Where
Great Minds
Collide

When the brightest minds come together we achieve incredible things. Find out more about the contributions that come from a collision of ideas.

Discover

Our Research

At the University of Melbourne our staff are passionate about finding solutions to some of the world’s greatest problems. Watch our successful research collisions by clicking on the above case studies or read more about research at the University.

At the University of Melbourne our staff are passionate about finding solutions to some of the world’s greatest problems. Watch our successful research collisions by reading the below case studies or read more about research at the University.

When Engineering Collides With Environments

Launch Video

Researchers at the University of Melbourne are working to create innovative solutions to the global water shortage and its impact on our worldwide food supply. With an ever-increasing population, the demand for water is perpetually growing, as are the vast effects on our environment. Our need to produce food with diminishing resources led the University, in partnership with local and international thought leaders, to tackle this global quest to generate more food, with innovative research and developments into managing our precious water.

Learn moreWatch here

When Biomechanics Collides With Medicine

Launch Video

The University of Melbourne is redefining the applications for 3D printing in the medical world. Customised printed metal devices are revolutionising joint replacement, and our researchers are at the forefront of driving this technical innovation. In an Australian first, doctors recently implanted a new prosthetic jaw joint into a patient – a life-changing procedure made possible by these advances in medicine.

Learn moreWatch here

When Forestry Collides With Software Mapping

Launch Video

PHOENIX RapidFire is a revolutionary computer program that helps protect homes and lives during bushfire season. Designed by University of Melbourne researchers, it can predict how hot a bushfire might burn, how high the flames will go, and where the embers might land – all within two minutes of the bushfire being reported. The program delivers crucial information to trained fire analysts, allowing them to plan an effective emergency response; giving potential bushfire victims a better and earlier assessment of the risks to their safety.

Learn moreWatch here

When Genomics Collides With Melanoma

Launch Video

The work of University of Melbourne researchers is improving the prognoses of patients with advanced melanoma across Australia. Oncology pioneers are revolutionising cancer treatment by creating personalised medicine – targeted therapy for patients that can help to inform the most effective anaesthesia, the right cancer treatment, and the frequency and combination of drugs that are used for each individual. This groundbreaking research requires collaboration between researchers, hospital clinicians and patients themselves, and harnesses the expertise of leaders in the fields of medicine, genetics and technology. This research is changing lives.

Learn moreWatch here

When Accounting Collides With Botany

Launch Video

Accountants and botanists at the University of Melbourne are working together to change the way we plan our cities of tomorrow. Their groundbreaking research has resulted in the development of a tool that predicts exactly how much Co2 is absorbed by plants in Melbourne and climatically similar cities. This allows us to calculate the precise amount of carbon dioxide that will be removed from the atmosphere by planting certain trees, shrubs and grasses. Capturing and reporting this information in meaningful ways will lead to more informed policy by regulators, better decision-making by governments, investors and businesses - and contribute significantly to our progress towards carbon neutrality internationally.

Learn moreWatch here

History of Collision

Since the University of Melbourne was first established in 1853, the collision of ideas, disciplines and individual academics has been entwined in our story of progress. Discover some of the incredible contributions that have come from these collaborations below.

  1. 1853: Foundation
    Victoria’s first university
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    The University of Melbourne was established in 1853, just two years after Victoria separated from New South Wales, and the discovery of rich deposits of gold in Victoria. The University saw an initial four professors (in Classics, Pure and Applied Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Modern History and Literature) come together to educate 16 students.
  2. 1853: Integration
    Bachelor of Arts – The multidisciplinary degree
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    The Bachelor of Arts was initially established as the primary teaching degree at the University of Melbourne. Arguably the University’s first multidisciplinary degree, it integrated History and Modern Languages, Mathematics and Natural Science.
  3. 1860s – 1901: Convergence
    National Museum – A history of scientific discovery
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    Professor of Natural Science, Frederick McCoy, successfully lobbied to have a natural history museum established on campus, which included the skeleton of a blue whale. The National Museum converged science and natural history for students, academics, researchers and the public.
  4. 1896: Discovery
    Microbiology Lab – Microbes in industry
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    In the new Microbiology Laboratory, bacteriologist Thomas Cherry discovered a diversity of industry applications for microbes – including local sources of lactic acid for cheese manufacture - all while contracted to test for suspected cases of diseases.
  5. Established in association with the University of Melbourne, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research undertook a number of major immunology projects, including the first major study of disease prevalence in Australian livestock in 1928. Led by Sir Neil Hamilton Fairly, this study identified a high prevalence of disease in cattle and pigs.
  6. 1915: Interface
    Melbourne University Respirator – A scientific defence in warfare
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    The advent of chemical warfare during
    World War I led physiology Professor William Osborne, chemistry Professor Orme Masson, and physics Professor Thomas Laby to a create a new respirator at the interface of design, engineering, chemistry and physics. The development was immediately adopted into gas masks made in Europe.
  7. 1937: Innovation
    ‘Burstall’ respirator — Engineering a new treatment for polio
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    In response to the polio epidemic of 1937, engineering professor, Aubrey F Burstall worked with Dr FVG. Scholes to create the ‘Burstall Jacket’ – an alternative to the solitary iron lung. In Victoria alone this innovation proved invaluable in treating more than 1,270 people with polio.
  8. 1941: Focus
    Optical Munitions – Chemistry in the physicist’s war
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    When Britain was unable to supply gun sights for Australian-made weapons in World War II, physics professor Thomas Howell Laby and chemistry professor Ernst Johannes Hartung led the development of an optical munitions industry for binoculars, gun sights and cameras in Australia.
  9. 1951: Congruence
    Department of Criminology – A new direction in law
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    The first Department of Criminology in Australia was established at the University of Melbourne in 1951. Led by scholar Norval Morris, the new department brought together sociological and psychological approaches to the study of criminal behaviour and imprisonment.
  10. The Howard Florey Laboratories of Experimental Physiology opened in 1963. Here Professor Derek Denton’s scientific experiments involving the salt and water balance in sheep led to a number of breakthrough medical discoveries.
  11. The Centre for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE) at the University of Melbourne was officially established in March 1968. The centre approaches higher education from all angles – economic, political, sociological and educational.
  12. 1973: Impact
    The Melbourne Institute – Socio-economic research at Melbourne
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    Combining a sociological approach with economic analysis, Professor Ronald Henderson chaired the Commission of Inquiry into Poverty in 1973, establishing a clear measure of poverty in Australia (the Henderson poverty line) and determining that seven per cent of the population lived in poverty.
  13. 1982: Inspiration
    Cochlear implant – A breakthrough in bioengineering
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    Inspired by Dr F Blair Simmon's work with multiple electrode implants, and motivated by his father’s deafness, Professor Graeme Clark developed and later successfully conducted the first multi-channel commercial cochlear implant, engineering the first bionic ear.
  14. 1989: Complexity
    The Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation, now the Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation
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    Working at the intersection of art and science, the Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation is the only centre of its kind in Australia, combining both the theory and practice of cultural material conservation. Director, Associate Professor Robyn Sloggett, leads the centre. Her background brings together expertise in art history, philosophy and the conservation of cultural materials.
  15. The Institute was established to integrate the study of international law with contemporary approaches to the humanities. IILAH is the successor to the Institute for International and Comparative Law, which was established in the Law School in 1999. In 2005, the Institute was re-organised and renamed to reflect the next stage of its development, under the leadership of Professor Dianne Otto.
  16. Professor Leann Tilley’s research at Bio21 Institute aims to understand and control malaria. She embraces a large range of technologies from drug and protein chemistry to molecular cell biology, from advanced imaging techniques to mathematical modelling approaches. She is assisted by deep collaborations with experts from other disciplines, ranging from organic chemists to biomechanical engineers, computational scientists and physicists. Established in 2002, the Bio21 Institute was officially launched on 8 June 2005.
  17. 2012: Impact
    Melbourne Accelerator Program – A start-up culture on campus
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    From engineering biomedical nano-carriers to a venue-matching business, the Melbourne Accelerator Program, which was established in 2012, allows inter-disciplinary innovation to flourish. It ensures the best start-up ideas on campus have the support they need to become a viable business through workshops, business networking and seed funding.

Making the Collision Video

Find out more about how we made the collision video, as well as the people from across the University who came together to create this collaborative project.

Collision stories

Meet our faces behind the film

Richard James

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Director of the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education

Please describe your role at the university

I’m a Professor of Higher Education with research interests in access and equity in higher education, the student experience, quality assurance and standards. In my Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic) role I have various responsibilities for quality assurance in teaching and learning and the planning of the academic workforce.

What is the best thing about working at the university?

The best things about working at the University is the wide range of diverse and fascinating people – students and staff — who you encounter each and every day. This is what makes the University such an intellectually fascinating place to be.

If there was one thing you would like people to know about the university what would it be?

There are probably a few things I’d like people to know about the University, but perhaps at the top of my list would be a better public understanding of the breadth and volume of our research and its value and impact for communities.

What does this idea of 'collision' mean to you? How is it manifested at the university?

For me the idea of collision evokes the ultimate uncertainty about knowledge claims and the way in which the University must be a forum for respectful debate between individuals who hold differing and sometimes incommensurable perspectives on things that truly matter. Collision for me represents the contesting of ideas in a rigorous and robust way, sometimes within disciplines and fields, and increasingly across them.

How was your experience working on the collision video?

Working on the collision video was a great deal of fun and I must say also highly educational for me! It was gratifying to work with the other staff and students who were extras – and to be amazed at the calm patience that was maintained over multiple takes that extended into the wee hours of the morning. Being an extra isn’t always exciting – I certainly learnt that.

What do you believe is the single greatest issue facing society today that you would like to see the university attempt to tackle?

Well that’s a difficult question. It’s tempting to say climate change and sustainability, but I’d also like to throw global economic equality into the mix. These mega global issues require research and action across many disciplines, of course.

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Philip Kent

University Librarian and Executive Director, Collections

Please describe your role at the university

I have a great job with responsibility for leading strategy for our libraries that are so important to our academic mission. In addition I play a similar role in leading strategy for our rich offering in 30 cultural collections.

What is the best thing about working at the university?

Working with great minds, experts in their fields and the whole team that is working together to improve the world.

If there was one thing you would like people to know about the university what would it be?

There is a very deep commitment to excellence across the University.

What does this idea of 'collision' mean to you? How is it manifested at the university?

I have had the privilege of seeing and learning from other leading universities who have explored similar ideas. I love how this can bring about change from a focus on STEMM (science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine) to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and Medicine). Here at Melbourne this is manifested in the science students who perform music and the medical students who learn about empathy through our art museum.

How was your experience working on the collision video?

It was a long, physical and tiring night. But it was exciting to work with the creative team and most importantly to be with a great bunch of committed students.

What do you believe is the single greatest issue facing society today that you would like to see the university attempt to tackle?

The lack of democratic processes across the world is chilling. Melbourne has many experts that are contributing to the national and international dialogues on democracy in the 21st century. If we can make a difference to the effect of war and massive dislocation of communities the world will be a better and safer place.

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Paul Duldig

Head of University Services

Please describe your role at the university

I'm responsible for the non-academic operations of the University like IT, Campus Services, Student Services and Research Support.

What is the best thing about working at the university?

Learning – I learn something new everyday.

If there was one thing you would like people to know about the university what would it be?

The joy of being part of a learning community.

What does this idea of 'collision' mean to you? How is it manifested at the university?

I interact daily with bright people who look at the world differently – the sum is greater than the parts.

How was your experience working on the collision video?

Fun, tiring and great to work with students – they are so dedicated.

What do you believe is the single greatest issue facing society today that you would like to see the university attempt to tackle?

Access to education in developing countries.

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Wendy Holden

Acting Director Students and Equity

Please describe your role at the university

My role involves overseeing a portfolio that ensures that policies and processes are fair and equitable to all students. We work closely with other areas of the University to support students from equity groups including those from regional and remote areas, students with a disability and those from financially, social or educational disadvantaged backgrounds. We regularly meet with student groups such as University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) and the Graduate Student Association (GSA) and the Advocacy Service in UMSU to discuss matters of concern and gain feedback from the student body. Student complaints and grievances are also handled in this portfolio. There is a focus on ensuring that all students are aware of the opportunities to engage in extra curricular activities at University including the 200+ clubs and societies affiliated with the University.

