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Oliver Vodeb



Oliver Vodeb's work engages in diverse and many times overlapping strategies. Currently his work is focused on research: writing/theory, public communication-design/art/photography, creative/conceptual direction and collaboration, education: lecturing/workshops in an ongoing engagement with processes and institutions that determine our every day life and design social futures. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.

​Oliver collaborates with respected academic publishers like Bloomsbury (Design Philosophy Papers, Design and Culture), University of Ljubljana, Universidad Caldas, Intellect books UK while at the same time creating a new and independent scene, fostering fundamental change of communication/design in order to become relevant in times of radical uncertainty and environmental degradation. His research approach is inter/extra disciplinary and he understands theory and practice as interrelated.

In 2007 he received a Phd in sociology from the Faculty for Social sciences, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. In the last years, his theoretical research and practical projects focus mainly on socially responsive communication, design/visual communication, advertising, critical (media) literacy, tactical education, (new media) networking environments, media activism, design and advertising cultures. He is also very much interested in photography. 

He has lectured at several Universities and conferences around the world. From 2003- 2011, he taught "Theories and practices of media and communication" at the Design department at the Academy of Fine Arts, University of Ljubljana where he was establishing an interdisciplinary area of critical studies of communication design. From 2011 he was teaching and researching at Griffith University Queensland College of Art/design department in Brisbane. He was director of the visual communication program and was co-developing and implementing the new Design Futures program focused on social and environmental response-ability.

From 2014 -2019 he is academic at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne- communication design department, focusing on communication for designing social features in the area of communication design/advertising.

From 2019 he is an academic at School of Design, Master of Communication Design,  RMIT University Melbourne.

He is author of the book Socially responsive communication (published by the Faculty for Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana 2008) and co-edited and co-curated the book Demonstrating Relevance: Response - Ability, Theory, practice and imagination of Socially Responsive communication (published by Memefest and Faculty for Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana 2010) and Love/Conflict/Imagination, (published by Memefest 2011) The books are key texts for anyone interested in Socially responsive communication. He's book project InDEBTed to Intervene- Critical Lessons in Debt, Communication, Art and Theoretical Practice was published in January 2014 and the most recent book Food Democracy in 2018.

Before 2004 Oliver was advisor to the advertising industry on selected projects which had potential to explore advertising's potential for change.

In 2004 Oliver co-founded Poper Studio for public communication, where he was conceptual and creative director from 2004-2012. Poper, based in Ljubljana Slovenia,  brake new ground as it was neither a advertsing agency or design studio but developed its own approach based on socially responsive communication/design and art, strongly informed by critical social theory, conceptual development and media activism.

Among others Oliver co/authored and directed communication projects for City Museum of Ljubljana, Academy of Sciences and Arts of Slovenia, Faculty of Arts- University of Ljubljana, a unprecedented self initiated national campaign for the "Erased" people, that helped resolve the biggest human rights violation in Slovenia, a cutting edge presidential campaign that shifted political communication from comercial branding to dialog. With his coleagues he has created the first peer to peer production based open source fashion brand.

Oliver founded Memefest festival of socially responsive communication and art in 2002 and is  curator, editor and main organizer of the project since it's beginning. The festival nurtures and rewards theory, research and communication that works towards a more equal society. Committed to social and environmental change, critical pedagogy and dialogue, and with participants and collaborators from more than 60 countries the festival is a unique alternative to the surface spectacle driven advertising and design festivals and other competitions that drive our understanding of good communication. As a tactical institution and network Memefest connects academia, professionals, activists, artists, theory and practice. Memefest is designed as a tactical, educational, communication and research tool. Oliver also facilitates Memefest's online social network, free of any intentionally embedded surveillance and hidden commercial value extraction of published data.

Oliver enjoys very much going to concerts and listening to music. Concerts he liked a lot: The Dirty Three, The Black Crowes, Faith no More, The Mars Volta, Black Rebel Motorcycle club, Primus, The Butthole Surfers, Mark Lanegan, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Cat Power, C.W. Stoneking and Twenty Miles, North Mississippi Allstars- among others. Since he lives in Melbourne he is spoiled by its amazing music scene and goes to concerts as much as he can.