Treecreate notes #02— beginnings and endings

Tracey M Benson
4 min readAug 13, 2021

This week was the beginning of a new sprint for our team and we have some really meaty (pardon the pun) work ahead of us.

It was really nice to share my first weeknote with colleagues and get some very positive encouragement from our digital lead Jordan and the team, who even gave me a shout out at showcase :-) Also, I think I may have inspired a couple of teammates so I hope to read about their weekly adventures soon!

When I was in the office this week, I noticed this wonderful artwork by Simon Normand. He is a Melbourne based artist, who I don’t know a lot about but I do like this work about Yangman Country in the Northern Territory.

By the end of the week Canberra had gone into lock down, which was intensified for me personally as my son and his partner moved to Melbourne. We are a close family and although this is the next step for him on his journey, I have needed more than my usual amount of kitty cuddles to get through.

What I did

At work, my research into the world of Quota deepened and this piece of work is going to be part of what our larger team will be focusing on in the coming months. This discovery research has been really useful to inform the next round of research we are doing with some external users. Understanding the world of agricultural exports is very complex and there are so many different puzzle pieces.

Learning about the different parts of the export journey is critical to our work and fortunately there is a depth of corporate knowledge that we can learn from. This week I had a couple of great meetings with staff who have worked in the department for decades, who generously shared their knowledge with our team about their systems and processes. I am encouraged by the fact when I ask questions now that they are coming from a more nuanced understanding of things work.

On other topics, out of the blue, a professor from University of New South Wales contacted me about my 1996 thesis on Theosophy and art during the interwar years, Metaphysical Visions: Theosophy in Australia. I was compelled to reread this work and was surprised that many of the themes that drew me into that research are still resonating. He asked if I had a book version, which I don’t at the moment, but perhaps a project for the near future?

What I learnt

Our ResearchOps lead Brigette, in collaboration with the Behavioural Analytics Team, presented a workshop on qualitative research methods. I really enjoyed exploring some of the theory underpinning methods Brigette shared. In particular, the discussion of constructivist versus grounded theory was really insightful. I could have never imagined that my background in art theory and knowledge of post-structuralist and post modernist theory would ever find a place in the public sector! We also did a fun exercise in Miro doing some write ups of a mock interview which we then synthesised.

I am learning that DAWE sure does love Miro :-)

What I read

This week, I have been reading journal papers across a diverse range of topics, mostly very relevant to my focus on community, UX and participatory design and social empowerment. Here are some highlights:

Exiting the Anthropocene and entering the Symbiocene by Glenn Albrecht and Gavin Van Horn offers a hopeful description of the future, far more than the concept of the Pyrocene, a term increasingly used to describe the post-anthropocenic era.

I also read this wonderful essay by Anne Boyer about resistance and the poetic — No, published on the Poetry Foundation website. Thank you Christy Dena for sharing!

Hopefully by the next weeknote we will be out of our 7 day lockdown. I guess it is a great reason on get on top of the weeding and do some early spring cleaning…



Tracey M Benson

Green geek. P/T Academic @UniSC. Into inclusive design, emerging tech, maps, AR/VR, SciArt and biophilia. Adjunct @UCan and PhD advisor at TransArt Institute