What is the best thing about working at the university?

The people and the campus! Every day I work with interesting people whether they be staff or students on a beautiful campus that offers staff and students fantastic facilities. It’s always interesting to hear about the students’ experience in their course and what research is being undertaken by our outstanding staff.

If there was one thing you would like people to know about the university what would it be?

That the University attracts students from a very broad range of backgrounds. We have an excellent admissions scheme for students who may have experienced disadvantage in their schooling.

What does this idea of 'collision' mean to you? How is it manifested at the university?

The idea of collision to me is the way disciplines within the curriculum offered at Melbourne are not siloed. There is a lot of crossover between faculty/course offerings. Students studying their course, and particularly in the breadth component of their course, are exposed to ideas and students outside their discipline area and this opens them to new ways of thinking.

How was your experience working on the collision video?

It was fun! It’s always interesting to see what goes into preparing for a film/advertisement. The students were great to work with.

What do you believe is the single greatest issue facing society today that you would like to see the university attempt to tackle?

Australia is a large country with many parts that are not utilised because of the scarcity of water and suitable terrain. With an increased population both here and globally any contribution we can make to expanding our agricultural output would be welcome.

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Julie Anne Quinn

General Manager, Bionic Vision Australia

Please describe your role at the university

Bionic Vision Australia (BVA) is a consortium of researchers developing retinal implants, or ‘bionic eyes’. The headquarters of BVA are located within the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, part of the Melbourne School of Engineering. I am responsible for corporate governance, finance, marketing and communications, and stakeholder engagement of the consortium. I’m also Company Secretary of Bionic Vision Technologies Pty Ltd, the company established to commercialise the BVA technologies.

What is the best thing about working at the university?

I love working amongst extremely talented researchers, from postgraduate students through to the most senior professors. The intellectual environment is outstanding, and constantly stimulating. It is wonderful to have seen the career progression of very bright young students through their Masters degree or PhD to the point where they have started to make their mark in the world, whether in research or industry.

If there was one thing you would like people to know about the university what would it be?

That the University of Melbourne is not just a destination for high achieving school leavers, but that there is a whole world of research taking place here.

What does this idea of 'collision' mean to you? How is it manifested at the university?

Collision to me means the bringing together of disparate disciplines and jointly thinking in new ways to solve complex problems.

The bionic eye is an example of a highly complex problem. The development of an implant that can be safely implanted into the eye requires expertise in biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, materials science, neuroscience, vision science, ophthalmology, integrated circuit design, and surgical, preclinical and clinical practice. Solving this complex problem would not be possible without expertise from all these disciplines.

At the University of Melbourne, researchers from the Faculties of Engineering, Science, and Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, along with partner organisations, span all of these disciplines, and are collaborating with the aim of restoring the sense of vision to people with vision impairment due to retinitis pigmentosa.

How was your experience working on the collision video?

With no pretensions of possessing any acting ability, I never imagined I would be involved in a professional production like the collision video. With the inevitable waiting around until called on set, it was great to meet students and other staff members, and also to observe the process of filmmaking. I feel privileged to have been involved in the production for the University of Melbourne. I also had great fun.

What do you believe is the single greatest issue facing society today that you would like to see the university attempt to tackle?

This is a challenging question to answer. One of the greatest issues that I believe affects society is greed, being demonstrated by individuals, corporations and nations, and which has negative consequences for society and the world we live in.

I would like to see the University actively develop new and innovative opportunities for its students to undertake programs in social responsibility. While some individual students are involved at a local level with volunteering activities, imagine what could be achieved by the collision of disciplines through group programs?

An example that comes to mind is a program at Boston University where groups of students join forces to develop ‘apps’ for not-for-profit organisations. This program brings together students from many disciplines who not only bring their expertise to the group, but also have the opportunity to learn new skills, whether coding or marketing.

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Leigh Hetherton

Policy and Strategy Advisor - Learning and Teaching.

Please describe your role at the university

I currently support and advise Chancellery staff on strategic initiatives and policy-related issues in the learning and teaching area. I have previously worked in the Faculty of Business and Economics in the Academic Programs and Policy team as a senior student advisor.

What is the best thing about working at the university?

The range of talent you get to work with!

If there was one thing you would like people to know about the university what would it be?

We have an anatomy museum!

What does this idea of ‘Collision’ mean to you and how does it manifest itself at the University?

It means innovation and creativity - making or thinking of something new! I feel this is shown through our research and our values.

How was your experience working on the collision video?

I was part of the hand AND the water AND the tree.

What do you think is the single greatest issue facing society today that you would like to see the University tackle?

Sustainability across all areas of society.

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James Green

Associate Director, Engagement Strategy

Please describe your role at the university

Engagement encompasses the interactions between the University and wider society, for the enrichment of both. I have the privilege of working across the institution to strengthen our relationships externally.

What is the best thing about working at the university?

It’s inspiring being on campus surrounded by so many bright minds working to develop themselves and make a contribution to the world.

If there was one thing you would like people to know about the university what would it be?

It has some really great coffee – really!

What does this idea of 'collision' mean to you? How is it manifested at the university?

Collisions are what make the University more than the sum of its parts. Universities encompass diverse disciplinary knowledge and the functions of teaching, research and engagement. All of these happen in the same place – the university campus – and it’s the collisions between them that make the University such a dynamic environment.

How was your experience working on the collision video?

Great fun! It was a genuine collision, working alongside academic staff, professional colleagues and students.

What do you believe is the single greatest issue facing society today that you would like to see the university attempt to tackle?

At the moment I’m interested in how individuals and societies make decisions, and particularly how these don’t always reflect what we know we ought to be doing. How we can improve decision making at every level holds significant potential for improving policies, and through them, wider society. It is perhaps not the single greatest issue, but it’s one that plays out every day across every aspect of our lives.

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Rebecca Starling

Senior Engagement Analyst

Please describe your role at the university

I work in the Engagement Strategy team where my role is to research and analyse information that contributes to the development of engagement strategy and increase the visibility of the variety of engagement activities in which the University is involved. I also develop project proposals and coordinate the reporting requirements of the Engagement portfolio.

What is the best thing about working at the university?

