This page provides a list of published documents and presentations: it is a work in progress, it is thus never complete. Primarily these documents are authored or co-authored by Jenni Goricanec. Others are included here due to relevance to this blog; authorship of these is noted.

My PhD thesis: Towards Creating Sustaining Futures: a philosophy of (engineering) practice for the 21st Century. It can also be found at RMIT University’s Digital Repository.

Citation (as in the 2011 Melbourne RMIT University Graduation Program):
Dr Goricanec describes the turbulent predicament induced by humans’ inhabitation of our living world.  She proposes an alternative philosophy embedded in engineering practices to move towards sustaining futures. These practitioners perform a new politics by re-connecting with context, taking into account relevant uncertainties across “different” systems in a systemic, integrated approach, eliciting the “pull” of future intentions by mobilising resources, peers, allies and the public. They can design more desirable and feasible life situations for humanity and our natural environment.

A Sequence of Papers around Transforming Tertiary Education

There are two papers in this sequence, both are written jointly with David Young:

  • The first was written for the Australian Public University Conference on Transforming the University 2001. This describes the processes that could be used to develop an active adaptive higher education provider. From Resignation to Active Adaptation.
  • The second is the description of the implementation of these processes, resulting in a new higher education provider and the efforts to sustain this model – Akademos – Developing and Sustaining an Alternative Model for Tertiary Education this was presented at an Action Learning Action Research and Process Management (ALARPM) Conference in 2003.

Engineering Education/Educators Conference Publications

2002, AAEE, Jenni Goricanec and Roger Hadgraft, Digging Holes or Building Wholes? Reflections on Teaching Communications

An early paper:Bringing the Outside, Inside – Engineering for Sustainable Futures” written by Jenni Goricanec and David Young for the 14th Annual Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE) Conference, Melbourne, Australia, 29 September – 1st October, 2003, pp. 450-459.

Abstract: This paper offers a new paradigm for engineering education and therefore for engineering. This paper proposes a future for engineering where sustainability is deeply embedded in the things that engineering produces (i.e. its outcomes), in the way engineering is practiced (i.e. its operational processes and structures), and in the way engineers and engineering learn (i.e. its evolutionary processes). Further, this paper proceeds on the assumption that the core elements of the engineers’ role in modern society are project management, problem solving and solution development.

We will begin by examining the concept of sustainable engineering outcomes, in an environment which is fundamentally problematic, and then move on to examine the necessary prerequisites for sustainable engineering practice, which, in turn, will require us to explicate the necessary adaptations in engineering education and institutional arrangements.

2003 AAEE, Allison Brown and Jenni Goricanec, How can we have Ethical and Sustainable Engineering in a World Dominated by Market Forces?

2004 AAEE, Roger Hadgraft and Jenni Goricanec, Future Engineering – Evolution or Revolution?

2004, International Conference on Innovation, Good Practice and Research in Engineering Education, England, David Young, Jenni Goricanec and Roger Hadgraft, Embedding Continuous Cycles of Research and Innovation Into Our Practice

2005, AAEE, Jennifer Goricanec, Roger G. Hadgraft, John Brumley, David Oxley, Problematic project work in a first year course – sustainability for civil/infrastructure and environmental engineers

2006, AAEE, Jenni Goricanec, Roger Hadgraft and Paul Dorian, Sustainable Practice ‘in action’: Adult Learning in a Masters Program

2007, AAEE, Jenni Goricanec, How to organise a sustaining technological world, one that
we can continue to live in?

2007, 1st International Conference on Research in Engineering Education, Honolulu, Hawaii, Roger Hadgraft, Jenni Goricanec, Student Engagement in Project-Based Learning

2007, American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), Roger Hadgraft, Jenni Goricanec, Engineering Sustainability ?!

2008, Ecology and Community Development Conference, Jenni Goricanec, How do we (all of life) live sustainably on our fragile planet?

2012, AAEE, Jennifer Goricanec, Sustainable Practice –  an ontological politics


We have a complex and dynamic predicament. Sustainability is often offered as part of the resolution of our predicament. There is though no direct path to resolving issues to do with sustainability for the direct paths often have unintended consequences. Engineers’ traditional practice of rationalisation and reduction (for example as embodied in the notion of technical efficiency at minimum cost) is a form of direct response aiming to simplify complex problems to solve them. This rationalising and reducing though has been extremely useful in solving problems of a certain type but now we are in a complex and dynamic predicament and continuing these approaches (in isolation) will exacerbate rather than help to ameliorate.

