Assoc Prof Flavia Marcello

Associate Professor and Department Research Director Faculty of Health Arts and Design at Swinburne University
Melbourne Victoria
Design and History

Flavia Marcello has a long-held interest in early 20th century art and architecture, and whilst living and working in Rome, developed her expertise on the city and its history. She explored this interest in her PhD in Architecture, and conducts research in the areas of innovation heritage and the legacy of post-war conflict in the contemporary city. She is currently Associate Professor and Department Research Director at Swinburne University.

Flavia feels she started the traditional academic journey late in the piece. She lived in Italy for eight years, working at Temple University in Rome. During that time, she raised two children, from whom she has learned valuable skills and perspective. In particular, she learned to compartmentalise work and family life, developing strategies such as task allocation and letting go of perfectionism.

In Rome, her role was part-time teaching and research at an American University. She had interesting experiences that taught her to quickly navigate difficult situations with composure. For example, in taking 20 American students to St Peter’s Basilica, she was teaching history of Roman Architecture while simultaneously teaching them to navigate Roman traffic. She found herself thinking on her feet a lot - a useful skill that has served her well in her career.

After eight years in Rome Flavia moved back to Australia, and rose through the academic ranks within a short time period. She began working at TAFE, and despite the role being below her level of capability, she found great value in developing relationships with industry stakeholders. Based on her TAFE experience she picked up a part-time role in Melbourne developing the curriculum for new history units, and would go on to become Professional Development Manager for the Australian Institute of Architects. Following that, she worked at Deakin as a lecturer, and after only a couple of years was approached by Swinburne for a role. 

She was destined for an administrative role at Deakin, and the role at Swinburne enabled her to do more of what she enjoyed. Flavia is now Department Research Director at Swinburne, which she sees as an opportunity to keep learning.

Flavia's decision to move back to Australia ultimately cost her relationship with her husband. He was Italian and wanted to live in Italy. Today she is happily remarried and has three adult children: two of her own finishing up their high school and university studies and a step-son also at university. She has raised her children to be independent, empowering them to make decisions within the limits of their understanding.

Flavia is a leader of the Swinburne academic network and professional development for female academics. She also runs writing workshops where she undertakes a great deal of mentoring.

Mentors have been important for her career, and now Flavia finds passion in mentoring others. As a mentor, Flavia asks questions, listens, and guides. She does not believe it is useful to tell others how to do things or follow someone else’s path.