The wide range of people you can interact with – academics, professional staff and students – each of whom bring different ideas and experience to the table. The physical campus environment is a vibrant place to work – there’s always something happening!

If there was one thing you would like people to know about the university what would it be?

The University is involved in valuable research that touches on so many aspects of all of our lives. Almost every day I come across another area of research the University is involved in.

What does this idea of 'collision' mean to you? How is it manifested at the university?

At the point of collision new ideas and solutions emerge, that would otherwise not have been conceived. The University has experts in so many disciplines, who have achieved research breakthroughs in their own right. Increasingly though, these great minds are coming together, through the University, to explore cross-disciplinary ways of addressing some of society’s biggest issues.

How was your experience working on the collision video?

It was great to be part of something new and creative, with a group of students and staff who were enthusiastic. It was fascinating to get an inside view on the making of the film. The downtime between shoots also enabled us to get to know a different side of our colleagues.

What do you believe is the single greatest issue facing society today that you would like to see the university attempt to tackle?

There is already significant work taking place in this at the University, but I think climate change is the biggest issue we face. If we can influence the climate change conversation through public policy interaction and research outcomes, hopefully we will begin to see a significant shift in the thinking, and action, around this issue.

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Adam Wheeler

What did you study at the University and when did you graduate?

I am a graduate of the school of dance from 2004.

Where are you from originally? What was your path to the University?

I am originally from Launceston, Tasmania. I began dancing at a late age but quickly fell in love with it, while dancing for a company called, Stompin. The company had strong connections to the VCA and after two attempts I was successful in being excepted into the course.

Best thing about studying at the University?

It is hard to pin point one thing that was the best while studying at the VCA. I received training and advice that is still relevant to me today and also met one of my closet mentors, Becky Hilton. The course is tough but so is the industry and I can’t thank Jenny Kinder (Head of Dance) and the VCA enough for what they did for me.

Tell us a bit more about you… what are you doing now?

I have been very lucky throughout my career and now direct my own training course, my own youth dance company and professional collective of dancers. I make dance, I teach it and like to be involved in as many different aspects of the form as I can.

If there is one thing you would like people to know about the University would would it be?

I am an Almuni of the VCA and my affiliation with the University outside of my time as a dancer has been limited but it excites me very much that the University would take on a project like this collision video. I think more people in need to know about the work and the achievements of the University.

What does this idea of collision mean to you? How is it manifested at the University?

Dancing for me has always been about the people I do it with. We, as creatives, are continually colliding physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Hoping to create something that can inspire dialogue, more art making and enhance our way of life as we know it.

How was your experience working on the collision video? What was your role?

I worked as one of the movement consultants/ choreographers. I brought together some fantastic contemporary artists who worked alongside students from the VCA other students and members of the University’s staff and faculty. Exit Films were just brilliant to work with and the shoot days were long, exciting, exhilarating and I just can’t wait to see the final outcome.

What do you believe is the single greatest issue facing society today that you would like to see the university attempt to tackle?

Again to single out just one issue is close to impossible but I feel very strongly about the notion of sustainability. In regards to our planet, our resources, the future of our children and of course our arts and culture.

How was it for you coming back to the University?

Proud to be part of such a massive team and excited to give back to the University that gave so much to me.

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Grace Lauer

What are you studying at the university and what year are you in?

I am studying a BFA in Theatre Practice and I am in second year.

Where are you from originally and what was your pathway to the university?

I am originally from Dresden in Germany. I moved to Sydney five years ago where I completed a BA in Theatre, Performance and Film Studies. I had always been curious to spend some time living in the Southern Hemisphere as my mum is originally from New Zealand. I was actually planning on moving back home, to Berlin, when I got the acceptance letter from the VCA. That was pretty exciting, so here I am.

What is the best thing about studying at the University?

To finally be gaining experience in what I ultimately want to do, which is be a performer. This is such a great opportunity to hone your skills, meet people you will be entering the industry with, fostering creative relationships, learning from industry professionals and quite simply growing and gaining confidence as an artist.

Tell us a bit more about you...

As previously mentioned I am German and Kiwi. I grew up in Europe however over the years my family has travelled to New Zealand and Australia a lot as we have relatives down here. I actually have an auntie in Sydney which made the transition a lot easier. My performance background is mainly in physical theatre and in dance, even though mum would probably argue that it goes right back to when I was still in diapers. In my downtime I love to cook, read and do yoga. Other than that I am a pretty active person. I go on hikes quite a bit, horseback ride, and love surfing and snowboarding with my brothers!

If there was one thing you would like people to know about the university what would it be?

It's a community full of warm, creative, fun people!

What does the idea 'Collision' mean to and how does it manifest itself at the University?

We have the unique opportunity to collaborate with people from different streams here, both in class and in shows - and what has been particularly great during the making of the collision video is that it has involved students from all different faculties and also academic staff. It has been a really collaborative effort!

What do you think is the single greatest issue facing society today that you would like to see the University attempt to tackle?

I would really like to see the University of Melbourne more openly and more actively support the welcoming and integration of refugees. Recently an initiative that has been described as Airbnb for refugees has been launched in Germany. Citizens can sign up to a website on which you can offer to welcome a refugee into your home. Rent will mostly be covered by micro donations to the site or governmental aid. And in fact the response has been overwhelming especially from the student demographic, as flat shares often have an extra room or bed. This model seems to be successful and is being used to set up similar schemes in Europe. I believe this can be done here too. This kind of humanitarian initiative would greatly benefit from having such a prestigious and influential body as the University of Melbourne lead by example and support it.

What do you hope to do when you graduate?

I always saw myself on a theatre, live performance trajectory. However I have really enjoyed working on this production and have gained a much better understanding of film performance and that you are faced with an entirely different set of challenges. I am definitely also going to pursue screen acting! As for the idea of collision in the future: I believe the arts and politics could collide a bit more. And I mean this on a very practical level. If I have learnt anything during my degree it is that fostering a stronger kinesthetic awareness of self centers you, opens you up and helps make you more genuinely empathetic. I feel like this is a very useful addition to anyone's life. I have always enjoyed the thought of Obama, Putin and Merkel engaged in contact improvisation. Maybe I can make that happen. :D

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Jasmine Ahwah

What are you studying at the University and what year are you in?

