A lively research culture is facilitated through a variety of events that enable exchange and cross fertilisation between different research areas, educational programs and industry. This is furthered through transdisciplinary programs, a visiting scholars and fellows program, international and national linkages and exchanges. SIAL provides the opportunity to research new strategies for viewing and managing information in a spatial perspective. Instead of information technology constraining design decisions to two-dimensional abstractions, representations and models, the whole process will be conducted from concept to realization 'in space' (the 'space' maybe 'physical' for engineering and architectural applications, electronic for collaboration at a distance, but equally 'organisational' in creating new business structures).
SIAL exploits developing resources in high end computing and software with the internet to forge connections that transcend the typical barriers to interdisciplinary work. As a facility its distinctiveness comes from working with a wide range of software and hardware, and a clear association with all areas of design in the University combined with social and cultural studies. Internationally it is one of a small number of established schools; within Australia it is quite unique. Five main points characterise the unique features of SIAL:
International expertise in Parametric Design
Programming as a core aspect of design teaching
Unique experience in pure and applied research
Unparalleled abilities in the representation of information and ideas
A suite of electroacoustic studios
The role of the Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory is predicated on using information technology and information systems to sponsor a new matrix of multidisciplinary collaboration. Mid-career degrees aim to dispel remaining fears that 'new media' distance the artist from the artefact. Haptic activities connecting brain, eye, ear, and hand will continue to make a valuable contribution and the laboratory provides creative means to strengthen rather than deny a fertile association between the haptic and the information-driven digitally enhanced design.
While relevant research involves an extensive breadth of technological developments in areas such as Multimedia, Sound Scape Systems, Mechatronics, Computer Graphics and Interfaces, Materials technology, Manufacturing processes, Collaborative Virtual Environments, Animation, Computer Games, Virtual Reality Facilities, GIS and on-line environments, the SIAL does not focus on any of these systems or realms of technology per se. Rather, it is open to this breadth but targets another more integrative phase of research development in this area. All teaching and learning within the SIAL is research led with the particular foci of internationalising the curriculum and student/staff experience - the program builds upon existing RMIT University strengths in this area where the staff involved in the program are internationally represented and connected.