Dr Tracey M Benson is an Australian based artist, academic and researcher. Her work focuses on issues related to belonging, place, wellbeing and pro environmental behaviour change. Specialising in online and screen based art, user experience design, locative media and site specific installation, her work has been extensively presented internationally in media arts festivals and exhibitions.
She explores a range of media including walking, video, online, open data, mobile technologies and augmented reality. Tracey has held residencies in the APY Lands of Central Australia, Cyprus, Greece, New Zealand, Iceland, Norway and the Faroe Islands, often collaborating with cultural owners and guides – working with Indigenous communities, historians, technologists and scientists. Community and audience engagement are critical areas of relevance and this is echoed in her work with government and the university sector as a user researcher and communications specialist.
Her creative work has focused on the connections between land/scape and identity. This has been realised through a number of umbrella projects including Big Banana Time Inc (1995-2000) – a parodic investigation of the landscape, tourism and consumerism, Scalpland (1995-1996) and Fauxonomy (2007-2013) – a play on science and facts. Her current major project Words for Water (2013-) focuses on the humanitarian and environmental issues related to water. Tracey also utilises solar energy in her installation work, seeking to make electronic artwork ‘off the grid’. More recent creative explorations have utilised mobile and hand-held online technologies for the creation of virtual and augmented reality (AR) works. Interactive AR works have been produced in Dunedin, Auckland, Copenhagen, Canberra, Kochi, New Plymouth with freelance commissioned projects with Yorta Yorta Nation and Gold Coast City Gallery.
Tracey has been active in many media arts communities: a founder and board member of Women and Arts (WandA) 1995-1999, a board member of the Institute of Modern Art 1996-1999, in 2007, she co-founded the Dorkbot CBR and was a moderator on the internationally renowned new media list –empyre- from 2005-07. Since 2013, she has been a Trustee for Intercreate – an organisation focusing on the synergies between arts, science, technology and Indigenous knowledge for the purpose of exploring and responding to environmental challenges. Tracey is also the founder and director of Treecreate, a collaborative platform bringing together artists, scientists and knowledge keepers to work cooperatively on ideas to solve some of the ‘wicked problems’ of climate, culture and community.
In 2001 she received a Research MA from Queensland University of Technology, focusing on souvenirs, nostalgia and personal identity. In 2010 Tracey was awarded a PhD at The Australian National University, where her thesis explored online communities, activism and social networking tools. She has lectured at a number of universities in Australia, New Zealand and Norway and holds visiting research positions at the Institute of Applied Ecology | Centre for Creative and Cultural Researcher at University of Canberra and the More than Human Lab at Victoria University, Wellington, NZ. As an independent academic, Tracey has assessed a number of PhDs and is an advisor for PhDs in Australia, UK and USA and with TransArts Institute. She is listed as an expert with the Australian Academy of Science for her work on citizen engagement and behaviour change around energy and household sustainability.
Tracey is a personality of generousity; directed, cooperative, an artist of life, she changes where she lives. She combines a capacity to research her materials appropriately with a brilliantly original and controlled theatrical direction in realising them in performance in installation works. I recommend her and her work unreservedly. Paul Carter
You can support Tracey’s interdisciplinary research on Patreon.
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Leadership roles in artistic/cultural organisations:
- Founder TransArts Alliance (2016-)
- Trustee of the Intercreate Trust (2013-) based in New Zealand
- Board Director of Ethos Global Foundation (2015-2017)
- Co-founder of Dorkbot CBR (2007-2013)
- Moderator on the online community -empyre- (2003-2006)
- Board Member of the Institute of Modern Art (1997-2000)
- Co-founder of Women and Arts (WandA)(1994-1998)
A perpetual student, Tracey is currently undertaking a Research Masters of Applied Science in energy efficiency and sustainability behaviour change.
Tracey provides freelance services through bytetime, a small company specialising in arts education, emerging media, behavioural insights, strategic communications and community engagement.