I am studying a bachelor of fine arts in dance. I am in my third and final year.

Where are you from originally and what was your pathway to the University?

I am from central Australia, Alice Springs. I had always heard of the VCA and wanted join since the age of 14. Encouraged by teachers. I took a leap of faith auditioned and was welcomingly accepted into the University.

What is the best thing about studying at the University?

Living in Melbourne. Learning the skills, getting experience being so close to the dance Hub of Australia.

Tell us a bit more about you...

I am a well-traveled girl, who has always had a passionate interest in pursuing a career involving the human body. I have spent many years cross training in Circus Arts, Sports and Martial Arts. Which have all contributed to developing me as an artist.

If there was one thing you would like people to know about the university what would it be?

It is a very great career choice and provides lots of guidance and unlimited career outcomes.

What does this idea of ‘Collision’ mean to you and how does it manifest itself at the University?

For me it comes from the facts that the University of Melbourne has such a diverse platter of disciplines all aims at producing such multifaceted and talented graduates.

How was your experience working on the collision video and what was your role? Water/hand/skull etc?

It was very rewarding in terms of experience.

What do you think is the single greatest issue facing society today that you would like to see the University attempt to tackle?

Climate Change / Renewable energy sources.

What do you hope to do when you graduate?

Become a professional dancer. And a physiotherapist. Yes it can be done!

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Shruti Pal

What are you studying at the University and what year are you in?

This is my first semester at the University and I am pursuing a Master of Engineering (Mechanical).

Where are you from originally? What was you path to the University?

I was born and brought up in Mumbai, India. I pursued my Bachelor in Engineering (Mechanical) from the University of Mumbai. My interests to delve into this stream piqued my curiosity to explore Mechanical Engineering. This has had since developed into a staunch determination to specialise in it. The University of Melbourne, being among the leading university for this course, was no less than a dream for me. My earnest interest in this field backed by hard work and consistency paved my way to this University.

What’s the best thing about studying at the University?

The best thing about the University is the world-class education that they provide. Great guidance from the distinguished faculty and interaction with accomplished classmates is contributing to my overall development every single day.

Tell is a bit more about you...

I have always believed in a well-balanced lifestyle. In parallel to academics, I have always been passionate about my hobbies. I am a trained swimmer. I have represented my University and school in the highly competitive sport of swimming and won numerous medals, at various national and state level tournaments. Apart from sports, I have a fascination for Indian Classical Music and have been trained up to the penultimate level. I have tutored underprivileged children through NGOs like ‘The Children of the World (India) Trust’, ‘The Akshansha Foundation’ amongst others and experienced the ‘joy of giving’ in its truest sense. This multi-faceted exposure has always kept me on my toes and I wish to continue to indulge myself in various activities in this University and Melbourne as well. On the lighter side, I am a foodie and I love travelling.

If there was one thing you would like people to know about the University what would it be?

The one thing I would like people to know about the University is about all the quaint little places the university comprises of. Places like the Old Quad, South lawn, the GSA lounge are some of my favourites and the most beautiful spots in the University. In spite of being full with students most of the time; you can still find your own little space to indulge in and find peace of mind.

What does this idea of collision mean to you? How is it manifested at the University?

The idea of collision means all the different streams coming together to serve a bigger purpose. My recent experience of collision was when different schools in the University came together to shoot for the campaign. Academically for me, my course has utmost flexibility and lets me choose from various other streams like electrical engineering, business and management. The University’s prestigious masters program combines core-engineering subjects with techno-management streams and hence the idea of collision is manifested for me at the University in this way.

How was your experience working on the brand film? What was your role? Hand/Water/Tree/Skull etc?

I have had a few prior experience of shooting. But the experience of working on this brand film was extremely different. I was a part of the hand and the tree team. I used my previous climbing skills for my role in this movie. I made many new friends in the sets. The shoot was fun and entertaining. Coming from engineering, amidst the tight schedule, the shoot served the purpose of a refreshing experience. It gives me great pride in being a part of this one of a kind brand campaign.

What do you believe is the single greatest issue facing society that you would like to see the University attempt to tackle?

In my opinion, the single greatest issue the society is facing today is the extreme change in the environment, which has resulted to global warming. Today’s fast paced society and its people tend to ignore the obvious and drastic changes in the climate. According to me, I would personally want the University to attempt to tackle it and I’d do my bit towards it as well if given a chance.

What do you hope to do once you graduate?

I know that a Master of Engineering (Mechanical) from the University of Melbourne will imbibe me with the required skills for a long-term career and will help me gain a foothold in this field. I wish to study further and pursue a PHD, hopefully from the University of Melbourne itself, in the subject that interest me the most during my course of study here.

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Jack Gunn

What are you studying at the university and what year are you in?

I study acting, well, actually, ‘theatre practice’, which means I’ll finish my course with the skills to both occupy the screen and stage, but am also capable of creating new work from the ground up. I’m in the second of a three-year course.

Where are you from originally and what was your pathway to the university?

I’m from Melbourne, and was one of those lucky folk to come straight from high school. There is a lot going for the University of Melbourne and so I was really attracted to the idea of studying at the institution, and knew that if it wasn’t acting at VCA, it was certainly Arts at Melbourne Uni.

What is the best thing about studying at the University?

The quality of the training at VCA is incredible. I’m very, very lucky to experience such top- notch training under such regarded professionals. I’m continuously reminded about just how well I’m being schooled in my craft, and the artistic qualifications I’m going to emerge with, and that’s very exciting to me.

Tell us a bit more about you...

I’m twenty years old, and grew up in the suburb of St. Kilda. I was fortunate to go to two really great schools with really great teachers- Elwood Secondary College and Sandringham College, where I received a strong foundational education in the arts and the craft of acting, which helped springboard me into VCA.

What does the idea of 'Collision' mean to you and how does it manifest itself at the University?

The thing that occurs to me is the collision of ideas. When two creative entities meet and something dangerous happens. It’s always a joy when, and it’s never often enough, the dancers and the actors, or the artists and the musicians, collaborate and reveal something I’ve never seen before- and I think what’s clear to me is that distinctions between creative disciplines aren’t as profound as we sometimes think them to be; that it’s all beautifully connected.

What do you think is the single greatest issue facing society today that you would like to see the University attempt to tackle?

