi Subrahmaniam at the John Curtin Gallery.

“Welcome to Curtin Commons, our exciting new space for graduates, students, staff and friends to stay connected with their university. I hope you enjoy reading how your community is striving to create a brighter future through their insight, expertise and unique talents.”

– Caroline Robson, Editor



Finding joy in building homes with Alberto Amara

Finding joy in building homes with Alberto Amara

7 December. By Luisa Mitchell. 10 min read.

Although only graduating with his degree in construction management in 2017, Alberto Amara already has over 15 years’ experience in the construction industry. As the son of an engineer and the grandson of a boatbuilder, he tells us that building is in his blood – and that his journey in the industry is only just beginning.

Combatting extremist violence in Australia with Curtin

Combatting extremist violence in Australia with Curtin

6 December. By Luisa Mitchell. 15 min read.

News pages have no trouble covering the consequences of violent extremism; but understanding what causes these groups to form in the first place is something that is perhaps less widely understood. The Curtin Extremism Research Network (CERN) hopes to find answers to these questions.

Abilities Collective @ Curtin: A conversation with Erica Schurmann

Abilities Collective @ Curtin: A conversation with Erica Schurmann

30 November. By Luisa Mitchell. 5 min read.

Senior Advisor for Diversity and Equity (Disability) at Curtin University, Erica Schurmann is a passionate advocate for improving the access to and quality of services for staff with disabilities. She recently joined the Abilities Collective @ Curtin and shared with us why this group will create positive change.

Our journey to end Alzheimer's devastating impact on community

Our journey to end Alzheimer’s devastating impact on community

22 November. By Liz Rehfeldt. 15 min read.

Kit Leake began noticing his wife Eileen’s memory was deteriorating and feared the worst. They soon discovered Eileen did indeed have what is Australia’s second leading cause of death – Alzheimer’s disease. Now, Eileen has agreed to take part in an exciting Curtin study that is exploring potential treatments.

Marketing tricks to get you spending big this festive season

Marketing tricks to get you spending big this festive season

22 November. By Billy Sung. 5 min read.

It’s nearly that time of year again when we embrace the sound of festive tunes, over-indulge in sweets and make a mad dash to the nearest shopping centre for a last-minute spending frenzy. But have you stopped to think why you buy what you buy at Christmas? Here are five tricks marketer use to get you forking over money.

'You could hear the rumblings': Adam built a business around decarbonisation

‘You could hear the rumblings’: Adam built a business around decarbonisation

12 November. By 10 min read.

Geophysics graduate Adam Gangemi worked in the oil and gas sector before he realised the transition to a cleaner Australian mining and resources sector was imminent. He decided to open his own company to help other major mining companies switch to renewables and decarbonise.

Entrepreneurs are the original disruptors

Entrepreneurs are the original disruptors

3 November. By Karen Green. 10 min read.

Entrepreneurs are explorers and creators – they create new products, services and even industries. Bu thow are they created? We spoke to Curtin graduates who are leading the way with exciting innovations and how universities like Curtin are crucial to giving them their start.

Designing homes that make people happier with Nic Brunsdon

Designing homes that make people happier with Nic Brunsdon

26 October. By Luisa Mitchell. 10 min read.

Nic Brunsdon, an award-winning architect and Curtin graduate, believes great architecture is responsive, emotive and inclusive. We spoke to Nic about his architecture firm, what drives his success, and the considered and people-centred approach he takes before leaping into his designs.

“Regional Aussie’s don’t need to conform to stereotypes”

20 October. By Bec Bignell. 10 min read.

Journalism and performance graduate Bec Bignell grew up in regional WA and has worked in film and television for over a decade. She recently finished shooting a new web series in the Great Southern which showcases and celebrates regional Australia – and challenges country stereotypes.

