Davina Jackson is an international writer and promoter of progressive concepts and cultures, based in Sydney.
Her post-doctoral credentials, books and other achievements have been endorsed by the British Academy (Humanities and Social Sciences) and the UK Government has awarded her an Exceptional Talent (world leader) visa. She is a Visiting Research Fellow with the computing department at Goldsmiths College of Art, University of London.
Currently she is developing new books for Thames and Hudson in London, Versita in Warsaw and other European publishers. Her recent projects include:
—A scholarship PhD history thesis on Douglas Snelling, Asia-Pacific’s most significant interpreter of California modern design and (organic) architecture innovations from the 1930s to the 1970s.
—Catalysing and promoting a new global network of experts applying computer science systems to help solve the challenges of urban development and climate change (launched in Sydney October 2008).
—Co-editing the world’s first manifesto for the environmental simulations/imaging movement known as Digital Earth | Virtual Nations | Data Cities.
—Strategy partner for international light art engineer Mary-Anne Kyriakou’s eco-ethical Smart Light festivals (Smart Light Sydney/Vivid in 2009 and Smart Light Singapore/ iLight Marina Bay in 2010 and 2012).
After dropping out of Auckland University politics and economics studies in 1973, Davina trained as a newspaper reporter in Auckland, New Zealand and arrived in Sydney in the late 1970s. After a few months with Rupert Murdoch’s now-defunct Daily Mirror, she became a stylist, writer and architecture editor for Australian House & Garden, Belle, Vogue Living, The Sydney Morning Herald and several international interior design magazines.
In mid-1992 she curated the Synthesis: Art + Architecture exhibitions in Sydney, involving 24 cross-disciplinary teams. This project introduced several artists to architects who later recommended them for significant city sculptural commissions. In 1999, she produced the 40UP: Australian Architecture’s Next Generation exhibition, which was shown at design centres in Hamburg and Berlin in 2000.
In 1992, she became editor of Architecture Australia, where she witnessed and influenced the 1990s property development boom leading up to the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. She summarised the architecture of those eight years in Australian Architecture Now (Thames and Hudson, 2000, co-editor Chris Johnson).
In 1997 she received from the University of New South Wales an M.Arch degree in architectural history and theory for a thesis titled @Home: Another Revolution in Architecture’s Theory of the House which examined esoteric theories about the history and future of domestic living and architecture. While studying, she sub-edited a book of 39 academic papers on future cities: Peter Droege (ed) Intelligent Environments: Spatial Aspects of the New Information Revolution (North Holland/Elsevier, 1997).
From 2002-2005, Davina chaired the Venice Architecture Biennale Task Force, successfully lobbying both the Australia Council and the (then-Royal) Australian Institute of Architects to end their 20-year political impasse preventing Australia from exhibiting in the nation’s permanent pavilion at Venice Architecture Biennales.
In 2005 she was appointed as a NewSouth Global Associate Professor of Multi-Disciplinary Design, advising leaders of three faculties on cross-collaborations and research potentials towards a ‘national and global digital cities network’. Widely known internationally by its trademark/masthead d_city, this project was launched in Sydney in October 2008, during the Metropolis World Association of Major Cities congress, at an event sponsored by the NICTA research organisation, three government departments and the City of Sydney’s Customs House.
Her studies on the history of 20th century architecture helped to inform her recent obituary of Jørn Utzon, architect for the Sydney Opera House. Initially published in The Australian, it was included in the Australian Academy of Humanities’ Proceedings 2009 for circulation to its Fellows.
Davina is married to Chris Johnson, a former New South Wales Government Architect and now CEO of the Urban Task Force.