That’s too tough a question. There are plenty of large issues facing society, but if there’s something I’ve been focusing on in my work of late, it is the lack of awareness surrounding the alarming prevalence of sexual assault. That is, I believe, a very real issue that occurs in high frequency that not all, but many, could come to understand more.

What do you hope to do when you graduate?

Begin working right away! I look forward to starting my career as a professional actor and establishing myself as a working artist in Melbourne, and continue expanding my understanding of my craft and the world.

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Edward Lim

What are you studying at the University and what year are you in?

I am a 2nd year Bachelor of Commerce student

Where are you from originally? What was you path to the University?

I am from Malaysia. I got accepted into the University of Melbourne after completing A-Levels.

What’s the best thing about studying at the University?

I am able to meet and interact with people from around the world, more importantly learning - I learn something new every day.

Tell is a bit more about you…

I enjoy learning new skills and helping people. I spend my free time in different kinds of training, to develop my mental strength.

If there was one thing you would like people to know about the University

The community is full of warm and fun people - don’t be afraid to seek help!

What does this idea of collision mean to you? How is it manifested at the University?

I can only think of collision of ideas. Collision means to be creative and innovative, when two different ideas collide, we come out with something new. In the University of Melbourne, we have to take subjects from different faculties as breadth. This is the best opportunity for us to have a taste of different courses, leading to new perspectives and ideas.

How was your experience working on the brand film? What was your role? Hand/Water/Tree/Skull etc?

It was a great opportunity for me, I never thought I would be involved in such large scale production like the brand film. I was part of water, I certainly had fun, and the experience was rewarding.

What do you believe is the single greatest issue facing society that you would like to see the University attempt to tackle?

Climate change

What do you hope to do once you graduate?

Gain experience in the finance sector, and then start up my own business.

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James Biasetto

What are you studying at the University and what year are you in?

I am a second year Actor at VCA.

Where are you from originally and what was your pathway to the University?

I grew up in Sydney and moved down to Melbourne when I found out I got In to VCA. I auditioned for VCA as well as NIDA in Sydney and after the first audition I knew that VCA was where I was supposed to be, and I haven't looked back since.

What is the best thing about studying at the University?

We have access to such incredible and sought after teachers, which makes for a really supportive, explorative and creative learning environment.

Tell us a bit more about you...

I'm 25 and have been married for 2yrs.

If there was one thing you would like people to know about the University what would it be?

I don't know about the whole university but the teachers at VCA are very passionate about their work and passionate teachers find a way for everyone to learn, not just the ones who fit the mold. Don't be scared off if you found high school hard. Real teachers know how to teach.

What does this idea of ‘Collision’ mean to you and how does it manifest itself at the University?

It means getting to work with a whole range of students that are studying to be the best in their field. We all have a long way to go but the passion is infectious and it fosters great collaborative relationships.

How was your experience working on the collision video and what was your role? Water/hand/skull etc?

I played a little part in all of it, I got to be in the water, forearm, skull and in some of the background shots, it was great to see all the different parts come together. With so many moving parts I think the crew did a great job, I certainly had fun.

What do you think is the single greatest issue facing society today that you would like to see the University attempt to tackle?

Taking care of our planet. So much more can be done to lessen the footprint we leave on the world and the more people that actively engage in doing so the bigger impact we can have. Big University, big chance for change.

What do you hope to do when you graduate?

Melbourne has a great theatre scene and I would love to be apart of it. I also want to work my way into TV and Film down the track.

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Sivan Crispin

What are you studying at the University and what year are you in?

I am in the first year of my Bachelor of Science.

Where are you from originally and what was your pathway to the University?

I was born in Boston and moved to Australia when I was about 10. I knew I wanted to study at the University of Melbourne during year 12 when my brother and older friends told me how incredible it is. 

What is the best thing about studying at the University?

The atmosphere at the uni is really unique; there are so many events for students and ways to get involved. I love meeting like-minded people who also appreciate the importance of student life. Besides the social aspect, the lecturers are very supportive and always offer extra assistance if needed.

Tell us a bit more about you…

I am looking to major in Physiology and currently considering sports physiotherapy after undergrad. In the mean time I am involved in many of the events and clubs at the campus and am getting to know as many people as possible. I have also joined the cheerleading team and am going to participate in Australia's University Games at the Gold Coast this year.

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James Templer Plunkett

What are you studying at the University and what year are you in?

A Bachelor of Fine Arts (Theatre Practice) at the VCA. I’m a second year Actor.

Where are you from originally and what was your pathway to the University?

I’m originally from Central Victoria. After going to boarding school I moved to Melbourne to commence my University studies at La Trobe. I’d been involved in Theatre for about 6 years before being accepted into the BFA program.

What is the best thing about studying at the University?

Friendship. We are all here to do our best and support each other in the realisation of our dreams. That’s a special kind of bond that you don’t really find anywhere else, outside of family. To me, my class is one big family. It’s also the beginnings of a professional network for all of us, which is challenging and rewarding.

Tell us a bit more about you...

I am absolutely a country boy at heart. The older I get the more proud of that I am. I’ll never miss an opportunity to go camping with friends, or just relax around a fire at home with family. I wear flannel shirts a lot, sometimes without washing them. I’m really ambitious, I find that to be an equally scary and exhilarating quality. Other people would probably consider me to be quite introverted and I suppose that’s true in most cases. At first I’ll stand back and watch, learn, consider, then jump in and excel. I’m a lot like my Dad in that regard. I care about others a lot. I want to make sure everyone around me is taken care of. I got that from my Mum. The most valuable change that has occurred in me since being at the University of Melbourne is that I’m becoming a more consistent hard worker. My parents are definitely proud of that.

If there was one thing you would like people to know about the University what would it be?

You get out what you put in. Immersion is always going to be the key to success. UniMelb has a lot to offer, and considering its city location, you have easy access to a lot of Melbourne’s nightlife and culture. At the VCA we can pretty much stroll out of class and into a Theatre every evening if we have the time.

What does this idea of ‘Collision’ mean to you and how does it manifest itself at the University?

