ARIA-SA awards event celebrates Italy-Australia research links

L-R: ARIA-SA Secretary, Dr Rodrigo Praino; PhD candidate, Stefano Bona; ARIA-SA President, Associate Professor Marinella Marmo; and PhD candidate and lecturer, David Hobbs.
L-R: ARIA-SA Secretary, Dr Rodrigo Praino; PhD candidate, Stefano Bona; ARIA-SA President, Associate Professor Marinella Marmo; and PhD candidate and lecturer, David Hobbs.

Flinders Law School will host an event on Tuesday (26 May) to highlight the success of an awards program which has allowed two early career researchers at Flinders to showcase their work and build relationships with researchers in Italy and Europe.

Awards from the Association for Research between Italy and Australia (South Australian Branch) and the Italian Benevolent Fund, Adelaide (ARIA-SA/IBF) allowed Flinders PhD candidates Stefano Bona and David Hobbs to travel and work in Italy in 2014.

Tuesday’s event will see both researchers make presentations about their research at Flinders University.

Flinders has a strong relationship with ARIA-SA/IBF through its Associate Professor Marinella Marmo, who is President of ARIA-SA, and Dr Rodrigo Praino, who is the organisation’s Secretary.

ARIA-SA, which is an association promoting research between Italy and Australia, joined forces with the Italian benevolent Foundation (IBF) in 2014 to offer the awards, which promote academic interaction between Italy and Australia.

They were open to Flinders University post-doctoral and post-graduate fellows of the Faculties of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics, and of Education, Humanities and Law.

Mr Hobbs’ research focussed on creating a unique controller to allow the use of computer games to help children with cerebral palsy develop fine motor skills in their hands, while Mr Bona’s research examines how Italian filmmakers became the first Western filmmakers allowed to make documentaries in China following the signing of ground breaking co-production agreements in 2014.

Mr Bona said the ARIA-SA/IBF award had enabled him to focus more closely on key parts of his project and to rethink them in a more meaningful way.

“The ARIA-SA/IBF Award helped me to undertake my data collection in Italy and to attend two international conferences, in Milan and Venice,” said Mr Bona.

“At these conferences I presented on parts of my research, obtained invaluable feedback about it, and had the opportunity to network with other scholars from my discipline, which is Italian Cinema and Film Studies.

“This was a fantastic opportunity, which I hope can be extended to other Flinders post-graduate students in future.”

Mr Hobbs said his award had allowed him to further strengthen an existing relationship with a group of associates in Bologna and to build new relationships in Pisa.

“The travel grant was instrumental in supporting me to travel to Italy to meet with key researchers who were already aware of our research, but who now wanted to see it demonstrated live and to ask more questions about the design process,” said Mr Hobbs.

“It gave me the opportunity to develop collaborative links with a group in Pisa, and to further strengthen that existing relationship, which was in Bologna.”

Associate Professor Marinella Marmo, who is Acting Associate Dean (Research) at Flinders Law School and President of ARIA-SA, said the awards were a fantastic and rare opportunity for Flinders researchers to share research and build collaborations with Italian academics.

“As well as being an opportunity to work with Italian researchers, the ARIA-SA/IBF awards also open doors to more opportunities in the European Union by providing access to European networks,” said Associate Professor Marmo.

“The partnership with ARIA and IBF attests to the value of research beyond academic circles and shows the importance Flinders University academics place on community outreach.

“The awards were offered to the best candidates through a transparent process that saw the involvement of the Research Committees of Flinders University’s Faculties of Science and Engineering, and of Education, Humanities and Law.”

Further details on Tuesday’s event are below.

 Presentation title: “Harnessing technology to improve how children with cerebral palsy use their hands.”

By David Hobbs: Lecturer/PhD Candidate | The Medical Device Research Institute (MDRI) | Faculty of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics | Flinders University

Summary: David Hobbs’ PhD work is in the design, development and trial of an accessible gaming system that enables children with cerebral palsy who have a hand impairment to trial a new form of therapy. His presentation will focus on the system design and outcomes, and the groups he met with in Italy in September last year.

Presentation title: “Looking into cinematic otherness: Italian filmmakers in China and the case of Carlo Lizzani’s La muraglia cinese / Behind the Great Wall (1957)”.

 By Stefano Bona:  PhD Candidate | School of Humanities and Creative Arts | Flinders University

Summary: In 2014, Italy and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) signed an important film co-production agreement. What happened before it? And, more generally, how did western directors experience the film production of films in an independent China after its foundation in 1949? Italian filmmakers were among the first to have such an opportunity, with Carlo Lizzani being the first western director allowed to shoot a feature documentary in the PRC in as early as 1956. This presentation will give an in-depth account of his work, based on data collected through archival research in Italy in 2014.

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