Peoples realities and conceptions are different as a result of their different genetics, histories, experiences, cultures, education, roles etc and this applies particularly to conceptions of sustainability: there are no or few attempts at shared understanding. Further people’s understandings and ways of responding are not static rather their behaviour emerges within context. Reality also includes ‘things’ both material and conceptual and these ‘things’ are both mutable and mobile. Some ideas, especially those at a ‘system’ level are only understood via instruments and the data that is produced – this puts these ideas at a distance – they are more remote to our senses. In the light of all the above, achieving consensus towards meaningful solutions in relation to sustainability or the resolution of our predicament is difficult and requires different practices to those normally used by engineering practitioners.

For engineers technology and the technical will be a major part of our solutions but if we are not able to engage at a level that takes into account the complexities and dynamics then we will be doomed to being part of the problem. This paper argues that ontological politics is a useful conception to aid in the navigation of the issue of sustainability. Further the notion of ‘practice’ is irreducible (it is a personalised and professionalised set of knowledge, skills and attributes). Sustainable practice is a potentially transforming concept. Using this practice we will engage with other disciplines, recognise the complexity and dynamics of our predicament and be empathetic with other peoples’ complexities in the process of adapting with our context towards more sustainable futures.

Book Chapters

Shifting the ground – sustainable engineering at RMIT by Roger Hadgraft, Peter Muir, Margaret Jollands, Jenni Goricanec, Allison Brown and Andrea Bunting;  in Protecting the Future:Stories of Sustainability from RMIT University, 2004, Sarah Holdsworth and Tricia Caswell (eds)

What is sustainable practice and how is it learned? by Jenni Goricanec and Roger Hadgraft in Global Sustainability Initiatives: New Models and New Approaches, 2008 James A.F. Stoner and Charles Wankel

Contributor to The Natural Advantage of Nations by Karlson Hargroves, Cheryl Desha, Michael Smith

Assorted Other Contributions

SSEE Escaping the Silos Conference, 2010, Jenni Goricanec and David Young, Solutions That Integrate: Re-Invigorating the Potential of Silos

This paper treats sustainability as a broad set of concerns (not just those of the natural
environment) and as a socio-technical systems concept; it is thus integrative rather
than exclusive.
A case study of this type, that is, about sustaining a socio-technical system, is used to
provide insight into the issues of concern for those trying to implement sustainability
more holistically, in engineering practice. An example, of moving from products to
solutions within an international telecommunications supply business, is described. The question “what needs to be done” is considered. Rather than the traditional addition of another functional unit, the response described here is to introduce a process based on deliberations by cross-functional coalitions; coalitions that spanned organisational boundaries from marketing to maintenance, entitled the “Delivery Network Architecture” (DNA). This process worked alongside the existing organisation leaving its’ structures and resources intact.
This type of response to issues of sustainability provides an integrating mechanism for
adapting to further changes in an organisation’s ecosystem (system-in-its-environment).
Further it embeds in the eco-system a set of values that are broader
and more inclusive, thereby providing a broader base to sustain the engineering

IASTED Conference, Environmentally Sound Technology in Water Resources Management, 2006, Gabarone, Botswana, Jenni Goricanec and Tricia Hiley, Sustaining Life – Learning and (More Than) Water

We note with interest that this conference is for environmentally sound technology in sustainable water resource use and management. In this paper we will look at sustainability and appropriate technology in relation to the nature of learning required to affect the desired outcomes. We use the particular case of farming in Australia, where water is a critical component of the sustainability predicament in which we find ourselves.
In the first section we draw on the use of water, among other things, in an Australian agricultural setting, where European land management practices are deeply embedded as a result of the application of these practices over the past 150 years. We also provide a series of images that suggest, are evocative of, our text. In the second section we link the practices previously discussed to different types of learning and the implications of those
types. The final section poses emergent questions for those of us interested in sustainability.
This paper is a ‘work in progress’, an attempt to introduce and ‘open out’ possibilities of new guiding principles and to invite ‘learning to learn with others’ moments with others who are equally interested in environmentally sound technology in water resources management.

RMIT Ed Magazine Interview – Roger Hadgraft and Jenni Goricanec, The Challenge of Designing an Holistic Curriculum: a case study

Contribution by David Young and Jenni Goricanec Pages 36-37 to Under Fire 2: The organisation and representation of violence by Jordan Crandall ISBN 90-73362-65-2, Idea Books, Amsterdam.

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