I guess it’s referring to the blending of ideas for the creation of something new and progressive. In my experience there is a great deal of “Collision” that happens at the VCA amongst the various BFA streams. For example, I’m currently working with writers, directors and dramaturgy students on a collaborative project over the next eight weeks. We are working together to create a new piece of Theatre in a completely egalitarian process involving workshops, practical studio sessions, and tutorials with our outstanding Lecturers. This will end with a performance to the faculty that we are absolutely not freaking out about.

How was your experience working on the collision video and what was your role? Water/hand/skull etc?

I was a part of the water, the hand, and the skull from early in the rehearsal process. I had such a fun time hanging out with my classmates and getting to meet industry professionals. It was an enlightening experience to see what happens on a professional film shoot, considering that’s where I’ll be heading after I graduate. I’m proud that my first professional gig was for my Uni!

What do you think is the single greatest issue facing society today that you would like to see the University attempt to tackle?

Global Warming. There’s a lot that can be done to lessen our negative impact on the world. Far more than is being done currently. I’d really like to see the University produce graduates that can help change things if they chose to, be it from within private Industry or government. Hopefully we can all grow to be sensitive to this sort of issue and make good life decisions in terms of our own footprint. Everyone can afford to walk a little lighter.

What do you hope to do when you graduate?

I’ll be working in Theatre and Television as much as possible. I’m in a tough field, but I’ll make it work for me. I’ll have a really solid foundation after completing my BFA, and I’m excited for the challenges the real world has for me.

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Yohan Philip

What are you studying at the University and what year are you in?

I am currently studying a Bachelor of Arts majoring in politics and international studies minoring in law in social justice. I am in my third year of university and I will be graduating at the end of the semester.

Where are you from originally and what was your pathway to the University?

I was born in the small town of Taiping in West Malaysia. I lived there for 15 years before moving to Melbourne in 2009. My family and I moved for a better life and to flee what we felt was oppression of minorities, which was rampant in the public school system as well as the work sectors. We had enough and my dad was lucky enough to be offered a job under skilled migration in the mid 2000s courtesy of Kevin Rudd’s new policy. I then attend Marcellin College in Bulleen for VCE before joining the University of Melbourne in 2012.

What is the best thing about studying at the University?

The best thing about Melbourne University is that it really offers an excellent quality education and the opportunity to balance study with social and extra curricular activities. I have been a part of the Elite Athlete Program at the University for the last two years as a middle/long distance runner. This recognition meant that I could easily balance running 120km per week and a full time study load. Besides that, clubs and societies that allow for an awesome social life, and of course the beautiful buildings and architecture that the University campus has to offer.

Tell us a bit more about you...

As I have mentioned above I enjoy running a lot, and have been actively competing in the sport since competing and placing third at the World Schools Cross Country Championships in 2012 as part of the Australian team. Besides this, I am an avid musician and often spend my spare time song writing, playing the guitar or West African Percussion. I keep a really active social life and was involved in the Melbourne Arts Student Society as the Events Coordinator for one term in 2014. These few things allow me to keep a good balance between all aspects of my life.

If there was one thing you would like people to know about the University what would it be?

One thing people should know is that we have great coffee at the University of Melbourne. I know that really only matters if you like coffee, but I didn’t drink coffee before coming to Melbourne and am now a self-confessed coffee addict courtesy of the café culture at the University.

What does this idea of ‘Collision’ mean to you and how does it manifest itself at the University?

Allow me to get real Arts student for a second.

The idea of Collision in its simplest form is the symbiosis between all faculties at the University. It is a mix of the University’s different studies, programs, faculties, expertise and cultures. The manifestation of this is not really physically embodied in anything particularly; rather it transcends pre-existing boundaries that each faculty is its own separate thing. The programs at the University allow for study from all areas - from science to fine arts and everything in between.

How was your experience working on the collision video and what was your role? Water/hand/skull etc?

I was part of the Hand team, and I was the fourth finger in the advertisement. The experience was fun and not to different to the roles I’ve had in past short film productions. The difference was the team I was working with was all like-minded students from the University, so we had a lot in common and a lot of similar things to talk about. It made the filming run really smooth and easy.

What do you think is the single greatest issue facing society today that you would like to see the University attempt to tackle?

As this advertisement was being filmed Tony Abbott agreed to increase the refugee intake from the Syrian refugee crisis to 12,000. This is a good attempt by Australia but I believe we need to do more as a human race for people persecuted by war and extreme acts of terror. The only difference between these refugees and me is that I came to Australia by plane. My heart goes out to all people who are trying to flee persecution and violence for a better life and we as a human race still can’t band together and help people in these predicaments. Everyone deserves the right to live in peace and harmony, and I think the next few years will define us as a human race in terms of how we respond to the crisis in the Middle East and Africa. The University is tackling this issue already by educating visionaries of the future. Many students from the University will end up in NGOs or government organisations that help the current situations in the world. So I think they are already on the right track.

What do you hope to do when you graduate?

Once I graduate I hope to do postgraduate study either at the Melbourne Law School or Melbourne Business School. However before this I intend to take some time off to travel and train without the stresses of University for a few important running races in the near future.

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Conor Grace

What are you studying at the University and what year are you in?

I’m doing a Bachelor of Arts and I’m in my third year. I’m on my fourth academic year due to under-loading and balancing my rowing training.

Where are you from originally and what was your pathway to the University?

I’m born and bred in Melbourne. I moved over to Ireland during my primary school years and then back to Melbourne to start secondary school at St Kevin’s College (tying in with the Irish roots). I studied my butt off and it paid dividends when I received an acceptance letter from the University of Melbourne for my undergraduate studies in 2012.

What is the best thing about studying at the University?

The University of Melbourne has been extremely supportive of my sporting commitments. Carl Junot, the Elite Athlete Coordinator, has enabled me to seamlessly balance my academic and sporting endeavours throughout my undergraduate course. This makes it easier for me to train/compete at a high level, while also maintaining high academic grades.

Tell us a bit more about you...

I’m currently studying a BA and majoring in media and communication, which is perfect for me because my mates have often described me as a “social media fiend”. I’m an elite rower for Mercantile Rowing Club and have represented the University of Melbourne at the Australian Boat Race and University Games. While this keeps me busy, with the help of the University I’ve been able to balance my studies, work and rowing cohesively. I’m pursuing a career in marketing and in the immediate future I hope to find opportunities that compliment this area. I’m also gearing up to complete a 1100km Ride to Cure MND from Sydney to Melbourne in early December this year for the Neale Daniher’s Cure for MND Foundation.

