Personal details

Dr Manuela Taboada
Senior Lecturer (Graphic Design)
Faculty of CI, Education & Social Justice,
School of Design,
Visual Communication
Discipline *
Design Practice and Management, Communication and Media Studies, Urban and Regional Planning
+61 7 3138 5489
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Identifiers and profiles

Doctor of Philosophy (University of New England), BSc Computer Science & System Analysis (Other), BA Hons ¿ Industrial Design & Visual Communication Design (Other)


change through design, collaborative design, design and complexity, design experience, design thinking, place identity and branding, places as complex emergent systems, sustainable tourism, visual communication

* Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008


Dr Manuela Taboada, Senior Lecturer in Visual Communication, has over 15 years experience in visual communication design, design for change, collaborative design methods and systems thinking. Manuela has a PhD from the University of New England (Australia), and degrees in Industrial Design / Visual Communication (Federal University of Bahia, Brazil) and in Computer Science (Salvador University, Brazil).
In her research and practice, Taboada uses bespoke collaborative design processes as tools for facilitating innovation and triggering systemic change. She combines systems thinking (complex emergency) with decolonial design theories and concepts of deep ecology to establish the framework for her co-design methods.
Over the years, Taboada has worked as a researcher and designer in Australia, Brazil, Timor-Leste and Fiji. As part of the QUT Design Lab and the QUT Centre for a Waste-Free World Manuela has lead several co-design projects which delivered interventions in the areas of marine conservation, policy design, plastic waste, identity development, entrepreneurship and  improvement of healthcare services.
Recently, Taboada has led projects focused on reducing plastic consumption and waste where she applies co-design and technology to test multiple ways that might help people shift their everyday habits and perceptions in relation to plastic. She has also supervised students in the areas of design activism, design for change, systems thinking and decolonial design. In contribution with Dr Jane Turner, Taboada has been developing a co-design methodology based on role playing games theories and mechanics to create opportunities for participants to co-design speculative worlds and futures.
Taboada’s work embraces the unexpected as the most important ingredient of innovation. She believes that the unexpected can only rise from diversity, trust, authentic conversations, and open agendas.

This information has been contributed by Dr Manuela Taboada.


Manuela has a higher degree teaching portfolio that spans over 10 years both in Australia and in Brazil. She has written, coordinated and run undergraduate classes in both countries on subjects that range from visual communication design and web-design to design theory, creativity and design thinking.

Manuela has led and participated in major curriculum development projects on the roles of student representative, entrepreneur and staff member both in Brazil and in Australia, for private and higher degree courses in the areas of visual arts, visual communication and interactive design.

In 2011 Manuela has driven the inclusion of a first year unit dedicated to creativity and design thinking in the IVD program (DXB101 Design & Creative Thinking). Between 2012 and 2015 Manuela had the role of Study Area Coordinator for Interactive & Visual Design at QUT during her time as Study Area Coordinator, she lead the major changes in the IVD curriculum, which had its major focus on understanding creativity as an entrepreneurial skill, developing visual expression as a trans-media ability, and using designerly ways of thinking to re-define and propose solutions to technical, visual and social problems.

More recently, Manuela developed the curriculum for a new Foundation Unit for the School of Design. Design Consequences is a unit that looks into the historical evolution of design and its impacts and consequences in shaping our contemporary world and our ways of living and being in the world.

Current and past units:

  • DYB214 Design Consequences
  • DVB201 Typographic Design
  • DVB102 Image Production
  • DXB101 Design & Creative Thinking
  • DXH601 Integrated Experience Design
  • KIB231 Typography & Illustration
  • KIB120 Graphic Design
  • KIB338 Print Media
This information has been contributed by Dr Manuela Taboada.


For more publications by this staff member, visit QUT ePrints, the University's research repository.


Current supervisions

  • System Dynamics analysis for a circular transition of the plastics economy in Australia: Optimization of local plastic economy, policy and recycling through systemic feedback modelling and policy scenarios testing
    PhD, Principal Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Professor Leonie Barner
  • Creating and applying design-driven, data-driven tools to understand and depict spatially marginalized communities
    PhD, Principal Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Dr Heather McKinnon
  • Applying Comics as a Tool for Adult Digital Literacy Learning: A Study within a Supportive Housing Group
    PhD, Mentoring Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Dr Jeremy Kerr
    PhD, Associate Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Dr Jane Turner
  • Designing for narrative therapy through emergent game-narrative in table-top role-playing games
    Professional Doctorate, Associate Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Dr Jane Turner, Dr Jeremy Kerr

Completed supervisions (Doctorate)

Completed supervisions (Masters by Research)