Space, cubed: the Curtin graduates behind Binar-1

Space, cubed: the Curtin graduates behind Binar-1

19 October. By Daniel Jauk. 10 min read.

For many Western Australians, working in the space industry has always seemed out of reach. But now, with the release of the Binar-1 satellite from the International Space Station, the industry has finally come to our doorstep. We spoke to Curtin engineering graduates behind this achievement.

More than just medals: Paralympian Robyn Lambird on the future of elite athletes

More than just medals: Paralympian Robyn Lambird on the future of elite athletes

19 October. By Luisa Mitchell. 5 min read.

Robyn Lambird is studying digital and social media at Curtin. They’re also an elite wheelchair sprinter, recently winning bronze at their debut race at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

How making a film on Indigenous stories enriched my perspective as a scientist

How making a film on Indigenous stories enriched my perspective as a scientist

6 October. By Steven Tingay. 10 min read.

Esteemed astrophysicist Steven Tingay shares how his experience working on a new film, ‘Star Dreaming’, which explores ancient Indigenous Australian stories of the night sky, helped shape and change his own Western scientific views of the stars.

Population data could control future COVID outbreak in WA

Population data could control future COVID outbreak in WA

28 September. By Telethon Kids Institute. 5 min read.

A Curtin researcher is using population data to help boost WA’s defences in the fight against COVID-19, developing modelling to build a clearer picture of how the virus could spread through high-risk populations.

Creative spotlight

This month we explore how the visual arts and social justice movements at the John Curtin Gallery are inextricably intertwined. Art throws the world’s injustices into sharp relief – educating, provoking and effecting change.

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… and find out what your community cares about

Letter to the Editor from Ken Gibbons (BApp Sci Biology, 1977)

“I read with interest the latest issue of Curtin Commons and especially the history of Grok and Curtin FM. I was the Student Guild President from 1977-1979 in a rather turbulent period in the Guild’s history. Grok played an instrumental role in the survival of Curtin FM and also in the WA School of Mines (WASM) in Kalgoorlie; the University Administration was going to defund CurtinFM (formerly known as 6NR) and close the station. There were also recommendations that WASM should be closed and the courses transferred to the Bentley campus in Perth. Grok was involved in sharing the strong opinions of students who were against these proposals and was a vanguard for social issues on campus. I hope that the rich history of Grok has been preserved, as it is perhaps the best record and testament of the living history of students, their Guild and their stories of the past half century.”

Dikshita Awotarowa (BCom Banking and Finance, 2020) cares about inspiring women to see themselves in finance

“I founded the Women in Finance and Investment Network to address the underrepresentation of women in these fields and evolve the public’s perception of what a female expert in finance looks like. Hopefully by increasing our visibility, we can motivate the next generation of young girls to study finance.”

Joshua Portlock (BEng Mechatronic Engineering, 2005) cares about creating a sustainable aviation industry

“I want our sustainable aviation company to help people because I know this technology has the potential to reduce harm from emissions and mitigate health risk on a global scale. I also believe there is a better way forward for transport from the old petrol-burning engines – and that is battery-electric propulsion.”

Abdul Abdullah (BA Fine Art, 2009) cares about making outsiders feel like they matter

“Art has given me the opportunity to work with young people, marginalised people, people on the periphery and introduce them to art in ways that are positively constructive. I hope everything I do helps to empower people who feel like they are outsiders.”

Sara David (BSci Nursing, 1993) cares about improving health outcomes for the most at-risk

“I work to improve the health outcomes of women and children in rural Papua New Guinea. I realised the number of pregnant women and children dying in remote villages was so high because of a lack of health services available to them. I want to change that.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Curtin University acknowledges the traditional owners of the land on which Curtin Perth is located, the Whadjuk people of the Nyungar Nation; and on our Kalgoorlie campus, the Wongutha people of the North-Eastern Goldfields.


Get in touch

Curtin Commons is managed by the University Advancement team at Curtin’s Perth campus. Please get in touch with us if you have any questions, ideas for future stories, or feedback about this publication.