If there was one thing you would like people to know about the University what would it be?

The culture at the University is second to none. The students are amazing and highly driven – it’s an infectious environment to be a part of. The staff has been extremely approachable and supportive to any issues I’ve had during my undergraduate course. With the appropriate level of communication, any personal/academic/private issues are quickly resolved.

What does this idea of ‘Collision’ mean to you and how does it manifest itself at the University?

Giving students the choice to mix and match different subjects, so that they’re able to pursue their unique academic goals in whatever area they’re interested in. For myself, I enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts but I have still had the opportunity to further my studies in Accounting (Commerce Faculty) and Creative Arts (VCA Faculty) because I have a flare for business and creativity as well as media and communications.

How was your experience working on the collision video and what was your role? Water/hand/skull etc?

I was the index finger on the hand and a branch on the tree.

Although shooting the brand film was a tiring/long process (as the film industry is renowned for), I met a lot of other students who had similar sporting interests to myself. If I could, I would definitely be a part of something like the brand film again because I met some of my best University mates during it and I wouldn’t have had that opportunity otherwise.

What do you think is the single greatest issue facing society today that you would like to see the University attempt to tackle?

I’d have to say finding a cure for Motor Neutron Disease (MND). There is currently no cure for this debilitating disease and every 12 hours, someone in Australia is diagnosed. In the same time frame another Australian will die from the disease. In the latest Government NHMRC Grants, only $2m (0.5% of the total $420m) was allocated to MND research). The current estimated cost of caring for someone with MND is $300,000. The goal that I’d like to see the University of Melbourne tackle is to find a cure for the disease, volunteer staff and students to care for those who have MND and push the disease into the spotlight to make our country aware of the devastating affect it can have on those diagnosed.

What do you hope to do when you graduate?

Move into a postgraduate marketing course at Melbourne Business School – I never want to leave this place

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Izabella Yena

What are you studying at the University and what year are you in?

I am currently studying a Bachelor of Fine Arts: Theatre Practice and am in second year.

Where are you from originally and what was your pathway to the University?

I’m from Melbourne and my journey to the University was a simple one – I knew I wanted to pursue acting and I knew the VCA was one of the leading institutions to do so, so I made sure I did as much as I could to be accepted.

What is the best thing about studying at the University?

Genuinely the people. I’ve met so many interesting and different people in my course and across the VCA campus that have inspired me and taught me new things. The great thing about the VCA is that there is always something happening, new people to meet and collaborate with, so there is never a dull moment.

Tell us a bit more about you…..

I’m Izabella, I’m 20 years old and am your typical aspiring actress, working as a waitress on the weekends and serving customers in different accents. I speak a little bit of Spanish and Greek and can quote most of Good Will Hunting.

If there was one thing you would like people to know about the University what would it be?

How much fun we actually have at the VCA. A normal day can consist of a mixture of acrobatics, singing, dancing with each other (not necessarily well, I might add) and pretending to be other people and putting on funny voices. It’s everything you dream of as a six year old.

What does this idea of ‘Collision’ mean to you and how does it manifest itself at the University?

To me the idea of Collision means the fusion of two different schools of work or bodies of ideas/concepts. At the University I see it manifest itself most in the clubs and societies where people from across the University can meet and socialise. In a more professional sense Collision is happening all the time at the VCA when we get the opportunity to work with designers or directors or people from other disciplines to create something.

How was your experience working on the brand film and what was your role? Water/hand/skull etc?

My role in the brand film was being a part of the skull and hand. I found the experience overall quite informative and great for gaining experience in front of a camera. I found it extraordinarily interesting to see how all the elements of a film shoot work together to create the actual film and what is required from the actors or extras in these circumstances.

What do you think is the single greatest issue facing society today that you would like to see the University attempt to tackle?

There are so many, limiting myself to one almost makes me feel guilty for prioritising one issue over the other. I think domestic violence is reaching a level of epidemic in Australia at the moment that needs to be addressed, I also think the treatment of asylum seekers is something we should be actively trying to improve as a nation and government.

What do you hope to do when you graduate?

I hope to be working as an actress on stage, film and TV.

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A Message From the
Vice-Chancellor

How do universities achieve all they do?

Are breakthroughs created by lonely geniuses sitting around in attics and laboratories, generating great ideas on their own? Or are they created in business-like fashion by teams working on carefully articulated problems?

The first appeals to our heroic sensibilities, the second to our managerialist tendencies. And while there is something in both, let me suggest a third way. Through the collision of genius, ambition and passion taking place at universities.

Universities bring brilliant people together who collectively advance knowledge, mould our societies and change the way we understand the world.

Examples of great minds colliding at universities and impacting our world are plentiful. Roger Penrose and the very young Stephen Hawking together at the University of Cambridge formulated the Big Bang as an explanation of the origins of the universe. Also at Cambridge, Francis Crick and James Watson together drew upon the work of Rosalind Franklin and Raymond Gosling from the University of London to discover the structure of life itself – DNA. Here at the University of Melbourne, Professor Graeme Clark and his team pioneered the research and development of the Bionic Ear – the Cochlear Implant.

Beyond science, important youthful intellectual movements have come from the humanities: the Romantic Movement from 1800 to 1850; the Bloomsbury Set of writers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists such as Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes and E. M. Forster; the Great War poets. These young, brilliant, ambitious people were thrown together at university but carried on their conversations after graduation. They changed the way we view poetry, literature, art, economics and war. It’s barely possible to think about the most momentous issues facing us today without at least subconscious reference to the intellectual frames they constructed – especially in a world of threatened freedoms, economic uncertainty and military conflict.

These movements came not just from the lecture theatres and laboratories inside universities, but from the nature of universities as places where young people live, love, socialise, compete, debate, make friends and set their path in life.

That’s what I see when I walk around the University of Melbourne campus and hear in the surrounding cafes and bars and bookshops: restless energy bouncing off itself, creating the future and defining the way we will interpret it.

On this site we explore how we contribute to these great stories of collision. I invite you to consider their relevance and all they suggest about the importance of the work that occurs at the University of Melbourne.