Professor John Bird


Professor Bird pictured in a moment
typical of John, that of nurturing,
in this case the plants along
'Fuchsia Walk' at Swinburne
University, but more usually,
that of talent.


Dedicated teacher,visionary, pioneer, enabler of the industry, and founding father of the AIM Centre courses.

In recognition of his achievements in education and industry, RMIT University bestowed John with an Adjunct Professorship in July 1996 upon his retirement as Program Director of the Centre for Animation and Interactive Media.

John continues to work as a consultant and policy advisor to government, education and industry bodies and retains an active interest in the courses he founded through his membership of AIM's Course Advisory Committee. He is currently steering the Cyberport One project which is conducting trials to provide high bandwidth network infrastructure for Melbourne's media post-production community to enable digital collaboration on local and international productions.

John has a background in illustrative art and graphic design. He became a lecturer in film and television at Swinburne during the formative years of its renown School in the mid 1960's and was instrumental in establishing the School's postgraduate program in 1976. This provided Australia with it's first accredited course in animation and helped grow a lively and vibrant local industry.

In the late 1970's and early 80's, John saw the potential of putting computers into the hands of artists and animators. To this end he persuaded the Victorian Government to fund the establishment the Computer Animation Development Centre in 1983.

It was the largest grant that Swinburne Institute of Technology had received in its day and preempted the development of the local industry by some years. This pioneering initiative gave the Film School's students of the animation course access to the cutting-edge resources they needed to explore the creative potential of computer animation, and provided training in 3D computer animation through a suite of short courses.

In 1990, staff and students of the course began producing interactive works. In the following year, an interactive stream was formally introduced into the animation course of the School.

John stayed on at Swinburne and set up the Centre for Animation and Interactive Multimedia when the Film and Television School was transferred to the Victorian College of the Arts in 1992. Later that year, the Victorian Education Foundation, industry and the University provided funds and resources to establish the National Centre for New Media Arts and Technologies. The Centre's charter was to explore the creative potential of digital production and communication tools and to provide a talented workforce of high caliber appropriate for an emerging industry.

The Centre and its course was transferred to The Department of Visual Communication, RMIT in January 1995 with an expanded academic program that now includes MA and PhD studies. Students of the Centre have produced works which have been widely acclaimed for their quality and innovation.

John maintains a passionate interest in the careers and fortunes of his past graduates.

In recognition of John Bird's contribution to the industry, Cinemedia has sponsored an annual award in his name. The "John Bird Award for Excellence in an Online Production" salutes the pioneering contribution that Professor Bird has made to Victoria's Multimedia industry by encouraging excellence and innovation in online and networked projects created by postgraduate students of RMIT's centre for Animation & Interactive Media.

The inaugural award was presented in 1997.


centre for animation & interactive media

maintained by: the AIM centre
further information: Rhonda Smithies
last updated: 21/5/99
© Copyright 1999
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology